Difficulty matching British water profile

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Hi – I am trying to brew a clone of a beer I used to drink a lot of in England and have tried the recipe several times, but it has missed the mark. I decided to delve more into the water profile and managed to get a profile from the brewery and I have entered the characteristics into Bru’n Water to try to match the water by adding minerals. My base water is RO so I have a lot of latitude.

The data I got is: Calcium 200 mg/l, Chloride 200 mg/l, Sulphate 250 mg/l, Alkalinity 40 mg/l. Yes, it’s hard British water.

Now from what I have read, these numbers are equivalent to ppm, and I do not have the complete profile in terms of the Magnesium, Salt or Bicarbonate, but I looked at the profiles in John Palmer’s book and came up with:

Calcium 200ppm
Magnesium 12ppm (My data - is this reasonable?)
Sodium 24ppm
Sulphate 250ppm
Chloride 200ppm
Bicarbonate 100ppm (My data - is this reasonable?)

The question I have is that I am having difficulty in meeting these numbers in Bru’n Water, and achieving a mash pH target of 5.4. Bru’n water has me adding 10.4g of Gypsum, 9.6g of Calcium Chloride, 3.6g of Epsom Salts and 2.6g of Baking soda to come close to the profile. I also find I need to add 0.5g of Pickling Lime to raise the pH to 5.4. I am doing a 5 gallon batch with 8.2 gallons of RO mash water.

Bru’n water also flags that the Sulphate should be less than 150 and that the Chloride should be less than 100ppm, especially when the Sulphate is more than 100ppm.

I haven’t seen a water profile with a Chloride value that high. Do I ignore the warnings and RDWHAHB? 25g of minerals in 8 gallons of brewing liquor sounds a lot - then again British water has a lot of minerals in it. Maybe that is what I have been missing in my other attempts to brew this beer.

Paul
 

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Hi Paul, that is a typical British water profile for a pale ale or bitter. My latest brew, had 300ppm sulfate and 180ppm chloride liquor profile. You will have to ignore all warnings in Bru'n water to brew most traditional style British beers.

Alkalinity at 100ppm would normally be used only for stouts and porters, so if it is a paler beer, reducing it to 40 ppm as advised, should be observed. To achieve this and ionic balance, could the magnesium be reduced to, say, 8ppm?

Such a profile can be easily achieved in Britain using most hard water supplies. A fairly typical supply has circa 100ppm calcium, 5ppm magnesium, 20 to 30ppm sodium, sulphate and chloride around 50ppm and alkalinity between 200 and 300ppm. A mix of sulfuric and hydrochloric acids would reduce alkalinity to the desired level and at the same time increase the levels of both sulfate and chloride. Gypsum and calcium chloride additions would then increase calcium, sulphate and chloride to the desired levels.
 
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Thanks for the great input @cire. I have just read a few more posts in this folder. In particilar one by @Silver_Is_Money which says to never mix CaOH2 and Baking soda as it will form insoluble calcium carbonate which will drop out.
Given that and the fact hydrochloric acid isn’t too easy to come by, how do I raise the mash pH? I don’t understand all the science (and I’m not sure I want to) but when I add the minerals to get the water profile correct, the mash pH drops to around 5.1 and I’d like to stay at around 5.4.

Paul
 

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What are you trying to brew? and with what recipe?

I haven't found a source for CaOH yet wish I could.

Latest brew I have on is for Five points brewery bitter. The brewer said burtonise the water which is not terribly helpful and I'm fairly sure they don't use the profile from Brewers friend that's for sure.

I use brewersfriend profiles and then just try and set my variables to get the correct mg/l that I'm seeking and not worry if it's saying too high or low.
So I would just fiddle with the additions until I could get the ions you have in the profile about right.

I am only a very simple water chemist, but I try to not add bicarb as most mashes like acidity and you might get better results a bit lower. Sometimes breweries give the pH of the wort pre boil which can be different from the Mash pH because of the sparge so 5.4 might not be your target.
In my simple world on my checklist
Sulphates bring out hops and bitterness
Chlorides bring out malt flavours
Sodium in low quantity improves mouthfeel and flavour but not really helpful over 50ppm.

Magnesium can be quite astringent.

The other thing that really effects English ales is the yeast and the temperature the brewery ferments it at, so make sure you have these correct as well.

