pH – Martin v. Kai, Revisited with Data

pH Meter

The pH meter (and calibration liquids) I use when I sample for pH.

In a previous post, I discussed & compared the pH tools provided by Martin Brungard and Kai Troester.

Though I stated I used both—and also stated that I personally found Martin’s tool to be a closer approximation for me—I neglected to provide the details supporting my statements.  This post will rectify that omission.

I plan to continue to add information to this post as I brew additional batches.

Please note: the predictions I cite, below, will be in accordance with the tools’ versions available at that time; it appears that both Martin and Kai have updated their respective tools several times, and I did not record the version used.  All my pH measurements were taken at approximate room temp (65-75 ºF), except where otherwise noted.

Results Summary (Updated as of December 31, 2013)

Batch Predicted pH:
Martin Brungard
Predicted pH:
Kai Troester
Measured pH:
Unlucky Brewing
Recipe Change
Before Sampling?
Batch 1 5.29 5.47 5.60 No
Batch 2 5.45 5.58 5.45 Omitted Crystal 120
Batch 3 5.43 5.61 5.54 No
Batch 4 5.71 5.60 5.42 No
Batch 5 5.42 5.50 5.51 Added 0.50 gal RO water
Batch 6 5.27 5.40 5.31 Added 0.25 gal “soft” water
Batch 7 5.44 5.43 5.42 No
Batch 8 5.34 5.47 5.15 No
Batch 9 5.47 5.49 5.60 No
Batch 10 5.16 5.44 5.49 No

Raw Data

First & foremost, my water has the following properties, from a Ward Laboratories test conducted on October 10, 2012:

Unlucky Brewing’s “House” Water Properties
Parameter ppm Parameter ppm
Sodium (Na) 11 Potassium (K) 3
Calcium (Ca) 71 Magnesium (Mg) 25
Total Hardness (CaCO3) 282 Nitrate (NO3-N) 0.1
Sulfate (SO4-S) 7 Chloride (Cl) 20
Carbonate (CO3) 12 Bicarbonate (HCO3) 267
Total Alkalinity (CaCO3) 239 Total Phosphorous (P) 0.58
Total Iron (Fe) <0.01  pH  8.1

Batch 1: Cream Ale (March 26, 2013)

Amount Ingredient
5.75 gal Reverse-Osmosis Water
2.00 gal Unlucky Brewing “House” Water
2.50 ml Lactic Acid (88%)
2.00 g Calcium Chloride
2.00 g Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum)
8.00 lbs Pale Malt, 2-row (3.0 SRM)
0.50 lbs Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
0.25 lbs Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM)
0.25 lbs Corn, Flaked (2.0 SRM)

Mash volume was 4.50 gallons of the above water blend; all other ingredients listed—except an additional dose of lactic acid, see below—were added to the mash at the specified amounts.  Martin predicted a pH of 5.29.  Kai precited a pH of 5.47.  I measured a mash pH in excess of 5.6, and climbing—and I didn’t let it stablize to the second decimal before hurrying to add an additional 2.0 ml of lactic acid; afterwards, it stabilized at approximately 5.5.

Batch 2: Stone Levitation “Clone” (June 1, 2013)

Amount Ingredient
4.05 gal Reverse-Osmosis Water
4.05 gal Unlucky Brewing “House” Water
No mash chemicals added
9.88 lbs Pale Malt, Maris-Otter (3.0 SRM)
1.10 lbs Crystal 60L (60.0 SRM)
0.55 lbs Crystal 120L (120.0 SRM)
0.44 lbs Black Patent Malt (500.0 SRM)

Mash volume was 4.30 gallons of the above water blend; all other ingredients listed–except the Crystal 120–were added to the mash at the specified amounts.  Martin predicted a pH of 5.45.  Kai precited a pH of 5.58.  I measured a mash pH in excess of 5.45 before I noticed I’d forgotten the Crystal 120; I imagine that the pH would have been lower by about 0.1 units had all the grains been in the mash at the time I drew my sample.

Also, yes, this is the Stone Levitation “Clone” which used the incorrect amount of Black Patent malt.

Batch 3: Barleywine (June 16, 2013)

Amount Ingredient
2.80 gal Reverse-Osmosis Water
6.60 gal Unlucky Brewing “House” Water
4.50 g Calcium Chloride
2.50 g Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum)
21.00 lbs Pale Male, 2-Row (2.0 SRM)
1.00 lbs Crystal 120 (120.0 SRM)

Mash volume was 7.70 gallons of the above water blend; all other ingredients listed were added to the mash at the specified amounts.  Martin predicted a pH of 5.43.  Kai precited a pH of 5.61.  I measured a mash pH of 5.54; added 3 ml of lactic acid (88%) and measured a pH of approximately 5.3.

Batch 4: Mild (July 5, 2013)

Amount Ingredient
2.00 gal Reverse-Osmosis Water
5.25 gal Unlucky Brewing “House” Water
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
7.00 lbs Pale Malt, Maris-Otter (4.0 SRM)
0.63 lbs Crystal 60 (60.0 SRM)
0.38 lbs Crystal 120 (120.0 SRM)
0.19 lbs Brown Malt (65.0 SRM)
0.19 lbs Chocolate Malt (430.0) SRM

Mash volume was 3.56 gallons of the above water blend; all other ingredients listed were added to the mash at the specified amounts.  Martin predicted a pH of 5.71.  Kai predicted a pH of 5.60.  I measured a mash pH of 5.42.  I have no idea why the predictions are so far off from my measurement.

