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Mash pH Level Issue

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  • Mash pH Level Issue


    We are running into issues with our mash pH being too high and not getting correct sugar conversions (mash pH above 6). In researching the issues it appears that we can use calcium chloride in the mash to help bring the pH down however I was looking for a way to actually add something to the mash in water in the HLT. I am Not sure if I can use the same calcium chloride or if there is some other acid I could use. So, basically looking for something to add to water in HLT that will work to lower pH where I can mash in and sparge with same water. Any advice is greatly appreciated.


  • #2
    Lowering Mash PH

    Phosphoric acid, Lactic acid can be used to lower PH of strike water. Also milled dark grains, roasted barley lowers pH. I assume your issues are with Pales...
    David Meadows
    Brew House Technologist


    • #3
      Get Bru'N Water, it's awesome and will help you dial in your water for all your beers.



      • #4
        Calcium Chloride will actually increase your PH, as Dough In recommends, use a weak Phosphoric Acid solution or Lactic Acid.

        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


        • #5
          Originally posted by forrestmz3005 View Post
          Calcium Chloride will actually increase your PH, as Dough In recommends, use a weak Phosphoric Acid solution or Lactic Acid.

          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

          .. Calcium Chloride will not increase your pH. You are perhaps thinking of Calcium Carbonate.


          • #6
            Oops!! You are correct Anthony.
            I was thinking of carbonate!!! Thanks for the correction...

            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


            • #7
              Food Grade Phosphoric Acid works like a charm and can recommend Bru-n-Water also.
              Hop It And Bitterness Will Come

              James Costa
              Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.
              El Granada,Ca


              • #8
                Second the phosphoric. There is more than just pH to consider when it comes to mineral additions. Water is a pretty damn important part so learn all you can and treat it right If your alkalinity is high then acid is what you need for pale beers. On a side note, great show on the BN James!
                Last edited by soia1138; 02-12-2016, 08:54 AM.


                • #9
                  Calcium Chloride and Calcium Sulfate will help to lower the pH but not by much, it's better just to add them in the ratios that taste best.

                  Lactic Acid and Phosphoric acid can be added to the strike water, sparge, and mash to lower the pH.

                  There is also this 5.2 pH Mash Stabilizer made by Five Star but it gives inconsistent results based on varying water sources.

                  The best place to start is to read this book entitled Water, by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski.

                  Use this Excel Spreadsheet called Bru'n Water to calculate salt additions and buy a decent pH meter to dial in your pH with acid.

                  Hope this helps.


                  • #10
                    No mention of acid malt yet? We put 1-2% of it in anything 'light', most typically our Kolsch but also our lighter colored Belgians, along with some calcium chloride and calcium sulfate. Dark beers get sodium bicarbonate to raise the pH. Hoppy beers get a little magnesium sulfate too. We don't bother to acidify our sparge water, we've been getting acceptable final runnings pHs. Each and every beer gets its very own water profile, and pHs are checked at various points, recorded, and adjusted in the future accordingly.

                    Way too many breweries are crushingly ignorant of water and mash chemistry, and it's such an easy way to make your beer that much better! A copy of Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers, a good pH meter and a few 50lbs sacks of various minerals aren't much of an expense weighed against the improvement in your beer.
                    Russell Everett
                    Co-Founder / Head Brewer
                    Bainbridge Island Brewing
                    Bainbridge Island, WA


                    • #11
                      I've had good results with citric acid.

                      Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk
                      Eric Brandjes
                      Cole Street Brewery
                      Enumclaw, WA


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WaterEng
                        While mineralization with some calcium and magnesium salts can acidify the mash, that approach is far from ideal for mash pH adjustment. For many alkaline waters, the amount of the salts needed to adequately reduce pH can be excessive. Better beer is more typically made with less extreme water mineralization. Employing an actual acid is a more prudent approach. Solid or liquid acids or acid malt are alternatives.

                        Another consideration is that adding calcium and magnesium salts to the sparging water does not provide the same acidifying effect during the sparge, so those of you working with alkaline water supply can still incur pretty serious flaws in your beers from using high alkalinity sparging water. For this application, there is NO substitute for using either a solid or liquid acid to neutralize that high alkalinity.

                        Acid selection is important. Some acids are more 'flavorful' than others and you may end up affecting your beer flavor in undesirable ways when they are used in excess. Citric is definitely one of those acids that has a low taste threshold and may not be suited for waters with much alkalinity.

                        While I swear by 5 Star products, their 5.2 Stabilizer product is the closest thing I've ever seen with respect to snake oil. It does not do what it says it does. Proper water treatment is not available from a single treatment, mineral, or product. For best results, water treatment does have to vary for your various beer styles.

                        I agree. 5.2 stabilizer is garbage.


                        • #13
                          Mash pH

                          Acidulated malt of course can be used to lower PH as well but watch your percentages in the Grist. Too much adds tartness and even more with gum up your mash. The starting water alkalinity will determine percentages needed to achieve desired mash pH.
                          A combination can be used.
                          In many breweries Lactic acid bacteria is grown in wort and used to regulate mash pH and Wort/boil pH which is crucial in consistency of especially Pilsner styles for alpha acid isomerisation.
                          The German purity law did/does not allow pure phosphoric acid additions but since Lactic acid is naturally present on barley this method has been used as a work around for centuries.
                          I worked for the Swedish giants Spendrups and it was a real treat on a cold winters day to get to work and have a cup of warm lacto wort! Sooo yummy.
                          David Meadows
                          Brew House Technologist