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Quest for the perfect IPA (PH)

I became bored with my house IPA this spring and have been trying out a few new IPA recipes. Over the past 2 years I have been curious as to the finished beer PH and its effect on flavor of American IPA’s. I decided to do some tests on some of my favorite commercial IPA’s and also several random beers that I had not tried before. Here are my findings.

All PH readings made at 77F or 25C on decarbed beer (Milwaukee MW 101 PH meter)
All FG readings made between 60F and 65F (This is not a precision hydrometer)

Ballast Point Dorado PH 4.63 FG 1.008 10%
Stone IPA 4.56 1.010 6.9%
Ballast Point Sculpin 4.65 1.009 7%
Snake River Pako’s IPA 4.85 1.010 6.8%
Odell’s IPA 4.7 1.012 7%
Caldera IPA 4.56 1.010 6.1%
Ska Modus Hoperandi 4.54 1.013 6.8%
Bear Republic Racer 5 4.5 1.014 7.5%
Deschutes Red Chair 4.4 1.016 6.2%
Green Flash West Coast IPA 4.66 1.010 7.3%
Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA 4.56 1.009 7%

Hopefully this is of some use when dialing in your favorite IPA recipe. I will be shooting for 4.6 as it seems to suite my taste buds but there is some wiggle room. :cheers:

Very interesting. I’ve been a bit obsessed with finished pH the last few months.

The APA/IPA’s I’ve liked best have been 4.5-4.6. I have not really liked the ones that were higher. I have not had any finish lower, because American Ale and American Ale II are just not big acid producers.

While this thread does not address beer flavor, it’s an interesting record of finished beer pH.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/post-y ... ph-469197/

I recently made an all centennial IPA and really focused on the pH. Here are my notes.

mash pH 5.4, kettle pH 5.3 pre and post boil, 1.060 OG. Fermented with 1272 American Ale II, finished at 1.011 and 4.4 pH in the glass.

My water is 7.9pH so I used the most gypsum I’ve ever used to bring the pH down with as little acid as possible and also to drive the sulfates up to almost 300 which I understand helps to accentuate the hops and make it a more crisp finish.

The beer turned out great! Crisp, clean, very hop focused with a nice grapefruity, piney aromatic finish.

I just put a second batch in the fermenter. Mash 5.3, first runnings 5.2, sparge acidified to 5.3, second runnings 5.3, pre-boil Kettle pH 5.2, 1.044, post boil pH 5.1, 1.054. Pitched 1272 slurry from previous batch.

[quote=“dannyboy58”]Fermented with 1272 American Ale II, finished at 1.011 and 4.4 pH in the glass. [/quote]The sample was room temp and completely uncarbonated, right?

Gravity was taken prior to kegging. Room temp uncarbonated. In the glass pH was taken with a Milwaukee mw101 40ish degrees carbonated. Does carbonation have an impact on pH?

When a solution is carbonated, carbonic acid will be present, which lowers the pH. So you always want to measure pH uncarbonated.

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[quote=“kcbeersnob”]When a solution is carbonated, carbonic acid will be present, which lowers the pH. So you always want to measure pH uncarbonated.

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OK but since the carbonic acid is in solution it doesn’t seem like degassing would remove it? So you’d really need that pH reading before you carbonate right?

[quote=“dannyboy58”]
OK but since the carbonic acid is in solution it doesn’t seem like degassing would remove it? So you’d really need that pH reading before you carbonate right?[/quote]
I’m not a chemist, but as I understand it the carbonic acid precipitates out when it is degassed. It is certainly easier to measure pH before carbonating it. Bear in mind that even straight from the fermenter, the beer is slightly carbonated and needs to be degassed.

Thank you for posting! I think that a few or your readings could be slightly elevated. My understanding is that packaged beer should be under 4.5 to be considered microbiologically stable. Acidic enough that nasty things can’t grow in them and harm people (e coli, etc). I am unsure this is a USDA requirement, legal rule of thumb, or if and how it is even regulated, but when I researched final pH extensively and this is a reoccurring theme. The few at 4.7 and 4.8 would be very off tasting too IMO. I suggest a test control of Bud which is supposed to be near 4.0. In any event, measuring final pH can be an excellent way to dial in a brew and learn about beer.

