MASH PH Question

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abdominousabel

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So i've been researching water chemistry stuff and i have a rough gist of it BUT my question is how do i lower the pH mash to 5.2

I see everywhere 5.2 is ideal, my second question is do i make my strike water 5.2 or do i make my pre boil 5.2? I'm confused!

I attached water calls that i did on brewers friend but i just guessed on everything to match balanced profile 1, i have no idea what all that is, I'm just going to buy the adjuncts at my LHBS and hope for the best. Advice would be great. I'm making a Mango IPA.

Im mashing 15lbs of 2 row 1lb crystal 40L, I don't know if thats important info. Batch size 5.5 Gal
 

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doug293cz

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First, you are not trying to adjust the pH of the water, but rather the pH of the mash (about 20 minutes into the mash.) This is why the water calculators need to know your grain bill to work. They use the darkness/lightness of the grains to approximate the effect of the grains on the mash pH. Then they look at the water additions to see how they change the pH prediction. The ideal mash pH is usually between 5.3 and 5.6, as that's where the enzymes work best.

You probably don't want to add chalk (pretty much ever, as it doesn't dissolve), and you only add baking soda if the predicted pH is too low. The typical method of adjustment is to add calcium sulfate (gypsum) and calcium chloride until you get the amounts of calcium, chloride, and sulfate you want. You don't really need to add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), as the malt already has all the magnesium needed. You also might want to add less salt (sodium chloride), unless you like your beers to have a little bit of a salty taste. A little bit of salt enhances the taste of some beers, but you don't want to overdo it.

Once you have your ions in the range you want, then you add acid (usually lactic or phosphoric) to bring the predicted pH down to your target value (if it was too high), or add baking soda if the predicted pH is too low (usually only happens with dark beers.)

Also, do you have a water report that shows you how much calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium, chloride and alkalinity your starting water has? If you don't know what's in your starting water, you can't know what you need to add to get the desired profile. If you don't have a water report, then you can use RO (from grocery store water dispensers) or distilled water, both of which have very close to 0 ions.

Brew on :mug:
 
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abdominousabel

abdominousabel

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First, you are not trying to adjust the pH of the water, but rather the pH of the mash (about 20 minutes into the mash.) This is why the water calculators need to know your grain bill to work. They use the darkness/lightness of the grains to approximate the effect of the grains on the mash pH. Then they look at the water additions to see how they change the pH prediction. The ideal mash pH is usually between 5.3 and 5.6, as that's where the enzymes work best.

You probably don't want to add chalk (pretty much ever, as it doesn't dissolve), and you only add baking soda if the predicted pH is too low. The typical method of adjustment is to add calcium sulfate (gypsum) and calcium chloride until you get the amounts of calcium, chloride, and sulfate you want.

Also, do you have a water report that shows you how much calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium, chloride and alkalinity your starting water has? If you don't know what's in your starting water, you can't know what you need to add to get the desired profile. If you don't have a water report, then you can use RO (from grocery store water dispensers) or distilled water, both of which have very close to 0 ions.

Brew on :mug:
So after 20mins of mashing I take the pH and ad the acids or bases accordingly? And as for so4 I believe , I’d want more of that to increase bitterness in ipa correct?

I bought two 5gal jugs to purchase RO water so from there I just add the required gypsum and calcium chloride? Ignore the rest?

Thank you, you’re very helpful, much appreciated. You saved me from chalky salty beer
 

myndflyte

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Not totally correct. You add the salts as your strike water is warming up and you take your pH reading 20 min into the mash. The salts plus malt give you your calculated pH so the salts need to already be in the mash when you take your pH reading.
 

Biscuits

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So after 20mins of mashing I take the pH and ad the acids or bases accordingly? And as for so4 I believe , I’d want more of that to increase bitterness in ipa correct?

I bought two 5gal jugs to purchase RO water so from there I just add the required gypsum and calcium chloride? Ignore the rest?

Thank you, you’re very helpful, much appreciated. You saved me from chalky salty beer
You can't ignore the rest. You'll have to use your preferred mash pH calculator to input the contents and quantities of your grist and how much strike water you will be using to mash in with. Mash pH can be manipulated in a few different ways, mash thickness, acid, dark malts, brewing salts (gypus/calcium)...all of this needs to be entered into the calculator to get you within a reasonable range...the calculators aren't ever going to give you 100% precise accuracy, but they will get you within the 5.2-5.6 range that is suitable.

Like already stated above...you will add the salts and acid or baking soda to the liquor before you mash in...while you're heating it to your strike temp, this allows it to dissolve into solution and then when you add your gains, the hope is that it all works in symphony to hit your magic mash pH number. Math works, so as long as you do it right, it will work.
 

jfolks

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Download bru’n water - surely someone has posted a tutorial online. Pretty easy to use. But it sounds like your still learning about water chemistry - the easiest method would be to use RO or distilled water and five star brand 5.2 mash treatment (follow their directions)
 

Biscuits

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Download bru’n water - surely someone has posted a tutorial online. Pretty easy to use. But it sounds like your still learning about water chemistry - the easiest method would be to use RO or distilled water and five star brand 5.2 mash treatment (follow their directions)
This is not good advice. Even in RO water 5.2 Mash Stabilizer is snake oil.
 
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abdominousabel

abdominousabel

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Download bru’n water - surely someone has posted a tutorial online. Pretty easy to use. But it sounds like your still learning about water chemistry - the easiest method would be to use RO or distilled water and five star brand 5.2 mash treatment (follow their directions)
This is not good advice. Even in RO water 5.2 Mash Stabilizer is snake oil.
I just came back from the brew shop and picked up 5.2 stabilizer , some gypsum, calcium chloride, and some lactic acid. (not all for a batch, but just to have different stuff in stock).

