Persistent hot break?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Ward Chillington, Jun 14, 2021.

  1. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2018
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    1,721
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    South Central Pennsylvania
    So I brewed a porter today and this brew had a constant head of foam over it like I never got past the hot break! Every now and then I would see some bubbling wort but for the most part the wort was covered with foam. What the heck happened here?
    The grain bill was 9 pounds of 2 row Pils, 12 ounces of Black Malt and 8 ounces of Carapils
    My mashing temp started at 157° and ended at 154°
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    10,176
    Likes Received:
    11,442
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pest control tech
    Location:
    Palmwoods QLD
    Crazy shoit man that's weird never had nothing like that. Sometimes I'll have some break material hanging out in one section near the edge that I stir back in but not persistent. Cool
     
  3. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Home Page:
    Proteins tend to best coagulate and floc (stick together in clumps and thereby become large enough to drop out of solution and also become visible) when their environment's pH approaches their average 'isoelectric' point. This is the point at which they are by and large their most charge neutral. Since like charges repel, Wort proteins can only 'best' clump when neutrally charged. This point is generally accepted as about pH 4.9. Below this pH most proteins are net positively charged, and above it most are net negatively charged. Wort at a room temperature measured 5.1-5.2 pH will be at about 4.9 pH when at full rolling boil temperature.

    I speculate that if you never saw a hot break, your boil temperature measured pH never approached 4.9. Which infers that your room temperature measured pre-boil Wort pH was (for a Porter) likely too low. And ditto that your mash pH was likely too low. Alternately, too much alkalinity was added (or was perhaps present from the onset, and never addressed) and your boil pH was too high.
     
  4. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Home Page:
    I believe flocculants such as Irish Moss (Carrageenan) or Whirlfloc are negatively charged. Opposite charges attract. If you got a good cold break this would support that your pH during the boil was too low.
     
    Blackmuse likes this.
  5. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,038
    Likes Received:
    1,156
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Electrician (Previously a 6th grade Teacher)
    Location:
    Maine
    Home Page:
    Way to be nerdy yet easy to understand! Awesome read!
    - My water has a pH of 6.5 naturally - so even with this malt bill and no mineral/salt additions I would still only have a pH of 5.6 or so. This in turn would not be "too low" but possibly on the cusp of "too high" ? The question for @Ward Chillington then would be did you adjust your water at all? How did you adjust pH if at all?

    @Silver_Is_Money - am I following your reasoning?
     
  6. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Home Page:
    #6 Silver_Is_Money, Jun 14, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
    It's close! My reasoning at its most simple is that it is wise to enter the boil at a room temperature measured pH of ~5.2. I fully agree that at a "boil-step entry pH" of 5.6 one will not reach a pH of 5.2 post boil and cooling without the assistance of additional acid added pre-boil or during the boil (whereas if added 'during', this must be not later than with 10 minutes of boil remaining, and certainly before adding Irish Moss or Whirlfloc, both of which work best if they are seeing 5.1-5.2 pH [as measured at room temp.]).

    A Porter or Stout with (likely exceedingly) robust loads of deep roasted and/or caramel/crystal malts in the grist may enter the boil at as low as perhaps a room temperature measured pH of 4.9, or perhaps even approach 4.8 in some exceedingly rare instances (of which I can only recall one that I trust to be accurate). At the temperature of the boil this would become about 4.5-4.6 pH, which would fall below the isoelectric point of many proteins, meaning they will be positive charged, and they will repel (and remain in solution) rather than coagulate and floc.

    Edit: We homebrewers do not have pH meters capable of reading at boil temperature. But as an aside, a lesson to be learned here is that pH is what it is. If you could afford a pH meter capable of reading pH at ballpark 212 degrees F., and it indicates 4.9 pH, that is de-Facto the actual pH. That the same sample may happen to read ~5.2 pH at room temperature, means only that the actual pH at room temperature is 5.2. Both are actual (as in real and factual and honest) pH's for the very same Wort. But what they most emphatically are NOT is the 'same' pH in terms of acidity.

