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Needing more lactic acid than normal

When I do my Brunwater spreadsheet it usually shows that I will need anywhere from 3-5ml of Lactic acid to get my PH levels down to level I want. But, I always end up using way more than the spreadsheet shows I need. Anyone else have this problem? I usually am at around 6.4PH at room temp and need to keep adding more and more to get down to 5.4. But, in doing this little by little I am losing heat in mash from continuously opening mash tun.

This result may suggest that the water alkalinity is higher than you have it entered as in the water report input page. Does the water source vary? If you are in an area experiencing drought, the concentrating effect of the drought might increase the ionic content of the water, including alkalinity. Another thing could be that some water companies run out of their softer water from their surface water reservoirs and have to get more of their water from groundwater that might be more alkaline.

If the water might be varying, I’d suggest getting some aquarium test kits for hardness and alkalinity to double check the current levels of those parameters for your tap water.

Im curious as to what your water pH was before adding grains? Maybe check and adjust that before adding grains, then see what happens. There should be estimates of pH change per grain/water ratio (or do your own test), so you can adjust your water pH so that you have an idea how much more it will change when you add grains (and heat). That sounds like a pain though.

It comes from my well and is 7.5 ph. I wouldn’t think it would vary but who knows? I have never had well water before.

How are you measuring pH of the mash?

A digital ph meter.

To check for a bru’nwater setup issue, zero out all the salts and acids and use 100% DI dilution for a base grain only mash and see if you get pH5.6-5.7 as the calc’ed result. Then switch to 100% well water and see what happens.

If you are doing greater than 5 gallon brews, make sure you have the latest version, some changes were made to the spreadsheet.

tom

I am aware of the limitations of these spreadsheets but I have also run into this many times with several brewing spreadsheets. I am beginning to wonder if there is a reason for this. Grain husks suspended in the sample, small sample size, etc. I also have noticed is that once you get close to your target pH and add just a tiny bit more acid it goes too low. Tried wating longer between samples and additions and all that jazz. I have gotten really annoyed trying to perfect mash pH. On the other hand, I found making sparge, lauter, pre and post boil measurements rather straightforward. I think there is alot to be learned about taking accurate mash pH samples.

For the reason above I have decided not to replace my meter’s electrode when it broke and have used Bru’nwater exclusively and I prefer the results with Bru’nwater. From a tasting perspective I find I prefer the spreadsheet beers over the meter beers. The meter beers were too acidic and in fact I ruined a few by adding too much acid.

I zeroed everything out and did 100% and got 5.7ph then added back my well water to get 6 ph. I also for S**ts and giggles decided to test my well water with my ph meter and the ph is 8.2 so that could be my problem too since my Ward test said 7.5ph. That would make a lot of sense since I was always off by .6-.7.

[quote=“zwiller”]

For the reason above I have decided not to replace my meter’s electrode when it broke and have used Bru’nwater exclusively and I prefer the results with Bru’nwater. From a tasting perspective I find I prefer the spreadsheet beers over the meter beers. The meter beers were too acidic and in fact I ruined a few by adding too much acid.[/quote]

I’m both flattered at the result and disappointed that working with a pH meter didn’t produce similar results. What is the water like that you’re working with? Is bottled lactic acid being used or acid malt?

I do agree that working with Bru’n Water does allow the brewer to get closer with their acid additions the first time. Chasing pH is no fun.

Martin, thanks for the reply. Sorry for the delay, having some email issues due to an update…

My water is Ca 35, Mg 10, Na 21, SO4 35, Cl 19, Bicarb 108.5 pH 8.1. I do cut 50/50 with distilled for delicate styles. Acidification is typically 85% phosphoric but use 88% bottled lactic for german styles.

Originally, I thought the spreadsheets were off and trusted the meter, but I was adding much more acid than I expected. Like twice the amount in the spreadsheet. I suspected seasonal variances in my water but I purchased an alkalinity test kit but confirmed it was in range with above value. However, I will say at the time I was experimenting with rather low room temp pH mash targets. (5.2-5.3) Perhaps this was a factor?

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