It's really difficult I've found to clone a beer that you can only now sample in bottles that you drank on draught hand pull in a pub.

But I'm going to keep trying to nail that ale.
 
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I hope you are kidding. One, acid lowers pH, not raises it. Two, I just read it is poisonous. Three, it is called muriatic acid and is available at most hardware stores.
Yep I wouldn’t do that. There are just so many variables when it comes to matching a profile and trying to meet a specific pH.
 

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Hi – I am trying to brew a clone of a beer I used to drink a lot of in England and have tried the recipe several times, but it has missed the mark. I decided to delve more into the water profile and managed to get a profile from the brewery and I have entered the characteristics into Bru’n Water to try to match the water by adding minerals. My base water is RO so I have a lot of latitude.

The data I got is: Calcium 200 mg/l, Chloride 200 mg/l, Sulphate 250 mg/l, Alkalinity 40 mg/l. Yes, it’s hard British water.

Now from what I have read, these numbers are equivalent to ppm, and I do not have the complete profile in terms of the Magnesium, Salt or Bicarbonate, but I looked at the profiles in John Palmer’s book and came up with:

Calcium 200ppm
Magnesium 12ppm (My data - is this reasonable?)
Sodium 24ppm
Sulphate 250ppm
Chloride 200ppm
Bicarbonate 100ppm (My data - is this reasonable?)

The question I have is that I am having difficulty in meeting these numbers in Bru’n Water, and achieving a mash pH target of 5.4. Bru’n water has me adding 10.4g of Gypsum, 9.6g of Calcium Chloride, 3.6g of Epsom Salts and 2.6g of Baking soda to come close to the profile. I also find I need to add 0.5g of Pickling Lime to raise the pH to 5.4. I am doing a 5 gallon batch with 8.2 gallons of RO mash water.

Bru’n water also flags that the Sulphate should be less than 150 and that the Chloride should be less than 100ppm, especially when the Sulphate is more than 100ppm.

I haven’t seen a water profile with a Chloride value that high. Do I ignore the warnings and RDWHAHB? 25g of minerals in 8 gallons of brewing liquor sounds a lot - then again British water has a lot of minerals in it. Maybe that is what I have been missing in my other attempts to brew this beer.

Paul
Only use bicarbonate to adjust pH up. Don't target any specific amount. Zero it out, and see what pH is predicted without an acid addition. Then, if the pH is too low, increase the baking soda amount until your predicted pH is in range.

Don't add bicarbonate to your sparge water.

If your predicted pH is too high (without bicarbonate), use acid to reduce the predicted pH. I use 88% lactic acid. You generally shouldn't need to add so much that it would have an effect on the flavor. People also have success with phosphoric acid.
 

cire

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Only use bicarbonate to adjust pH up. Don't target any specific amount. Zero it out, and see what pH is predicted without an acid addition. Then, if the pH is too low, increase the baking soda amount until your predicted pH is in range.

Don't add bicarbonate to your sparge water.

If your predicted pH is too high (without bicarbonate), use acid to reduce the predicted pH. I use 88% lactic acid. You generally shouldn't need to add so much that it would have an effect on the flavor. People also have success with phosphoric acid.
I completely agree with your brewing advice, but the objective here is to replicate a British beer which will not currently happen with an American water profile. Maybe it will in another generation if sufficient British brewers adopt American practise, which some newer ones have. However, most British beer drinkers still mostly prefer more proportionately hopped, non-heavily carbonated, see-through beers with neither a lactic twang nor more phosphate content that Coca-Cola.
 

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I completely agree with your brewing advice, but the objective here is to replicate a British beer which will not currently happen with an American water profile. Maybe it will in another generation if sufficient British brewers adopt American practise, which some newer ones have. However, most British beer drinkers still mostly prefer more proportionately hopped, non-heavily carbonated, see-through beers with neither a lactic twang nor more phosphate content that Coca-Cola.
Ah! You are correct - I had forgotten about using CRS/AMS to reduce pH!

Do you really find that starting from something like RO, you would need to add alkalinity only to neutralize it to get authentic flavor? That seems counter intuitive. Why not just add sufficient sulfate and chloride from salts?

My advice had nothing to do with hopping rates, carbonation levels, or clarity, so I'm not sure how that's relevant.
 

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Ah! You are correct - I had forgotten about using CRS/AMS to reduce pH!