    10^−4.9 ÷ 10^−5.2 = 1.9953, and therefore a pH of 4.9 is twice as acidic as a pH of 5.2.
     
    Megary likes this.
  7. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Home Page:
    An interesting experiment would be to see if pre-boil Wort when cooled to room temperature and carefully acidified to pH 4.9 exhibits any signs of room temperature protein flocculation (when no Irish Moss or Whirlfloc, etc..., have been added). This may indicate whether or not what we refer to as 'hot break' flocculation is due solely to achieving ballpark 4.9 Wort pH alone, or if at boil temperature additional things (such as, among other possibilities, protein molecule bond breaking/cleavage) are also taking place.
     
  8. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2018
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    1,721
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    South Central Pennsylvania
    #8 Ward Chillington, Jun 15, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2021
    My mash and wort pH reading at room temp were both in the 5.5 range which from what I understand is on target for a dark beer like porter and that was in line with a paper strip against my digital meter (5.56). If I am recalling correctly, I think my source for beer pH is from one of Jamil Zainasheff's podcasts where mash pH for light beer is supposed to be 5.3 to 5.5 and dark is 5.4.to 5.6.


    No Blackmise, no adjustments, 6.6 out of the well and now as I noodle through what else may have created this reaction, I did use a new new RV filter. I flushed it for about 5 minutes before collecting water, nothing new. The sweet wort out of the tun tasted fine, nice and sweet, the post boiled and hopped wort was typically bittered so as I am thinking more about this and taking Silver's pH reasoning out of it, there had to be something that the new filter was bringing to the boil. The Irish moss didn't change much either.
     
    Trialben likes this.
  9. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    10,176
    Likes Received:
    11,442
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pest control tech
    Location:
    Palmwoods QLD
    Well will be interesting how well this beer clears which will be hard to see with this style.
     
  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    4,255
    Likes Received:
    3,644
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Are you sure it wasn't just a really strong roiling boil? Cause continuous hot break seems really odd.
     
  11. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2018
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    1,721
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    South Central Pennsylvania
    Yeah, very sure on that, In fact I was thinking that I was not going to have enough gas to make it though the session let alone the boil! I'll be botteling this weekend,,,man I love that kveik! Stay tuned!
     
    Hawkbox likes this.
  12. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    4,255
    Likes Received:
    3,644
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Did you ever get a proper boil then? I've found the hot break can hang around for quite a while if I only get a very light boil going.
     
    Silver_Is_Money likes this.
  13. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2018
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    1,721
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    South Central Pennsylvania
    Yes. From time to time the foam would drop down and I could see taat I did have boil action.
     
  14. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    4,255
    Likes Received:
    3,644
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Weird. I'm committing to my idea you just never got your boil strong enough to clear it up but that's entirely based on guessing.
     
  15. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Home Page:
    #15 Silver_Is_Money, Jun 22, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
    The waters initial pH of 6.5 is actually of little (to approaching no) import or significance. Alkalinity combined with mineralization is the name of the game. At pH 6.5 you might have appreciable Alkalinity. Do you know the ppm Alkalinity of your mash and sparge waters, as well as the mash waters ppm Calcium and ppm Magnesium? What is the grain bill, and what is the mash water volume? Did you properly acidify your sparge water to pH 5.4-5.6 to reduce its Alkalinity? Was any Baking Soda or acid added to the mash water, or the mash directly, and if so, how much?
     
  16. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Home Page:
    #16 Silver_Is_Money, Jun 22, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
    Alkalinity (exclusively in the form of the HCO3- Bicarbonate ion for pH 6.5) is a strong buffer against pH drop. If you add a single drop of 88% Lactic Acid to 5 gallons of good quality RO or Distilled water its pH will likely plunge into the 4's or perhaps lower on first presumption (OK, guess). But with Alkalinity present it may take many drops to potentially several mL's of the same acid, depending upon the ppm (or more properly, the mEq) measure of the Alkalinity. At pH 4.3 the Bicarbonate ion is completely eliminated. At pH 5.4 you will have eliminated ~90% of your waters initial Alkalinity.
     