I assume they can't be added together correct? It would be 5.2... alone, OR gypsum and calcium chloride per calculation, OR lactic acid to lower the pH alone

Am i correct on my assumptions? (I have a digital pH meter so i can add increments)

Any advice is helpful, Thanks
 
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abdominousabel

abdominousabel

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I assume they can't be added together correct? It would be 5.2... alone, OR gypsum and calcium chloride per calculation, OR lactic acid to lower the pH alone
I say gypsum and calcium chloride because i have table salt and Epson salt at home, and was advised to not use chalk, so i just ended up calculating with those four compounds having gypsum and calcium chloride be about 60% of the adjucts
 

Biscuits

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I just came back from the brew shop and picked up 5.2 stabilizer , some gypsum, calcium chloride, and some lactic acid. (not all for a batch, but just to have different stuff in stock).

I assume they can't be added together correct? It would be 5.2... alone, OR gypsum and calcium chloride per calculation, OR lactic acid to lower the pH alone

Am i correct on my assumptions? (I have a digital pH meter so i can add increments)

Any advice is helpful, Thanks
No, completely ditch the 5.2 Stabilizer...it doesn't work at all, in any water, it is hogwash, phooey, snake oil, garbage.

Start with the RO water and use Bru'n water to calculate out how much gypsum and calcium chloride you need to hit your target content. It will also give you an estimated mash pH based on the contents/quantities of the grist and mash thickness. After you have the desired ppm of your ions, you will focus on getting your pH in range by using acid to lower it or baking soda to raise it (usually only necessary for darker beers).
 

myndflyte

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The whole issue with the 5.2 stabilizer is that you don't know how much of each ion is in there. Plus it doesn't take into account your grain bill. If you have success with stabilizer, more power to you. But you'll be much better off creating the water profile to match the style of beer and you'll better understand how your water is playing a role.

If the water profiles for hoppy and dark beers are totally different, why would a 5.2 stabilizer be useful for both? If it worked, sure it would stabilize you at pH 5.2 but it's not going to help accentuate the beer the way formulating your water profile correctly would.
 
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abdominousabel

abdominousabel

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No, completely ditch the 5.2 Stabilizer...it doesn't work at all, in any water, it is hogwash, phooey, snake oil, garbage.

Start with the RO water and use Bru'n water to calculate out how much gypsum and calcium chloride you need to hit your target content. It will also give you an estimated mash pH based on the contents/quantities of the grist and mash thickness. After you have the desired ppm of your ions, you will focus on getting your pH in range by using acid to lower it or baking soda to raise it (usually only necessary for darker beers).
Cleared it up, hopefully i can return or swap out the 5.2 stabilizer.
I took a step back from HB calcs mindset and just put myself back into my water quality class and realized how simple this was...(relatively simple with calculators because in class it wasn't this simple)

Thank you for your help! Now time for a brew day
 
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abdominousabel

abdominousabel

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The whole issue with the 5.2 stabilizer is that you don't know how much of each ion is in there. Plus it doesn't take into account your grain bill. If you have success with stabilizer, more power to you. But you'll be much better off creating the water profile to match the style of beer and you'll better understand how your water is playing a role.

If the water profiles for hoppy and dark beers are totally different, why would a 5.2 stabilizer be useful for both? If it worked, sure it would stabilize you at pH 5.2 but it's not going to help accentuate the beer the way formulating your water profile correctly would.
Yeah I figured carpet bombing my water when a generic substance didn't seem sound. Thanks!
 

doug293cz

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Couple of questions that didn't really get addressed yet.

Yes increased sulfate ion will enhance bitterness of a hoppy beer. I would stay under 200 ppm until you get a little experience with how that does in your beers. You can then increase or decrease to get closer to what you are looking for.

Trying to adjust mash pH in the middle of the mash won't help much. By the time the pH stabilizes in the mash, most of the mash chemistry is already over. You really need to use the water calculator to predict how much acid (or base) to use in the strike water. Then measure your mash pH after about 20 minutes. The sample must be cooled, as the pH is different at mash temp, and the target pH values are based on room temp measurements. Most people find that the water calculators get them within +/- 0.1 pH of their target, which most of the time is good enough. If you are off by more than that, or want to fine tune, then for your next batch set your target pH in the calculator higher or lower to compensate for the measured offset.

Brew on :mug:
 

RPh_Guy

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You could argue there's no point to checking mash pH, strike/mash temperature, original gravity, or final gravity. Calculators handle all those things.
We always just calculate ABV and IBU instead of measure.
It's also a lot easier to just eyeball the grain and hop amounts too. Saves a lot of time.
For salts, just figure out how much is a pinch.
You can then throw away your pH meter, scale(s), brewing thermometer(s), and hydrometer(s).
 
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abdominousabel

abdominousabel

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You could argue there's no point to checking mash pH, strike/mash temperature, original gravity, or final gravity. Calculators handle all those things.
We always just calculate ABV and IBU instead of measure.
It's also a lot easier to just eyeball the grain and hop amounts too. Saves a lot of time.
For salts, just figure out how much is a pinch.
You can then throw away your pH meter, scale(s), brewing thermometer(s), and hydrometer(s).
This is what my grandma and everyone's grandma does for cooking. Always amazing food, But its never consistent. I do agree however that taking this approach is a lot less stressful.
 
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