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Mash pH based on calculators

Long story short I brewed a pale ale with some Gerber Pure water. BIAB 8.5 gallon mash volume. 11.5 lbs of grains. 10 lbs 2 row, 1 lb munich, 8 oz caramel 60L. Mashed at 152. Overall beer turned out well. 1.053 OG, 1.008 FG. Based on Beersmith estimated pH was 5.6 at room temp. It seems to have a watery finish and a sharp aftertaste. I’m leaning towards low mineral water and wondering if mash pH wasn’t low enough. I should worry about lowering the pH with some lactic acid without having a pH meter. I was going to add some brewing salts to increase minerals. I’m going to brew tomorrow the same recipe and wondering if I should just “season” and see how it turns out without adjusting pH any. pH doesn’t seem to high but slightly out of the 5.2-5.4 range. Any thoughts?

What made you choose that water? Do you know the pH of it? I guess you must or BS couldn’t estimate a mash pH.

I’d definitely get the pH right for any mash. Your sharp after taste could be many things depending on the water composition. If you were above 6.0pH you could have extracted tannins. Doubtbul at 5.6 but possible.

Have you tried your municipal water? I guess I’m lucky because we have great water for brewing right out of the tap.

I didn’t know my tap water profile at the time and didn’t want to deal with chlorine. It wasn’t distilled and had a few added minerals. Seemed to have a better taste that other bottled waters. I thought pH of water alone didn’t matter. I’m not exactly how beersmith calculates it I assume same as others with grain additions and water profile added.

Yes that’s how BS2 works. pH of the water really doesn’t matter other than how it contributes to mash pH. I’m not a fan of any bottled water other than distilled which becomes a blank slate for additions.

You can “season” your brew you say is “sharp”… Pour up a glass and add a small pinch.
The pH being in the right neighborhood aids in higher extraction/conversion, your brew clears better, and brings more FAN, free amino nitrogen, into the fermenter for the yeast to use… It doesnt do much for flavor, except keeping tannins in check when rinsing out your grains… You did BIAB… I can’t tell you if the pH being off will affect the brew like rinsing/sparging does… Sneezles61

Does 7g gypsum, 4g calcium chloride, 4g magnesium sulfate and 2mL of lactic acid sound like too much? I’ve input data into EZ water and checked against my beersmith3 to adjust water and estimate a 5.4 mash pH. It puts my adjusted profile to Calcium 97, Magnesium 15, Sodium 0, Chloride 95, Sulfate 195.

Of course it does. Mash pH is mash pH. Regardless of whether you fly or batch sparge you’re still concerned about mash pH so why wouldn’t it be the same for BIAB.

So you have a water analysis for the bottled water? What pH are you giving beersmith to get an adjusted pH or even mineral composition? You have to have a starting point. No software can calculate a mash pH without knowing the water pH to begin with. It’s about the buffering values of the grain bill against the starting water pH.

what percent lactic acid? Same volume of water you mention in the OP?

My IPA/APA grainbill is pretty similar to this grain bill, a little heavier on the munich and c malt which will give me a bit more buffering power than your grainbill from the darker malts. On a 9 gal, 11.25 lb grainbill I get a mash pH of 5.87 without adding any minerals or acid. My water pH is 6.9 so the grain bill alone knocks a point off the pH. My minerals get me to 5.66, so close to your mash estimated mash pH and I use 3 ml of 88% lactic acid to get to 5.42.

I haven’t used the water analysis in BS2 because I have all my recipes in Brunwater for that purpose and have checked all the Brunwater numbers with a pH meter many times so I trust it implicitly.

If you have no water analysis for your tap or bottled water then my advice is to use distilled water which is a known entity and build it up from there. Otherwise you’re just guessing and could end up with a worse mess than adding nothing.

Tested it with Lamotte brewlab. The pH of 7.3-7.5 is listed on the CCR report. Using 8.5 gallons. 88% lactic acid.

That is apiece of the puzzle I have yet to read… As BIAB-ers, we aren’t “rinsing”, “washing” or what have you… I do correct my total water pH and its good, right? But if I didn’t, I then would risk the chance of having more proteins and tannins leach into solution. Maybe I over think this and should just remember that it as, “thats why the mash water is corrected at mash in, then corrected for rinsing too”
See what your getting into? :relaxed: Sneezles61

EDIT: I see you already talked about this… I do a minimal BIAB sparge and feel no need to worry about PH. I only worry about temp.

Beta-amylase range is 5.0-6.0 and Alpha-amylase is 4.0-6.0. I stopped checking my ph after a while because I was always in a good range with little effort. I had to lower substantially when I made a Brut but besides that I don’t have to add acid.

I BIAB mash closer to traditional grain:water volumes and do a pour over sparge. I always adjust my sparge water for pH but some might call me anal.

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Brewing early this morning. Mashing as we speak with additions I posted. Trial and error. If it turns out well then it was worth it. If not I’ll grab a pH meter and hit the drawing board for the next batch. Seems like people use pH meters for a bit until they find the calculator is pretty close. A good meter and calibration and storage solutions are expensive. Working on same recipe with tweaks until I’m happy with finished product.

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I used my meter pretty religiously for a a few years even when I saw that Brunwater was accurate. Mainly because I saw small changes in my water pH seasonally. I found that .1-.3 change by season wasn’t really enough to make a difference. My meter died once and I replaced the electrode then after a few months the screen failed and I haven’t replaced it.

I forgot you mentioned the water analysis kit before in another thread. As long as you have a starting point you should be in the right range.

I don’t have all your water values of course but if I use your pH with my water and then your additions as listed above into brunwater, I get a mash pH of 5.24. Your additions push my calcium and bicarb high but your water may have lower bicarb and calcium than mine. I’d say you’re in the ballpark.

Thats of my concern… My water pH… 7.3 up to 8.2… Again, its all about the ability to clear up with less additives, and my yeast, all of them come in under 1.010… I look at grain bills posted by others and even the ones on Brulosophy and scratch my head at their efficiency… Sneezles61

Does it change with the seasons? Or just increased over time? How’s your bicarb?

My water is some what hard due to bicarbonates and phosphate… I have concrete around my well… I can go about 2 miles either east or west and its red clay… I’m in a sand/gravel river bed that drained the glaciers that left Lake Superior… So when it rains, I have to use more acid to adjust my water…
Thats why a pH meter, in my case, becomes a necessity… I’ll have to do more to track it in the winter… My notes should help me… Sneezles61

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Brew day went really well. Hit the estimated post mash gravity of 1.042, and OG of 1.053. Pulled a sample to check gravity today. Started ramping up temp yesterday but realized I didn’t increase my cooling differential and it was heating to increase air temp and cooling chest freezer to lower beer temp.

Fermented @ 65 degrees for 3 days before letting temp rise. Sample was 1.014. So after tasting the gravity sample the mouthfeel seems less watery (although last batch was a few points lower the first time I tasted the sample). Sample was still pretty yeasty which was expected. However I didn’t notice the sharp finish that I noticed last batch. At first I thought it was yeast bite however I cold crashed that sample and tasted again the next day. So while it is still early I’m hopeful that I may have fixed the issue with adjusting water profile and mash pH. Only time will tell. Fingers crossed.

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I noticed a remarkable change when I adjusted for pH and fermentation temp… There a few other things that can/will change a small bit of the brew too… All in due time. Sneezles61

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