Mash PH too low every time

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chez1987

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I have done a few brews now, but the one thing i cant seem to get right is the mash PH. im aiming for between 5.2-5.4, but every time it is coming out between 4.5-5 when im testing about 15 mins into mashing.

Im using tesco bottled water (ashbeck 6.2PH) and using the water profile information given on the bottle for my brewfather water calculations. The app is suggesting i would need to add a few ml of lactic to bring the PH down, however the mash PH is already reading too low before even adding the acid. I tried adding some bicarbonate soda to increase the PH which didnt appear to have any effect what so ever, infact the PH readings seemed to keep getting slightly lower. I tried adding a couple of grams to my boiler (brewzilla35l) but then decided to just give up and leave it incase i threw it off completely as i dont really know what im doing 😂

I was wondering if my cheap PH reader was no good, i checked the bottled water with it and it was reading pretty much bang on 6.2 which it says it should be. however i probably will look into getting a better one.

What is it that im not getting right? i have added Gyspum, Calcium chloride and Epsom salts in the amounts given by the brewfather calculator to achieve a ph of 5.52. Then adding 3ml of lactic should bring it down to 5.35. These numbers are not reflected in the mash though.
 

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What's the finished product taste like?

So far I haven't worried about water chemistry other than to look and see that the water I use is in the ball park. Various additions are suggested, but I don't do them as for the ales and IPA's I've been brewing, they taste more than good enough for me and my friends think they are better than even I do. Though they might just be in the free beer is good beer crowd.

I'm pretty certain that others will like to know what your water analysis is prior to any modifications by you.
 

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I am going to focus on your pH meter as imho, this is a large variable at the homebrew level. It is best to calibrate your meter before each brew (or 1-2 weeks time) with FRESH calibration solution (7 then 4). This stuff lasts about 6-12 months so do not try to keep it around for cost savings. Take a sample about 30 minutes into your mash and cool it to room temperature then take your reading with the freshly calibrated meter. That is the best you can do with your equipment.
 

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I have done a few brews now, but the one thing i cant seem to get right is the mash PH. im aiming for between 5.2-5.4, but every time it is coming out between 4.5-5 when im testing about 15 mins into mashing.

Im using tesco bottled water (ashbeck 6.2PH) and using the water profile information given on the bottle for my brewfather water calculations. The app is suggesting i would need to add a few ml of lactic to bring the PH down, however the mash PH is already reading too low before even adding the acid. I tried adding some bicarbonate soda to increase the PH which didnt appear to have any effect what so ever, infact the PH readings seemed to keep getting slightly lower. I tried adding a couple of grams to my boiler (brewzilla35l) but then decided to just give up and leave it incase i threw it off completely as i dont really know what im doing 😂

I was wondering if my cheap PH reader was no good, i checked the bottled water with it and it was reading pretty much bang on 6.2 which it says it should be. however i probably will look into getting a better one.

What is it that im not getting right? i have added Gyspum, Calcium chloride and Epsom salts in the amounts given by the brewfather calculator to achieve a ph of 5.52. Then adding 3ml of lactic should bring it down to 5.35. These numbers are not reflected in the mash though.

The pH meter is the key point here. Calibrate it and then test it afterwards with the calibration solutions. If it isn't accurate, don't use it.
If you can't calibrate it, don't use it. You are better off using guesstimates from mash software without pH reading confirmation than making adjustments based on inaccurate readings. The mash software generally gets you into the ballpark.
 

marc1

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What were the grains and amounts used in the mash, the base water profile, mash volume, and water additions?
 

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I have done a few brews now, but the one thing i cant seem to get right is the mash PH. im aiming for between 5.2-5.4, but every time it is coming out between 4.5-5 when im testing about 15 mins into mashing.

Im using tesco bottled water (ashbeck 6.2PH) and using the water profile information given on the bottle for my brewfather water calculations. The app is suggesting i would need to add a few ml of lactic to bring the PH down, however the mash PH is already reading too low before even adding the acid. I tried adding some bicarbonate soda to increase the PH which didnt appear to have any effect what so ever, infact the PH readings seemed to keep getting slightly lower. I tried adding a couple of grams to my boiler (brewzilla35l) but then decided to just give up and leave it incase i threw it off completely as i dont really know what im doing 😂

I was wondering if my cheap PH reader was no good, i checked the bottled water with it and it was reading pretty much bang on 6.2 which it says it should be. however i probably will look into getting a better one.

