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  • Cant adjust ph

    Hi All,
    we are using an RO system for our brewpub as the the local water is not great and produces a lot of limescale buildup,
    however my question is why I dont seem to be able to lower the ph of any of my brews below 5.7 . I am using phosphoric to lower the mash and sparge water but cany get it any lower than this mark , any advice would be appreciated
    Cheers

  • #2
    In your water report check the carbonates content, if too high it will rise the pH.

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    • #3
      Have you had a water analysis done on your RO water. If the system isn't working properly perhaps it is letting some untreated water bypass the system. If your pH is that high, I suspect your RO plant isn't working properly.

      Are you adding mineral salts to the RO, as part of mashing in? If so, what are you adding?

      You could try sulphuric acid instead of phosphoric acid, as this is a strong acid, less easily buffered. Obviously you may not want to use this because of the effects of increased sulphate on beer flavour - depending on what you are brewing of course.
      dick

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      • #4
        Originally posted by dick murton View Post
        Have you had a water analysis done on your RO water. If the system isn't working properly perhaps it is letting some untreated water bypass the system. If your pH is that high, I suspect your RO plant isn't working properly.

        Are you adding mineral salts to the RO, as part of mashing in? If so, what are you adding?

        You could try sulphuric acid instead of phosphoric acid, as this is a strong acid, less easily buffered. Obviously you may not want to use this because of the effects of increased sulphate on beer flavour - depending on what you are brewing of course.
        I have not had analysis done on the RO water. yes I am adding gypsum and calcium chloride on the low side to the mash water using bru n water spread sheet

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        • Hibiscus
          Hibiscus commented
          Editing a comment
          I have my suspicions on the RO system now that you mention it, as there is always a light layer on top of the water in the hlt

      • #5
        Why are brewers stripping all the minerals from water just to put them back? Wouldn't blending the RO with untreated to lower--rather than strip minerals--be more energy, cost, water, and time efficient?
        Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

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        • Hibiscus
          Hibiscus commented
          Editing a comment
          good point,never thought of that. Are other breweries out there doing this ?

        • dick murton
          dick murton commented
          Editing a comment
          It isn't always possible, depending on the source water mineral composition, sometimes allied to the types of beer and thus required mineral composition required. One of the breweries I worked at for years had two sources. One was great for ale brewing once treated with sulphuric acid, but the other had such high mineral contents, magnesium was stupidly high in particular, that it simply wasn't worth blending at all, and was cheaper / easier to strip out all minerals and add back as required, especially once they started brewing large amounts of lager.

      • #6
        There certainly are instances where water would be suitable for brewing only with extensive RO filtration. But I think many, if not most, brewers seem to think that stripping everything out and adding back is good brewing practice. I'll argue that it is not. Brewing styles evolved from the local water composition. Maybe we should try harder to do the same. There are inexpensive TDS indicators that can be used to monitor RO water output. Simple and effective to blend at RO outlet with raw water for a reduced--but not zero--mineral content. There are very few water sources that require completely stripped water to brew with. And there is no reason to add the same salts that were just stripped of your water.
        Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

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