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Bru'n Water & Mash pH

I’ve used Bru’n Water to make water adjustments for my last six batches. For the first time last night I took a pH reading 20 minutes into the mash. I was aiming for 5.4. My reading was 5.53 at room temp. Close enough!

Note: Used the Milwaukee pH56. Calibrated before use.

I’m really happy to have Bru’n Water too, my mash pH is always within .1 of what I was targeting. :cheers:

Most meters are only accurate to .1 units anyway.

Although my meter was good to .01, I was getting stressed out trying to get real accurate pH numbers. Then my electrode breaks and I was “forced” to brew a beer with bru’n water. The resulting beer was good enough I have not replaced my electrode.

PS - mash pH is only about 1/2 of the key pH values to good beer. Sparge and pre boil just as important. Bru’n water’s sparge acidification page is great for this.

Yeah, I use Bru’n Water to acidify my sparge water too. Haven’t verified effectiveness with a measurement, but am planning to on my next batch.

I’ve read quite a bit about mash and lauter pH, but I don’t remember reading about pre-boil pH (could just be a retention issue though :wink: ). What’s the target range for pre-boil and post-boil pH?

[quote=“kcbeersnob”]What’s the target range for pre-boil and post-boil pH?[/quote]pH into the kettle should be the same as in the mash or perhaps just slightly higher if the sparge water isn’t acidified. Boiling drops the pH a little. I typically see wort at pH4.9 - 5.1 going into the fermenters.

Mash pH typically rises throughout the mash. I did a careful and frequent analysis of pH variation in my last brew session mash. I found an increase of about 0.1 units over the course of about 30 minutes. Since most enzymatic reactions occur in about the first 15 min of the mash, I’m most concerned with the pH then. That is one reason why Bru’n Water would predict a little low when compared with a late pH measurement.

The overall pre-boil wort pH into the kettle is a pretty important factor for good results. If your sparging water has excessive alkalinity and pH, that could pull up the kettle pH and create the opportunity to cause harshness in the perception and flavor. On the other hand, a brewer needs to avoid too low a pre-boil kettle pH. Colin Kaminski pointed out that low kettle pH tends to reduce hop expression and bittering. I agree with that finding.

My recommendation is that pre-boil kettle pH should fall in the 5.2 to 5.4 range. You can bump that up a tenth for dark beers to smooth them and down a tenth in light beers that you want crisper or tarter.

Thanks Martin! Exactly what I was looking for.

[quote=“mabrungard”]Since most enzymatic reactions occur in about the first 15 min of the mash, I’m most concerned with the pH then. That is one reason why Bru’n Water would predict a little low when compared with a late pH measurement.
[/quote]

From now on I’ll test within the 15 minute window.

I should have mentioned in my original post that I’m using tap water and my annual city water report as my starting water profile, so I’m only in the ballpark to begin with. That could easily explain the difference between what Bru’n Water predicted and what I actually measured.

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