Do you really find that starting from something like RO, you would need to add alkalinity only to neutralize it to get authentic flavor? That seems counter intuitive. Why not just add sufficient sulfate and chloride from salts?

My advice had nothing to do with hopping rates, carbonation levels, or clarity, so I'm not sure how that's relevant.
No, that was not your advice, just that newer styles trending in UK tend to be opaque, fizzy and over-hopped.

Never used RO to make beer, I can make most styles with a little acid, gypsum and calcium chloride flake. Like the rest of Britain, the local water supply is perfectly drinkable, although the dishwasher has an integrated water softener. A local soft drinks company extracts water by licence from the same aquifer to make their products and also sells it untreated as a mineral water internationally under the name "Hadrian". When I want softer water for brewing some lagers I will use that supplied to our daughter. She lives about 10 miles distant with a surface water supply with lower mineral content. You'll have to take my word for it, but that water doesn't make such good beer as my supply does.

From a decade of resolve I am able to determine, with sufficient accuracy, the mineral content of my supply., so perhaps describing the water treatment for the most recent brew might explain my process best. The profile about to be revealed will be one of shock and horror to many brewers that frequent this forum, but it produces very good British style beers.
Initial profile, ppm, was... Ca 86, Mg 39, Na 28.9, SO4 125.3, Chloride 45, alkalinity as CaCO3 218.6 ppm.
Alkalinity was reduced using hydrochloric acid (food safe of course) to 28 ppm as CaCO3, which in reducing 190.6 alkalinity increased chloride by 135 ppm.
Sufficient gypsum was then added that increased calcium to 155 ppm and at the same time increased sulfate by 171.1 ppm.
The final profile became... Ca 155, Mg 39, Na 28.9, SO4 296.5, Chloride 180 and alkalinity 28 ppm, not vastly different to the desired profile in the OP.

Yes, the grainbill would be of value, but maybe there is confidentiality involved in this instance. I think it might be a British Bitter, which do vary vastly in recipes.
 

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Adding to the my water and what I make

Tap water is
Ca 20, Mg 2, Na13, Cl 15, SO4 6, Alk as CaCO3 is 30ppm

my current Build for English Bitter is

Ca 167, Mg 23, Na 39, Cl 99, SO4 380, Alk as CaCO3 is 20ppm

Will wait and see how it comes out. But my adjustment is in your ball park which is reassuring
 

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No, that was not your advice, just that newer styles trending in UK tend to be opaque, fizzy and over-hopped.

Never used RO to make beer, I can make most styles with a little acid, gypsum and calcium chloride flake. Like the rest of Britain, the local water supply is perfectly drinkable, although the dishwasher has an integrated water softener. A local soft drinks company extracts water by licence from the same aquifer to make their products and also sells it untreated as a mineral water internationally under the name "Hadrian". When I want softer water for brewing some lagers I will use that supplied to our daughter. She lives about 10 miles distant with a surface water supply with lower mineral content. You'll have to take my word for it, but that water doesn't make such good beer as my supply does.

From a decade of resolve I am able to determine, with sufficient accuracy, the mineral content of my supply., so perhaps describing the water treatment for the most recent brew might explain my process best. The profile about to be revealed will be one of shock and horror to many brewers that frequent this forum, but it produces very good British style beers.
Initial profile, ppm, was... Ca 86, Mg 39, Na 28.9, SO4 125.3, Chloride 45, alkalinity as CaCO3 218.6 ppm.
Alkalinity was reduced using hydrochloric acid (food safe of course) to 28 ppm as CaCO3, which in reducing 190.6 alkalinity increased chloride by 135 ppm.
Sufficient gypsum was then added that increased calcium to 155 ppm and at the same time increased sulfate by 171.1 ppm.
The final profile became... Ca 155, Mg 39, Na 28.9, SO4 296.5, Chloride 180 and alkalinity 28 ppm, not vastly different to the desired profile in the OP.

Yes, the grainbill would be of value, but maybe there is confidentiality involved in this instance. I think it might be a British Bitter, which do vary vastly in recipes.

I think we were just coming at this from different angles.

I threw a generic no sparge grain bill into a water spreadsheet and was able to come very close to your profile starting from RO/distilled water.

I played with gypsum, CaCl2, and epsom amounts to get the right mineralization, then used baking soda to bring the estimated pH up to 5.4, which provided sodium in your range, too.

