Adjusting PH

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whovous

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I need to know how much, if any, Lactic Acid to add to my water profile.

I am trying to assimilate a number of changes to my still evolving brewing routine. I will be using RO water from an under-sink unit for the first time, and I have tried to plug my goals into Bru'n Water to tell me what additions to use. While I am sure I am making some mistakes, I am comfortable with what I am doing with Gypsum, Calcium Chloride and Calcium Carbonate. I do not have a way to add Magnesium, so I guess I will just have to get over that.

But I get confused when I get to Lactic Acid. I did not calculate my brand-new pH meter because the Amazon reviews said it was pretty well calibrated out of the box. It tells me my RO pH is 8.1, and that my tap water is the same.

My goal pH is in the 5.3 to 5.5 range. I do not understand how Bru'n Water calculates, or even if it calculates, what my grain does to my mash pH. I am confused because it does not seem to have a menu from which to choose the grains. 2-row is pre-entered so I used that for one entry. I also used a Munich line, but it does not ask if it is 10L or 20L. And I find no way at all to tell it I am using CaraPils or corn sugar. So, I typed those words in on two lines and added my quantities of each.

Also, it seems to want to deal with the acidification issue at the sparging stage, and I don't sparge per se. I have a small continuous recirculating system.

Anyhow, it seems to say my mash is going to take the pH from 8.1 to 5.5 all by itself. Does this make sense?
My grain bill:
5.3125 lbs pale 2-row
0.5625 lbs Munich 20L
0.125 lbs CaraPils
0.25 lbs dextrose (corn sugar)

I suspect it thinks the last two items are something else, and it is making at least some of the adjustments based on what it thinks the specified weights of that something else would do to mash pH.

Just what do I need to do next here? Do I add any Lactic acid or not?
 
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whovous

whovous

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I just zeroed out the CaraPils and Dextrose lines, and the resulting room temp mash pH was unchanged.
 

ScrewyBrewer

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For someone who is fairly new to brewing water calculations I always recommend that they start out using EZ Watercalculator before attempting to use the more sophisticated software packages out there.

It is an easy to learn and use, single page spreadsheet, that provides very good results for the homebrewer using readily available salts and minerals.
 
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whovous

whovous

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But there seems to be a consensus that EZ Water and Bru'n Water produce quite different results. I tried EZ first, and did not get very far on the pH front with it. But when I plugged its results for gypsum and the like into Bru'n, the results seemed quite a bit different. Unless I made a mistake, of course...
 

mabrungard

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But I get confused when I get to Lactic Acid. I did not calculate my brand-new pH meter because the Amazon reviews said it was pretty well calibrated out of the box. It tells me my RO pH is 8.1, and that my tap water is the same.

My goal pH is in the 5.3 to 5.5 range. I do not understand how Bru'n Water calculates, or even if it calculates, what my grain does to my mash pH. I am confused because it does not seem to have a menu from which to choose the grains. 2-row is pre-entered so I used that for one entry. I also used a Munich line, but it does not ask if it is 10L or 20L. And I find no way at all to tell it I am using CaraPils or corn sugar. So, I typed those words in on two lines and added my quantities of each.
Don't worry, your pH IS NOT calibrated 'out of the box'. It might be perfect or it could be way off. Remember, a stopped clock is correct twice a day. You do have to calibrate your meter prior to each session if you want to be sure that your readings are reliable.

Do you have an idea of how many different grains are out there in the brewing world? It would be foolhardy to even attempt to include that sort of information. Those few grains shown in the table are only examples so that the new user gets an idea of what inputs they will need to include. Users do have to know what their grain parameters are for use in Bru'n Water. For that matter, a brewer needs to know what those same parameters are in order to assess what their beer will come out like when using recipe software. Come on, we can't hold your hand that much. Time to put on your big boy pants!

Your finding regarding zeroing out those minor additions is not a surprise. They are teeny percentages compared to the other malts. It would take a bit more of those grains to effect pH significantly. By the way, don't include corn sugar in the mash. That should only be added to the kettle.

As mentioned, Epsom salt is readily available in grocery stores and preferred for adding magnesium. You don't really need it for most brewing, but its helpful when brewing hoppy beers.
 
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whovous

whovous

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OK, I can put on my big boy pants now, but what happens if I make a mess:eek:

Can you tell me if I am reading one thing correctly, or if it might be pure chance on my part? If I start with an RO pH of 8.1 and add 5.3625 lbs of pale 2-row and .5625 lbs of Munich to 3.9 gallons of water, am I likely to wind up with a mash pH of 5.5 without adding any lactic acid?

My goal, as you say in your software, is a pH of 5.3 to 5.5. Do the other additions such as gypsum, calciums chloride & carbonate, and (assuming I find it at the neighborhood store) epsom salts, factor into the pH calculation as well? Water chemistry is Greek to me, and my lips are definitely moving as I read!
 

mabrungard

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The pH of your starting water is fairly irrelevant. It is the alkalinity of that water that matters, and its very low with RO water. So that is a good thing!

While that grain bill might create a 5.5 pH if you are adding calcium salts to bring the Ca content to about 50 ppm, I do recommend that you target a pH of 5.4 or less since this is a pale beer. That is known to make the beer flavor brighter. To reduce that pH, you might add more Ca and Mg salts, but the easiest way is to add a bit of acid. Bru'n Water does give you the tool for figuring out the effects of all the additions.
 

DurtyChemist

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Bru'N water has the mash acidification page that allows you to enter your grain bill. You'll need to enter if it is acid, base, roast or crystal malt and the amounts plus the Lovibond rating. Once you have this it will tell you the mash pH on the bottom and on the summary page. Go back to the water or sparge adjustment tab and you'll be able to find out how much acid you'll want to add to drop your mash pH.

Calibrate your pH probe too. I'd personally calibrate it around 155F if at all possible unless you want to cool your sample in which case I'd calibrate at room temps. Small samples should be easy to chill but I don't know what pH meter you have.
 

mabrungard

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NEVER calibrate nor use your pH probe at high temperature. That will shorten its life. High temperature use requires special pH probes and they typically stay at that high temperature throughout their service life since they are commonly used as an industrial process control. In typical brewery use, every temperature cycle from room temperature to mash temperature and back will stress the glass bulb and shorten the probe life.

In addition, calibrating a probe at high temperature will still not account for the pH change due to the chemical/temperature changes in the mash. That shift of about 0.25 to 0.35 units would still have to manually be applied to convert mash temp pH to a room temp pH so that it can be compared to common pH targets.

Its not worth it!!! Just cool your wort samples to room temp before measurement.
 

DurtyChemist

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I don't recall having problems with the probes in lab however I guess I wouldn't know since as you said it was always that temp when measured.
 
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