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Finished Beer PH

Does anyone else really concern themselves with this. For the last six months I’ve been testing my beers, and they range from 4.3-4.7. I’m curious how the finish PH affects the beer flavor and hop flavor. In my experience getting down to 4.4 really muted the hop bitterness, and brought out malt flavors.

Bump. Anyone

After checking the mash and sparge water, I haven’t worried about the final beer. Sorry.

Mash and sparge water pH and their alkalinity do affect the final pH of the beer. But another factor is the yeast. Some yeast are better acid producers than others. I understand that WY 1007 is a better acid producer than most others.

The OP’s findings are in line with my observations. Producing a condition that allow the beer pH to drop too low does tend to reduce the hop expression and exagerates a sweet tartness.

I’m glad you brought up the yeast strain. I have been wondering if the pitch rate or the strain had more to do with the low finishing PH. In my limited experience the 3 English yeasts (1028,1469, and 1318) have really lowered the PH more than the American strain (1056). Thanks for the input. :cheers:

With the caveat that I mostly brew IPAs and hoppy beers, I’ve been tracking finished beer pH for a little while and have found that above 4.6 the beer tastes sweeter and the hops are sort of soapy and below about 4.4 they’re unpleasant and clashing. On the malty side, I have a Wee Heavy finishing up and it’s at 4.42 last time I checked - best tasting green beer in a long time. I don’t have enough data yet to confidently dose an entire keg with 10% phosphoric or pickling lime to hit a specific pH, though.

Your results are very similar to mine. Brewed an IPA calculated for 85 IBU’s that finished at PH 4.3 that tasted like a pale ale. My best so far was a Boddingtons clone PH 4.4 on nitro. I have yet to hit that sweet spot with my IPA’s ( most finishing between 4.6-4.65). Thanks for sharing. :cheers:

Are you guys testing carbonated or uncarbonated?

I’ve done both. For the beers that are already carbed I have just let it warm up and let the carbonation dissipate before testing. I suppose I should just stick to one or the other, but hey I’m no scientist.

[quote=“roffenburger”]Are you guys testing carbonated or uncarbonated?[/quote]Carbonated, because that’s how I drink it. Might be worth taking a reading at racking and then another when it’s carbed to see how it changes, though.

I am kinda in a brewing is art RDWHAHB mode but back when in OCD mode I found when measuring carbonated beer the meter bounced around. I preferred taking samples at kegging when at room temp.

I can’t seem to locate referenced info it but IIRC pH of 4.5 or lower is a target of commercial brewers, mainly for shelf life. I think most pro beers, especially ales are much lower, like 4.2. Most homebrewers are probably a bit on the high side of final beer pH, at least I was for awhile.

I found a combination of acidifying sparge water and adding Ca salts at boil helps drive down pH at KO which really sets up proper pH for fermentation. I find most homebrewers fixated on mash pH but otherwise completely oblivious to other pH measurements throughout the brew.

I asked about when you are taking the reading because carbonated beer will be more acidic than uncarbonated and it wouldn’t make any sense to compare values unless everyone is taking a reading the same way.

[quote=“roffenburger”]I asked about when you are taking the reading because carbonated beer will be more acidic than uncarbonated and it wouldn’t make any sense to compare values unless everyone is taking a reading the same way.[/quote]Understood - you want to compare yours to other people’s, I’m just keeping a record for myself so that I can figure out how to “fix” a beer in the keg.

What kind of additions have you made to kegged beer? Do you feel they have made a significant change for the better?

It will be more acidic carbonated.

[quote=“roffenburger”]What kind of additions have you made to kegged beer? Do you feel they have made a significant change for the better?[/quote]I’ve added small amounts of lactic and phosphoric to finished beer to drop the pH a little, 0.1 - 0.2 at the most. Yes, dropping the pH into the correct range is a good thing.

After talking to a commercial brewer last weekend, I decided to check the pH of my finished beer. Measurements were taken at approx. room temp using a calibrated meter. Interesting findings.

All of three that were fermented using Wyeast 1056 finished high (4.78, 4.83 and 4.92). All three that were fermented with English (1028, 1968) or Irish yeast (WLP004) finished lower (4.55, 4.43, and 4.18).

I’m curious if others are able to confirm my findings using their beer?

So if it turns out that 1056 is a low acid producer, the remaining question is: how do I goose it to finish lower or how do I calculate the amount of phosphoric acid to add to the wort or finished beer to lower the pH?

You acidifying sparge water? To me, that’s the key. Always acidified to 5.7 back when I fly sparged. When I made the move to batch sparging I read I didn’t need to, but I was wrong. I mashed low 5.3 or so and did not acidify sparge and saw numbers like yours with 1056. Haven’t measured final pH in some time since my meter needs an electrode but I was getting good results once I acidified sparge again. I have since adopted Gordon Strong/Sierra Nevada’s technique to acidify sparge to match mash pH. IPA I just made I mashed a bit higher 5.6 and sparged with water adjusted to same.

It will be very interesting to see more info about the impact yeast has on final pH and if 1056 is indeed a low acid producer. Wonder if any info about this in the Yeast book?

You acidifying sparge water? To me, that’s the key. [/quote]
I don’t automatically acidify sparge water, but I do if needed per Bru’nWater. I know for sure that I acidified the sparge water in two of the 1056 batches. I did not measure pre-boil or post-boil pH on any of the 1056 batches, so I don’t know what change occurred during fermentation. Time to start paying attention to that.

I’m thinking that the better approach would be to acidify the wort if needed after the boil, but I need more data on how much 1056 typically lowers pH.

I did some digging and didn’t find much, but I did see reliable sources citing the 1007 is a HIGH acid producer so there is at least some info out there about the matter. I also noticed that one particular book measured the finished pH of 22 stouts both domestic and foreign and I observed that the foreign beers had a lower pH than domestic. I will say that I don’t necessarily think that a low acid yeast is a bad thing. One thought that is smacking my forehead now is how unlucky we homebrewers are to be juggling using a dozen yeast strains compared to 1 or 2 strains used by pro brewers…

Dosing KO wort will work but I would prefer to do it a way that does not add another process to the brewday (sparge) but I can see that dosing KO could be more accurate. Hope to read of some new data points.

Maybe shoot wyeast an email?

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