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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2003 * April 15, 2003 * Controlling ph with decathlon/step mashes < Previous Next >

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Harwich Hall Of Fame (208.59.33.27)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 04:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does anyone have a ball park rule of thumb for the acid rest step of decathlon/step mashing. I want to try to hit the target 5.3 without adding any chalk or acid raising agents. I know it all depends on your water chemistry and mash thickness and grain bill, but I was looking for some personal experiences with this. I have very soft water and end up adding quite a bit of chalk to my US wheat or Kolsch infusion mashes to hit 5.3. Also I am right around the 1.25-1.35 water/grain ratio.
 

Paul McHugh (67.34.220.225)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 05:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What is decathlon/step?

You mean decoction right?
 

Tom Gardner (162.119.240.100)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 05:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

An acid rest will acidify the mash, while adding chalk will raise the pH (the opposite) so I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve here. How do you test your mash pH?
 

Bill Pierce (208.57.122.28)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 06:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You can also use acid malt (8-12 oz. often works well) to lower the mash pH without an acid rest that I consider largely unnecessary (I happen to think triple decoctions are overdoing it). Or you can add acid directly to the mash (if you're not a Reinheitsgebot purist). I adjust the mash pH of my malty beers with calcium chloride. Of course yet another way to lower the mash pH is to use mostly distilled or RO filtered water. It depends on your preference and the style you are brewing. By the way, chalk (calcium carbonate) is used to raise the mash pH.
 

Harwich Hall Of Fame (208.59.33.27)
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 10:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

sorry all, I made that much more complicated that it really is. When I do an infusion mash at 153 for say a US wheat, my ph is around 4.8 with no additions. I was looking for a Reinheitsgebotic way to hit the target 5.3 with out adding any calcium carbonate. maybe with just one acid rest at say 122 for 20 min (I agree with Bill about long drawn out mashes). I just use strips for testing but its always in the 4.7, 4.8 range.

Also, I just read from John Palmer that ph is temperature dependant. At 150, its about .35 lower than room temp. which raises another interesting question: when I test the mash using a ph strip, isnít it always at about room temp? granted it starts out at 150 or so but quickly cools because of the tiny amount on the paper. any thoughts?
 

Bill Pierce (12.207.82.170)
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 12:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't worry much about the temperature correction when measuring pH. As you say, HHoF, the sample is small and quickly cools. A good pH meter is temperature compensated. Even the relatively inexpensive ($80) one I use is compensated to 50 C, and it's not difficult to cool the sample below that.
 

scott jackson (209.107.56.130)
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 02:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you are using a well-modified malt (and just about everything is these days) the enzymes that would make the acid rest work are already denatured (dead). You are better off using Sour (sauer) malt. That is what many of the German breweries do.
 

Don Million (208.164.253.3)
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 02:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

An acid rest is intended to LOWER the pH of the mash. If your pH is already too low, then you definitely don't want to do an acid rest!

While a pH of 5.3 is an appropriate "target," I sincerely doubt that you're damaging your beer as it is. What's more, you don't have to try to raise it to exactly that figure. Anything above about 5 and you won't be able to taste any difference in the final beer.

Are you using tap water to mash? If you're using some mixture of distilled or RO water, as Bill said above, that can lower your pH, so don't! If you really don't want to add calcium carbonate, then you might look for a source of water that is harder than what you're using. Tap water from another source might work, or you could buy mineral water with the right kind of chemistry.

Good luck.

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