PH drops from 5.68 to 5.14 after mash! How could it happen?

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Miles_1111

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Note: Most of us have completely abandoned the use of CaCO3 due to its serious insolubility issue. I believe Kai Troester (Braukaiser) ran a series tests wherein it only delivered at best about half of its software projected alkalinity and calcium content.
If I abandon the use of CaCO3, but need to bring up the mash PH for stout, then need to add more NaHCO3, but I cannot, because will be too much Sodium ( over 100ppm). What substitute salt should I use?
 

Silver_Is_Money

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If I abandon the use of CaCO3, but need to bring up the mash PH for stout, then need to add more NaHCO3, but I cannot, because will be too much Sodium ( over 100ppm). What substitute salt should I use?
Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH)2 works to raise pH, and also adds calcium. It is commonly referred to as 'Pickling Lime' and 'Slaked Lime'. My 'Mash Made Easy' mash pH adjustment assistant software offers its use as an alternative to NaHCO3 (Baking Soda). A few other softwares of this ilk also offer its use.

NOTE 1: By comparison to Baking Soda, Calcium Hydroxide is rather dangerous stuff, so use all precaution and wear personal protective Equipment (PPE) when using it. It can cause blindness if you get it into an eye.
 

shoengine

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The 20 minute mark is still too early and pH has not stabilized. While it’s okay to measure that early, I found that pH is fairly stable after the 45 minute mark.

Absolutely DO NOT chase pH during a mash. Use software or experience to properly plan the water amendments and then monitor how they turn out. As I pointed out above, you can’t tell how the pH will end up from an early measurement. Don’t try.
I have never had pH stability change after 15 minutes, although all my tests were done with full volume BIAB.
 

Brooothru

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Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH)2 works to raise pH, and also adds calcium. It is commonly referred to as 'Pickling Lime' and 'Slaked Lime'. My 'Mash Made Easy' mash pH adjustment assistant software offers its use as an alternative to NaHCO3 (Baking Soda). A few other softwares of this ilk also offer its use.

NOTE 1: By comparison to Baking Soda, Calcium Hydroxide is rather dangerous stuff, so use all precaution and wear personal protective Equipment (PPE) when using it. It can cause blindness if you get it into an eye.
Thanks, Larry, for the work on Mash Made Easy, and especially pointing out the Kettle pH tab. It really helped my understanding of how and why kettle pH is important and ways to correct for it in addition to just Mash pH. One thing that is still unclear to me is when to make kettle corrections. Does it make a difference whether it's pre-boil or post-boil, or at some point during the boil? I'm assuming the goal is to provide a favorable environment for fermentation, so are there factors that affect the efficacy of when kettle corrections are made?
 

Silver_Is_Money

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As I see it there are several approaches, each with pluses and minuses.

1) If you add acid immediately pre-boil you can benefit from mashing a bit higher, as well as from better fining performance (and/or lessened need for fining as to quantity being added), and thereby achieving a better hot-break, while not suffering from inducing excessive Maillard reaction related consequences and thus having your beers color go too dark on you across the boil, but the drawback is that you will need to add somewhat more weight of hops since hops do their most efficient job of isomerizing at higher pH's. The higher the boil pH the higher the IBU's.

2) Much peer reviewed advice from masters of yore was to first control mash pH sufficiently enough whereby to somewhat (at least) suppress Maillard reactions impact upon darkening the beers color during the boil, and then acidify with 10 minutes remaining in the boil, just prior to adding fining (Irish Moss/Whirlfloc) whereby to benefit from hot break via fining but not require the adding of any additional weight of hops.

3) If you acidify fully post the boil and just prior to entering the fermentation phase you enter thereby an initial fermentation pH range of benefit to the yeast and of benefit in hitting a post ferment pH that resists infection and promotes longer term storage stability (as for the above methods), but you both miss out on the best possible hot break and you permit more color darkening Maillard reactions to run rampant across the boil.

4) If you don't acidify at all pre or during or post boil you potentially miss out on any and all potential benefits of such acidification.

In the end each of us must independently decide our best course of action. I prefer to mash at a bit higher target of 5.5 to 5.6 (call it 5.55) and then add acid to a target of 5.15 pH just prior to the boil along with adding very slightly increased hop additions (if I think about it). The commercials can't afford the extra hops so they trend toward option 2. Most amateurs and homebrewers are at choice #4. They are crossing their fingers and hoping. If you chose to cross your fingers and hope, it may be of benefit to target ~ 5.2 to 5.3 pH within the mash.
 
