Brain exploding

I’ve been reading brun water information about PH. I know I have a PH of 7.6 but I’m told I should
be about 5.3 to 5.5. Will the PH drop after I mash in or do I have to treat before I mash in? I will be
going to all grain in a couple of weeks, and want to try and be as informed as possible. I’m going to
start with a spotted cow clone. I forgot to mention I will be doing BIAB if that matters.

Yes, the malt will drop the mash ph, but you need to know more about the water you’re using than just its starting ph. You need to know the alkalinity and the concentrations of various ions to be able to determine where the ph will end up once you mash in (see the Water Input tab). Spotted Cow is a pretty light beer, so unless you have naturally soft water you’ll probably need to dilute with some distilled water to get the ph low enough. You’re shooting for 5.2-5.6 or so as a mash ph. A recipe and water report would be needed to be more helpful in telling you what you need to do though.

If you want to just build you water profile using all distilled water, which isn’t a bad idea for this beer, just change the dilution percentage on the Water Adjustment tab to 100%, put your grain bill into the Mash Acidification tab, then adjust the water additions (gypsum, calcium chloride, lactic acid in this case) until you get the ph on the MA tab to be where you want. You’ll probably need somewhere in the range of 1gm/gallon of gypsum or calcium chloride to get there.

To make my life easier if I use distilled water can’t I just add accu mash? To get the desired water profile.

I personally would add the individual salts based on the specific recipe…but I have all that stuff lying around. If you don’t, you could use accu mash. With a basic pale grain bill and distilled water, ph shouldn’t be much of an issue. It would have to be a pretty bad product not to get you in a suitable range for a SC clone. I wouldn’t make a habit out of it, though. It’s expensive. The $5 it costs will buy you enough salts to last a year instead of one batch. Having to use distilled water every time would also be a pain. Buy some gypsum, CaCl, and lactic acid and learn to use Brun Water, it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

This. If you want to get fancy, add kosher salt (or sea salt) and Epsom salts. It really doesn’t need to get much more complicated than this.

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Agreed. Never heard of accumash but if it’s like the magic 5.2 stuff then it’s BS and a waste of your money. How can anything magically bring your mash into the right range regardless of the water or grist? It can’t.

My pH is a bit lower than yours and all I really ever use is gypsum, CaCl and lactic acid. For pilsners I build up from distilled.

Accumash is a new Northern Brewer product that’s basically Brunwater in a bag. Seems pricey

Call me a skeptic with regard to packaged water additions. My advice is get a water report either from your municipality or send a sample to ward labs, learn brunwater, buy a good scale and get the necessary minerals and acid. IMO, after fermentation temperature control, water adjustment is the next biggest improvement you’ll make in your brewing.

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With all due respect to our host, a pre-packaged water conditioner is BS. Like all one-size-fits-all products, it’ll work great for around 1% of the population. Skip it… Read up on Bru’n Water. You’ll be glad you did. And once you’ve gone through it a couple times, it won’t seem nearly as complicated.

I would start by using your tap water without doing anything . Check your pH when mashing and make a note of it. 5.2 is the optimum but anything below 5.8 will be fine . Taste the beer if its tasty I wouldn’t mess with the water. If your water Is not good for brewing you would have noticed it in extract brewing.

For a mid-range brew, like a red or brown that’s a bit more forgiving ph-wise, I’d agree, but for a spotted cow clone I think you definitely need to adjust the water, and if you don’t know the water specs yet I would definitely build from distilled. Most people have water nowhere near soft enough to get away with brewing such a light beer without water adjustments. I’d either adjust the recipe, or adjust the water.

Thanks for all the input I got the water report for Milwaukee so now I know the ph is 7.6 and the hardness is 137 mg/l. I guess I’ll just use a .25 campden tab for chlorine and see what happens. I also will brew a different beer, maybe caribou slobber.