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Should I add Lactic to all my brewing water?

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Zigs6

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Here's a question for everyone.

I'm doing my first all grain batch in a few weeks. I have my water report and have been doing as much research as possible. I'm not too interested in adding salts and adjusting my minerals just yet. It appears that all of those are within normal brewing ranges for my tap water. My alkalinity though is pretty high so what I am concerned about is nailing my PH. I will be starting off with approximately 25 gallons of untreated strike water in my kettle and adding half of that along with my grains into my home made 30 gallon mash tun for a water to grist ratio of 1.8. EZ calculator says that My PH will be too high for the mash, so I was planning on adding a little Lactic to get that into range. Then I will be draining my mash tun into 5 gallon buckets after the mash and adding the remaining untreated water for a batch sparge. After doing further reading here it appears that I dont necessarily have to adjust for my sparge water. Hence the beauty of batch sparging. My question is that after I combine my 1st runnings with my second runnings in the kettle, half of my water will have been treated with Lactic and the other half will not have been. Will this throw off my pre-boil PH? My first thought is to measure my sparge PH while it's still in the mash tun right before I drain it and adjust that with Lactic as well before combining that liquid with my first runnings. I'm just reaching out for some guidance. Thanks.
 

doug293cz

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If your water alkalinity is high, I recommend that you acidify your sparge water to avoid the possibility of extracting tannins.

Brew on :mug:
 
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Zigs6

Zigs6

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I've read about that as well but should I be adding some lactic after the sparge water is added or should I acidify the water prior to putting it into the mash tun for the sparge? If I'm adding it to the water itself, am I just trying to bring that water to a PH of under 6 for the sparge since the main mash conversion has already taken place?
 

Yooper

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In general, you want a mash pH of 5.3-5.5 and to have your sparge never get above 6 pH.

So, you would treat the mash water appropriately, and the sparge water appropriately.

I usually use RO water for sparge water, so I don't treat it but if I had alkaline water, I would.
 

Kampenken

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In general, you want a mash pH of 5.3-5.5 and to have your sparge never get above 6 pH.

So, you would treat the mash water appropriately, and the sparge water appropriately.

I usually use RO water for sparge water, so I don't treat it but if I had alkaline water, I would.
That's interesting Yooper. I used to split my water additions based on the % of mash and sparge, but then with the EZ Water calc spreadsheet I downloaded it seemed to only focus on mash pH, not sparge adjustments. Are you familiar with that calculator? And, is there a reason there is no adjustments for sparge water (just a total content with mash & sparge)? Or am I overlooking something? version is 3.02, the latest I saw, from 2012
 

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That's interesting Yooper. I used to split my water additions based on the % of mash and sparge, but then with the EZ Water calc spreadsheet I downloaded it seemed to only focus on mash pH, not sparge adjustments. Are you familiar with that calculator? And, is there a reason there is no adjustments for sparge water (just a total content with mash & sparge)? Or am I overlooking something? version is 3.02, the latest I saw, from 2012
I am familiar with the EZ water calculator, but I haven't used it in a long time. It was never accurate for me when readings were verified with a pH meter, and it didn't have the sparge acidification feature I needed back when I was using tap water. Since I use RO water now for my sparge water, it's not needed.

One of the causes for tannin extraction in brewing is alkaline sparge water. Even if you hit your mash pH dead on, if you have alkaline sparge water you can negate that and raise your boil pH, or extract tannins during the sparge.
 
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Zigs6

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Thanks for the replies.
So can I just add acid to my hot sparge water prior to adding it into the mash tun for my batch sparge? Or does that need to be done at room temperature? I just downloaded Bru'N' Water and it has calculated my mash PH to be at 5.8. EZ calculator predicted 5.5. That's a pretty drastic range. I'm seeing Bru'N'Water's recommendation for how much acid I should add to my sparge water (7.76 ml) but I am NOT seeing their recommendation anywhere on how much acid I should add to my mash. I'll be brewing a 15 gallon batch using 21.25 Gallons of total water. Am I just missing it?
 

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Thanks for the replies.
So can I just add acid to my hot sparge water prior to adding it into the mash tun for my batch sparge? Or does that need to be done at room temperature? I just downloaded Bru'N' Water and it has calculated my mash PH to be at 5.8. EZ calculator predicted 5.5. That's a pretty drastic range. I'm seeing Bru'N'Water's recommendation for how much acid I should add to my sparge water (7.76 ml) but I am NOT seeing their recommendation anywhere on how much acid I should add to my mash. I'll be brewing a 15 gallon batch using 21.25 Gallons of total water. Am I just missing it?
Yes, you must be missing it. Click the acid on the bottom of the additions page, and you should be able to see what you need to get to the proper mash pH. What are you making? Knowing that can help you decide what the proper mash pH is.
 
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Zigs6

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First time trying to attach a screenshot so we'll see how that looks but it just says zero. I'm trying to make a Munich Dunkel.




screenshot.jpg
 

Kampenken

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I am familiar with the EZ water calculator, but I haven't used it in a long time. It was never accurate for me when readings were verified with a pH meter, and it didn't have the sparge acidification feature I needed back when I was using tap water. Since I use RO water now for my sparge water, it's not needed.

One of the causes for tannin extraction in brewing is alkaline sparge water. Even if you hit your mash pH dead on, if you have alkaline sparge water you can negate that and raise your boil pH, or extract tannins during the sparge.
Thanks, that's good to know and quite reasonable. So do you use Bru'n water instead? Been brewing for some time but only recently getting into water additions (why I waited I don't have an answer for, though a common refrain from what I've read!).
 
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Zigs6

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Got it thanks!

Now we are looking at an addition of 6.5 ml for my mash water and 8.2 ml for my sparge water for 14.7 total ml. Is that pushing it a bit on a 15 gallon batch? I think it's just under the flavor threshold right? Thats 14.7 ml of lactic treating 21 gallons of water providing a 5.5 PH.
 

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Thanks, that's good to know and quite reasonable. So do you use Bru'n water instead? Been brewing for some time but only recently getting into water additions (why I waited I don't have an answer for, though a common refrain from what I've read!).
Yes, I do.

For a while, I was using Brewer's Friend, EZ, AND bru'nwater and comparing the results to actual pH measurements, until I got a feel for what worked best for me.
 
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