5.2 pH Stabilzer

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3sheetsEMJ

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Anybody use this stuff? What is so important about a pH of 5.2? I keep hearing thats the pH you want but I havent heard why. Does it help effienciency or prevent off flavors?
 

BierMuncher

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Anybody use this stuff? What is so important about a pH of 5.2? I keep hearing thats the pH you want but I havent heard why. Does it help effienciency or prevent off flavors?
I won't (can't) get into the science. But once I started using a ph stabilizer, my beers went from pretty good to winning competitions. I won't brew without it.
 
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It's going to depend on your water. Many, many, many people have lots of solid (in many cases bomb proof) data saying that the product doesn't work.

It seems to work well with my water, though I admittedly need to do a little more data collection.
 

jma99

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It's just a buffer that locks in your ph at 5.2.
Great stuff, use it all the time, makes ph one less thing to worry about.
 

randomsample

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In the water show on Basic Brewing with Kai Troister (spelling?), he mentioned that 5.2 will basically prevent the PH from getting above 5.7 (I believe) - it doesn't lock it in at 5.2
 

Grinder12000

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I'll swear by it and have done side by side tests and the results are very very good. With our water without it the beer tastes bland and ....hard to explain . . Just flat tasting.
 

Challenger440

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I have never used it. I have seen where people have talked about it giving their beer a salty flavor. I don't know if anyone else can attest to that, or if maybe those people were just using too much but it was enough to scare me away from it. I have pretty decent water anyway and don't need it in most cases.
 

RM-MN

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Whether it works or not will depend a lot on your water and its mineral composition. If your water is good for brewing that stuff won't work. If your water has some problems that stuff might help or it might hurt. Only by having your water composition tested or by trying it with a batch of beer will you know if it will help your situation.

Have you tried to brew with your water? Does your water taste good to drink? Does it have chlorine or chloramine added to kill bacteria?

pH is important because it helps the mashing process. Your mash should be acidic and for most people just adding the grain will make is so but some water will not allow this. pH 5.2 would be about ideal for mashing and this is what the chemical is striving to get you to.
 
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3sheetsEMJ

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I use gallon size spring water, so there may be traces of who know what in them, but overall the water is very tastey and drinkable. I have brewed about 6 brews with the same type and they proven to be constistently good, and any modiications have been primarily because of recipe (grain bill, hops etc). I am typically an extract or patial mash brewer, and have heard that a high or low pH can cause off flavors, so i want to use better technology. Also, i just started using fermcap, and thought if something like fermcap can make brewing easier, i wonder if there are things that can make my brews better and more consistent, so ive focused my research onto controlling temp and pH. Im trying to take a scientific approach and control as many variables as possible.

I appreciate the replies, and although they are mixed, it seems that enough people swear by it for me to give it a try. Thanks!!
 

BigTerp

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I've never used it, so can't comment on it's effectiveness. What I do is use my mineral additions and lactic acid to help nail my mash pH to around 5. I use EZWater calculator for my adjustments and the estimated mash pH it gives me is always very close to what I actually measure 15-20 minutes into the mash. I ALWAYS adjust my water for whatever style I'm brewing. My water is pretty good for brewing in general, but needs adjusting for various styles. So while adding minerals to complement the style I'm brewing these minerals also help lower my mash pH. Once I get my mineral composition to where I want for that particular brew, I use lactic acid to further lower my mash pH to around 5.
 

Seven

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I mostly use bottled spring water for my brewing because of the hard water here in N. Florida.

I just ordered some 5.2 to try it out. I don't do beer competitions but if it improves my beers then I'll be happy.
 

JJL

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Biggest thing to remember is that it's not a cure all. If your water lacks minerals for brewing, it's not going to add those minerals to your water. It's just going to push the pH to 5.2. If your water tastes bad to you, then your beer is going to taste bad. It doesn't add or subtract sulfates or chloride, which can have an impact on the flavor profile of your beer. I'm not against using. I think it certainly can have a positive impact in some situations. But, I personally don't think it's a substitute for having at least a basic understanding of the minerals in your water and the impact of those minerals in brewing. You should at least know why you would want to use it, and when it might be advantageous.
 

gauzzastrip

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I've been hearing more and more about 5.2 over the last month. I might have to pick some up for my next batch and give it a go.
 

ArcaneXor

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I mostly use bottled spring water for my brewing because of the hard water here in N. Florida.
Spring water is not ideal for brewing anything other than stouts, because it is usually very high in CaCO3 from the limestone - you do get pH problems with it.

For the most part, just using RO water with enough flavor ions (Gypsum, CaCl) added to get to somewhere between 50 and 100 ppm of Ca will almost always produce the proper pH without further adjustment, unless you use lots of roasted barley or acidulated malt.

I believe 5.2 adds a bunch of Sodium to the beer, which is not ideal. When I use it, I use it in the sparge water to prevent tannin extraction, and use other salts for mash pH adjustments where necessary.
 

