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Thread: Mash pH all over the place for single batch

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Posts
    5

    Mash pH all over the place for single batch

    Today I decided to take three pH samples at different times during the mash while brewing 15BBL of porter (6.2% ABV) and the results are all over the place. All samples were cooled to 70*f. Not sure which reading is most important.

    The first sample I pulled was 15 mins after mashing in and the pH read at 5.32. (It took about 20 mins to mash in).
    Since I was shooting for closer to 5.45, I added some baking soda (amount adjusted from Brun Water software). Mixed the mash for about 15 mins and pulled another sample (but didn't measure because I didn't have time to cool the sample). I immediately started the mash out (no added water). Once the mash reached 172*f (about 40 mins later), I pulled another sample.

    Now I have the three samples in front of me:
    Sample 1 (pulled @15 mins): It now reads pH 5.49 (initially read 5.32 at the time the sample was pulled)
    Sample 2 (pulled @ 30 mins with added baking soda): It now reads pH 5.53
    Sample 3 (pulled just after mash out temp reached, just before vorlauf): It now reads pH 5.39.

    I'm not quite sure which of these readings is the most important. Any experienced advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Lexington, Virginia
    Posts
    74

    pH

    As you know the importance of the mash pH is for the enzyme activity for a better starch conversion into sugars, as well, it is influenced depending on the malts and amount of water used.

    In my opinion, if you take samples through out all phases is better to control all your process. For the mash pH we take it more or less at 15 minutes during the rest, will depend on your mash schedule.

    We take samples in all steps for each style of beer produced.

    Example:

    Mash pH 4.82
    First wort 5.28
    Last runnings 5.51
    Kettle full 5.27
    End of boil 5.12
    Knock out 5.04

    You can observed that as the wort is boiled and water is evaporated the pH will lower, also, it depends too if you add any other ingredients during this phases, like whirlpool hops or add sugars to the boil, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    1,971

    Check the calibration....

    Cheap pH meters that aren't calibrated correctly are the bulk of perceived problems in measurements. So be sure that you can trust the numbers you get. Fausto has some pretty typical numbers, but not sure how first runnings of 5.28--rising during the sparge to a last runoff of 5.51--would ever reach 5.27 for kettle full. IMO, chasing the pH for 0.1 "gain" just to hit some arbitrary target by using baking soda is a waste of time. Use your local water, grains of choice, mash times and temperatures to craft a schedule that makes great beer. If you have high levels of dark malt, your pH will likely be lower. High levels of wheat or other adjuncts will tend to raise pH. Using acidulated malt may help lower pH in the latter. Keeping the pH low enough to prevent tannin extraction is a main concern. Otherwise, my opinion is to work with what you have and use salts only when you can prove that they help your beer taste better.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Lexington, Virginia
    Posts
    74

    Kettle Full pH

    Quote Originally Posted by gitchegumee View Post
    Fausto has some pretty typical numbers, but not sure how first runnings of 5.28--rising during the sparge to a last runoff of 5.51--would ever reach 5.27 for kettle full.
    In the example presented above, I did not included the specific gravity in each step, which will help clarify how the Kettle Full can reach a pH of 5.27 after sparging.

    First Wort / 19.1 °P / 5.28 pH
    Last Runnings / 2.7 °P / 5.51 pH
    Kettle Full / 14.0 °P / 5.27 pH

    We brew on a 120 BBL system, so the FW sample is collected at around 20 BBL with no sparging water added, the LR sample is collected almost ending the lautering process more or less after collecting 120 BBL, during this process, sparge water has been added three times. Once the lautering process is done and all the wort is at the Wort Kettle vessel, the KF sample is taken.

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