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Gluten Free Home Brewing Blog
Increase Efficiency By Adjusting Your pH
Conducting a mash with any malt, gluten free or conventional, involves the process of 'conversion' in which specific conditions of volume, temperature, time....and pH will extract fermentable sugars from malt in order to brew beer. In a previous blog 'Diastatic Power & Enzymes in Gluten Free Malt' we discussed the roll of adding enzymes to the mash when brewing with gluten free malts. But how effective are the enzymes in your mash? Well, this in part depends on the pH of your mash. Enzymes have an optimal pH range in order to produce the right conditions for them to offer their maximum effectiveness.
Measuring and adjusting the pH in your mash is really quite easy to do. And you get to add one more toy to your collection of brewing equipment! Hanna Instruments makes the Checker and Checker Plus pH tester with any easy one button operation and simple calibration. There are many other pH meters / testers available too. You will need specialized solutions called buffers which are used to calibrate the meter, a cleaning solution, storage solution, and distilled water. Ok, when I first learned this I was a little intimidated. But it is really quite simple to operate. An alternative is to use pH test strips which is a less expensive investment but also a bit less accurate.
Hanna Instruments also created this easy to follow instructional video:
Now that you know the pH of your mash...how do you adjust it? Simply lower your mash pH by adding half a teaspoon of gypsum to a 5 or 6 gallon mash, or use Lactic Acid liquid concentrate to avoid adding calcium to your mash. To increase your mash pH by adding half a teaspoon of calcium carbonate to a 5 or 6 gallon mash. Use your meter to check current pH readings before you make additional adjustments until you are within the ideal mash pH range of the enzyme you are using, typically between 5.5 and 6.5 pH. Remember malt will lower the pH of your strike water, so take your readings after you add your malt to the water in your mash tun.
Recommended pH range by enzyme:
SEBAmyl BAL 100: 5 - 6.5
SEBAmyl L: 5 - 6.5
Termamyl (120 Type L): 5.5 - 7