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A Practical Guide to Water and your Mash (and Sparge & Boil) pH

And Selected Other Tidbits about Water Andre !" Willing

Why is pH #$portant%

(see also: )

annin extraction increases as pH increases (i.e.! more tannins extracted at pH " than pH #). $sual mash pH is a non%issue for tannin extraction& sparging with alkaline water increases risk. 'rotein coagulation increases (i.e.! will fall out of solution) as pH decreases. (eer color increases (i.e.! darkens) as pH increases& keeping the boil pH in the ideal range will pre)ent excessi)e darkening in lighter beers. *tarch con)ersion en+,mes! in the mash! work optimall, between a pH of #.- . #.#& mash pH is still acceptable between #./ . #.0. 1 mash pH that is too low will result in a thinner beer.

Where to Begin% 2now%and build%%,our strike (mash) water: use (1) either re)erse%osmosis water! distilled water! or ,our own! tested tap water. 3or ,our own water! see:*ample3orms/Home(rewer.pdf 4a/5 *odium 6a/5 6alcium 7g/5 7agnesium 2/% 'otassium 68-/% 6arbonate H68-% (icarbonate 6l% 6hloride 3e/5 9ron *8:/% *ulfate 2now what beer ,ou want to brew and plan ahead: know the malt weights! color (9..e! *;7)! and st,le (i.e.! base! cr,stal! roast! acid). 2now ,our mash thickness (a thicker mash is easier to affect pH)! but don<t forget about ,our sparge water= Ma&ing Water I recommend using the Bru'n Water tool, by Martin Brungard, to evaluate your mash pH options:

>a. $se ;8/?9 /a. ?ilute tap water with ;8/?9 >b. 1dd minerals to ;8/?9 /b. 1dd minerals and/or acid >c. 1dd acid (e.g.! lactic! phosphoric) 6hemical additions ma, include g,psum (6a*8:)! calcium chloride (6a6l/)! epsom salt (7g*8:)! and/or baking soda (4aH68-). I do not recommend using table salt (NaCl , pic!ling lime, or magnesium chloride (MgCl" # ;ecommended practice is to add chemicals! water! grains@in that order@to the mash tun. A)aluate actual mash pH )ersus target! if desired. ?ark malt is more acidic than light malt: lighter%colored beers generally fa)or approach 4o. >& darker beers fa)or approach 4o. /.

Other Tidbits 6on)ention is to report pH at room temperature. pH will change with temperature! and 1 6 will correct for it! but the published! optimum pH range of #.- to #.# is when at room temp! so ,ou<d need to readBust the pH reference range for ,our sample temperature. 1 finished beer<s low pH (C:.#) is a significant factor in wh, it is Dsafe to drink.E 1 finished beer<s lower pH (relati)el, speaking) reportedl, results in a li)elier! crisper fla)or& higher pH in finished beer reportedl, dulls the fla)or. 1 finished beer is said to ha)e more pronounced hop character with a higher sulfate:chloride ratio! and a more pronounced malt, character with a lower sulfate:chloride ratio. 3i)e *tar 6hemicals product D#./E does not work.

A Slightly #$practical Guide to Water and your Mash pH

Andre !" Willing

What is 'pH'% 1 measurement of the acti)it, of the h,drogen ion in solution (i.e.! the acidit, of a solution). 7easured on a log scale: a pH D#E solution has ten times the h,drogen as a pH D"E solution. Mash at the Molecular (e)el he act of adding malt/grains to water causes a chemical reaction which releases (adds) protons (i.e.! decreases pH). 1 proton is represented as H5. he act of adding salts (e.g.! 6a*8:! 7g6l/) pro)ides additional reagents for the aforementioned reaction! producing additional protons and decreasing pH.

Malt phosphates dissolve in mash water.

Malt phosphates react, precipitate out; note phosphates lose 2H+.

7ash pH is influenced b, the H5 )s 8H% concentration& higher H5 concentration means a lower pH. (icarbonates (H68-%) and carbonates (68-/%) in water will react with free h,drogen (H5) to form water (H/8) and carbon dioxide (68/)! resulting in an o)erall decrease in H5 concentration (i.e. raising pH). H5 5 H68-% F H/8 5 68/ /H5 5 68-/% F H/8 5 68/ 7alt contains >G phosphate b, weight! 0HG of which ends up in the wort& 6alcium . 7agnesium become the limiting reagents. 4ot all 6a/5 . 7g/5 protons are used in the phosphate reaction. 1pprox. /IG of a)ailable 6a /5 is used! compared to approx. >:G of a)ailable 7g/5.

What does this $ean% 1dding calcium%containing and magnesium%containing salts will result in a lower pH. 1dding h,droxide%containing (8H%) and carbonate%containing chemicals will result in a higher pH. 1dding acid@the brute force method! direct H5 inBection@as either Jactic (00G) or as phosphoric (>HG)! will result in a lower pH. I've observed that a $ust a %e& milliliters o% lactic acid (''( in the mash can greatly in%luence pH &ithout imparting any %lavor#