ArcaneXor

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Just the sparge water (or I sprinkle it on top of the mash after collecting the first runnings). I use about half of the recommended dosage.
 

tgmartin000

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The biggest thing to know is that it does not "lock in" your mash ph. It's a buffer, which adds alkalinity to your water, which makes it harder to lower your pH, in a nutshell. If you have alkaline water, it will not help.

Bottom line, get a water report before doing anything. If you make light beers, 5.2 won't help anything. If you make dark beer, and have water low in alkalinity, it might help.
 

lamppa

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messing with your ph without knowing the following is asinine .
1) your water profile, including....
2) the ph of your water
3) how the grains in the grist effect ph with your water profile
4) what chemicals do what, and what they do in relation to each other and taste
 

Seven

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Spring water is not ideal for brewing anything other than stouts, because it is usually very high in CaCO3 from the limestone - you do get pH problems with it.

For the most part, just using RO water with enough flavor ions (Gypsum, CaCl) added to get to somewhere between 50 and 100 ppm of Ca will almost always produce the proper pH without further adjustment, unless you use lots of roasted barley or acidulated malt.

I believe 5.2 adds a bunch of Sodium to the beer, which is not ideal. When I use it, I use it in the sparge water to prevent tannin extraction, and use other salts for mash pH adjustments where necessary.
Thanks for the info. I do need to look take a closer look at the water I'm using. My beers have been very good thus far but I am always interested in improving whenever or however I can. Brew water chemistry is now at the top of my to-do list.
 

lamppa

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I agree completly with you. Improving is a wonderful thing. Instead of buying product rerad up palmers section on water chemistry and find out your water profile. Then use the ezwater spreadsheet for easy figuring!
 

Homercidal

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I highly recommend reading all you can from the various experts, listen to podcasts, and try the different spreadsheets.

I personally like bru'nwater because even though it's more "complex" than the EZ sheet, it works more like my mind works and it's not that hard to understand the "extra" stuff.
 

Crito

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my beers became better when i added a tsp of salt to the wort during boiling
 

android

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i used 5.2 for a solid year's worth of brews and thought it was responsible for a slight improvement in the beers, but after hearing/reading some of the podcasts/links mentioned in this thread, i decided to stop using it to see if i could detect a difference about 6-8 months ago and i can't notice any difference from when i was using it. again, YMMV.
 
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3sheetsEMJ

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Crito said:
my beers became better when i added a tsp of salt to the wort during boiling
Um ... that doesnt make your beer salty?
 

Homercidal

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Um ... that doesnt make your beer salty?
Well, saltier, obviously. Maybe not saltier tasting.

It's 1 tsp. in 5 gallons.

I'm guessing salt adds Sodium and Chloride to the beer, so depending on the chemistry of the existing water, adding these things might add what is lacking.

Or crito just likes those flavors more.
 

tgmartin000

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I would like someone to explain how it lowers and raises mash ph?
IIRC technically, it doesn't do either. It's a buffer, which means it helps resist a change in pH when acids are added to solution. It counteracts acidity. Which without it, the mash pH should be higher.
 

lamppa

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WTF is that jibberish? It would take me 5 min to type why that can not be true and if it were the mash ph would not be 5.2 but im not going to waste my time
 
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3sheetsEMJ

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tgmartin000 said:
IIRC technically, it doesn't do either. It's a buffer, which means it helps resist a change in pH when acids are added to solution. It counteracts acidity. Which without it, the mash pH should be higher.
Hmm well you are close but not exactly correct. A buffer will adjust the pH of a solution. Ok well first of all you can have different types of buffers,and they can be whatever pH you want them to be. It just happenes that the emzymatic processes in brewing favor a mash pH of 5.2, so thats why you would use a 5.2 stabilizer. If the mash pH is 5.2 on the nose and you have the stabilzer in the solution, and then you add and acid or a base you are correct it will resist the change, but if it is too high or two low prior to adding the buffer, by adding the right amount of buffer you can adjust it to 5.2. Although very interesting and worthy of a good topic of coversation, the chemistry is not why i started this thread. I basically wanted to know if it was any good and if it improved the quality of anyones beer. Looks like it was mixed reviews. Not surprising considering how many variables there are to brewing a solid beer. I just want to isolate as many conditions as possible, in a controled way, to take a more scientific approach to brewing, because damn its a lot more complicated than i thought it would be! Good thing its worth it!!
 

Dhruv6911

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Helps with attenuation from what i can gather. When yeast or any organism consume, they release waste which is acidic. When i culture tumor and stem cells, the media generally have or we have to add a pH indicator which in my case is phenol red. If the acidity in the beer becomes too high, yeast may go into hibernation mode or possible die in result of environment rather than lack of nutrition. So if we consider the wort to be the media, we should keep the yeast alive and going until food runs out rather then pH altering their metabolism.
 
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