Hitting mash ph with grain only

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by Centiweasel, Sep 26, 2018.

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  1. Sep 26, 2018 #1

    Centiweasel

    Centiweasel

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    Hi everyone, this is my first post.
    I am preparing to make my first brew sometime over the next week and I’m hoping for it to be drinkable for a party I’m having on 10th November.
    I have got a 10 gallon pot and a burner so I am able to do a full volume biab and I have read the book by John Palmer.
    Now i have a question regarding the mash ph
    Basically how can I get the mash ph in range using only grain and speciality grains? Is there a ratio that I can use to work it out and that way not have to use acid or brewing salts?
    I was planning on using Tesco ash beck water,
    I have used the nomograph thing in John palmers book to try and aim for a beer colour that is suitable for the water but I don’t know what grains to choose to get the colour
    Thanks all
    Probably over thinking it for a first brew but I just a wanted to stick the grains in the water and not have to mess with ph meter and salts and acid

    Cheers every one for reading
     
  2. Sep 26, 2018 #2

    Ben034

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    Ashbeck water will work really well for pale beers and if you're brewing a pale beer, the mash PH should fall into the correct range with this water. If you are making anything darker, you may want to use a higher alkalinity water.

    To be honest, I wouldn't worry about mash PH on your first brew. It will only make a small difference and there are other areas such as sanitation and fermentation temperature that should be focused on. Good luck!
     
  3. Sep 26, 2018 #3

    Ben034

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  4. Sep 26, 2018 #4

    xozzx

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    I just used filtered tap water for my first 12 brews. Plenty to learn at the beginning before worrying about water treatment, Ive only just started playing about with the water for the last few brews. I started with pre-made all-grain kits from BrewUK then bought a malt mill and started buying grains in bulk and following recipes. I am now modifying / creating recipes and adjusting the water profiles, but Im glad I didnt start off doing these.

    I also started kegging (Keezer and corny kegs) which saves a huge amount of hassle with bottling, this I would recommend starting as early as possible, I hated bottling day!
     
  5. Sep 26, 2018 #5

    ITMA

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    +1 that you're overthinking. I've been brewing for a year and only now am I thinking about the water. I was advised that working on the water will give a 5% improvement, for your first brews you've got a lot of potential problem points that you need to lock in first. For me its been just tap water, not even a campden tablet.

    What made you choose the Ashbeck over your local tap water? (not a problem with that, just curious)

    Re the colour a recipe creator like Beersmith (http://beersmith.com/) will show you an estimated colour based on your grainbill. It's not at all accurate but it gives you a feel for what the different malts do.

    Good luck on the first brew!
     
  6. Sep 26, 2018 #6

    Zephyr259

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    I made both pale and dark beers with my water for over a year without even knowing what kind of water I had, assumed soft as I'm in Scotland, and I was right. Started doing water additions and my pH is always 0.2 - 0.3 lower than calculated but beer's still turn out fine. Might just alter my efficiency slightly but not noticed a trend. Just go for it and it'll likely be fine. Good luck.
     
  7. Sep 26, 2018 #7

    dan125

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    Ashbeck on its own is very soft, with only 10ppm Calcium, with isn't really enough for good mash efficiency - you want at least 50ppm (I use over 100ppm in most brews). Sulphate & choride is also very low unless you're making a lager
    If you know the water profile of your tap water it would probably be better to mix it with the Ashbeck, or you could add some gypsum/calcium chorlide to the Ashbeck to get it up to decent levels
     
  8. Sep 26, 2018 #8

    NIGHTSKY BREWING

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    Like Dan say,s you need to kick up you calcium sulphite level to make your hops shine..... for me the biggest tip I can give you is brewers make Wort.... Yeast makes Beer so learn about yeast... pitching rates... oxygen levels.... and then learn so more about saving the stuff.
    Cheers Matt.
     
  9. Sep 26, 2018 #9

    Ghillie

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    Agree with the others, forget about mash pH for now - it's literally the last thing to worry about for your first brew.

    FWIW though, lowering your mash pH is better achieved by using phosphoric acid or lactic acid. I chuck 7g of lactic acid in my mash (5kg pale malt and 300g caramalt) to get to 5.3. I know this because I used a the EZ water calculator; it's ace by the way. Very simple.

    Powdered lactic acid is cheaper to buy than acidulated malt. Acidulated malt lowers your mash pH because it contains lactic acid. So, it's win win for powdered lactic acid IMO.