The high amount of salts made acidification unnecessary, so it even removes debate about the taste thresholds for lactic and phosphoric acid.

I've never gone this big on mineralization before. I'll have to try something like it.

1616854477504.png


Edit:
Larry messaged me that the fonts didn't look right in Mash Made Easy - I installed a couple that I was missing and now the spreadsheet looks great!
 
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Adding to the my water and what I make

Tap water is
Ca 20, Mg 2, Na13, Cl 15, SO4 6, Alk as CaCO3 is 30ppm

my current Build for English Bitter is

Ca 167, Mg 23, Na 39, Cl 99, SO4 380, Alk as CaCO3 is 20ppm

Will wait and see how it comes out. But my adjustment is in your ball park which is reassuring
Yes, I'm sure that's a profile that would fit with pale British styles. Depends, of course, on the detail and BJCP guidelines do not align well with the range of beers in Britain.

20 ppm alkalinity is fine for a beer with little or no crystal malt, but many British Bitters include a reasonable amount of crystal to require a little more alkalinity. Also, I find, and this is my opinion, that a pale beer with sulfate around 400 and chloride less than 100 ppm take more time to mature to reach their best, while 300 ppm SO4 and 200 Cl2 is more suitable for a quicker turn around.
 

cire

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I think we were just coming at this from different angles.

I threw a generic no sparge grain bill into a water spreadsheet and was able to come very close to your profile starting from RO/distilled water.

I played with gypsum, CaCl2, and epsom amounts to get the right mineralization, then used baking soda to bring the estimated pH up to 5.4, which provided sodium in your range, too.

The high amount of salts made acidification unnecessary, so it even removes debate about the taste thresholds for lactic and phosphoric acid.
Indeed, we are on the same wavelength, just from different starting points. It's only when beginning with highly alkaline water like mine and most other British consumers, that lactic and phosphoric acids are not a first choice.

I've never gone this big on mineralization before. I'll have to try something like it.
Absolutely. Why not have a good look through "Shut up about Barclay Perkins" and choose a recipe that takes your fancy. Mind, there could be a few months reading ahead.
 

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Indeed, we are on the same wavelength, just from different starting points. It's only when beginning with highly alkaline water like mine and most other British consumers, that lactic and phosphoric acids are not a first choice.


Absolutely. Why not have a good look through "Shut up about Barclay Perkins" and choose a recipe that takes your fancy. Mind, there could be a few months reading ahead.
Oh I've been there plenty! The AK thread here also has my interest piqued. I think something along those lines would be fun.
 

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OP @Merkur

Since you're starting with RO, you want enough bicarbonate to get a good mash pH. You can swap out the pickling lime for more baking soda.
If you want to post your grain bill, mash, and sparge volumes, we can help with the additions more.
Spreadsheets are just a model, but they do help dial in your mash pH.
 
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Silly question maybe - but what if you didn’t start with RO water? What does the local water supply look like?
I haven’t had the raw local water tested but it tastes terrible and all the houses in the small development I live were built with whole house filters, water softeners and under-sink RO systems. IMHO if water tastes bad, don’t brew with it.
 
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I'm still interested to know what the intended brew is and a few more details of the ingredients.
Thanks. I will post the details below although I am a little concerned about disclosing the brewery since they have been so forthcoming to me regarding the recipe ingredients, water profile and mash temp etc
 
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Great inputs @cire @marc1 and @DuncB. Sorry I didn’t respond immediately but yesterday was brew day and I had to move forward and brew the beer.

So to answer the questions above, this is a popular British beer that I have brewed several times but this time I decided to focus more on the water profile. i brew BIAB and this was a 5 gallon batch. The grain bill is:
- 91% (8.8Lb) Pale malt
- 4% (0.4Lb) Crystal 110L
- 2% (0.2Lb) Black malt 600L
- 3% Lyles Golden Syrup

Water profile: Ca 200, Mg 12, Na 50, Cl 200, SO4 250, Alkalinity as CaCO3 is 40ppm

What I came up with in terms of additions to meet this profile was:
Baking soda: 5.8g
Calcium Chloride: 12.6g
Epsom Salt: 3.6g
Gypsum: 11.4g

This got me close.

