When to check mash pH?

(That's water to the rest of us!) Beer is about 95% water, so if you want to discuss water treatment, filtering etc this is the place to do it!
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Troutman47
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When to check mash pH?

Post by Troutman47 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:58 am

I know, 15 mins after the start of the mash! Right?

But today, I've changed the way I do things.

I've now an HLT that I can fill with all the liquor required for brew day so decided to treat all the liquor using Graham's water addition calculator on here.

I checked the mash pH after 15 mins, 5.8!
But then I thought, I've only put 13l of treated water in and still have 25l left for the sparge.

So should the mash pH be checked in the boiler after all the liquor has gone through the grain?

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jubby
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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by jubby » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:24 am

No, check the ph as you were at around 15 mins. If you're adding calcium to the HLT, it's very difficult to get it to disolve so most of it ends up on the bottom of the HLT. I would measure and add the calcium for 13l of liquor to the mash which will lower the ph.

Nick
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Drinking: Mrs Moore's No.90, Mr Nick's East India IPA v2 USA.
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Troutman47
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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by Troutman47 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:46 am

Ah, yea, good point!
So does that go for calcium sulphate and calcium chloride?

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jubby
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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by jubby » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:50 am

Yes, either calcium would be better added directly to the mash. I tend to add the remaining calcium to the boil rather than the HLT although some will say it's required for the sparge.
Mr Nick's Brewhouse.

Thermopot HLT Conversion

Drinking: Mrs Moore's No.90, Mr Nick's East India IPA v2 USA.
Conditioning: Wedding Ale.
FV:
Planned: Some other stuff.
Ageing: Mr Nick's East India IPA v3 First Gold.

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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by Aleman » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:47 am

jubby wrote:If you're adding calcium to the HLT, it's very difficult to get it to disolve so most of it ends up on the bottom of the HLT.
Rubbish! While calcium sulphate can be difficult to get to dissolve, especially if you already have a reasonable amount of calcium in the water, it's difficult to prevent calcium chloride dissolving. Indeed left exposed to air it turns into a puddle of liquid calcium chloride with ease.

Calcium sulphate has a solubility of 2.3g per litre at 20C, a lot of people make the mistake of trying to add all of the calcium sulphate to a small qty of water and wonder why it doesn't dissolve, basically because you have exceeded the solubility. The other feature of calcium sulphate that catches people out is that it is less soluble as temperature increases, so using hot or boiling water doesn't work.

Personally I treat both batches of water separately, around 2/3 of my calcium addition goes in the mash liquor, then I add the remaining 1/3 directly to the boiler before starting to run off.

But check mash pH as you are doing 10-15 minutes into the mash, and keep it a constant, i.e. don't do it at 10 minutes one mash and 15 minutes the next mash.
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Kev888
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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by Kev888 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:19 pm

Yes, some time back I was having trouble weighing calcium chloride because it sucks in moisture from the air and changes weight over time. Until someone gently pointed out that dissolving it when new, to a liquid of a known strength, prevents subsequent change. It dissolved very easily in a surprisingly small amount of water.

Gypsum isn't as easy but with a bit of patience I wouldn't say it was 'hard' to stir it into the full volume of mash or sparge liquor, if done before it gets too warm. This is my preference because I can then see that it has properly dissolved in the clean liquor and its extremely easy to stir to uniformity.
Kev

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jubby
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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by jubby » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:56 pm

I stand corrected :shock: I've not read into the subject (clearly), I'm basing comments on my own personal experiences.
Mr Nick's Brewhouse.

Thermopot HLT Conversion

Drinking: Mrs Moore's No.90, Mr Nick's East India IPA v2 USA.
Conditioning: Wedding Ale.
FV:
Planned: Some other stuff.
Ageing: Mr Nick's East India IPA v3 First Gold.

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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by Troutman47 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:16 pm

Thanks for everyone's contribution!
Never an easy subject! :roll: #-o

Troutman47
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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by Troutman47 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:52 am

So yesterday I added all the calcium sulphate and calcium chloride with the grain to the mash.
The remaining salts were added to the mash liquor.

