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pH

merleti

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I'm trying to use the pH calculator to adjust my pH. It is telling me to use 555.2 mL of phosphoric acid 10% for 12lbs of grain in 5 gals of water with a starting pH of 8 to reach 5.3. This seems like a lot of acid. What could I be doing wrong. Thank you for your help in advance.
 

Oginme

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Export the recipe as a .bsmx file and post it if you want a specific answer.  Other than that, I would guess that your water is extremely buffered or, most likely, you have something entered in (or not entered in) to the software improperly.  Without being able to look at your recipe information, profiles, and application data, it is impossible to be more specific.
 

merleti

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I did not use it in a recipe. I used the Mash pH tools. The bicarb I left at 0.
 

merleti

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Ahhh. With the pH not being in the water profile I moved to the mash tool.  Leave out the grain and it is looks much better.
If you are trying to match a water profile why wouldn't the pH adjustment be in the profile section?
 

Oginme

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So what did you use for the measured pH value?  This is an adjustment tool for after you have doughed in and want to make an adjustment to the mash pH.  The tool is responding to the difference between the pH reading and target, and modulating that value based upon the volume being treated and the buffering components in the water (grain, bicarbonate). 

Did you perhaps put the water pH of 8 in the box that is labeled 'measured mash pH'?

 

Oginme

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merleti said:
Ahhh. With the pH not being in the water profile I moved to the mash tool.  Leave out the grain and it is looks much better.
If you are trying to match a water profile why wouldn't the pH adjustment be in the profile section?

If you are trying to match a water profile for a given recipe to make an adjustment for the mash pH, why would you not make the necessary adjustments within the recipe? 
 

merleti

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I was trying to use the mash calculator to know how much phosphoric acid to use in the recipe for correcting the water profile. It is the only spot I saw to use a a calculator for the pH. I made the mistake by putting in a value for the grain. A habit of trying to fill in all the blanks.
 

Oginme

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I guess I am still not following.  What are you trying to correct in the water profile?  The water pH?  The pH of the water is meaningless when it comes down to the effect the ions in the water have on mash pH.  You will do more to negatively affecting the ability to predict the mash pH if you have a high Ca++ concentration, as the phosphoric acid will precipitate as Calcium phosphate changing the water profile you were trying to accomplish.
 

merleti

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My thinking is if you are trying to match a water profile why would you not adjust the pH as well?
I've read several article of people adjusting their pH before they mash in. They are adjusting to a 6-6.4 range and letting the grain do the rest. One less adjustment to do during brewing.
Am I going about this the wrong way? I tend to always be out of the box so lay it on me if I am thinking wrong.
 

merleti

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"The pH of the water is meaningless when it comes down to the effect the ions in the water have on mash pH."
I hear you. So all that talk about adjustment to recreate water profiles on pH is not needed?
 

BOB357

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Not exactly. Building a water profile and making final adjustments to mash pH are two different steps. First, you must have an accurate source water profile saved which includes pH. Next you need to create a recipe. After adding your hops and grains, hit the add water button and select your source water. Following that, you go to the water tab and apply the desired water profle, and finally, you adjust the pH as needed in the mash tab..

The ions in the water will influence the pH, as will the makeup of the grist.  That's why you complete the recipe and apply the salt additions in the water profile before adjusting mash pH. 

You can't get to where you want to go without knowing where you started and following the proper path.

The calculator is a tool to get you into the ball park. Without a quality pH meter that's the best you can expect. As with any calculator, the more accuraet the inputs are, the more accurate the outputs will be. One last thing, it's best to aim for the mid point for mash pH, or about 5.4. This will leave room for error in either direction.
 

merleti

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" First, you must have an accurate source water profile saved which includes pH."

This is the step that I am trying to do. I do not see where it gives you any info on how to adjust your pH to match your water profile. The mash pH is the only spot I found for a pH calculator. Where should I be looking?
 

Oginme

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Good explanation by BOB357.  Here is the thing.  When 'matching' a water profile, you want to match the concentration of the ionic species as closely as you can.  Of the attributes the water profile you are matching has, the most malleable and transient is pH.  The ONLY thing the pH of a water tells us as brewers is the form the Carbonate ions are in solution. 

Carbonate takes several forms in water:  (CO3--) <--> (HCO3-) <--> (H2CO3)

The ratio of the forms in the water is determined by the pH of the water.  Carbonate ions are important in that they determine the pH buffering capacity of the water (the ability of the water to resist change in pH), but the forms specific to the pH of the target water is so very minor that not one water profile model bothers to worry about it.  The real important criteria in matching the profile is the concentration of the Carbonate ions and not the form they have at a given pH.  The water pH itself IS NOT IMPORTANT TO THE BUFFERING CAPACITY NOR THE RESULTANT MASH pH which is what we are trying to predict and control.

This is why you are having a hard time figuring out how to adjust it, no one really bothers because it really does not matter!

 

BOB357

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merleti said:
" First, you must have an accurate source water profile saved which includes pH."

This is the step that I am trying to do. I do not see where it gives you any info on how to adjust your pH to match your water profile. The mash pH is the only spot I found for a pH calculator. Where should I be looking?


If you go into Water in the ingredients menu and click on the Add Water button, which looks like a droplet, a window will come up that allows you to enter all of the relevant information from your water report in the left column. Give this Water Profile a name and click the OK box at the bottom to save. This is your source water which you will select when you hit the add water button in the design window. Once you have done this it will automatically be incorporated in the water profile you select.
 

merleti

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BOB357 and Oginme thank you for your help and explanation.  I get it. I just wanted to make sure I was doing everything right. After read that a couple of breweries were adjusting their pH before the mash I thought I was missing something. I just gotta stop reading and worrying so much.
 

Oginme

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Glad to be of some help.  When breweries or other home brewers are adding acid to the water, it is usually because their experience has already indicated that they will need the acid to overcome the alkalinity of their water or to help dial in the mash pH based upon using a lot of light colored malts.  Some of this can be predicted by several of the water adjustment spreadsheets available in addition to BeerSmith, but I caution against making drastic moves without a definitive pH measurement to react to.  pH prediction is really only as accurate as the information which is fed into them, and right now few of them are able to account for the wide variety of base malts available around the world.  This leads to a starting pH from the grains which already is only accurate within a 0.3 pH unit range (based upon current testing of base malts in DI water). 
 
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