Witbier Mash Ph Really That High?

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Iowa Brewer

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Hi all,
I'm creating my water profile for a witbier and it says I'm going to need 10.5 Tbs of Phosphoric Acid, which seems like a lot. Is that normal? I've attached my BeerSmith design and mash tabs
(BTW, this recipe has been great to me, if anyone wants to give it a try)
Thanks!
 

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marc1

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Is it the weak 10% phosphoric acid? That generally requires quite a bit volume-wise because it is dilute.

Seems like you need even more because you have to neutralize all that chalk you're adding. What's the purpose for doing that? You shouldn't add alkalinity unless there's a good reason.
 

Gnomebrewer

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As well as countering the chalk, you're targeting a 5.2pH which is quite low. You'll need less acid if you target 5.4.
 

AlexKay

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Yes — the chalk must be the problem. Why add chalk at all? If you need calcium, better to add more CaSO4 or CaCl2, even if that ups your sulfate and chloride a little higher than you’d otherwise have them. And you don’t need carbonate to achieve a flavor profile all it does is … muck with your pH.
 
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Is it the weak 10% phosphoric acid? That generally requires quite a bit volume-wise because it is dilute.

Seems like you need even more because you have to neutralize all that chalk you're adding. What's the purpose for doing that? You shouldn't add alkalinity unless there's a good reason.
Thanks, marc1, this makes sense!
I plugged a Belgium water profile (Antwerp) because I couldn’t find a Belgium witbier in BeerSmith 3’s water profile list. That city must have lots of chalk. Any recommendations on profile? Thanks again!
 
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Iowa Brewer

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Yes — the chalk must be the problem. Why add chalk at all? If you need calcium, better to add more CaSO4 or CaCl2, even if that ups your sulfate and chloride a little higher than you’d otherwise have them. And you don’t need carbonate to achieve a flavor profile all it does is … muck with your pH.
Thats great to know, thanks! Was following an Antwerp profile in BeerSmith3.
 

Gnomebrewer

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Thanks, marc1, this makes sense!
I plugged a Belgium water profile (Antwerp) because I couldn’t find a Belgium witbier in BeerSmith 3’s water profile list. That city must have lots of chalk. Any recommendations on profile? Thanks again!
I suggest you don't target a profile, just aim for 50ppm Calcium from Calcium chloride. For some ales, I aim for higher Calcium to help the yeast drop, but that's not an issue for witbier. Chloride (rather than sulfate) will help emphasise the malty roundness of a wit (rather than the dry bite of sulfate). I'd also add a little bit of table salt to get some Sodium (maybe 1/4 of your Calcium chloride addition).
 

mabrungard

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Phosphoric acid is not the ideal acid for a Wit. That beer is actually characterized by a lactate flavor. Using lactic acid will produce a better version.

Brewing a Wit without having enough sulfate in the water is also not ideal. Review the water profiles across Belgium and you’ll see that a modest sulfate content is usually present.
 
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Iowa Brewer

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Phosphoric acid is not the ideal acid for a Wit. That beer is actually characterized by a lactate flavor. Using lactic acid will produce a better version.

Brewing a Wit without having enough sulfate in the water is also not ideal. Review the water profiles across Belgium and you’ll see that a modest sulfate content is usually present.
Cheers, mabrungard! I'll see if I can pick some up lactic acid, tomorrow for my afternoon brew day.
 
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Yes — the chalk must be the problem. Why add chalk at all? If you need calcium, better to add more CaSO4 or CaCl2, even if that ups your sulfate and chloride a little higher than you’d otherwise have them. And you don’t need carbonate to achieve a flavor profile all it does is … muck with your pH.
So I removed the Chalk like you and Gnomebrewer suggested, and it still has me adding about the same amount of Phosphoric Acid, which seems odd. Any ideas? Either way, I'm going to do a run tomorrow to get some Lactic Acid, like mabrungard suggested, but am curious!
 

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marc1

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So I removed the Chalk like you and Gnomebrewer suggested, and it still has me adding about the same amount of Phosphoric Acid, which seems odd. Any ideas? Either way, I'm going to do a run tomorrow to get some Lactic Acid, like mabrungard suggested, but am curious!
I don't see any acid additions in those screenshots... the mash pH acid additions is blank.
 
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I don't see any acid additions in those screenshots... the mash pH acid additions is blank.
Sorry, for some reason the image cut it off. Here's the "Mash Acid Amount," suggesting I add ~156ml of phosphoric acid, even with the yellow water profile suggested above, unless I'm reading this wrong. Thanks!
 

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Gnomebrewer

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That's still going to a 5.2pH target; a 5.4 target should use a lot less acid. The screenshot you posted above using lactic acid had a 5.4 target.
 
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Iowa Brewer

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That's still going to a 5.2pH target; a 5.4 target should use a lot less acid. The screenshot you posted above using lactic acid had a 5.4 target.
Ah yes, I left that the same to show the effect of going with the "Yellow Water" profile (sorry, I should have mentioned that). I plan to take it to 5.4 for the brew.
 

marc1

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Sorry, for some reason the image cut it off. Here's the "Mash Acid Amount," suggesting I add ~156ml of phosphoric acid, even with the yellow water profile suggested above, unless I'm reading this wrong. Thanks!
How much is it saying if you use 88% lactic acid?
Something doesn't seems right if it's saying to use the same amount of acid as it did with all that chalk in there.
 
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How much is it saying if you use 88% lactic acid?
Something doesn't seems right if it's saying to use the same amount of acid as it did with all that chalk in there.
With 88% lactic acid & a target of 5.2, it suggests adding 1 Tbsp
With 88% lactic acid & a target of 5.4, it suggests adding 0.6 Tbsp

Yeah, that lack of change in the phos acid struck me as strange, too!
 

marc1

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With 88% lactic acid & a target of 5.2, it suggests adding 1 Tbsp
With 88% lactic acid & a target of 5.4, it suggests adding 0.6 Tbsp

Yeah, that lack of change in the phos acid struck me as strange, too!
Without checking it in a spreadsheet myself, those amounts seem to at least be in the right ballpark.

If significantly changing the Ca or carbonate you add to the water doesn't change the predicted mash pH in the software, you should troubleshoot to see where it is going off the rails.
 

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It has been my experience with Beer Smith that when tweeking water profiles/salts, etc., it doesn't update the acid additions or water quantities on the fly. This is especially true if you do a print preview.
I usually save the receipe and exit the software and reopen and the acid additions along with water quantities are updated.
 
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