What is it that im not getting right? i have added Gyspum, Calcium chloride and Epsom salts in the amounts given by the brewfather calculator to achieve a ph of 5.52. Then adding 3ml of lactic should bring it down to 5.35. These numbers are not reflected in the mash though.

I was using the Grainfather brewing app for water treatments... until I had the good fortune to converse with an English person on this site. The Grainfather app is heavily orientated around American ideas about water analysis ... and it may well be OK for American style beers but if you are brewing English style beers you would be better using a calculator than knows what is actually required . I was given this calculator by this person and I will use it from now on. The real issue with pH is that it is not an great indicator of the actual state of your water what you need to know is the water's alkalinity. If you are based in the UK, I am assuming so because of the Tesco ref, try using this for water treatment. The CRS solution used to deal with alkalinity can be easily bought in the UK and if you do not know the total alkalinity of your water you can use a test kit from Salifert to find it and it is a very easy test to perform.
www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/water.html
 

jambop

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Both pH and alkalinity are important.

True but I personally would rather know the total alkalinity of my brew water rather than the pH . Also if you are relying on a pH meter that goes on the blink you are stuffed... knowledge of the brew water alkalinity can put you right into the acceptable zone every time.
 
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chez1987

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The recipe I was working with is siren brewery soundwave ipa recipe kit from maltmiller.co.uk, I can't seem to copy the link on my phone. I have tried a couple of recipes now and they all seem to have the same result in that the mash pH is too low

I was wondering if the values on the bottled water might be off. I've just got a water report from my water company so next time I might try using my tap water to see if there's a difference, and invest in a better pH reader

I tried to cool the sample before reading but maybe it was still too warm .I put the glass in some iced water and took it again, it gave a slightly higher reading but still only 4.8

Thanks for the advice so far!
 

cire

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The recipe I was working with is siren brewery soundwave ipa recipe kit from maltmiller.co.uk, I can't seem to copy the link on my phone. I have tried a couple of recipes now and they all seem to have the same result in that the mash pH is too low

I was wondering if the values on the bottled water might be off. I've just got a water report from my water company so next time I might try using my tap water to see if there's a difference, and invest in a better pH reader

I tried to cool the sample before reading but maybe it was still too warm .I put the glass in some iced water and took it again, it gave a slightly higher reading but still only 4.8

Thanks for the advice so far!
Yes, the beer style is an American style IPA, not that the style should require a different mash pH. The grainbill of M.O. with Wheat Malt and Dextrin Malt mashed with Ashbeck water and a modest addition of brewing salts should never produce a mash pH as low as you report.

Untreated Ashbeck water is reported to have alkalinity of the order of 20 ppm as CaCO3, so with typical British brewing salt additions, would, for many pale beer styles, automatically produce a suitable mash pH without acid addition. However, the wheat malt content in that recipe might be sufficient to raise pH a little too high, and so require a modest acid addition. It is however an American style, and American salt additions are significantly less than for British styles of beer, so will inevitably demand an acid addition to keep mash pH within bounds.

Chill the glass beforehand and take a small sample. It would seem your pH meter requires calibrating.
 

Bassman2003

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True but I personally would rather know the total alkalinity of my brew water rather than the pH . Also if you are relying on a pH meter that goes on the blink you are stuffed... knowledge of the brew water alkalinity can put you right into the acceptable zone every time.
I agree as well but just trying not to overload the OP and focus on getting their pH readings straightened out.
 
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chez1987

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Don't suppose anyone could recommend a ph reader of suitable quality, that isn't going to cost the earth? I'm just using a cheap one off amazon that cost about £12
 

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Apera, specifically ph60, is very common and pretty reliable.

Once more - find somethign to calibrate your meter with. Maybe it can be used. Calibration solutions arne't expensive. Start there.
 

marc1

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Don't suppose anyone could recommend a ph reader of suitable quality, that isn't going to cost the earth? I'm just using a cheap one off amazon that cost about £12

I've got this one that works pretty well. Don't forget to get calibration and storage solutions as well.

