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Adjusting Sparge Water

Up to this point, I’ve made zero changes to my sparge water. I typically put around 2g CaCl2 into my mash water and that gets me into a pH range I need for my mash. But I never adjust my sparge water.

I find on some of my beers that I have some astringency, that was confirmed on one of my judged beers. I actually didn’t know what bite was before, but now I do. I think the issue is my high pH of my sparge water that I take right from the source to the mash to sparge. My Ward report says a pH of 8.3 and when I used a colorpHast strip it came out to 7 (if not more, 7 is the max for the strips), so either way its above the recommended 6 pH from people like Gordon Strong in “Brewing Better Beer”.

I think I’d like to make changes to my sparge water to lower pH before sparging to see what happens. Here is my water report.

pH 8.3
TDS Est 257
EC 0.43
Cations 3.8
Anions 3.6
Sodium 30
Calcium 32
Magnesium 10
Potassium 2
Total Hardness 122
Nitrate 0.9 (SAFE)
Sulfur 23
CO3 3
HCO3 65
Chloride 33
Total Alkalinity 58

I use this same water to mash and sparge and like I said above, typically add 2g of CaCl2 and that gets my mash pH in range.

What would folks suggest? Phosphoric acid seems to be a good choice to lower it.

Thanks.

It’s the pH of the wort that needs to be below 6, not the sparge water. Do you fly or batch sparge?

I batch sparge…per your design. I’ve never tested the wort before boil (i have a feeling that’s bad, didn’t know I should). I have only tested my mash pH.

You have enough alkalinity that I doubt the sparge pH is getting above 6. Checking it is the only way to be sure though.

So what else could be causing this astringency? I know my water isn’t too hot to cause the extraction of tannins. So that’s why I figured it was pH based.

Try this water calculator.

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/home/files

[quote=“MRCCEO”]Try this water calculator.

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/home/files[/quote]

Actually, just started using that one with my last batch. It actually this application that got me looking more into the sparge adjustment after reading about astringency and how causes it. According to Bru N’ Water I need to add acid to my sparge.

Try the recommended acid addition and see if that helps.
If you can afford it I would suggest buying a pH meter it’s a great tool if you’re brewing all grain.
In addition try to keep your wort as clear as possible going into your fermenter. I’ve found that large amounts of sediment can contribute to flaws.

[quote=“MRCCEO”]Try the recommended acid addition and see if that helps.
If you can afford it I would suggest buying a pH meter it’s a great tool if you’re brewing all grain.
In addition try to keep your wort as clear as possible going into your fermenter. I’ve found that large amounts of sediment can contribute to flaws.[/quote]

After I’m done with the strips I plan to just buy a pH meter.

It may be extreme, but I typically voulouf 6 gals from the mash before putting it in the kettle. I pour it nice and easy back into the top of the mash tun too to keep the bed as undistrubed as possible. I find i get my wort crystal clear then and then I keep all the trub out before putting it into the fermenter.

I really think it has to do with my sparge water pH and like you guys have said, I need to test that the next time to make sure.

So what else could be causing this astringency? I know my water isn’t too hot to cause the extraction of tannins. So that’s why I figured it was pH based.[/quote]

I wouldn’t automatically assume it is astringent. Have you gotten more than one comment? I hear “astringency” a lot when it isn’t really there.

Holy cow, extreme is an understatement! I NEVER vorlauf more than a qt. and usually about 2 cups.

Well, both judges on this competition said astringency and even my wife when I said something made a comment about the puckering too in this beer and others of mine. Again, not getting crazy, just looking into my process more to see if its something i can do.

Yes, I know someone would jump on to me for the 6 gals. ehee. It started cause one time it took me a few gallons to get my wort clear so I just kept it up. The time I tried to cut corners and my beer was very cloudy and grainy.

I have never found the clarity of the runoff to have any impact on the quality of the beer, as long as I vorlauf enough to get rid of the chunks.

Well this conversation will definitely have me try much less as an experiment.

So if the pH of my wort, post mash and sparge is in the 5.5-6ish range, i should be fine? What if my run off after sparge is high, then I should look into adjusting my sparge water?

Shoot for 5.4 at 75F for your pH. You can take pH readings at various points in the process and adjust it as you go. At 10 minutes into your mash, at the end of your sparge (pre-boil) and post boil.

I never even though about adjusting my wort. Everything I read talks about pH of the Mash and how that impacts off flavors, sugar extraction, etc.

What does a high/low pH in the boil do?

I check pH more often than temp these days. I think Kai wrote some great articles on brewing pH. You might check his site out : http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti … ts_brewing

My much than scientific approach than Kai’s on batch sparging proves that pH rises above 6 with my water supply. 90ppm bicarb. I acidify all sparge water to 5.7 on light beers. I shoot for around 5.4 preboil, 5.2 post boil. (room temps) I find that when I acidify my sparge my preboil pH is just where I want it.

Can you make good beer without all this fuss, sure. I did for a long time. That said, I think it makes a difference in my beers.

[quote=“zwiller”]I check pH more often than temp these days. I think Kai wrote some great articles on brewing pH. You might check his site out : http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti … ts_brewing

My much than scientific approach than Kai’s on batch sparging proves that pH rises above 6 with my water supply. 90ppm bicarb. I acidify all sparge water to 5.7 on light beers. I shoot for around 5.4 preboil, 5.2 post boil. (room temps) I find that when I acidify my sparge my preboil pH is just where I want it.

Can you make good beer without all this fuss, sure. I did for a long time. That said, I think it makes a difference in my beers.[/quote]

Very true. You need to know what your own water is like and how to take appropriate (if any) steps to deal with it.

[quote=“Denny”]

Very true. You need to know what your own water is like and how to take appropriate (if any) steps to deal with it.[/quote]

Exactly why I’m asking these questions. I always took mash pH but never any other time during the process. So now that will change until I figure out if I need to make more adjustments.

When you say the pH of the wort and not the sparge, are you saying that it doesn’t matter my sparge water is 8.3 as long as there is enough acids in the grain to get the combined sparge water and grain to lower than a pH of 6?

Are acids in the grain diluted/run off when you do your first run off?

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