Author Topic: PH Adjustment  (Read 839 times)

Offline muckypup

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PH Adjustment
« on: October 11, 2017, 03:58:42 AM »
For my next brew I want to correct the PH of my mash to try and get better efficiency, but most of the info I find when googling either seems to simple or needs a PHD in chemistry to understand.

From what I gather, different grains, especially the darker ones can have a bigger effect on your mash PH, so I shouldn't PH adjust my strike water, but I should adjust the mash. How long do I need to wait after adding my grains? Do I test immediately, or do I need to wait a period for the grains to have an effect on the water?

Can't afford a quality digital PH meter at the moment, so was planning on some narrow range PH strips and lactic acid for adjustment.

Offline BOB357

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 04:21:59 AM »
The mash pH should settle in after about 15 minutes. Quite often a good part of conversion has taken place by that time, so it may be too late for pH adjustments to do much good as far as conversion is concerned. I make adjustments according to a water calculator when I mash in and will often check pH after 15 minutes. If any adjustment is needed, I make a note to do it for the next batch of the same beer.

Usually the calculators come in close enough to give you good efficiency. Likely closer than even the narrow range test strips.
Bob

Offline GigaFemto

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 02:46:15 PM »
I do full-volume BIAB, and I put all my adjustments into the strike water as  it is heating. I don't see that waiting until the grains are mashed in to adjust the pH would have any benefit. In fact, if the grains sit in high pH mash you can extract tannins, so I think it is best to lower the pH as soon as possible. If you have a very dark beer where your pH adjustments are to increase the pH then I don't  think it matters. My water pH starts at 9.3 - 9.6, so I have never had the problem of mash pH being too low.

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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 01:05:53 PM »
For my next brew I want to correct the PH of my mash to try and get better efficiency, but most of the info I find when googling either seems to simple or needs a PHD in chemistry to understand.

From what I gather, different grains, especially the darker ones can have a bigger effect on your mash PH, so I shouldn't PH adjust my strike water, but I should adjust the mash. How long do I need to wait after adding my grains? Do I test immediately, or do I need to wait a period for the grains to have an effect on the water?

Can't afford a quality digital PH meter at the moment, so was planning on some narrow range PH strips and lactic acid for adjustment.

Greetings muckupup - I never acidify or treat my strike water before introducing it to the grain because my HLT and some of the water left in it will also be used for sparging and the sparge water pH is typically different than the mash water pH.  So I always check my pH about 10-15 minutes after I mash in.  The reason its important to wait is because the actual pH of your grains will change from season to season and from malster to maltster.  So waiting 10-15 minutes will give you a more exact reading as it takes the guess work out of the equation.

I have never used the test strips so I cant comment on the effectiveness.  I can say that, as the other brewers mentioned, the mash pH is very critical for proper enzyme conversion.  Therefore, I highly recommend the use a digital pH meter.  I have used a Hanna 98127 for nearly 4 years now with absolutely no issues and I've only had to replace the test bulb once.  It's a great device and they're not that expensive anymore.

Hope this information helps!

Good luck!!
All good things come to those who exercise patience and perseverance.  ;-)

Offline Ck27

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 12:31:08 PM »
For my next brew I want to correct the PH of my mash to try and get better efficiency, but most of the info I find when googling either seems to simple or needs a PHD in chemistry to understand.

From what I gather, different grains, especially the darker ones can have a bigger effect on your mash PH, so I shouldn't PH adjust my strike water, but I should adjust the mash. How long do I need to wait after adding my grains? Do I test immediately, or do I need to wait a period for the grains to have an effect on the water?

Can't afford a quality digital PH meter at the moment, so was planning on some narrow range PH strips and lactic acid for adjustment.

Greetings muckupup - I never acidify or treat my strike water before introducing it to the grain because my HLT and some of the water left in it will also be used for sparging and the sparge water pH is typically different than the mash water pH.  So I always check my pH about 10-15 minutes after I mash in.  The reason its important to wait is because the actual pH of your grains will change from season to season and from malster to maltster.  So waiting 10-15 minutes will give you a more exact reading as it takes the guess work out of the equation.