 

jambop

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Don't suppose anyone could recommend a ph reader of suitable quality, that isn't going to cost the earth? I'm just using a cheap one off amazon that cost about £12

Honestly... save your money. I have worked in laboratories all my working life and a decent pH meter is going to cost a lot of money. Yes you will see them for £50 to a £100 but they do not last long and are unreliable. Your best bet is to buy a Salifert total alkalinity kit off Amazon costs about £15 with that you can test your brew water about 150 times. With the alkalinity figure you can use the water calculator I posted on this thread and treat your water with CRS and standard salts to get the water profile right. The Salifert test kit is simple to use as well within 5 minutes you know the alkalinity of the raw water and are ready to go. I don't get the need to test the pH of the mash as long as you have the alkalinity of the brewing water right at the start of the mashing process it should be good for the conversion.
 

Bassman2003

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I think pH meters are a good relative measurement even if they are not super accurate. Over time you can taste and see the results and adjust accordingly. It is all a learning process. I brewed for many years not thinking about pH, now I do. If the topic holds your interest, then pursue it. Buy the $70 meter and good calibration/storage solution and start learning. From that perspective it is absolutely worth it. Just keep the tip in storage solution and change the solution from time to time. That is the main area where the meter will fail.

Totally agree about the alkalinity kit as well. Low cost and large improvement possibilities. You can easily do both and see how much your beer improves.
 
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chez1987

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I'm finding that calculator a little confusing

i have entered my alkalinity as 20ppm as caco3, but I'm unsure what goes in the carbonate reduction method box?

I have entered my water profile and the target profile, but I'm getting a warning message saying your final and target liquor differs by over 10%, the difference being the carbonate value, my target was 40 but the final is saying 16

My bottled water values are...

ca 11
Mg 4
Na 10
Cl 14
So 11
hco 25

Its giving me salt additions that look roughly the same amounts as brewfather app, Its not giving me any CRS additions.

Sorry this is all a bit confusing for me 😂

Honestly... save your money. I have worked in laboratories all my working life and a decent pH meter is going to cost a lot of money. Yes you will see them for £50 to a £100 but they do not last long and are unreliable. Your best bet is to buy a Salifert total alkalinity kit off Amazon costs about £15 with that you can test your brew water about 150 times. With the alkalinity figure you can use the water calculator I posted on this thread and treat your water with CRS and standard salts to get the water profile right. The Salifert test kit is simple to use as well within 5 minutes you know the alkalinity of the raw water and are ready to go. I don't get the need to test the pH of the mash as long as you have the alkalinity of the brewing water right at the start of the mashing process it should be good for the conversion.
 

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My bottled water values are...

ca 11
Mg 4
Na 10
Cl 14
So 11
hco 25
Is this a report you made (i.e. Ward's Lab) or values from their website? If the latter do you have a link?

Maybe list your recipe and exactly what you added. Someone should be able to say where it looks like things went wrong.
 
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chez1987

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Is this a report you made (i.e. Ward's Lab) or values from their website? If the latter do you have a link?

Maybe list your recipe and exactly what you added. Someone should be able to say where it looks like things went wrong.
Those are the figures given on the side of the bottle.

I tried to copy the link to the recipe but It's not working on my phone. Its siren soundwave ipa recipe kit

I added 10.6 gypsum, 4.6 Epsom salt and 2.3 calcium chloride as per the brewfather app calcs
 

cire

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I'm finding that calculator a little confusing

i have entered my alkalinity as 20ppm as caco3, but I'm unsure what goes in the carbonate reduction method box?

I have entered my water profile and the target profile, but I'm getting a warning message saying your final and target liquor differs by over 10%, the difference being the carbonate value, my target was 40 but the final is saying 16

My bottled water values are...

ca 11
Mg 4
Na 10
Cl 14
So 11
hco 25

Its giving me salt additions that look roughly the same amounts as brewfather app, Its not giving me any CRS additions.

Sorry this is all a bit confusing for me 😂


Enter your alkalinity into the box at the very top left and it will populate the one in the table.

I've used the analysis from the Tesco website.

A.JPEG


There is an moderate imbalance in the water's natural mineral content, but that isn't totally unusual when the ion levels are low. Adding potassium and nitrate reduced the discrepancy to 0.08 meq/L, I think.

