Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Get advice on making beer from raw ingredients (malt, hops, water and yeast)
Silver_Is_Money
Steady Drinker
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:35 pm
Location: N/E Ohio, USA

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:29 pm

Are you going to acidify the mash and sparge water to: 1) Hit pH 5.4 during the mash. 2) Sparge with 5.4 pH water.

#1 will require noticeably more acid than #2, since Pilsner Malt (although somewhat acidic with respect to pH 7) can effectively be seen as being basic with respect to a mash target of 5.4.

Typical acids which don't add additional sulfate or chloride ions include Phosphoric and Lactic. For the mash you can alternatively add a small quantity of Acid Malt (also called Acidulated Malt, and Sauermalz) to the grist right before crushing it.

Rookie
Even further under the Table
Posts: 2941
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 5:30 pm
Location: Crescent City, California

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Rookie » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:31 am

I've never used crystal in a B Pils, but always add some munich.
I'm just here for the beer.

Silver_Is_Money
Steady Drinker
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:35 pm
Location: N/E Ohio, USA

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:08 am

I don't know much about commercially brewed Bohemian Pilsners, but from what I've come to understand, commercially brewed German Pils has ballpark 5% to 7% by grist weight of light colored caramel/crystal (on the general color density order of Carahell) in it more often than not.

london_lhr
Steady Drinker
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:15 pm

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by london_lhr » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:29 pm

Are you going to acidify the mash and sparge water to: 1) Hit pH 5.4 during the mash. 2) Sparge with 5.4 pH water.
You don't really want to do either!
The pH of the water is not important. It is the alkalinity (as CaCO3) you need to control.
For a lager/pilsner type of beer, alkalinity of the water (as CaCO3) should be very low, around 20 - 25ppm.
The alkalinity (as CaCO3) of your brewing water determines the correct mash pH, not the pH of the water.
Ca levels are also important. I personally don't like Ca levels below 100 - 150ppm.
If you really want to acidify the water and ignore the alkalinity, dont go below water pH of 7.0-7.5 for lagers/pilseners.
(For bitters/pale ales recommended water pH around 6.0-6.5)
That will put your mash pH in the correct region of 5.2-5.4(5.5).
The Dengie

User avatar
Hanglow
Under the Table
Posts: 1351
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:24 pm

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Hanglow » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:32 pm

But he's not saying the pH of the water is important, he's saying the pH of the mash and the sparge water is. Which is a different thing to what you are assuming he said :) - i think at least
And are you saying you like lagers with such high calcium levels? Can you point me to some commercial ones as I can't think of any. I use those levels myself for pale ales, bitters etc as I want a quick turn around with them, but lagers don't need such high levels for flocculation as you are obviously lagering them, and plenty of lager yeasts simply don't need high levels of calcium and indeed would not benefit from higher levels of flocculation as they take longer to ferment out.

Not that I've made one before I don't have the equipment to try :lol:
Planned: Green Hop ale
Fermenting: Nothing
Bottled: Home grown Halletau Mittelfruh golden ale, centennial golden ale, Brown Kolsch, Strong Burton with Brett C

Silver_Is_Money
Steady Drinker
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:35 pm
Location: N/E Ohio, USA

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:44 am

For a Bohemian Pilsner with its smooth yet very high 40 IBU value, you need to maintain calcium and other ions at only single digit to at most low teens levels. Too high on the minerals and 40 IBU is rankly sharp and anything but rounded and smooth.

Sparge water at pH 5.4 assuredly has only a few ppm of remaining alkalinity. By acidifying your sparge water to 5.4-5.5 pH you are highly controlling and close to eliminating the alkalinity (for which the zero value titration point is set either at pH 4.3 or 4.5). Uncontrolled alkalinity present within the sparge water can result in nasty astringency.

Pilsner malt when mashed in water with low to no minerals (such as for Pilsen water) will result in a high mash pH of about 5.8. The mash water must thereby be acidified to bring the mash into the desired 5.2 to 5.6 pH range, with 5.4 pH being the midrange safety zone (allowing for a bit of acidification error on either side) here. 5.8 pH within the mash will likely result in a final beer with an undesirably high pH of greater than 4.5, impacting stability.

