Pickling lime addition to mash

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BuckleyBrew

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I'm brewing an imperial American porter tonight. I use Bru'n Water to adjust my water (tap, not RO) and am planning to add a small amount of pickling lime to raise the mash pH.

I understand that pickling lime should be added to the mash after dough-in as needed for pH adjustments. My question is regarding timing - do I check the pH immediately after dough-in and add the pickling lime, or do I wait 10-15 minutes into the mash? I want to give the mash pH some time to stabilize before adjusting, but I also don't want to wait too long with the mash pH being out of whack. Thoughts?
 

mabrungard

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If you are confident in the alkalinity and calcium content for your tap water, I recommend that you add the lime directly to the water in order to assure it well mixed before the grains are added. Since you are planning on adding lime, I must assume that your tap water has little alkalinity. For that reason, you shouldn't need to worry about precipitating chalk out of the water.
 
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BuckleyBrew

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What about the warning "Add pickling lime in the mash only. Do not add to water alone since the pH may increase too high."? This will be my second time using pickling lime to raise mash pH. Previously, when brewing a stout, I added the lime directly to the water and ended up with a mash pH of 5.8. I had assumed this was related to the warning above (which I hadn't noticed before).

According to the most recent municipal water quality report for my area, the alkalinity and calcium contents of the water are 135 and 30 ppm, respectively.
 

mabrungard

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Well, it sounds like your tap water's alkalinity is higher than you expect. Target a lower pH, since the evidence shows that the model and input information isn't working well for you.
 
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BuckleyBrew

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I've used Bru'n Water for years with great success, but I mostly do lighter beers and end up having to lower (not raise) the pH. For whatever reason (perhaps the alkalinity I've been entering, as you suggested) using pickling lime has been tricky. FWIW, I think it's a great tool. Thank you!

I ended up adding about half of the calculated amount of lime to the mash water for my porter, then checking the ph 10 minutes after mashing in. It was 5.4, which was close enough to the target 5.5.
 

RM-MN

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I'm brewing an imperial American porter tonight. I use Bru'n Water to adjust my water (tap, not RO) and am planning to add a small amount of pickling lime to raise the mash pH.

I understand that pickling lime should be added to the mash after dough-in as needed for pH adjustments. My question is regarding timing - do I check the pH immediately after dough-in and add the pickling lime, or do I wait 10-15 minutes into the mash? I want to give the mash pH some time to stabilize before adjusting, but I also don't want to wait too long with the mash pH being out of whack. Thoughts?
The problem with all this is that the pH of the mash will stabilize in 10 to 15 minutes but the conversion starts immediately after you mix the grain and water and may be well toward completion before the pH is sampled. It's then a moving target. I make adjustments to the water immediately before adding the grains, take the pH sample at 10 minutes, then record the reading so I have a better idea of how to treat the next batch because at this point it is too late to make a significant difference in this batch.
 
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