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Miles_1111

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Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH)2 works to raise pH, and also adds calcium. It is commonly referred to as 'Pickling Lime' and 'Slaked Lime'. My 'Mash Made Easy' mash pH adjustment assistant software offers its use as an alternative to NaHCO3 (Baking Soda). A few other softwares of this ilk also offer its use.

NOTE 1: By comparison to Baking Soda, Calcium Hydroxide is rather dangerous stuff, so use all precaution and wear personal protective Equipment (PPE) when using it. It can cause blindness if you get it into an eye.
Thanks! Will definately keep that in mind. They told me homebrewing is a totall safe thing and thats' why I started this journey... haha.
 

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As I see it there are several approaches, each with pluses and minuses.

1) If you add acid immediately pre-boil you can benefit from mashing a bit higher, as well as from better fining performance (and/or lessened need for fining as to quantity being added), and thereby achieving a better hot-break, while not suffering from inducing excessive Maillard reaction related consequences and thus having your beers color go too dark on you across the boil, but the drawback is that you will need to add somewhat more weight of hops since hops do their most efficient job of isomerizing at higher pH's. The higher the boil pH the higher the IBU's.

2) Much peer reviewed advice from masters of yore was to first control mash pH sufficiently enough whereby to somewhat (at least) suppress Maillard reactions impact upon darkening the beers color during the boil, and then acidify with 10 minutes remaining in the boil, just prior to adding fining (Irish Moss/Whirlfloc) whereby to benefit from hot break via fining but not require the adding of any additional weight of hops.

3) If you acidify fully post the boil and just prior to entering the fermentation phase you enter thereby an initial fermentation pH range of benefit to the yeast and of benefit in hitting a post ferment pH that resists infection and promotes longer term storage stability (as for the above methods), but you both miss out on the best possible hot break and you permit more color darkening Maillard reactions to run rampant across the boil.

4) If you don't acidify at all pre or during or post boil you potentially miss out on any and all potential benefits of such acidification.

In the end each of us must independently decide our best course of action. I prefer to mash at a bit higher target of 5.5 to 5.6 (call it 5.55) and then add acid to a target of 5.15 pH just prior to the boil along with adding very slightly increased hop additions (if I think about it). The commercials can't afford the extra hops so they trend toward option 2. Most amateurs and homebrewers are at choice #4. They are crossing their fingers and hoping. If you chose to cross your fingers and hope, it may be of benefit to target ~ 5.2 to 5.3 pH within the mash.
As I see it there are several approaches, each with pluses and minuses.

1) If you add acid immediately pre-boil you can benefit from mashing a bit higher, as well as from better fining performance (and/or lessened need for fining as to quantity being added), and thereby achieving a better hot-break, while not suffering from inducing excessive Maillard reaction related consequences and thus having your beers color go too dark on you across the boil, but the drawback is that you will need to add somewhat more weight of hops since hops do their most efficient job of isomerizing at higher pH's. The higher the boil pH the higher the IBU's.

2) Much peer reviewed advice from masters of yore was to first control mash pH sufficiently enough whereby to somewhat (at least) suppress Maillard reactions impact upon darkening the beers color during the boil, and then acidify with 10 minutes remaining in the boil, just prior to adding fining (Irish Moss/Whirlfloc) whereby to benefit from hot break via fining but not require the adding of any additional weight of hops.

3) If you acidify fully post the boil and just prior to entering the fermentation phase you enter thereby an initial fermentation pH range of benefit to the yeast and of benefit in hitting a post ferment pH that resists infection and promotes longer term storage stability (as for the above methods), but you both miss out on the best possible hot break and you permit more color darkening Maillard reactions to run rampant across the boil.

4) If you don't acidify at all pre or during or post boil you potentially miss out on any and all potential benefits of such acidification.