    But, for you at this moment in time... First brew = tap water + simple recipe + don't keep opening your fermenter to look at your beer + sanitise everything + use a bottling bucket and bottling wand + let your bottles condition for 2 weeks and don't open them any sooner. Follow that formula and you should be grand :)
     
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  10. Sep 26, 2018 #10

    Centiweasel

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    hi again everyone
    thank you all for your replies
    the only reason i chose to use ashbeck water is because the mineral content is alredy avaliable.
    i believe that this is the mineral content for ashbeck
    Calcium 10ppm
    Magnesium 2.5ppm
    Sodium 9ppm
    Bicarbonate 25ppm
    Chloride 12ppm
    Sulfate 10ppm
    i have used these numbers on the nomograph that i mentioned earlier
    [​IMG]
    i am probably wrong but my understanding is that using base malt only would provide mash ph of just over 5.7
    then to get the ph into the 5.2-5.6 range i would need to add enough speciality malt turn the beer the same colour as on the suggested beer colour scale.
    and that way i could get away with using any salt additions or acids
    iv probably got it wrong tho so if any one would like to clarify this i would be grateful
    iv decided that i will just go for it and worry about this stuff later on
    calcium sulphate sounds like a good idea, how much should be added?
    iv have not yet looked at any water calculators and so im no sure how much to put in
    maybe this will be tomorrow job

    cheers again
     
  11. Sep 26, 2018 #11

    Centiweasel

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    i have just tried to look at the EZ water calculator buy my computer cant open the file
     
  12. Sep 26, 2018 #12

    ITMA

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    ^^^ What he said.

    I'm sure John Palmer's great but you're trying to start a PhD in Quantum Mechanics and you haven't even done a bit of Newton yet. Get brewing a simple recipe with your tap water.
     
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  13. Sep 26, 2018 #13

    Argentum

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    The Palmer nomographs are flat out incorrect, and this has been known for a number of years now.
     
  14. Sep 26, 2018 #14

    LeeH

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    A Murphys water report and their recommendations are simple to follow even for a beginner.

    Brew U.K. send you a pot and SAE for your sample.

    It made a considerable improvement over my first 3-4 AG batches.
     
  15. Sep 27, 2018 #15

    dan125

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    Yes making a porter or a stout might get you to the correct pH range, but on the nomograph you are way below the recommended range for calcium shown by the blue section of the line. On his website Palmer explains:

    Calcium (Ca+2)
    Brewing Range = 50-150 ppm.
    Calcium is the principal ion that determines water hardness and has a +2 charge. As it is in our own bodies, calcium is instrumental to many yeast, enzyme, and protein reactions, both in the mash and in the boil. It promotes clarity, flavor, and stability in the finished beer. Calcium additions may be necessary to assure sufficient enzyme activity for some mashes in water that is low in calcium.

    What kind of beer do you want to make? Is your tap water very hard?
     
  16. Sep 27, 2018 #16

    Argentum

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    Given your source water with no additional minerals added, and allowing for BIAB, and for keeping your various recipes starting gravities at between 10-12 Plato, and also painting with a very wide brush while doing this :beer1:, I figure that "in general" if you keep your final beer EBC's between roughly 15 and 45 you should mash at between 5.6 and 5.2 pH most of the time. If you shoot for 30 EBC (roughly 15 SRM) you should be quite safe on the mash pH front.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
  17. Sep 27, 2018 #17

    Argentum

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    The assumption that mashing a SMaSH brew using base malt only will give you a smidge more than 5.7 pH is highly incorrect. The DI_pH's (deionized water mash pH values) for various of the generally available low Lovibond (or EBC) base malts span from roughly 5.55 to 5.85 pH. Add to this the given alkalinity (or bicarbonate) of your chosen water, and for a decent quality Pilsner base malt you might just find yourself mashing at 5.9 pH (or perhaps a tad higher) with your water.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
  18. Sep 27, 2018 #18

    Ghillie

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    It will open with Microsoft Excel or Open Office Calc. If you use a Mac then you're own your own I'm afraid, no experience.
     
  19. Sep 29, 2018 #19

    Centiweasel

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    hi all, i wanted to thank every one for their replies and advice and i wanted to let you know that i have decided to take up
    Ghillie's advice with (First brew = tap water + simple recipe + don't keep opening your fermenter to look at your beer + sanitise everything + use a bottling bucket and bottling wand + let your bottles condition for 2 weeks and don't open them any sooner.)
    on that note i have been to a local shop and bought 5kg marris otter, 100g cascade (AA=8.2%) and safale-05 yeast
    and i plan to make a smash brew with these tomorrow using tap water,
    can i ask what would people recommend in regards to the mash temperature and hop additions timing?
    i am thinking hop wise a small amount for 60 mins and put the rest in during the last 10 mins

    finally Argentun said that the nomograph was entirely wrong, what is the most up to date information avaliable?
    i need some book recommendations

    thanks again every one
     
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  20. Sep 29, 2018 #20

    Zephyr259

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    Do you plan to use all 5kg malt and 100g hops? Is this a 23L batch? For my biters I go with a bittering addition at 60 mins, then 2 more at 15 min and 0 min, but this is with english hops for a bitter, the theory should work with cascade too but probably best with larger final additions and probably a dry hop.

    Rough maths in my recipe software, 5kg malt in 23L batch and 75% efficiency gives 1.052 original gravity, mashing at 65c give FG of 1.007 for 5.9% abv. Mashing at 72c gives FG 1.015 for 4.8% abv. So you can range between those 2 temps to adjust the abv more or less linearly, 67-68c is always a happy medium.

    Good luck.
     
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