pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

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pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:18 pm

I read that ph 5.5 is the recommended level for pitching yeast. After the fermentation starts, pH may drop slightly or considerably depending on many factors.

This is not my first fermentation or anything (may be 50th). I just started making larger batches and it seems pH started to become an issue.

So my very is question is this: Is it the best practice to keep the pH constant at 5.5 until the fermentation ends?

I have plenty of calcium hydroxide here, so raising pH (when/if it drops) wouldn't be a problem for me.

Should I try and keep the pH at 5.5 during all process until the fermentation ends?
Last edited by kyolic on Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept during all process?

Post by still_stirrin » Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:25 pm

kyolic wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:18 pm
Is it the best practice to keep the pH constant at 5.5 until the fermentation ends?
No, I would just try to keep the pH at the end of fermentation between 3.5 & 4.2.

Also, when mashing grains, a pH of 5.2 is nearly ideal as it helps the enzymes function quickly.
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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by NZChris » Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:45 pm

It depends what you're making. If you want to keep it bacteria friendly for extra flavors, for example, creating hogo in rum, keep it high.

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by StillerBoy » Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:46 pm

+1 on the advise provided by ss..

The Ph will drop and how rapidly it will do will depend on the yeast used..

Bread yeast on a sugar wash will drop rapidly within the first 8 - 9 hrs after pitching.. other yeast will be slower..

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by bluefish_dist » Fri Jan 08, 2021 7:18 pm

+2 on SS. I preferred 3.7 to 4.0 as a sweet spot after pitching at 5.2-5.4. 3.5-3.7 seemed to slow down fermentation too much for me.
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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:59 am

Thanks for the replies guys.

A few hours ago I pitched my yeast (Lalvin EC 1118) to UJSSM at pH 5.5 and it took off instantly! Yes, 10 minutes after pitching, activity started! :esurprised:

Must be the yeast bomb in it! :D

Now I am going to wait 6 hours and check pH as Mars always suggests. I will raise the pH to 5.5 again if it has dropped considerably and check again 24 hours later. Raise the pH if necessary and leave it alone until the fermentation is over.

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by Yummyrum » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:48 am

Don’t get so hung up on pH adjustment .
Its really only sugar washes that Sometimes end up having problems ... but not always ... often its a minority .

Seems like nower days pH crash Prevention is like taking out Medical insurance .

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:04 am

As Yummy said UJ does not need any PH adjustment.
Why a yeast bomb in UJ? It doesnt need one of those either.
EC1118 isnt exactly the best yeast to bring out flavour in UJ.

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by Hügelwilli » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:21 am

Different pHs can cause huge effect on the product. It all depends what product you want and if the yeast can stand the pH.

Perhaps it's worth to throw totally different numbers in the game:
Todays fruit spirit musts in Europe get fermented between pH 3.0 and 3.3. For this they don't add a base to form a buffer, only acids like citric, lactic and malic acid. They use a yeast, which can ferment at this very low pH without issues except a slower fermentation. The reason for this low pH is: if the fruits are dirty, bacteria won't work. The low pH avoids bacteria produced off-flavors.
If the pH is already at 3.5 or lower by addition of acids before fermentation, the fermentation produced acids don't play a role on pH. Remember: pH 3 is ten times more acidic than pH 4. So it's not like, if you start the fermentation at pH 3.3 you would have to fear it drops down below 3.0.
Much harder is trying to keep a ferment for example at pH 5.5, for example for promoting bacteria produced flavors. This needs again and again high amounts of added bases like sodium hydroxide. If you use calcium bases, it is very uncontrollable because of their low solubility. Even when using the slightly better soluble calcium hydroxide. Because it reacts very fast with the CO² of the ferment and forms the insoluble calcium carbonate, what falls out. Anyone here who recommends using calcium hydroxide on ferments should try to solve it in sparkling water. It will not work, because carbonate falls out. And then perhaps it's clear that using calcium hydroxide or calcium carbonate doesn't make a difference at least after the reaction with the CO² got some time to complete. Even to solve calcium hydroxide in normal water will fail partially because of the CO² all water contains. You cannot solve the amount wikipedia says it's soluble in normal water. The water would have to be fresh distilled.

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by StillerBoy » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:25 am

kyolic wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:59 am
Now I am going to wait 6 hours and check pH as Mars always suggests. I will raise the pH to 5.5 again
I think you are not reading and understanding the information provided..

Lalvin 1118 is not bread yeast.. it is a much slower working yeast.. and you do not raise the Ph back to 5.5..

Re-Read what has been stated by ss..

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:55 am

StillerBoy wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:25 am

and you do not raise the Ph back to 5.5..