Silver_Is_Money
Steady Drinker
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:35 pm
Location: N/E Ohio, USA

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:05 am

Here is a chart which shows that by pH 5.4 about 91% of bicarbonate (HCO3-, the source of waters alkalinity) is eliminated, and by pH 4.3 100% is eliminated. This is the reason why sparge water must be adjusted to a pH of 5.4.
HCO3.png

User avatar
spook100
Piss Artist
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:39 pm
Location: Bramshott, Hampshire (expat Yarpie)

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by spook100 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:33 am

Silver_Is_Money wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:29 pm
Are you going to acidify the mash and sparge water to: 1) Hit pH 5.4 during the mash. 2) Sparge with 5.4 pH water.

#1 will require noticeably more acid than #2, since Pilsner Malt (although somewhat acidic with respect to pH 7) can effectively be seen as being basic with respect to a mash target of 5.4.

Typical acids which don't add additional sulfate or chloride ions include Phosphoric and Lactic. For the mash you can alternatively add a small quantity of Acid Malt (also called Acidulated Malt, and Sauermalz) to the grist right before crushing it.
I will acidify the mash with Phosphoric acid to bring the mash pH down to about 5.4. Per bru'n water, the ideal sparge water pH is between 5.5 and 6.0. I sparge with 100% Ashbeck water which has a pH of around 6.2 at room temperature. I find that simply heating it to sparging temperature drops it into that range so I don't make any adjustments to the sparge water
A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.

User avatar
Jocky
Even further under the Table
Posts: 2230
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:50 pm
Location: Epsom, Surrey, UK

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Jocky » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:03 am

Silver_Is_Money wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:44 am
For a Bohemian Pilsner with its smooth yet very high 40 IBU value, you need to maintain calcium and other ions at only single digit to at most low teens levels. Too high on the minerals and 40 IBU is rankly sharp and anything but rounded and smooth.

Sparge water at pH 5.4 assuredly has only a few ppm of remaining alkalinity. By acidifying your sparge water to 5.4-5.5 pH you are highly controlling and close to eliminating the alkalinity (for which the zero value titration point is set either at pH 4.3 or 4.5). Uncontrolled alkalinity present within the sparge water can result in nasty astringency.

Pilsner malt when mashed in water with low to no minerals (such as for Pilsen water) will result in a high mash pH of about 5.8. The mash water must thereby be acidified to bring the mash into the desired 5.2 to 5.6 pH range, with 5.4 pH being the midrange safety zone (allowing for a bit of acidification error on either side) here. 5.8 pH within the mash will likely result in a final beer with an undesirably high pH of greater than 4.5, impacting stability.
I presume you're not suggesting that lowering pH will reduce the level of calcium in a beer (there's a bit of a jump between your first and second paragraphs that makes it easy to read that way? From what your first paragraph is saying it would make sense to simply start with water with a very low ion content.

In any case, personally I advocate measuring the alkalinity of water rather than pH, as it's much simpler to make the calculation of the required amount of acid to adjust buffering capacity of the water. Trying to hit a pH after a mash has started is rather like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted... and the stable is on wheels rolling away too.
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast, Seaweed, Blood, Sweat, The swim bladder of a sturgeon, My enemies tears, Scenes of mild peril, An otter's handbag and Riboflavin.

Silver_Is_Money
Steady Drinker
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:35 pm
Location: N/E Ohio, USA

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:49 am

Jocky wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:03 am
I presume you're not suggesting that lowering pH will reduce the level of calcium in a beer (there's a bit of a jump between your first and second paragraphs that makes it easy to read that way? From what your first paragraph is saying it would make sense to simply start with water with a very low ion content.

In any case, personally I advocate measuring the alkalinity of water rather than pH, as it's much simpler to make the calculation of the required amount of acid to adjust buffering capacity of the water. Trying to hit a pH after a mash has started is rather like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted... and the stable is on wheels rolling away too.
Sorry if I confused you, but I never suggested that adjusting pH alters the calcium content of water. I only showed (via a chart) that it fully regulates the bicarbonate species.

I also never suggested the practice of adjusting for mash pH on the fly (during the mash). Such adjustment must be calculated in advance, and mash water must be acidified in advance of the mash accordingly.