In the end each of us must independently decide our best course of action. I prefer to mash at a bit higher target of 5.5 to 5.6 (call it 5.55) and then add acid to a target of 5.15 pH just prior to the boil along with adding very slightly increased hop additions (if I think about it). The commercials can't afford the extra hops so they trend toward option 2. Most amateurs and homebrewers are at choice #4. They are crossing their fingers and hoping. If you chose to cross your fingers and hope, it may be of benefit to target ~ 5.2 to 5.3 pH within the mash.
Excellent! Just the information I was searching for. It tied up all the loose threads I was trying to resolve. At first blush it looks like there might also be a 5th iteration that I might explore which is a hybrid of #1 and #3 which obtains the benefits of both. This of course goes without saying that pH was already controlled during the mash.

Like you, I plan for a mash pH of mid-5s (5.4~5.6), so lets say 5.5 on average. If I calculate 4 ml lactic acid 88% to bring down the pre-boil pH to 5.1, why not split the acid addition between #1 and #3? Since I started adding "Trifecta" to the mash, I've been seeing increased hot break and protein coagulation but would still like to see a lessening of Maillard reactions. Some recent Blondes, one light colored IPA and an Irish Red all turned out darker than planned and desired, and I think most home brewers undervalue the darkening caused by Maillard reactions. OTOH, a second acid adjustment (#3) just before whirlpooling would establish and validate the desired pH for fermentation.

It's only been recently that I've started exploring acidification adjustments other than just mash. For the last 12-18 months I've also been incorporating "practical" LoDO processes both hot and cold side and have seen marked improvements in stability with regards to oxidation. The inclusion of Trifecta in both mash and late boil have surely helped as well. Although those additions are fairly small (1.8 grams mash/1.4 grams late boil) I'm seeing significant improvement in clarity after whirlpooling. The minimal amount of ascorbic acid in the Trifecta doesn't appear to move the needle much with regards to post-boil pH though.
 

Birrofilo

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As I see it there are several approaches, each with pluses and minuses.

1) If you add acid immediately pre-boil you can benefit from mashing a bit higher, as well as from better fining performance (and/or lessened need for fining as to quantity being added), and thereby achieving a better hot-break, while not suffering from inducing excessive Maillard reaction related consequences and thus having your beers color go too dark on you across the boil, but the drawback is that you will need to add somewhat more weight of hops since hops do their most efficient job of isomerizing at higher pH's. The higher the boil pH the higher the IBU's.

2) Much peer reviewed advice from masters of yore was to first control mash pH sufficiently enough whereby to somewhat (at least) suppress Maillard reactions impact upon darkening the beers color during the boil, and then acidify with 10 minutes remaining in the boil, just prior to adding fining (Irish Moss/Whirlfloc) whereby to benefit from hot break via fining but not require the adding of any additional weight of hops.

[...]

In the end each of us must independently decide our best course of action. I prefer to mash at a bit higher target of 5.5 to 5.6 (call it 5.55) and then add acid to a target of 5.15 pH just prior to the boil along with adding very slightly increased hop additions (if I think about it). The commercials can't afford the extra hops so they trend toward option 2. Most amateurs and homebrewers are at choice #4. They are crossing their fingers and hoping. If you chose to cross your fingers and hope, it may be of benefit to target ~ 5.2 to 5.3 pH within the mash.
This is very interesting information, thanks!

I have a question: why not choice #2 also at home?
#1 has the disadvantage that one must calculate some extra hop to put in the cauldron. Besides the cost, this creates problems when one is brewing an "all grain kit" with fixed quantities, or when one is executing a recipe prepared by somebody else (for instance a "clone" of some beer).

#2 doesn't appear more inconvenient than #1, and it apparently has only advantages: less Maillard rection, no need to increase the hops.

Is your preference for #1 due to the fact that it takes time for the boil pH to stabilize, and adding it at 10 minutes from end of boil means there is no time to "tweak" it? Or is it due to some other reason?

Thanks again!
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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This is very interesting information, thanks!

I have a question: why not choice #2 also at home?
#1 has the disadvantage that one must calculate some extra hop to put in the cauldron. Besides the cost, this creates problems when one is brewing an "all grain kit" with fixed quantities, or when one is executing a recipe prepared by somebody else (for instance a "clone" of some beer).

#2 doesn't appear more inconvenient than #1, and it apparently has only advantages: less Maillard rection, no need to increase the hops.

Is your preference for #1 due to the fact that it takes time for the boil pH to stabilize, and adding it at 10 minutes from end of boil means there is no time to "tweak" it? Or is it due to some other reason?

