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Old 10-18-2013, 03:54 PM   #1
orangemen5
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M brewing a porter with a lot of crystal and roasted malt. I've been using brewing water to get a ball park estimate of my mash ph. I can usually get my light beers in range with a little acidulated malt. But have trouble with dark beers. My grist is as follows.
11lbs 2 row
1 lb crystal 120
1.5 lbs brown malt (65)
.5 lbs crystal 40
1.25lbs choclate malt (350)
2.25 lbs munich (10)

My water is as follows.
Calcium 36
Sulfate 20
Sodium 11
Magnesium 9
Chloride 22
Alkalinity 97

Bru n water predicts a mash ph of 5.0. I would like to get it in the range of 5.3-5.4. I don't have any pickling lime. But was thinking of using 2-3 tsp of baking soda since my sodium isn't really high to start with. Or would I be better off a ding the roasted grains late in the mash. I could steep the grains I guess but it's more added work. What do you think.

 
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Old 10-18-2013, 04:21 PM   #2
ajdelange
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Do you have a pH meter or are you working in the blind? If you have a meter then a test mash is the best way to go. Baking soda is fine for adding alkalinity if required as long as you don't over do it (sodium concern which you have cited).

Adding roast grains later is highly recommended by some including Gordon Strong. They certainly won't effect your dough in pH if you do that but they will still add acid. The goal is to get mash pH correct and then rely on the fact that if you do pH will usually track throughout the rest of the process. Still, some brewers add acid to the kettle. So getting mash pH correct w/o the dark grains and then adding them later may be a good thing to do from the kettle pH POV too but I'd want to check that with a meter.

 
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:53 PM   #3
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I like to wait to add roasted malts until the end of my mash is complete so they don't mess up the pH. It is a very simple way to deal with the problem.
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Old 10-18-2013, 07:57 PM   #4
orangemen5
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Unfortunately I don't have a ph meter. Just going by bru n waters prediction. Which from what I've read is pretty accurate. I think I'll add the rest of the grains at the end of the mash so they don't lower the ph too low. When would be a good time to add them. I'm thinking 15-20 min from the end of the mash.

 
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:58 PM   #5
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I do a mash out, so I add them just before I start to ramp up the temperature. Probably extract for 10 min tops before I start to sparge (batch)

Another alternative is to steep the roast malts in cold water and then add that when the mash is finished. I'm not sure how long a step, you'll have to check around, but I think some folks even do overnight
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjj2ba View Post
I do a mash out, so I add them just before I start to ramp up the temperature. Probably extract for 10 min tops before I start to sparge (batch)

Another alternative is to steep the roast malts in cold water and then add that when the mash is finished. I'm not sure how long a step, you'll have to check around, but I think some folks even do overnight
Roughly 24 hours is the recommendation I've seen for cold steeping. I've done it a couple of times when I was just experimenting. It does seem to really cut down on the acrid flavors you get from some dark grains. I get more of a roasty flavor and less bitterness.

 
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Old 10-19-2013, 04:24 PM   #7
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Keeping the roast and crystal malts out of the main mash is a viable way to keep the mash pH from falling too low. However, it is a stop-gap approach since when the roast and crystal are eventually added, the pH of the wort you send to the kettle will be lower than desired.

Keeping the mash pH in the right range improves the enzymatic action. However when the kettle wort pH is very low, the hop expression and bittering extraction are reduced and the beer can end up tasting tart. The work-around method of delaying the roast and crystal additions is NOT a cure-all. Sometimes alkalinity is necessary.
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Old 10-19-2013, 06:32 PM   #8
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But, OTOH, as I pointed out in #2, some brewers set correct mash pH and then acidify further in the kettle so there may be some cases where this is actually the wise thing to do. But, as I also said earlier, I'd want to be sure with pH meter readings.

 
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Old 10-21-2013, 03:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
Keeping the roast and crystal malts out of the main mash is a viable way to keep the mash pH from falling too low. However, it is a stop-gap approach since when the roast and crystal are eventually added, the pH of the wort you send to the kettle will be lower than desired.

Keeping the mash pH in the right range improves the enzymatic action. However when the kettle wort pH is very low, the hop expression and bittering extraction are reduced and the beer can end up tasting tart. The work-around method of delaying the roast and crystal additions is NOT a cure-all. Sometimes alkalinity is necessary.
In the interests of full disclosure, I do more than I posted above. I don't brew many dark beers (I like them, but there are too many others to brew!) so I am really dialed in with my water for lighter beers. I actually have good water for dark beers, but since I've got the light stuff dialed in, I go with that water/mash routine and add the dark grains at the end of the mash. HOWEVER, I treat my water with pickling lime to reduce my carbonates, so when I do brew a dark beer, I also add back in the boil kettle the carbonates that I earlier precipitated out to minimize the affects of the roast malts in the boil kettle. Certainly not for everyone, but it works for me
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Kegged and Aging/Lagering: CAP, Ger. Pils, OKZ (std Amer. lager), CZ Pils, Amer. Wheat, Rye IPA, Saison
Secondary:
Primary: Ger Pils, CAP
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Old 10-22-2013, 01:32 AM   #10
orangemen5
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So it baking soda an acceptable way to add alkalinity or does it not dissolve well. pickling lime is probably better but Baking soda is readily available. I'm assuming if I keep sodium under 50ppm I should be ok. It seems the easiest way to add alkalinity.

 
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