Mars
Hmm, yes! This is what you had told me last year:
As to the starting Ph, start it at 5.5.. and check the Ph at the 6 - 8th hrs and adjust as required and also check it at the 24 hrs.. aim for a Ph
of 4 at the 24 hr mark.
Ok, I will be aiming for pH 4. :thumbup:

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by still_stirrin » Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:36 am

kyolic wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:55 am
As to the starting Ph, start it at 5.5.. and check the Ph at the 6 - 8th hrs and adjust as required and also check it at the 24 hrs...aim for a pH of 4 at the 24 hr mark.
Ok, I will be aiming for pH 4.
kyolic,

This is the real message here, read it over and over and over until you understand what it means!
Yummyrum wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:48 am
Don’t get so hung up on pH adjustment.

It’s really only sugar washes that sometimes end up having problems ... but not always ... often it’s a minority.
Fiddling with the pH quite possibly will cause problems. Monitor it, sure. But don’t adjust unless you must.
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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:45 am

still_stirrin wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:36 am


Fiddling with the pH quite possibly will cause problems. Monitor it, sure. But don’t adjust unless you must.
ss
Understood! 8)

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:28 am

Ok this is how it is now (yeast has been pitched 6 hours ago):



Should ferment dry in 5 days with this speed unless it doesn't decide to slow down at 1.020 and almost (not exactly but almost) stall. This is what happened last 3 ferments (not UJSSM) so I decided to switch to Lalvin EC-1118 for a guaranteed result.

Also, this is the reason why I got obsessed with pH as well. Anyway, let's see how it goes. I will post the results here.


---------------edit--------------

Ok I've checked the pH a few minutes ago, and it is 4.7. It seems we are good for now.

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by bluefish_dist » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:53 am

I found ph to be critical to getting the yeast to finish. As discussed above pitch should be 5.2-5.5 that allows the yeast to multiply quickly in the aerobic stage. Then as they go anaerobic they acidify the wash and the ph drops. If you have enough calcium in the wash/wort, either from the water or from what is added (grains, molasses) the ph will drop to around 4.0 to 3.5 and you get good clean fermentations. If it gets too low then some sort of base (calcium carbonate, calcium hydroxide, etc) is added to neutralize the acid, bringing the ph back up into a range the yeast can survive. This can be powders added or it could be shells in the wash. Shells worked well on 5-15 gallon fermentations, but failed when scaled to 100-300 gallon batches.

I found if a particular recipe dropped too fast, I could buffer it by adding both acid and base before fermentation. For my water I found equal parts by volume citric acid and calcium carbonate to work well. My hypothesis is that by adding acid, I could dissolve more calcium which has a very limited solubility in pure water.

As stated above, a drop from 5.5 to 4.3-4.0 in 24 hours is normal and helps keep a fermentation from getting infected. Most bacteria hate acid.
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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by StillerBoy » Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:48 am

kyolic wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:28 am
Should ferment dry in 5 days with this speed unless it doesn't decide to slow down at 1.020 and almost (not exactly but almost) stall. This is what happened last 3 ferments (not UJSSM) so I decided to switch to Lalvin EC-1118 for a guaranteed result.
As I stated before, 1118 is a slow fermenting yeast compared to bread yeast..

The 1118 will take 24 hrs before to finish propagating before starting to generate alcohol, and it at that time the Ph should be checked for 1118.. and there is a second component to having a sugar wash finish dry, and that is having a stable fermenting temperature..

You don't mention any thing about fermenting temp, and I'm of the view that is why your previous ferments stopped at 1.020, Ph plus temp issue.. any deviation in temp from a stable temp with create issues such longer fermenting and / or stalling of the wash..

Bread yeast will finish propagating around the 8 - 9th hour after pitching, and that is also when the Ph will have crash to the mid 2.5 range using bread yeast.. and the Ph should be adjusted at that time.. Ph will remain stable after the first 24 hrs once adjusted at that time..

Best stable fermenting temp for bread yeast is 85*F and for 1118 is 78*F, with both having a Ph of 3.8 - 4..

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:08 am

StillerBoy wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:48 am

You don't mention any thing about fermenting temp, and I'm of the view that is why your previous ferments stopped at 1.020, Ph plus temp issue.. any deviation in temp from a stable temp with create issues such longer fermenting and / or stalling of the wash..
Temperature is at 31°C and as there is an aquarium heater in the fermentor, it just doesn't change until the end of the process. It was the same with previous ferments. Yet, I have never checked pH neither before pitching nor during the process in the previous ferments.

I believe this one will ferment dry in five days as I am monitoring the pH closely and using Lalvin EC-1118 which is known to be the one 'taking it to the very end'. :)

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by still_stirrin » Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:49 am

kyolic wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:08 am
I believe this one will ferment dry in five days as I am monitoring the pH closely and using Lalvin EC-1118 which is known to be the one 'taking it to the very end'.
Just don’t “freak out” if it takes a few days longer. I’ve never had an EC-1118 ferment finish in less than 2 weeks....regardless of the temperature or pH being monitored.

