Mash Ph

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Doctor's Orders Brewing
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I've been doing a lot of reading regarding working out the contents of my water and also adjusting the pH of my mash for different styles of beers.
Most recommendations are for the use of Gypsum or calcium chloride to lower pH and calcium carbonate to raise pH.
However I'm having difficulty getting these from my brew shop here in Sydney.
Where do you Sydney guys get your stuff from ?

Also, anyone else on the Prospect water system, that has calculated their water contents, that I can compare notes with?

You may have already looked at this source - in case you haven't, there's been a lot of discussion about modifying mash ph on the aust. craftbrewing list.

I use dark grains for lowering ph. I also use citric acid (as I've found i much easier to obtain than food-grade phosphoric). Last year I purchased a roll of ph paper and have recently on and off considered obtaining a ph meter.

For pale beers I just use citric. I'm yet to taste any orange flavour, though taste sensitivity can vary. Another option is acidulated malt - imported from Germany and available at ESB. It's used to lower mash ph where other additions are prohibited.

I think I'm on Prospect, though I've only yet looked at PH and not other readings. I add a very small amount of chalk to the mash for additional calcium and I also add a small amount of sodium met - as I read that it helps prevent mash oxidation.

Here's an interesting posting from Graham Sanders regarding ph


1. pH to me is probably the most important thing in brewing, yet also the
most under-rated. pH affects every reaction in craftbrewering, from malting
to lagering, and all points inbetween. We have seen the comments on pH and
dry-hopping, but I could quote heaps of other effects.

2. Having any pH meter/papers is far better than having none at all. Least
you are in the ball park and may even be in the game. If I was making 1,600
litres, well I would have a very accurate pH meter at hand (to two decimal
points) and test the beer at every stage. There is a lot to lose if things
go wrong. But we make far smaller batches. Plus we dont have the controls
bigger brewers have. We dont have to be anal, you dont need a sled-hammer to
crack a nut. For the average brewer papers will give a good guide where you
stand, as well as el cheepo dick smith meters. Mine is a mid range one. ATC,
to one decimal point, accurate +/- 0.1. Thats the minimum when you go
fanatical like me, but most craftbrewers dont have to go that far. The
important thing to me is for the brewer to really think about their pH and
play arround with it. It might surprise you.

3. I believe you only have to test the pH at the following areas. The rest
is un-neccessary for a craftbrewer.
water for doughing in - pH arround 6.0
sparge water - pH at 5.7
mash, either after protein rest, or if drop infused at start of
rest - pH 5.3

Thats all, get these right and the rest of the process flows naturally.

Extract/kit brewers are not exempt. But they have a easier life. Their wort
should be about 5.5 at the start of fermentation. They have only one
measurement to make.

And a point or two out wont kill you. I promise.

4. pH is temperature dependant. Any pH quoted is at room temperature unless
quoted otherwise. Always cool the sample and then test.

Now we have articles on the web site covering this, but David will be
posting some more articles shortly that concern water, so you should check
the web site over the next couple of weeks.

Graham Sanders


Where did you get your citric acid and chalk from Reg?
Supermarket, brewshop ?

I purchased citric acid from the supermarket - should be around the cake ingredients section. I also purchased the chalk from the supermarket - on the label it said non-toxic (sticks of blackboard chalk). I don't know if this is the same as food-grade - hum. If anyone knows a specific food-grade source, I'd be interested in hearing.

Pure calcium carbonate Reg. You should be able to purchase it at most HBS'.


Picked up some Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Sulphate today.
Got the Calcium Sulphate from a pharmacy on Pitt Street Mall in Sydney in tablet form. Got the Calcium Carbonate in powder form from Newtons Pharmacy in York Street Sydney (behind the QVB).