[quote=“kcbeersnob”][quote=“dannyboy58”]
OK but since the carbonic acid is in solution it doesn’t seem like degassing would remove it? So you’d really need that pH reading before you carbonate right?[/quote]
I’m not a chemist, but as I understand it the carbonic acid precipitates out when it is degassed. It is certainly easier to measure pH before carbonating it. Bear in mind that even straight from the fermenter, the beer is slightly carbonated and needs to be degassed.[/quote]

No precipitate, that would be a solid. Carbonic acid is the result of CO2 reacting with H2O. So when the CO2 leaves, you have water. :slight_smile:

[quote=“hans caravan”]
No precipitate, that would be a solid. Carbonic acid is the result of CO2 reacting with H2O. So when the CO2 leaves, you have water. :slight_smile: [/quote]
Thanks for the mini chemistry lesson. What’s the correct term?

For our purposes, I believe the outcome is the same: carbonic acid disappears and the pH should rise depending on the amount of carbonic acid that was present.

Finished beer pH doesn’t really tell the story. You need to concentrate on the kettle wort pH. That is where the action is at.

The carbonation only affects pH a little bit (maybe a tenth), so that isn’t a big deal. But degassing and warming the beer to around room temp would be a good practice.

I went through something similar with my IPA’s. First I realized I wasn’t getting the pH low enough compared to commercial beers (>4.5) Once I got within range it improved quite a bit, but I still wasn’t happy. Tried tweaking all sort of stuff and then someone recommended a different yeast strain (English) and I am much closer to what I was wanting to achieve.

To me, acidifying sparge is the key to get within the proper range.

[quote=“zwiller”]I went through something similar with my IPA’s. First I realized I wasn’t getting the pH low enough compared to commercial beers (>4.5) Once I got within range it improved quite a bit, but I still wasn’t happy. Tried tweaking all sort of stuff and then someone recommended a different yeast strain (English) and I am much closer to what I was wanting to achieve.

To me, acidifying sparge is the key to get within the proper range.[/quote]
This conversation seems familiar. :wink:

Out of curiosity, what English yeast did you switch to? I’ve been curious about how WLP007 would perform in an IPA, but the product description says the flavor profile is similar to WLP002 (which is quite fruity).

WLP007. Love the results I’ve gotten so far, but I have never used anything else but Chico in IPAs… To be fair, I think I need to try a few other english strains now that I have gone to the dark side… I have my eyes on Ringwood now.

I also just bottled a Stone Ruination clone using 007 and I gotta say its pretty darn close to the real thing. Apparently their house strain is similar to 007.

I’ve only used WLP007 once. It was for an English style barley wine that’s only about 1.5 months old. Come to think of it, I forgot to measure the ending pH level when I took my FG sample. Dang it! The flavor was pretty fruity, but some of that was probably the alcohol (nearly 10% ABV).

I think Wyeast 1028 a candidate for APA/IPA. It’s among the cleaner English strains. I’ve consistently gotten attenuation in the mid-upper 70’s. I’d probably want to mash a little lower for an IPA to goose the attenuation up a little. I have never taken a post fermentation pH reading with this strain, so I don’t know how it performs in that regard. I don’t like that it’s a a super lazy floculator.

Word on the street is that Great Lakes uses 1028 for Burning River. I assume they use it for Commodore Perry. Probably even Chillwave (I still hate that name), since this strain has a high alcohol tolerance.

Yeah I have heard that this is their house yeast or close enough to it.

I’ve never used 1028 but I’ve used 1318 London Ale III. It flocculates better than 1028. Wyeast says it finishes a bit sweet but I didn’t notice that in my bitter. It was more crisp, dry and tart than the 1469 that I normally use for bitters. I think it would definitely augment the hops in an IPA.

The bitter was crystal clear after 7-8 days in the keg. Of course it wasn’t DH’d. I pitched it at 62 and kept it 63-64 for 4 days then pulled it out of the swamp cooler and let it go ambient to 68-69 for a couple weeks before I kegged it. 1.053 OG 1.012 FG 76% attenuation. May have been an hint of diacetyl in the finished beer.

[quote=“dannyboy58”] It was more crisp, dry and tart than the 1469 that I normally use for bitters. [/quote]That statement sounds like treason to me.[WINKING FACE] I’m blindly loyal to 1469 in bitters. Also makes a beautiful stout.

I’ll be going to the UK for work in July. My #1 priority is to find Timothy Taylor Landlord on tap. Apparently 1469 descended from their yeast.

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