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Using phosphoric acid to control mash Ph

I’m not sure if it was in the water book but the interboobs went crazy for the idea that calcium carbonate (chalk) was not as good as baking soda for raising mash pH. I forget if the chalk was unreliable, not soluble enough or whatever. I’m pretty sure I have never had to raise my mash pH so this is all Greek to me. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ken Lenard: Thank you thank you. finally, someone took the time to really explain what I have been searching for so heartily. Much obliged for sharing your process, step by step, in detail

Calcium carbonate isn’t recommended for raising the pH because it’s solubility is extremely low. In fact, it is more soluble at lower temps than higher. That’s why it’s advisable to boil hard water before brewing with it, since the chalk will precipitate out and reduce the alkalinity.

I’ve found the solubility of slaked lime to be just as poor as calcium carbonate. Baking soda is readily soluble but can impart excess sodium quickly to your water. It also has a limit as to how much it can raise the pH due to being monobasic.

You are welcome. Remember that this is just the way that I do it and there are many ways to do it, many different systems, many different approaches. If there is anything else that you’re looking for or something was not clear, let me know. An interesting thing to consider is that everyone’s water is different and everyone has different preferences when it comes to style. Some people with soft water might like to make stouts so they would be looking at the puzzle from the other side as I would and would have completely different concerns. Some people have the perfect water for the styles they like and might never encounter a problem while saying to themselves, “This brewing thing is easy! Why do so many of these people have these problems!?”. Variables, variables. Cheers.

I’m brewing a porter this weekend, it will be the first dark beer that I’ve done since I’ve been monitoring my ph. If the need arises to raise the ph what alternatives to baking soda and chalk are there?

I don’t think it will be an issue as I plan to use filtered tap water treated with a campden tablet rather than building from scratch with RO water. I think the local water has a hardness ~120 PPM. I really need to get the Ward Labs test done on my water, I’m tired of doing the RO thing.

Glug, call the water plant or an aquarium store in town. They’ll know what you need. Also, I live in a pretty small town and even they post some basic info online like alkalinity, pH, and chlorine treatment which is 90% of the equation. (side story) Back in the day before the web and Ward Labs, I called asking our water dept for this kind of info. Got to talking with local water chemist and of course talking about beer. He invited me to the plant, got a tour, and I learned a lot.

Pickling lime is a good alternative to baking soda. Chalk works too, but must be added to mash. With Ken’s experience with RO, I’ll never use it. Distilled only for me.

Glug: Yeah, get the Ward Lab test done. I know it’s a pain to get the water, pack it up, fill out the form, mail it off, etc. but it will answer questions that you can use for the rest of your brewing career. My water district does a good job keeping the water consistent throughout the year so I feel pretty good about my numbers. I know I’ve mentioned the RO thing before and the problem is that you just don’t know the water ppm numbers for the RO water. When I look at Bru’N’Water or EZ_Water, I want to be damn sure that the numbers I’m entering are solid. When I dilute, I use distilled. Oh hey, on that porter… do you want me to send you some of my high-bicarb water which will help you keep your mash pH up? :lol:

I’ll send a sample to Ward Labs next week. Looking at their different tests
http://wardlab.com/FeeSchedule/WardLabs_FeeSchedule_Web.pdf#page=10
I see they have a brewers test now, W-5A and a household mineral test, W-6. The only difference is the W-5A tests for iron and phosphorus whereas the W-6 doesn’t and it’s 6 bucks less, are those necessary to know? I thought the W-6 test was the one most people had done.

Should I send in my carbon filtered water or just plain tap water?

[quote=“Glug Master”]I’ll send a sample to Ward Labs next week. Looking at their different tests
http://wardlab.com/FeeSchedule/WardLabs_FeeSchedule_Web.pdf#page=10
I see they have a brewers test now, W-5A and a household mineral test, W-6. The only difference is the W-5A tests for iron and phosphorus whereas the W-6 doesn’t and it’s 6 bucks less, are those necessary to know? I thought the W-6 test was the one most people had done.

Should I send in my carbon filtered water or just plain tap water?[/quote]
W6 is the one you want. It has everything you need. When I sent my sample, I sent it after I ran it through my carbon block filter because that’s the way I use the water for brewing. The filter doesn’t alter the water ions but it does get rid of the chlorine, some organic matter, etc. so I think that’s the best way to do it. Ward Labs will email and also snail-mail the results so you should have them relatively quickly. Then you can punch your water numbers into one of the spreadsheets and know exactly what’s up.

[quote=“Glug Master”]I’ll send a sample to Ward Labs next week. Looking at their different tests
http://wardlab.com/FeeSchedule/WardLabs_FeeSchedule_Web.pdf#page=10
I see they have a brewers test now, W-5A and a household mineral test, W-6. The only difference is the W-5A tests for iron and phosphorus whereas the W-6 doesn’t and it’s 6 bucks less, are those necessary to know? I thought the W-6 test was the one most people had done.

Should I send in my carbon filtered water or just plain tap water?[/quote]

Get W-6…it’s all you need. Send in whatever water you plan to use.

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