Paul
 

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Great inputs @cire @marc1 and @DuncB. Sorry I didn’t respond immediately but yesterday was brew day and I had to move forward and brew the beer.

So to answer the questions above, this is a popular British beer that I have brewed several times but this time I decided to focus more on the water profile. i brew BIAB and this was a 5 gallon batch. The grain bill is:
- 91% (8.8Lb) Pale malt
- 4% (0.4Lb) Crystal 110L
- 2% (0.2Lb) Black malt 600L
- 3% Lyles Golden Syrup

Water profile: Ca 200, Mg 12, Na 50, Cl 200, SO4 250, Alkalinity as CaCO3 is 40ppm

What I came up with in terms of additions to meet this profile was:
Baking soda: 5.8g
Calcium Chloride: 12.6g
Epsom Salt: 3.6g
Gypsum: 11.4g

This got me close.

Paul
Please keep us updated on how it comes out!

How did the wort taste with the new mineralization?

Do you measure mash pH?
 
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in the above post I addressed the water profile. This addresses the pH situation. As I stated, this is a BIAB (no sparge) recipe.

Brewfather and Bru’n water had the pH coming in at around 5.1 - 5.2 and I was looking at how to increase this so I balanced the minerals and in particular the Baking soda and managed to get a predicted pH of 5.4. I was a little skeptical of this as there was very little roasted malt (.2Lb) and from experience I would have expected to add 3-5mL of Lactic to get the pH lower.

So what did I experience on brew day? I mashed in and was quick to test the pH. It was 6.1!! I immediately added 2mL of Lactic (88%), stirred and retested. It was 5.6 so I added another 2mL stirred and retested and it was 5.5. I left it at that and retested at the end of the 60min mash and it was 5.47. So I should have gone by my gut instinct and added 5ml of lactic.

Conclusion: the brewing software’s pH algorithm, while accurate for ‘typical’ American style beers does not work well with British ales with high Calcium, Chlorides and Sulfates. I do not understand the chemistry behind this but in future I will be wary of the recipes that predict zero lactic additions when brewing British ales.

Paul
 

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It might be that the downward shift in pH due to calcium and magnesium in the mash water is not as great (within the mash) as Kolbach's math model (intended for 'knockout' per Kolbach, well downstream of the mash) predicts, when clearly mistakenly applied in full measure and intent to the upstream mash instead of the Kolbach intended 'knockout'. Or it might clearly be due to a number of other factors.

If the average drop in Wort pH across the boil is measured to be on the order of 0.15 to 0.25 pH points (or perhaps for some cases even more than this), and if this drop is errantly applied to the mash by software, then right out of the starting gate this magnitude of prediction error is to be expected of said software. But often this error is "seemingly" in agreement with up to several potential pH meter 'user errors' made in the pH reading process itself, such as stirring while reading pH, or sampling too early in the mash, or testing a sample that is too warm, or perhaps worst of all, in thinking that ATC corrects pH fully for temperature, whereby all four of these potential errors may sometimes seemingly (albeit falsely) gang together so as to lend credence to the favor of the software that most often predicts lower pH's than most to perhaps all of the rest (often enough, to the apparent glee of those completely unaware).

Short version: If most users apply any of a gaggle of bad practices which all individually induce false low pH readings, then any software that inadvertently (or even, of course, fully intentionally) caters to the majority in support of their bad pH reading practices, may seemingly be perceived (unknowingly) by these very same users (plus potentially also to the softwares developer) to be consistently the "best" of such software, when such may not in reality be the actual case, and wherein factually quite the opposite may in actuality be the case.
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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I of course forgot a fifth error commonly made for pH meter readings, which also leads to a false low pH reading. That is in not letting the probe sit undisturbed within the Wort for at least 30 seconds or more before reading it. The motion induced reading always starts out low, and then slowly rises to where it eventually stabilizes at a more correct reading. The "stability flag" built into most pH meters generally indicates reading stability being achieved way too soon, and this contributes to low readings also.
 

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I made up Merkur's British Ale within MME and varied the impact of mineralization twice, once to reflect its impact within the mash at 100% of Kolbach (as per the perceived to be most common and/or popular of mash pH assistant software), and once to reflect its impact for Kolbach at 50% (as per AJ deLange).

