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Thread: pH of finished beer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    pH of finished beer

    What's high end for finished beer pH? And if it's a little high, what's the best way to get it down or does this make a differance? All keg beer, no bottles. Strike pH is 5.6-7 finished wort is normally around 5.25 -5.4. Thanks

  2. #2
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    quick answer

    Off the top of my head I always shoot for around 4.3 to 4.6 in a "normal" lager.

  3. #3
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    Anything over 4.5 tends to be less microb. stable.

  4. #4
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    Depending on the beer type, we never went much above 4.30:

    - Lagers tended to be around 3.90 - 4.10
    - Ales: 4.00 - 4.20
    - Mild/dark ales: 4.10 - 4.30

  5. #5
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    I would consider 3.8 - 4.5 'normal' for most ales and lagers.

    It will depend on pitching rate, oxygenation, yeast health, water and mash chemistry, fermentation temp's and conditions, yeast variety, background contamination levels and possibly a number of other things that don't immediately spring to my aging mind.

    I personally find that above about 4.2-4.3, the hop bitterness begins to present as 'oily'. In the 4.0-4.2 range, I think the bitterness presents more cleanly. Your mileage may vary. Easy to demonstrate this to yourself on a benchtop with some weak phosphoric acid, some beer and a decent pH meter.

    Best way to correct a batch with slightly high pH is to blend with a 'normal' batch. Find out why you're out of spec on this batch. Ensure it's not caustic carryover from cleaning cycle, check yeast health/viability, examine records for observable differences from previous batches and examine your incoming water. You may want to consider replacing/refreshing your yeast culture.

    Pax.

    Liam

  6. #6
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    Well maybe my pH meter is off. All og mine are 4.7 -4.8. I checked a bud lite it was 4.8. I don't seem to have a problem but I don't like seening pH off.

  7. #7
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    I would check that meter against your buffer solutions to be sure. As hinted above, I believe 4.5 is the upper limit in terms of food-safety issues.

  8. #8
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    definitely pH meter

    Yeah, 4.7-4.8 is way too high, even for a bud light. From a hop chemistry point of view, well above pH 4.5 is too high and a big brewer would probably not (knowingly) release a beer like that.

    You probably need to make sure your pH meter is working properly. If the calibration works alright with your calibration buffers, but you are still getting the high pH values then wiredgourmet is right, maybe it's your calibration buffers that are off. The probe could use a clean or be replaced too. If you use it too many times with out a proper cleaning then the glass membrane at the tip gets clogged by proteins.

    Good luck!

    Dave

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by d_gardonio
    Yeah, 4.7-4.8 is way too high, even for a bud light. From a hop chemistry point of view, well above pH 4.5 is too high and a big brewer would probably not (knowingly) release a beer like that.

    You probably need to make sure your pH meter is working properly. If the calibration works alright with your calibration buffers, but you are still getting the high pH values then wiredgourmet is right, maybe it's your calibration buffers that are off. The probe could use a clean or be replaced too. If you use it too many times with out a proper cleaning then the glass membrane at the tip gets clogged by proteins.

    Good luck!

    Dave
    How do you clean the probe? Also, which solution is better to store it in, 4.0 or 7.0?
    -Lyle C. Brown
    Brewer
    Camelot Brewing Co.

  10. #10
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    Lebanon, OR
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    probe cleaning

    I see beer pH in the 4.6-4.8, at least more than occasionally, (with clean probes and calibrated meters.) Usually big beers, lots of malt and high TG.
    I've heard about the high pH/low stability thing, but all beer should be consumed shortly (quickly?) so, put it out of its misery and buy a round for your best patrons.

    pH of Bud=4.8, never, it's <4.5. Even with sample abuse and crappy calibration.

    So, you're confident in the buffer solutions.

    If the probe is sluggish, clean with 0.1M HCL (concentrated HCl is 12M, and I can't recall what Muriatic is (forgot the hit of Ginkgo biloba.)
    Here's a link- http://www.ph-meter.info/pH-electrode-cleaning

    Rinse and store in your filling solution (3M KCl, perhaps?)
    Always store in your filling solution, maybe pH stabilized, as recommended by the electrode maker.
    Hope this is actionable intelligence,
    Scott

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Tadcaster, Yorkshire, UK
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    In my experience


    - Lagers tended to be around 4.10 to 4.25, with an absolute max in some cases of 4.5
    - Ales, including milds, stouts and winter ales / barley wines 3.8- 4.10 with absolute limits of 3.7 and 4.2


    The final pH is largely a result of fermentation speed [ hence lower pHs for ales with fermentation speeds of perhaps 48 to 72 hours, and lagers with primary fermentation speeds of circa 5 days +

    If the yeast is left on too long the pH tends to rise as the yeast autolyses.

    Basically though, set the pH to suit the flavour profile you want. The key is to get the pH consistent once you have decided that pH helps gives you the flavour you are looking for

    High pHs, above 4.2 for example, are supposedly more prone to infection, though I can't say I have ever seen any evidence to support this statement.

    Cheers
    dick

  12. #12
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    Oct 2009
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    uk
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    Hi Dick

    Where would you look if the post boil PH was a little high? Ours are starting to creep up a little and can be between 5.3-5.5. We used to get 5.0 regularly and nothing has changed, except the batches of malt and hops.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Tadcaster, Yorkshire, UK
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    Calcium content in the mash helps drive down the pH by removal of phosphates as calcium phosphate precipitate, which is removed with the spent grain. As the phosphate reacts it release hydrogen ions which are what drive the pH down. If you don't have enough, you can also end up with phosphate snowstorms in the final beer (yep - got that tee shirt as well)

    Look for at least 25 ppm in the final beer.

    If your mahing / sparging liquor is highly alkaline, i.e. you are using water with lots of temporary hardness in the form of CaHCO3, this will also drive the pH upwards, so you probably are best to acid treat the water or mash

    If you are using surface water this might change with the seasons. Deep well water tends to be far more consistent.

    So I suggest you get a raw water analysis and start from there. The malt and hops are far less likely to be the cause

    Cheers
    dick

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