Batch 5: Belgian IPA (September 15, 2013)

Amount Ingredient
5.95 gal Reverse-Osmosis Water
2.00 gal Unlucky Brewing “House” Water
3.00 ml Lactic Acid (88%)
2.00 g Calcium Chloride
2.00 g Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum)
13.00 lbs Pale Malt, 2-Row Belgian (3.0 SRM)

Mash volume was 5.69 gallons of the above water blend; all other ingredients listed—with the exception of the half-gallon of reverse-osmosis water described below—were added to the mash at the specified amounts.  Martin predicted a pH of 5.42.  Kai predicted a pH of 5.50. My measurement of pH for this batch was a little messy.  First, I added 0.50 gallons of RO to the mash in attempt to cool it to the desired mash temperature, which will affect how my measurement compares to the calculators.  I drew a sample shortly thereafter, which measured a pH of 5.76 (63.0 °F).  Thirty minutes into the mash, I drew another sample, which measured a pH of 5.43 (105.7 °F), and later 5.51 (70.2 °F).

Batch 6: Mirror Pond Clone (October 4, 2013)

Amount Ingredient
5.90 gal Reverse-Osmosis Water
2.00 gal Unlucky Brewing “House” Water
3.00 ml Lactic Acid (88%)
2.00 g Calcium Chloride
2.00 g Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum)
9.50 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
1.00 lbs Crystal 40 (40.0 SRM)
0.25 lbs Cara-Pils/Dextrine (1.5 SRM)

Mash volume was 4.70 gallons of the above water blend; all other ingredients listed—with the exception of an additional 0.25 gallons of water added to the mash–were added to the mash at the specified amounts.  Martin predicted a pH of 5.27.  Kai predicted a pH of 5.40.  The predictions were based on the mash volume of 4.70; to quickly reach the target mash temperature, I added 0.25 gallons of “house” water that had been treated by my water softener.  I measured a pH of 5.31 (65.4 ºF).

Batch 7: Winter Warmer (October 14, 2013)

Amount Ingredient
5.00 gal Reverse-Osmosis Water
3.90 gal Unlucky Brewing “House” Water
2.00 ml Lactic Acid (88%)
3.00 g Calcium Chloride
2.00 g Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum)
11.50 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
1.00 lbs Crystal, Medium (55.0 SRM)
0.25 lbs Chocolate Malt (430.0 SRM)

Mash volume was 5.60 gallons of the above water blend; all other ingredients listed—with the exception of an additional 0.25 gallons of “soft” house water added to the mash–were added to the mash at the specified amounts.  Martin predicted a pH of 5.44.  Kai predicted a pH of 5.43.  I measured a pH of 5.42.

Batch 8: Spiced Winter Ale (November 27, 2013)

Amount Ingredient
5.70 gal Reverse-Osmosis Water
1.90 gal Unlucky Brewing “House” Water
1.00 ml Lactic Acid (88%)
2.00 g Calcium Chloride
2.00 g Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum)
9.00 lbs Golden Promise (2.0 SRM)
1.00 lbs Crystal, Medium (55.0 SRM)
0.38 lbs Crystal, Extra Dark (160.0 SRM)

Mash volume was 4.50 gallons of the above water blend; all other ingredients listed were added to the mash at the specified amounts. Martin predicted a pH of 5.34. Kai predicted a pH of 5.47. I measured a pH of 5.15.  I suspect(ed) the probe on my pH meter was in the process of failing on this measurement, and ordered a replacement.

Batch 9: Red Ale (December 23, 2013)

Amount Ingredient
4.10 gal Reverse-Osmosis Water
4.10 gal Unlucky Brewing “House” Water
2.00 ml Lactic Acid (88%)
2.00 g Calcium Chloride
2.00 g Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum)
8.00 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
1.50 lbs Mild Malt, Ashburne (5.3 SRM)
1.00 lbs Wheat, Torrified (2.0 SRM)
0.50 lbs Carapils (1.5 SRM)
0.50 lbs Crystal, Dark (80.0 SRM)
0.25 lbs Carastan Malt (35.0 SRM)
0.25 lbs Pale Chocolate Malt (215.0 SRM)

Mash volume was 4.0 gallons of the above water blend; all other ingredients listed were added to the strike water during heating (as opposed to the mash tun, prior to filling with the at-temperature strike water) at the specified amounts. Martin predicted a pH of 5.47. Kai predicted a pH of 5.49. I measured a pH of 5.60, using my new & two-point-calibrated pH probe.  My city’s water is supplemented by another nearby city, and so, in Winter, my water changes due to some local features.  I suspect my water report may need revising.

Batch 10: Denny’s Wry Smile IPA (December 31, 2013)

Amount Ingredient
9.10 gal Reverse-Osmosis Water
Unlucky Brewing “House” Water (None used)
3.00 ml Lactic Acid (88%)
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
5.00 g Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum)
11.25 lbs Pale Malt (1.7 SRM)
2.75 lbs Rye Malt. German (3.5 SRM)
1.00 lbs Caramel/Crystal 60 (60.0 SRM)
0.50 lbs Carapils (1.5 SRM)
0.50 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)

Mash volume was 5.7.0 gallons of the above, reverse osmosis-only water; all other ingredients listed were added to the strike water during heating (as opposed to the mash tun, prior to filling with the at-temperature strike water) at the specified amounts. Martin predicted a pH of 5.16. Kai predicted a pH of 5.44. I measured a pH of 5.49, using my new & two-point-calibrated pH probe.

Useful? Share this:Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *