Experience with Mash Stabilizer 5.2? Or reducing pH with lactic acid?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Michael_biab, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Michael_biab

    Michael_biab Member

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    I'm an experienced brewer who now has done about a dozen or so all-grain Brew In A Bag (BIAB) batches with decent results using a known local municipal water source (Columbus, Ohio). To improve things further, I've recently started tracking my target mash pH using Brewer's Friend. I see that I need to try to lower mash pH for most ales that I brew.

    I purchased lactic acid from my local home brew store (a beer/wine retailer), but it came without instructions on how much to add and how much that will lower pH by. And the staff haven't a clue. Anyway, is there a way to enter lactic acid on Brewer's Friend to calculate my target mash pH? I also have 5 Star Chemicals' Mash Stabilizer 5.2. Anyone have experience with this product? I have experience with adjusting minerals to my water (through gypsum, sodium chloride, etc.) but is this a problem while using the Mash Stabilizer 5.2? I've read some things that suggest Mash Stabilizer may have such "salts" in it already. Anyone have experience with this? Thanks in advance -- I'm getting a bit confused on how best to hit the right pH!
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Wow, not an easy question. How much the acid will reduce the mash pH? Without titration, you don't know but you can estimate with the water calculator on this site and then adjust on the fly, my procedure for adjusting pH. If it's within 0.2 points of 5.4, you're fine. I wouldn't use the Mash Stabilizer and additional salts/acids - you have no idea what's in the stuff! I've never used the stabilizer, no need to. I just use the water calculator here, add salts and acids as needed, and brew pretty good beer. Next step for me is a RO filter so I can build the water up from zero.
     
  3. ACBEV

    ACBEV Active Member

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    I use phosphoric acid (80%) to adjust my water PH (down). Wouldn't use what your using! I also use a digital PH tester, very useful.

    My house water isn't good for beer brewing and is not consistent, so I buy 25L supermarket water and add around 10L tap water. Then I adjust the PH of my brewing water.

    At one time I did a load of research into water chemistry for this and that type of beer, But I came to the conclusion, for me it was to much hassle.

    What I do works for me and very nice beer ends up in my glass.
     
    Trialben and Mase like this.
  4. Gledison

    Gledison Active Member

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    First of all you will need to know your current mash pH. (with a paper indicator or digital phmeter). In case you are too high in pH, I would sugest to add lactic acid in steps of 1mL for each 5 liter mash volume. stir it and measure it after each adition until you reach the pH you want. The Stabilizer 5.2 seems to be a buffer solution which is probably based on phosphoric acid. Follow the instruction in the package.:)
    Normally I start with a pH of ca 6.5 and I have to add 2mL to reach 5.2
    hope it helps
     
  5. Michael_biab

    Michael_biab Member

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    Thanks for everyone's thoughts! I think I'm definitely leaning towards not using the stuff especially if my recipe tells me I'm expecting to be close to the ideal range and the pH papers tell me I'm in the right ballpark on actual brew day.
     
  6. ACBEV

    ACBEV Active Member

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    Micheal I think your doing the right thing, by not mucking about to much.

    My best advice with PH is to test your brewing water PH and then test your mash PH. Bare in mind that darker malts are more acid and will have a greater effect on mash PH.

    With pale beers I like my brewing water PH to be around 5.7 - 5.8. Dark beers 6.0 or so.

    Keep a log
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    At a beginner-stage, the only water adjustment I'd recommend is dechlorinating.
     
  8. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    I;ve been told that 5.2 stabilizer works every single time, but there's a lot of stuff in it, and sometimes stuff you don't necessarily don't want or need in your water. So, Lactic Acid is a good way to go.
     
  9. jackbrew

    jackbrew New Member

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    You can control ph with grist ratio in your mash. Less water to grain means lower ph. So if you just mash a Little thicker and sparge more.... of course final beer ph is a different story.
     
  10. Myndflyte

    Myndflyte Active Member

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    Unfortunately there is no easy way to determine how much lactic acid to add because, if you're using tap water, the ion concentrations could change with the seasons, different beers will affect pH differently and all these things will change the buffering capacity of the water. So it's sort of just trial and error.

    I also agree with not using 5.2 stabilizer. You just don't know what's in it.
     

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