The result was -
IMG_0166.JPG
GET IN THERE!!!! :lol: :lol: =D> =D>

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orlando
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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by orlando » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:12 pm

Troutman47 wrote:So yesterday I added all the calcium sulphate and calcium chloride with the grain to the mash.
The remaining salts were added to the mash liquor.

The result was -
IMG_0166.JPG
GET IN THERE!!!! :lol: :lol: =D> =D>
Out of interest, what was the alkalinity of your initial water, did you reduce it for your mash liquour and sparge liquour, if so to what?
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting:
Conditioning: Hazey Shade Of Winter, St. Petersburg (RIS)
Drinking: Kernel Bogey (India Porter), Mild Boys, Chocolate Girl
Up Next: Black Dog, London Calling, Gertcherbrewed, Autumn Almanac
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jubby
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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by jubby » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:28 pm

Troutman47 wrote:So yesterday I added all the calcium sulphate and calcium chloride with the grain to the mash.
The remaining salts were added to the mash liquor.

The result was -
IMG_0166.JPG
GET IN THERE!!!! :lol: :lol: =D> =D>
That's great! As I said, works for me too.....and I learned something. Thanks Kev888 and Aleman who so eloquently pointed out my error :D

Orlando raises a good point; I assumed you would be using acid to get your residual alkalinity in the ball park.
Mr Nick's Brewhouse.

Thermopot HLT Conversion

Drinking: Mrs Moore's No.90, Mr Nick's East India IPA v2 USA.
Conditioning: Wedding Ale.
FV:
Planned: Some other stuff.
Ageing: Mr Nick's East India IPA v3 First Gold.

Troutman47
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 562
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:28 pm
Location: North Tawton

Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by Troutman47 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:38 am

orlando wrote:
Out of interest, what was the alkalinity of your initial water, did you reduce it for your mash liquour and sparge liquour, if so to what?
:shock:

My alkalinity is 10 mg/l as CaCO3, as to the rest of your question I haven't a clue! :?

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orlando
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Re: When to check mash pH?

Post by orlando » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:17 am

Troutman47 wrote:
orlando wrote:
Out of interest, what was the alkalinity of your initial water, did you reduce it for your mash liquour and sparge liquour, if so to what?
:shock:

My alkalinity is 10 mg/l as CaCO3, as to the rest of your question I haven't a clue! :?
Alkalinity is our enemy if we want to brew Pale Ales/Bitters etc. Take my tap water for example, my alkalinity is circa 250 ppm. Received wisdom is that if I want my mash pH to fall into the range of 5.2 to 5.6 I have no chance of that happening unless I reduce it, typically to 20-30 ppm, this applies to both mash and sparge liquour. The reason for this is alkalinity acts as a buffer, resisting the acidification affect of the grain. I have to add acid to reduce it. Most start out using CRS (Carbonate Reduction Solution) but it is more flexible to use sulphuric or hydrochloric acid. Making darker beers it actually helps to have higher alkalinity (but not as high as my tap water) in the mash liquour only, sparge liquour should still be treated to the levels mentioned. The reason for that is darker grains are more acidic so need less help to reduce alkalinity. A good dose of calcium is also a good thing for other reasons than its ability to reduce alkalinity, but where getting a bit ahead of ourselves, one stage at a time. So why treat the two liquours separately when we are making say a Stout? Well that is to stop alkalinity rising as we start to dilute the mash wort with sparge liquour. If my sparge liquour is at 250 ppm you can see how this will quickly start to add the buffering capacity of high alkaline water, this will mean the pH starts to rise out of our ideal range. The impact of this is manifold and all bad, but that is for another time. Just remember the mantra, hard water = good - alkalinity = bad!
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting:
Conditioning: Hazey Shade Of Winter, St. Petersburg (RIS)
Drinking: Kernel Bogey (India Porter), Mild Boys, Chocolate Girl
Up Next: Black Dog, London Calling, Gertcherbrewed, Autumn Almanac
Planning: Autumn drinking beer.

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