Mash pH Question

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Craigerrr, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Since I have been using RO water and making my water additions I have found that my actual mash pH has been consistently 20 to 25 points lower than what the calculator predicts, so I am wondering if I have my water calculator settings correct or not.
    What I have been doing is adding my water agents to the full volume of water in the batch, so the mash and sparge water are the same profile.
    The example below is a Black IPA. Due to the dark malts pH came in at 5.19, which is why I have added the baking soda.

    Am I doing this right?
    Should I treat the mash water only, and leave the sparge water as straight RO?

    I feel like a good scientist when I hit my mash temperature, my volumes are spot on, and my gravity readings are close to if not bang on target.

    I currently feel like a bad scientist with my water chemistry not getting my expected pH readings.

    Water Volume.JPG
    Water Profile.JPG
    Water Additions.JPG
    Mash Report.JPG
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I add my salts to the mash only and treat the mash water with acid at the same time to lower the ph, then treat the sparge water separately with acid to lower it to around 5.4-5.6
     
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  3. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for posting,
    Are you starting with RO water?
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    what you start with doesn't mater but you need the ph and the starting levels of the RO water, its not 0 and the ph can be 5 to7
     
  5. KC

    KC Active Member

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    What pH meter are you using, how old is the probe, when was it last calibrated, what temp was it calibrated at, what temp are you testing at, and how long are you allowing the readings to stabilize?

    Long question, point being inexpensive pH meters can easily produce inaccurate readings.
     
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  6. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Just to add to what KC said, Expensive pH meters can also produce inaccurate readings if not maintained properly and calibrated often.
     
  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys
    PH meter is only a few months old, I calibrated it at room temperature before my last brew, and cooled the mash sample before testing it.

    What I am wondering is if I have my settings correct in the water calculator.
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I would cut back on the salt, the rest is fine
     
  9. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Thank you

    I'm okay with the water profile, what I am struggling with is that my actual mash pH consistently ends up being roughly 20 points lower than what the water calculator predicts. I am pretty confident that my pH meter is giving accurate readings...

    Wondering if someone could look at how I have things set up, notice that boxes that are unchecked.
     
  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Not sure, I more or less stopped tracking PH because it was a pain and use the city water readings and math to level them. I put all my acids and salts in the mash and don't do anything to the sparge personally.
     
  11. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    If by 20 points you mean .20, that's pretty darn good for any calculator IMO. I shoot for 5.4 just for that reason. It gives you wiggle room in either direction while still being in range. Knowing that you consistently have the same difference allows you to make that adjustment with confidence that you'll hit your target.

    I doubt seriously if any of us could tell the difference between 2 beers with a mash pH difference of twice that and within a reasonable range.
     
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  12. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Bob
     
  13. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    What he said. What I do to avoid trying to get perfect balance on salts is balance my chloride and sulphate to the type of beer I'm looking for then in acid additions for mash set the ph I want which is 5.4 most of the time. This usually keeps me well within .1 of my target ph. I have alkalinity to deal with too but by specifying your target ph could work with ro also.
     
  14. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all of the input, much appreciated as always folks!
     
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  15. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Nothing like going down the rabbit hole.
     
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  16. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I chose to get into water chemistry because my city water has A) chloramine in it and B) we have 3 sources so I can't count on a consistent water profile to work from. Once I educated myself, it is actually pretty simple. I am still learning as I go mind you, but predictable water has improved my results considerably.
     
  17. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    The meter should be calibrated each brewday, shortly before using it. If it was calibrated, say, a week ago, the reading is not reliable enough to be usable.
     
  18. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Yooper, I calibrated it yesterday for brew day today. Making myself a liar too, pH come is a little higher than predicted today. Most likely due to the fact that the black malt was supposed to be a late mash addition, but I had the LHBS mill it all up together doh!
     
  19. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Next time, calibrate it right before using, and you'll be far more accurate. Unless you leave out the dark grains that are in the projection that is! :)
     
  20. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Dark grains would lower pH: They're acidic.
     

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