This is what I got using those and selecting the Burton Pale Ale profile. No, it doesn't need any CRS, although a Burton IPA recipe wouldn't likely include wheat or dextrin malt.

Does that help? The Note are worth a read.

B.JPEG
 
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chez1987

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Enter your alkalinity into the box at the very top left and it will populate the one in the table.

I've used the analysis from the Tesco website.

View attachment 767881

There is an moderate imbalance in the water's natural mineral content, but that isn't totally unusual when the ion levels are low. Adding potassium and nitrate reduced the discrepancy to 0.08 meq/L, I think.

This is what I got using those and selecting the Burton Pale Ale profile. No, it doesn't need any CRS, although a Burton IPA recipe wouldn't likely include wheat or dextrin malt.

Does that help? The Note are worth a read.

View attachment 767882
Thanks for taking the time to demonstrate. So you are basing the alkalinity on the bicarbonate value.

I have tried to replicate this for my recipe using the target profile I used in the brew, but my final values are still not matching the target. I have attached screenshot
 

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cire

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Thanks for taking the time to demonstrate. So you are basing the alkalinity on the bicarbonate value.

I have tried to replicate this for my recipe using the target profile I used in the brew, but my final values are still not matching the target. I have attached screenshot
Alkalinity will be a specific quantity, whether you express it in terms of calcium carbonate or bicarbonate. The latter is 1.22 times the former, so 25 pppm bicarbonate will be 25/1.22 equals 20.5, or there about.

That calculator contains typical British water treatment profiles. I'm not familiar with that part of the program you used. Note 5 explains its use and advises the need to input a balanced profile, one where the total Cations and total Anions are equal and not an impossible profile, which is the case in that you have input.
 
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chez1987

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Sorry to drag out this thread but there is something else I have not considered. When doing water calcs in brewfather, I am only applying the additions to mash, and not sparge. So I just chucked all the salts into the mash water and left the sparge untreated. Should I have applied the treatment to the total volume of water? Before pouring off the sparge? Have I added too many salts to the mash?
 

cire

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Sorry to drag out this thread but there is something else I have not considered. When doing water calcs in brewfather, I am only applying the additions to mash, and not sparge. So I just chucked all the salts into the mash water and left the sparge untreated. Should I have applied the treatment to the total volume of water? Before pouring off the sparge? Have I added too many salts to the mash?

Many brewers add all the salts to the mash, so that's not unusual. However, there will be consequences from doing that.

Firstly, any influence will depend upon the ratio of mash liquor to sparge liquor, but calcium and magnesium salts, if added in sufficient quantity, lower mash pH, possibly part of your original findings. Then when sparging with the same level of alkalinity, which raises pH, but virtually no calcium in Ashbeck water, the pH will rise more quickly as the sugars are washed out and their buffering properties lost.

I use tapwater for brewing which has close to 100 ppm of calcium, so does not need as large additions of salts to achieve a desired profile, so adding all to the mash won't have as large a disparity. Even so, I do reduce the alkalinity of my brewing liquor further for the sparge that I do for the mash. I'm not sure this might be the time for you to get deeply involved in this other than being aware, which your question suggests you already are.
 

marc1

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Those are the figures given on the side of the bottle.

I tried to copy the link to the recipe but It's not working on my phone. Its siren soundwave ipa recipe kit

I added 10.6 gypsum, 4.6 Epsom salt and 2.3 calcium chloride as per the brewfather app calcs

Can you type out the amounts of each grain used and the volumes of your mash and sparge?

You've clarified that these additions are all to the mash, so that is helpful information.
 
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chez1987

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Can you type out the amounts of each grain used and the volumes of your mash and sparge?

You've clarified that these additions are all to the mash, so that is helpful information.
I have attached a screenshot
 

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Dancy

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Your best bet is to buy a Salifert total alkalinity kit off Amazon costs about £15 with that you can test your brew water about 150 times.
You‘ve peaked my interest with this. I’m in the US and in searching online I am seeing, for example, total alkalinity kits promoted for aquariums, ponds, etc. Should I be searching for kits specifically for drinking water or are they all the same?
 

cire

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No. that's the kit you want. It is perfectly satisfactory for measuring alkalinity in drinking water too.
 
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