Thanks again!
Convenience only.
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, I did a 1.077 batch of 3.8 SRM neipa brewed with Bru'n Water targeting a mash pH of 5.3 @70°F today, and the readings were 5.30 @20 minutes, 5.30 @40 minutes, and 5.31 @60 minutes, with a boil pH of 5.23...

Cheers!
 

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fwiw, I did a 1.077 batch of 3.8 SRM neipa brewed with Bru'n Water targeting a mash pH of 5.3 @70°F today, and the readings were 5.30 @20 minutes, 5.30 @40 minutes, and 5.31 @60 minutes, with a boil pH of 5.23...
Was your mash constantly stirred, intermittently stirred, or was it a static mash?

Martin Brungard reports a mash usually stabilizes only after 40 minutes. May the discrepancy be due to the different stirring? (Maybe you stirr, and he doesn't?).

@mabrungard
 

Silver_Is_Money

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I've watched them creep upward during the mash, but I mash in a cooler, and only stir once or twice if I think about it.
 

day_trippr

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Was your mash constantly stirred, intermittently stirred, or was it a static mash?[...]
Recirculating mash (herms). I start that up ~five minutes after underletting the strike...

Cheers!
 

Birrofilo

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Recirculating mash (herms). I start that up ~five minutes after underletting the strike...
Thanks, I hope that also Martin Brungard replies.
I think so far it is reasonable to say that a static or quasi-static mash requires 40 minutes for the pH value to stabilize, but a constantly stirred mash, or a recirculated mash, requires the usual 15-20 minutes before a reliable measure can be taken, and maybe less (that also depends on the kind of stirring).

I find this thread rich of "actionable" information.
 

mabrungard

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I brew with a RIMS and for the mash pH vs mashing time trials, they were occasionally stirred at each sampling interval. Having a heterogeneous mixture should be a goal when you’re mashing. While I had a shallow mashing vessel and I know that I could achieve a very good mix, I doubt that most brewers can effectively mix their mash in their tuns and achieve a heterogeneous mixture in practice. RIMS brewers are FAR more likely to achieve a heterogeneous mix.
 

day_trippr

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Seems inarguable. I'll note this particular mash was using a newly refined profile set and was blessedly looser than the previous version. It led to an efficiency jump as well as the even more uniform pH readings. Before there was a still small but a bit higher upwards drift from the 20 minute mark...

Cheers!
 

Birrofilo

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@mabrungard


I brew with a RIMS and for the mash pH vs mashing time trials, they were occasionally stirred at each sampling interval. Having a heterogeneous mixture should be a goal when you’re mashing. While I had a shallow mashing vessel and I know that I could achieve a very good mix, I doubt that most brewers can effectively mix their mash in their tuns and achieve a heterogeneous mixture in practice. RIMS brewers are FAR more likely to achieve a heterogeneous mix.
Thanks for you answer.

Do I understand well that you mean homogeneous instead of heterogeneous? Why should one want to reach an heterogeneous mix?

In my setup, with an "all in one" system, due to the space between the lower screen and the bottom of the kettle, which contains 7 litres without grains, I am forced, like all AIO users, to mash with a relatively larger water/grain ratio.

For let's say a 5 kg grain bill, I would probably have to use 2,5 * 5 + 7 = 19,5 which means almost 4 lt/kg overall (the grains should make a thick porridge above the filters, but the overall liquid circulating is 4 lt/kg).

Considering that an AIO also has a recirculation pump, is it fair to assume that pH stabilization would be reached fairly fast?

I am waiting for a certain piece of equipment to brew my first all grain beer. For this first AG beer, I plan to continuously or almost continuously stir the grains (I will do that also because I want to monitor the temperature difference between the mash and the bottom of the kettle where the in-built thermometer probe sits).

Is there any disadvantage or side-effect in making a continuous agitation? Should I consider shorter mashing steps because of this? Do I risk an "overconversion" of complex sugars into simple sugar because of continuous agitation? (Does continuous agitation increase the fermentability of the wort?)

also @Silver_Is_Money or anybody else...
 

mabrungard

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I used the term heterogeneous to signal a diverse mix, but I suppose that homogeneous could be a better term for well-mixed. I'm hoping that everyone still got the idea of what I was implying (poorly ;))
 
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