Author Topic: Mash ph adjustments  (Read 2978 times)

Offline Roonvetti Brewery

  • BeerSmith New Brewer
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Mash ph adjustments
« on: January 15, 2018, 08:20:31 PM »
Hey everyone, I'm new to Beersmith and to all grain as well. We did our first all grain batch the other day on our new Robobrew setup. We brewed a Honey Ale  (Dubbed Robo Bee). We hit all of our numbers except the Mash ph which was 5.7. I used my water profile from Ward Labs and was matching one of Kal's Electric Brewery profiles. I set up 2 additions for salts one for mash and one for boil. Ok now my question is: I want my mash between 5.2-5.6, it estimated the ph to be 5.73 (which it was) and this was matching Kal's profile as best I could in the water tool. I had the tool auto calculate and I made minor adjustments to get closer. Should I do what ever I can to get the mash down into that 5.2-5.6 range or is the 5.73 not going to make that much of a difference? I was going to add on the fly to drop it but figured id leave it and learn from it.
Thanks for any Help

Offline GigaFemto

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 356
  • Muonic Matter Rocks!
Re: Mash ph adjustments
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 10:52:57 PM »
Welcome to BeerSmith! The software does a great job on many things, but water adjustments are a weak point. I would not recommend that anyone use the current version of BeerSmith to calculate water additions. For example, I know that the BeerSmith recommended amounts of acid malt or acids for adjusting pH are too high by a factor of 2-3. If you want a really good tool for calculating water modifications, use Bru'n Water (https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/) This is a spreadsheet that has a free version or a paid version (you choose how much to contribute for the paid version). It is a bit complicated to learn, but once you do it does an excellent job. After BeerSmith had me over-acidify my water several times I tried other tools, and have found Bru'n Water to give the best results. I still measure my mash pH but it is more of a confirmation than to make adjustments.

I have nothing to do with Bru'n Water and get no rewards for recommending it. I just want to let you know that BeerSmith is not that great a tool for this job and to point you to something much better.

--GF

Offline Oginme

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 3150
  • Goats, guitars, and a home brew; Life is good!
    • Longvu LaManchas
Re: Mash ph adjustments
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 05:53:03 AM »
At a 5.7 pH you should get decent conversion.  It may be optimized by bringing the pH down a bit lower, but you will still get conversion and a fermentable wort.

The mineral addition side of the BeerSmith water profile tool works fine.  I don't trust the acid or acidulated malt addition recommendations at all.  Since your mineral additions ended up matching what BeerSmith predicted, I'd say that it is working correctly for you.  The way the mineral additions work, being tied so directly to the water profile and not being adjustable once added to the recipe is a bit awkward and causes me a lot of deleting and re-adding of the water when even small changes are made to a recipe.

Your options at this point are to modify your mineral additions to bring your mash pH lower, make an addition of an acid to further lower the pH to your selected target, or just go with the flow.

If you decide to use an acid to lower the pH into the ideal range, do NOT go by BeerSmith's recommendations.  I would either use Bru'n water as GigaFemto suggested or add the acid slowly on your next batch giving each addition a good 10 minutes to mix before checking the pH again.  If you do this by trial and error, remember that the pH should always be measured at room temperature.
Recycle your grains, feed them to a goat!

Offline GigaFemto

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 356
  • Muonic Matter Rocks!
Re: Mash ph adjustments
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 10:21:30 AM »
While the BeerSmith mineral additions may work fine as far as they go, they do not include Calcium Hydroxide (pickling lime). My water is very low on calcium and I frequently add pickling lime to increase the calcium level without affecting sulfate or chloride levels. That requires me to use some other tool for mineral calculations as well as pH.

--GF