    Megary likes this.
  17. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Home Page:
    #17 Silver_Is_Money, Jun 22, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
    Attempting to predict the pH of 5 gallons of amazingly good distilled or perfectly deionized water with a TDS of zero when 1 drop of 88% Lactic Acid is added.

    Knowns:
    88% Lactic Acid is 11.78 Molar = 11.78 moles/L
    Lactic Acid is 'effectively' monoprotic with respect to pH's below 7

    False presumptions for the aid of initial simplicity:
    Lactic Acid fully dissociates at pH 4-5(ish)
    10 drops of 88% Lactic Acid = 1 mL
    Our water is perfectly deionized

    How many liters are there in one drop:
    1/10 = mL = 0.1
    0.1 mL/1000 = 0.0001 L

    How many moles are there in one drop?
    0.0001 L x 11.78 moles/L = 0.001178 moles

    When this drop is added into 5 gallons of water, how many moles/L are there?
    0.001178 moles / (5 Gal. x 3.7854 L/Gal.) = 0.000062239 moles/L

    pH = -log(molar concentration) [for the case of monoprotic and full dissociation]

    Therefore:
    pH = -log(0.000062239) = 4.206 pH

    However, we know that at pH 4.3 Lactic Acid is only 73.4% dissociated, so to improve upon our guess:
    Actual molar H+ = 0.734 x 0.000062239 = 0.000045683 moles/L
    pH = -log(0.000045683) = 4.34 pH

    But we know that our RO or distilled water isn't likely to exhibit a TDS of a perfect zero, so in the real world our measured pH will be a smidge higher than 4.34 due to the buffering of some minuscule amount of remaining Alkalinity.

    Call it pH 4.36 as our final guess, provided that 10 drops = 1 mL
     
  18. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Home Page:
    For perspective:

    Per Ward Labs my (abysmal) 7.7 pH well water has 377 ppm Alkalinity. If acid reduced to pH 6.5 it would still have ~220 ppm Alkalinity. And at pH 5.4 it still has ~34 ppm Alkalinity.
     
  19. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Home Page:
    OK, some may be thinking that their distilled water measures about 5.8 pH to begin with (due to the absorption of CO2 from the air). So if we revisit our 1 drop of 88% Lactic Acid in 5 gallons of distilled water pH prediction:

    10^-5.8 = 0.000001585 molar H+ ion [due to carbonic acid from CO2 + H2O = H2CO3]

    Adding this to our previous determination of 0.000045683 molar H+ ion, we get:
    0.000045683 + 0.000001585 = 0.000047268 molar H+

    pH = -log(0.000047268) = 4.325 pH [assuming initially perfectly deionized water, contaminated with only CO2]

    In the end you will hardly notice the difference vs. a presumption of an initial pH 7.
     
  20. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Home Page:
    #20 Silver_Is_Money, Jun 22, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
    If you sparge, some rule of thumb advice is to never sparge with water that has greater than ~25 ppm Alkalinity.

    500 ppm Alkalinity water will have ~50 ppm of remaining Alkalinity after being acidified to pH 5.4.

    250 ppm Alkalinity water will have ~25 ppm of remaining Alkalinity after being acidified to pH 5.4.

    125 ppm Alkalinity water will have ~12.5 ppm of remaining Alkalinity after being acidified to pH 5.4.

    Etc.... (there is some variability here, thus the ~, but it isn't generally a lot)

    After my 377 ppm Alkalinity well water is passed through my under the kitchen sink RO unit it still tests at ~26 ppm Alkalinity. It also drops from ~750 TDS to ~46 TDS.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white