100% mineral impact upon mash pH:
Merkur_100_Pct.png
50% mineral impact upon mash pH:
Merkur_50_Pct.png

If Kolbach at 100% in the mash is correct, then just as Merkur stated, the mineralization alone is adequate to bring the pH of the mash well within the acceptable range. But if only about 50% of the impact of Kolbach is witnessed during the mash for this huge amount of added minerals (with the rest presumably occurring within the boil), as per the observations and measurements of AJ deLange, then to hit the same 'acceptable range' mash pH requires 4 mL of added 88% Lactic Acid, just as was observed, required, and added by @Merkur. See the two thumbnails above. Note that in the first thumbnail image the 'Kolbach pH Shift Multiplier' cell is set to 1.00 (for 100% full mineralization downward pH shift effect within the mash), and in the second it is set to 0.50 (for only 50% effect within the mash).
 
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cire

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An interesting outcome, but excuse me if I have this totally wrong. Did not the original brewery profile have alkalinity as 40 ppm, which in the UK would be as CaCO3. In 8 gallons that, I believe, would not require 5.6 gm, but only 2 gm of NaHCO3 to provide an equivalent amount of alkalinity. An addition of this amount would largely eliminate the need for acid to neutralize that influence.
 

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Ahh the US vs Imperial error ? perhaps.

Merkur I find it hard to believe that any British Brewery is putting Golden Syrup in their wort. But other sugars yes, it does still happen.

Any hops in that brew or is it a really old ale from the UK?
 
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But often this error is "seemingly" in agreement with up to several potential pH meter 'user errors' made in the pH reading process itself, such as stirring while reading pH, or sampling too early in the mash, or testing a sample that is too warm, or perhaps worst of all, in thinking that ATC corrects pH fully for temperature, whereby all four of these potential errors may sometimes seemingly (albeit falsely) gang together so as to lend credence to the favor of the software that most often predicts lower pH's than most to perhaps all of the rest (often enough, to the apparent glee of those completely unaware).

Short version: If most users apply any of a gaggle of bad practices
Great input Larry. Some questions. I try and adopt consistent and sound best practices. I sample the wort from the top of the mash (which is recirculated) in a small beaker after stirring. That is then put in an ice water bath with the temp probe. The pH reading is taken when the temp is 20C. I typically take the first reading after 10 minutes or so but with this one I did it at 5 minutes as I suspected the mash pH was incorrect and I immediately added the 2ml of lactic I had prepared as the pH was 6.1.

Does that sound like a good process? What was your comment regarding sampling after stirring and taking the sample too early?

Paul
 
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I of course forgot a fifth error commonly made for pH meter readings, which also leads to a false low pH reading. That is in not letting the probe sit undisturbed within the Wort for at least 30 seconds or more before reading it. The motion induced reading always starts out low, and then slowly rises to where it eventually stabilizes at a more correct reading. The "stability flag" built into most pH meters generally indicates reading stability being achieved way too soon, and this contributes to low readings also.
Understood. The probe is standing still in the sample beaker in an ice bath until the temp is 20C.

Paul
 
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Ahh the US vs Imperial error ? perhaps.

Merkur I find it hard to believe that any British Brewery is putting Golden Syrup in their wort. But other sugars yes, it does still happen.

Any hops in that brew or is it a really old ale from the UK?
Correct. I am an expat Brit and have visited many breweries. Yes I have seen sacks of sugar in breweries despite the brewer not stating that sugar is used. In addition, books I have read (such as ‘Brew British Real Ale by Roger Protz) state that sugar is used in the clone I am brewing.

You are right that no commercial brewery would use Golden Syrup which is an invert sugar form of regular sugar, but I grew up with it and like it!

Paul
 

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Great input Larry. Some questions. I try and adopt consistent and sound best practices. I sample the wort from the top of the mash (which is recirculated) in a small beaker after stirring. That is then put in an ice water bath with the temp probe. The pH reading is taken when the temp is 20C. I typically take the first reading after 10 minutes or so but with this one I did it at 5 minutes as I suspected the mash pH was incorrect and I immediately added the 2ml of lactic I had prepared as the pH was 6.1.

Does that sound like a good process? What was your comment regarding sampling after stirring and taking the sample too early?

Paul
I prefer sampling the mash at the 30 minute mark, and forego any attempt at on the fly pH adjustment, figuring that by the 30 minute mark of a single infusion mash the mash should be technically complete (at least for today's mostly well modified malts). 10 minutes is way too early to sample the mash. Grist acids (which can on aggregate average be either acidic or basic with respect to your chosen mash pH target) are not likely to have been fully liberated at such an early juncture.

