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Mash temperature and PH

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sebbb

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Pretty basic question which still gives me doubts: at what temperature should the mash be carried out for brewing pale ales or ipas to extract and break well all sugar chains?
And at what temperature for neipa to extract sugars but leaving some of the sugar chains unbroken to provide for body mouthfeel?

I was told optimal mash temp was at 65C as it is half way through optimal working temp for alpha and beta amylase enzymes. Though lately Ive getting lower extract levels of sugars and less attenuation level after fermentation when mashing around that temperature, which is very annoying.

I'm also concerned about PH of mash: I always brew with super light grains like pilsner and 2 row and never with coloured ones. Is it possible that these malts arent unable to carry the mash ph lower enough to 5.2 to allow good enzymatic activity? I know it depends on the water I use (which is London's, UK), but would it be possible?

Thanks
Seb
 

Electrake

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Quick rule of thumb here- lower temps= more fermentable wort, meaning a thinner beer. higher mash temps= less fermentable sugars, a thicker beer. this is all within reason of course, we'll say around 148 degrees to mid 150's before enzymatic death occurs (why some people mash out at 168 or above).
 

cooper

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Seb, Do you have a pH meter and are you using acid to get the pH down below 6 prior to brewing? I test all of my water before brewing and treat it with Phosphoric acid to a pH of 5.5 before adding the grain. I've found that this will keep things in range while mashing. Also adding brewing salts will help enhance the perception of crispness and maltiness in the finished beer.
 
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sebbb

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Hey guys just a technical concern: alpha amylase enzymes work best at 67C which break sugar at all parts of the chain, and beta amylase work best at 62C and break the second to last parts of the sugar chain, right? Therefore, according to my logic if the mash is carried out at <65C not all sugars should be broken up into their simpler form while if it is carried out closer to 67C the alpha should be enabled to break all sugars. Am I wrong?

For Cooper, I don't test my water and I know I should. What do you use to test it?
 

cooper

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I use a Hatch Pocket pro and calibrate it each brew day. It works great and it's not too expensive. But you could also use the pH test strips to get it close if you dont want to puchase a pH meter just yet. Typically what I end up adding is around 1ml of 85% phosphoric acid per 5 gallons but that's for reverse osmosis water, depending on your water's alkalinity you may need to add more.
 

Northern_Brewer

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lately Ive getting lower extract levels of sugars and less attenuation level after fermentation when mashing around that temperature, which is very annoying.

I'm also concerned about PH of mash: I always brew with super light grains like pilsner and 2 row and never with coloured ones. Is it possible that these malts arent unable to carry the mash ph lower enough to 5.2 to allow good enzymatic activity? I know it depends on the water I use (which is London's, UK), but would it be possible?
100% Maris Otter pale at 1.047 comes in at about pH5.6 with my water, which is pretty low alkalinity, so I only have to add a touch of acid to get it down into the zone. London water is pretty horrible from a brewing point of view, certainly if you're brewing pale stuff, it's got lots of minerals in it and high alkalinity so I guess you're coming in at >6 pH.

Most brewers in the SE tend to cut it with the cheapest supermarket mineral water they can find - the 5l tubs of Tesco Ashbeck are a common option. Unlike the US, RO water is pretty rare here, although you can find it at aquarium shops and the like, but a lot of mineral water is pretty low in minerals.

Most British brewers tend to mash at a touch over 65C - for instance Cloudwater do 10 min at 50C and 75 min at 66.5C for their DIPAs.
 

Simonh82

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London tap water will be too alkaline to get into the correct mash pH. Diluting tap water with Tesco Ashbeck or Asda mineral water (both from same source) is one option.

I use my water undiluted but add phosphoric acid to reduce the alkalinity. For 38L of total water I add about 14ml of 70% phosphoric acid split proportionately between mash and sparge water. That's for a grist of just pale ale malt.

It would be worth finding a way to test pH and getting a water report for your water to dial it in precisely
 

acidrain

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Seb, Do you have a pH meter and are you using acid to get the pH down below 6 prior to brewing? I test all of my water before brewing and treat it with Phosphoric acid to a pH of 5.5 before adding the grain. I've found that this will keep things in range while mashing. Also adding brewing salts will help enhance the perception of crispness and maltiness in the finished beer.
I completely disagree with this.
Starting water PH has nothing to do with mash PH.
Also, just adding salts willy nilly to the mash is just guessing. I approach things a little more scientifically.
Get a water report.
Enter the values into any of the free on-line mash calculators.
Enter your recipe.
Make adjustments per the style.
Drink excellent beer every time.

And before you say it, I'm gonna beat you to it, "but my beer comes out perfect every time".
Yeah? So does mine.
 

cooper

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Well I don’t completely disagree with your snarky comments but...

I never suggested anyone add anything Willy Nilly. It’s understood that most people use brewing software to formulate recipes/salt/acid additions so that was a given. He said he's never adjusted his water before so he was asking "What do you guys do?"

My point was that some people don’t have the means or desire to do all the testing other people do and not everyone wants to play scientist and test and measure every aspect of their brewing process so they ask questions to those who have done the tests and are getting excellent results with the process they use.

I completely disagree with this.
Starting water PH has nothing to do with mash PH.
Also, just adding salts willy nilly to the mash is just guessing. I approach things a little more scientifically.
Get a water report.
Enter the values into any of the free on-line mash calculators.
Enter your recipe.
Make adjustments per the style.
Drink excellent beer every time.

And before you say it, I'm gonna beat you to it, "but my beer comes out perfect every time".
Yeah? So does mine.
 
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Redpappy

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Well I don’t completely disagree with your snarky comments but...

I never suggested anyone add anything Willy Nilly. It’s understood that most people use brewing software to formulate recipes/salt/acid additions so that was a given. He said he's never adjusted his water before so he was asking "What do you guys do?"

My point was that some people don’t have the means or desire to do all the testing other people do and not everyone wants to play scientist and test and measure every aspect of their brewing process so they ask questions to those who have done the tests and are getting excellent results with the process they use.
This is kinda where I am. I’m on a tight budget, so I ask questions in hopes that I can at least brew decent beer. As it stands, my brews are grainy. In which I have a few responses that are pointing me to my ph, in which I’m still lost on how to adjust (I foresee lots of research about to begin) I do plan on getting my water tested, but it may be a while before I get a ph meter.

To OP- I’m not sure if it helps, but I mash at 152F (66C) to my understanding that’s about the mid point(as you stated), my numbers have been coming out about where they should be. Since you are seeing a notice, at what temps were you mashing out at? I only have a few brews under my belt, so I haven’t really started experimenting yet.
 
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