I have never used the test strips so I cant comment on the effectiveness.  I can say that, as the other brewers mentioned, the mash pH is very critical for proper enzyme conversion.  Therefore, I highly recommend the use a digital pH meter.  I have used a Hanna 98127 for nearly 4 years now with absolutely no issues and I've only had to replace the test bulb once.  It's a great device and they're not that expensive anymore.

Hope this information helps!

Good luck!!

A cheap $20 pH meter is just as good. No need to pay more for nothing better

Offline muckypup

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 12:25:17 PM »
Thanks for the advice. Going to try test strips to start with and test about 10-15 minutes into the mash. I will make a decision on if I invest then in a digital meter.

Offline BOB357

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 03:11:45 PM »
Be sure to spend the extra couple of bucks and get the narrow range strips made just for brewing.
Bob

Offline muckypup

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 02:26:48 AM »
I got some with a range 4.6 - 6.2 plus some lactic acid plus some precipitated chalk. I think thats all I need to try and target the correct PH. I read up on how to use beer smith to estimate what I need to add before the mash to get it close. So will try that.

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 05:07:25 AM »
I got some with a range 4.6 - 6.2 plus some lactic acid plus some precipitated chalk. I think thats all I need to try and target the correct PH. I read up on how to use beer smith to estimate what I need to add before the mash to get it close. So will try that.

Greetings - your approach sounds like it should work.  However, keep in mind that the acidification suggested by BS is, for whatever reason, about twice what is actually needed.  I?ve been caught by this twice before I realized what was happening.  So, if you plan on adding acid to your strike water following the amount stated in BS, you will over acidify your mash.  I found its best to wait 10-15 minutes, check, add acid, stir and check again.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 05:10:41 AM by KellerBrauer »
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Offline GigaFemto

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2017, 11:01:56 AM »
Yes, the BeerSmith acid additions are way too high, by a factor of 2-3. Also note that chalk doesn't dissolve very well in water, so although it technically works from the chemistry point of view, it doesn't really work in practice. Many people say just skip the chalk and get your calcium and carbonate from other sources. BeerSmith doesn't have Pickling Lime, Ca(OH)2, on its list of water additions but I use that to add calcium without adding sulfate or chloride.

I am hoping that the new version of BeerSmith will do a better job on water chemistry.

--GF

Offline kevino

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2017, 01:40:46 PM »
If you dont want to spend money on a PH meter, then you will never be sure of your PH, but Beersmith will give you a good idea under estimated PH in the mash tab. However it is generous in acid addtions I find, so only aim for around 60-70% of what it says to add, and you should be pretty close.
PH needs to be as close as you can get for longevity and stabily of the beer also, moreso than conversion (although this is also very important of course)

Cheers.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 01:45:01 PM by kevino »
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Offline muckypup

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2017, 01:13:52 AM »
I have managed to set up a water profile so I can get an estimation. I have applied this profile to a couple of my recipes, both 16L brews - The Porter estimates I need 6ml of lactic acid and the IPA about 12ml of lactic acid. I think it will be prudent to err on the side of caution until I understand how good beersmiths estimation is.

Offline Baron Von MunchKrausen

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2017, 01:18:33 PM »
I have managed to set up a water profile so I can get an estimation. I have applied this profile to a couple of my recipes, both 16L brews - The Porter estimates I need 6ml of lactic acid and the IPA about 12ml of lactic acid. I think it will be prudent to err on the side of caution until I understand how good beersmiths estimation is.

You might try comparing Beersmiths tool with something more accurate such as Bru'nwater.
Don't know what your water profile looks like, but that's a hellofalotta lactic.
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Offline Oginme

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2017, 02:08:21 PM »
I have managed to set up a water profile so I can get an estimation. I have applied this profile to a couple of my recipes, both 16L brews - The Porter estimates I need 6ml of lactic acid and the IPA about 12ml of lactic acid. I think it will be prudent to err on the side of caution until I understand how good beersmiths estimation is.

My recommendation would be to err on the side of caution as you stated, but by adding about 40% of what is recommended and keeping the rest handy to put in at like about 20% at a time.
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Offline muckypup

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Re: PH Adjustment
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2017, 01:44:14 PM »
I'm brewing up my porter this weekend. Will try this out carefully bit-by-bit (I seem have bought 100 test strips) and see how it goes.



« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 01:51:10 PM by muckypup »

 

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