Does carrageenan raise pH?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Finn B, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Finn B

    Finn B Member

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    When I measure pH in the cooled wort before pitching, I find that it is higher than it was when I measured it towards the end of the boil. It is maybe about as much as 0.2 higher. That's pretty annoying, and I don't understand why it should happen. One possible answer - which I actually find hard to believe - is that it's caused by the Supermoss I'm adding 5 minutes before end of boil.

    Any thought on this?

    NB. I always measure cooled samples.
     
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  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I think we determined that WhirlFloc has an impact on PH but I don't know about Supermoss. Seems possible.
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Whirlfloc, definitely, but it's not the carrageenan, it's the baking soda it's bound with. You could find out: Take a sample of your supermoss, boil it for a few minutes in distilled water. Take the pH before and after. I've never used the product before but it looks a lot like Whirlfloc.
     
  4. Finn B

    Finn B Member

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    Supermoss is carrageenan mixed with glucose (dextrose, corn sugar). I don't know what glucose will do to the pH of distilled water, but I doubt it would matter much in wort. It shouldn't be hard to test it anyway. Next brew I'll take a sample just before I add the Supermoss, then one at flameout, and finally one as I drain the kettle after cooling.

    If it has got anything to do with the carrageenan, it's probably not the carrageenan itself. Maybe it's related to the effect of it's taking out proteins?

    I'm not a chemist, but at times I really wish I were - or that I had one at hand that I could ask:).
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Glucose is neutral in pH - it won't contribute (or absorb) any hydrogen ions. You may be onto something with the protein: Carrageenan is negatively charged, meaning it will attract positively charged ions. That should raise the pH, It's such a popular additive, I'm sure there must be some research out there....
     
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  6. Finn B

    Finn B Member

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    #6 Finn B, Aug 11, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
    That sounds like a reasonable possible explanation, but I'm afraid it's wrong, as is my whole idea that carrageenan is the cause of what happens to my readings. I finally did find some reasearch on this, here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/j.2050-0416.1995.tb00860.x . On p. 188: Preliminary experiments also established that addition of copper finings to wort did not significantly alter cold wort pH(TableI 1).

    Searching the net, I found a few others posting questions about the same problem. No good answers, though most suggesting that there might be something wrong with the pH meter. I'm sure that's not the case here. I use the meter several times throughout the process, and when it doesn't give me any readings outside of what I would expect until that last one, I don't think there's any reason to suspect that it is something wrong with it.

    I'm really not sure what to think. If this is a real problem, it's strange that it isn't recognized. But I guess most people don't take readings post boil. If you take a preboil reading, you should expect around 0,2 below that when the boil is done, according to theory. So why bother? Then it also seems to be a widespread belief that the yeast will take the pH down to the right level anyway. And if you read Palmer - which I generally think is a good idea - he tells you that the mash pH will set up the pH for the rest of the process.

    I don't think any of these assumptions are correct. Monitoring pH as the brew progresses has taught me it's not at all that straightforward.
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. Problem is nothing should happen in the boil to increase wort pH, Whirlfloc excepted. I wonder if the OP added chalk to the kettle - that would increase the pH. I was grasping at straws with the positively charged protein idea. I'd seen the same effects sometimes, others not. Curious.
     
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  8. Finn B

    Finn B Member

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    A late addition of chalk might cause something like this, as it's effect might be a bit delayed, but no, I haven't done that.
     
  9. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I regularly add whirlfloc to my wort, I take ph readings at the beginning of the boil, adjust the ph with phosphoric acid and at the end of the boil I take another ph reading. Most time the ph remains stable throughout the boil. I do not see any impact on ph when adding whirlfloc. I have never found any information that whirlfloc contains baking soda. Why would a manufacturer add an a ingredient that would thwart the efforts of the brewer to control ph? This product is widely used by pros and homebrewers without any problems

    Ph can change during the boil, but most times it drops throughout the boil, a .2 point raise is a lot. If you believe it raises the ph then change to Irish moss, I have never had good luck with super moss.
     
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  10. Finn B

    Finn B Member

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    No, I have now ascertained that carrageenan does not raise pH, and I'm sure the glucose don''t. So there must be some other explanation.

    Supermoss works fine for me. I add it just five minutes before end of boil, as newer research indicates that a longer boil will make processed carrageenan less effective. Irish Moss - which isn't processed the same way, but just dried, or so it seems - should be added 10 minutes before end of boil, according to the same source. (Sorry, I don't have that source now.)
     
  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yep I've read the same somewhere I add whirlflock @ 5mins too .
     
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  12. Finn B

    Finn B Member

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    It's nice to have it confirmed from others:).
     
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  13. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I add whirlfloc between 5-10 minutes, it denatures if it's kept too long in the boil.

    I'm like you and I watch the pH throughout the boil, I don't remember it going up much at all during the boil, mostly down slightly. It's hard to raise pH in the wort without adding sodium bicarbonate or pickling lime (calcium hydroxide), but that can be heavy handed, plus sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) adds sodium. Not sure what your seeing.
     
  14. Finn B

    Finn B Member

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    I'm rather perplexed. What happens in the mash is always very predictable, so it can't be my pH meter, because then I would get these strange readings during the mash as well. Oh well - as long as the beer tuns out OK ... but I would still very much like to know why it happens.
     

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