Accomplishing the Bohemian Pilsner style demands that (unless you have a source of extremely low mineralization water) you must start with the likes of distilled or very good RO water and add very little mineralization to it.

london_lhr
Steady Drinker
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:15 pm

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by london_lhr » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:42 pm

My apology to the original poster, I do not mean to hijack your thread!
For a Bohemian Pilsner with its smooth yet very high 40 IBU value, you need to maintain calcium and other ions at only single digit to at most low teens levels.
There is a very informative article by professor Charles W Bamforth titled "pH in Brewing: An Overview"
(available on the internet)
It is well worth the read.
Here is just a small extract from this article :

"One of the more authoritative studies of the impact of pH on
mashing performance is given by Taylor [57]. He showed that
when the level of calcium is low, there is a sizeable increase in
wort pH during run-off, especially as gravity decreases. Such
increases in pH lead to increased extraction of materials such as
silicate and polyphenol into the wort [10]. The concentration of
calcium needs to be 100-200 ppm in both mashing and sparge
water if excessive pH rise is to be avoided. This will of course
be impacted by gravity and the nature of the grist. Taylor [57]
reported that the worts resulting from these higher calcium
mashes had higher extract, higher free amino nitrogen and higher
mash bed permeability. The last of these was claimed to be a
consequence of less of the fine materials in the spent grain bed
(gel proteins?) that impede wort flow. Again it is important to
stress that these effects may not have been solely due to a change
in pH, but at least in part due to some other impact of calcium."
The Dengie

Silver_Is_Money
Steady Drinker
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:35 pm
Location: N/E Ohio, USA

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:46 pm

london_lhr wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:42 pm
There is a very informative article by professor Charles W Bamforth titled "pH in Brewing: An Overview"
(available on the internet)
It is well worth the read.
Here is just a small extract from this article :

"One of the more authoritative studies of the impact of pH on
mashing performance is given by Taylor [57]. He showed that
when the level of calcium is low, there is a sizeable increase in
wort pH during run-off, especially as gravity decreases. Such
increases in pH lead to increased extraction of materials such as
silicate and polyphenol into the wort [10]. The concentration of
calcium needs to be 100-200 ppm in both mashing and sparge
water if excessive pH rise is to be avoided. This will of course
be impacted by gravity and the nature of the grist. Taylor [57]
reported that the worts resulting from these higher calcium
mashes had higher extract, higher free amino nitrogen and higher
mash bed permeability. The last of these was claimed to be a
consequence of less of the fine materials in the spent grain bed
(gel proteins?) that impede wort flow. Again it is important to
stress that these effects may not have been solely due to a change
in pH, but at least in part due to some other impact of calcium."
Thank you! This precisely proves my point. In order to keep the mineralization at a minimum without having the pH of the run-off increase and drag with it such nasties as polyphenols, etc..., one must both pH adjust the mash to 5.4 and then the sparge water to pH 5.4 also. That way there is zero chance of any run-off you desire to collect raising in pH (unless alkalinity that has been nigh on eliminated can somehow magically just re-appear out of nowhere and thereby raise the pH again). And my way you can keep minerals low in order to achieve the Bohemian Pilsner style of very high yet very smooth IBU's (EBU's).

london_lhr
Steady Drinker
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:15 pm

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by london_lhr » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:31 pm

For a Bohemian Pilsner with its smooth yet very high 40 IBU value, you need to maintain calcium and other ions at only single digit to at most low teens levels.
The above article does not agree with your stance on calcium levels :D .
The Dengie

Silver_Is_Money
Steady Drinker
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:35 pm
Location: N/E Ohio, USA

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:24 pm

london_lhr wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:31 pm
For a Bohemian Pilsner with its smooth yet very high 40 IBU value, you need to maintain calcium and other ions at only single digit to at most low teens levels.
The above article does not agree with your stance on calcium levels :D .
You are of course completely free to attempt making a 40 IBU Bohemian Pilsner (along the lines of Pilsner Urquell) using water laced with 150 ppm or so calcium. Just be aware that the article you reference has nothing to do with brewing a Bohemian Pilsner. And nor does it address acidifying process water that has the potential to "otherwise" raise the pH during late run-off (I.E., during the sparge) to take out its pH raising alkalinity (after which it can do not harm).

Silver_Is_Money
Steady Drinker
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:35 pm
Location: N/E Ohio, USA

Re: Crystal malt in a Bohemian Pilsner

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:16 pm

The attached is a distilled water mineralization that comes decently close to Pilsen Water, and it is sized for 9 US Gallons (34 Liters).
Pilsen Water (9 Gallons).png

Post Reply