Water PH adjustment

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Semper Sitientem, Apr 12, 2020.

  1. Semper Sitientem

    Semper Sitientem Well-Known Member

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    I’ve recently started researching how to adjust my water chemistry, specifically the PH level. Most of my recipes require an adjunct to lower the PH. So, I bought so calcium chloride, but was wondering on when to add it. If I just look at the recipe builder, I would add it to the mash water, test after the mash and adjust if necessary. Does that sound logical?
     
  2. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    I think you're saying the same thing, but I'd express it as add the salts to the mash water, add the grains and test the pH 10 minutes after the mash has started and adjust at that point.

    Also pH adjusting is probably best done via acid, rather than calcium chloride or the other salts. Most of those salts can have a flavour impact on your beer. So while you definitely want to look at the calcium chloride as part of your water treatment, it's more for taste than pH adjustment. I'd suggest using either lactic acid, phosphoric acid or acidulated malt as the main approach to adjusting pH.

    You hit a problem with this if you're doing dark beers and you need to bring the pH up. At that point you probably want to look at pickling lime or similar.

    So for me there's three reasons for water adjustments:
    • getting the pH right for the mash (and some adjust later in the process to get the right pH for drinking)
    • getting the right trace elements in (or out) of the wort for mashing and fermentation (calcium for mash, maybe zinc for fermentation)
    • getting the salts in the right amounts/ratios for the taste I'm after.
    There's a bit of experimentation to say the points 1 & 2 are probably helpful, but if you pitch the right amount of healthy yeast they're less important. And more experimentation to say that the third point will definitely change the way you perceive your beer.
     

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