The real key is to enter fermentation at a 20 degree C. pH reading of 5.1-5.2 (with 5.0 as the lowest you want to see at this stage). In general, the higher the pH reading is pre-boil, the greater will be the degree of pH drop witnessed across the boil, but also greater becomes the probability that post boil and cooling your pH will be too high (I.E., greater than 5.2). If you adjust pre-boil to a pH of 5.2 (or lower) you will incur little to no further drop in pH across the boil, plus you will get the added benefit of less color darkening witnessed across the boil. But at a sacrifice in hop utilization. The higher the pH at initial boil the greater the hop utilization, but also the harsher the hop flavor. The higher the pH at initial boil, the darker the Wort becomes as it is boiled. Always sample the mixed post sparge and pre-boil Wort and begin cooling the sample to 20 C. Some prefer to forego the computed acid addition derived from this cooled pre-boil sample (whereby to achieve 5.1-5.2 pH) until there are only about 5-10 minutes of boil remaining, whereby to maximize hop utilization (and thereby achieved IBU's), but for the smoother hop bittering and lighter Wort colors that I prefer I wait until I've first acidified to 5.1-5.2 pH (with 5.2 being the ideal) and only then proceed to heat to boiling and to my hop additions. Maximum break (hot and cold) and Wort clearing occur at a room temperature measured ~pH 5.2.

Your entire pH reading process seems to be quite sound. No faults there.
 
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Another reason for which to enter fermentation at pH 5.1-5.2 (with 5.0 acceptable) is to aid the yeast in achieving a somewhat lower final beer pH that is more conducive to the prevention of bacterial action, and thereby to give the beer a potential for longer term stability.
 
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Well despite everything, I brewed the beer on Friday and three days later the fermentation is done. I’ll leave it to rest a week before kegging but the A09 yeast (Fullers strain) loved that wort!

For once I hit all my numbers give or take a point, and importantly the OG (1041) and FG (1010) were spot on yielding a healthy, quaffable 4.1% Best Bitter. I think my quick action to reduce the mash pH to 5.4 saved this beer. Thanks for all
the help and guidance everyone.

Paul
 

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Well despite everything, I brewed the beer on Friday and three days later the fermentation is done. I’ll leave it to rest a week before kegging but the A09 yeast (Fullers strain) loved that wort!

For once I hit all my numbers give or take a point, and importantly the OG (1041) and FG (1010) were spot on yielding a healthy, quaffable 4.1% Best Bitter. I think my quick action to reduce the mash pH to 5.4 saved this beer. Thanks for all
the help and guidance everyone.

Paul
How did the gravity sample taste?
 

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Another reason for which to enter fermentation at pH 5.1-5.2 (with 5.0 acceptable) is to aid the yeast in achieving a somewhat lower final beer pH that is more conducive to the prevention of bacterial action, and thereby to give the beer a potential for longer term stability.
As to the above, I've come across at least one peer reviewed document which indicated that at least one reason as to why lagers typically "finish" at about 0.3 pH points above ales is that the Lactic Acid found within 80-88% Lactic Acid and/or within Acid Malt provides an added degree of somewhat strong buffering, which hinders the yeast from dropping the pH further. Phosphoric Acid contributes less added buffering than does Lactic Acid, and Hydrochloric and Sulfuric Acid (or blends such as AMS/CRS) provide no such additional buffering. Thus the use of these latter acids is attributed in good measure as to why ales finish generally at lower pH than do lagers.

It could by this measure be inferred that lagers are cold "lagered" not necessarily in an effort to enhance flavor (as per another of my threads), but rather as to prevent bacterial spoilage (which exists as a greater "potential" due to the higher finishing pH).
 
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How did the gravity sample taste?
Good. It carbonared naturally at 5psi and it tastes good. It doesn’t have as much fruity ester quality as I wanted and the hop character is a little too prominent. The color is spot on. I have every confidence the hops will mellow out and I’ll get some fruity esters once the yeast drops out. It’s a young beer - exactly 72 hours after yeast pitch.

I am just glad I hit all the numbers!
F734B5FE-5492-4383-90E5-A8180EAF54EF.jpeg
 
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