It’ll be done when it’s finished.
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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:04 pm

still_stirrin wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:49 am

Just don’t “freak out” if it takes a few days longer. I’ve never had an EC-1118 ferment finish in less than 2 weeks....regardless of the temperature or pH being monitored.

It’ll be done when it’s finished.
ss
SS have you watched the video I posted above? With this speed, it will finish at 0.400 or something like that if it lasts 2 weeks! :)

Well, maybe it will slow down eventually. I'll be reporting.

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:09 pm

kyolic wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:28 am
Also, this is the reason why I got obsessed with pH
Youve become become obsessed with it because so many others seem obsessed with it.
In a huge amount of cases its not even needed.
Its getting ridiculous......to the point where newbs would think its impossible to put down a wash without owning a PH meter or constantly checking and adjusting PH.
I for one never have or will own one. From memory had one stalled ferment in 10 years.... and Im not sure that was PH related.

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by bluefish_dist » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:21 pm

This is one area we distillers can learn from brewers. Water is important. It’s one area I don’t feel I spent enough research. If you can go watch a good brewer and see the detail they go to on all the additions to the water. One of the guys I used for wort had a spread sheet that you input the water quality report and then added your adjustments. Then you made sure everything was in the range for that run. Is detail like that needed, no, but it’s certainly an area for improving what you make.

For home level fermentation, ph was not all that critical. Once I started scaling up, and changing water supplies, it made a difference in how my fermentations performed.
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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:26 pm

bluefish_dist wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:21 pm
This is one area we distillers can learn from brewers. Water is important. It’s one area I don’t feel I spent enough research. If you can go watch a good brewer and see the detail they go to on all the additions to the water. One of the guys I used for wort had a spread sheet that you input the water quality report and then added your adjustments. Then you made sure everything was in the range for that run. Is detail like that needed, no, but it’s certainly an area for improving what you make.

For home level fermentation, ph was not all that critical. Once I started scaling up, and changing water supplies, it made a difference in how my fermentations performed.
Oh yes!! I changed the water as well! Forgot to mention that.

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by shadylane » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:43 pm

kyolic wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:59 am

Now I am going to wait 6 hours and check pH as Mars always suggests. I will raise the pH to 5.5 again if it has dropped considerably and check again 24 hours later. Raise the pH if necessary and leave it alone until the fermentation is over.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure :wink:
I'd put a handful of coarse ground calcium carbonate in the wash before pitching the yeast.

One thing I'm sure of
Many a failure has been caused by mucking around with a wash trying to measure and "adjust" the pH.
Not to mention all the questions about blue moonshine :roll:

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sat Jan 09, 2021 1:01 pm

shadylane wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:43 pm
One thing I'm sure of
Many a failure has been caused by mucking around with a wash trying to measure and "adjust" the pH.
Not to mention all the questions about blue moonshine
:thumbup:

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Sat Jan 09, 2021 1:28 pm

Lmao it is getting even wilder now (8 hour after pitching)!


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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by shadylane » Sat Jan 09, 2021 1:34 pm

EC-1118 goes like hell @ 31'c

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:11 pm

shadylane wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 1:34 pm
EC-1118 goes like hell @ 31'c
Seems so! :D

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by StillerBoy » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:00 pm

Lalvin works best at 78 - 80*F for what we do, lower is best in make wine, but the Ph has to be different and the fermentation time will be a few days more than bread yeast to finish dry..

As to paying attention to the Ph, it's only requires attention in the first 24 hrs, and if corrected just that period the Ph becomes stable, meaning it does not require attention any more.. need to clear up one point.. I don't use shell for a buffer, but make adjustment manually using the right buffer addition.. shell work but are not the best ingredient for managing a Ph..

After the first 24 hrs, a stable fermentation temp becomes next item of important..

As to mucking around with causing it to go bad. that haven't been my experience in away.. never had a wash or mash fuck up cause of me mucking around with ..

Mars
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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by kyolic » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:52 pm

Next time, I'll be filling the fermentor way less!!!




:wtf: :wtf:

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Re: pH 5.5 should be kept constant during all process?

Post by shadylane » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:22 pm

StillerBoy wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:00 pm

As to paying attention to the Ph, it's only requires attention in the first 24 hrs, and if corrected just that period the Ph becomes stable, meaning it does not require attention any more.. need to clear up one point.. I don't use shell for a buffer, but make adjustment manually using the right buffer addition.. shell work but are not the best ingredient for managing a Ph..

After the first 24 hrs, a stable fermentation temp becomes next item of important..

As to mucking around with causing it to go bad. that haven't been my experience in away.. never had a wash or mash fuck up cause of me mucking around with ..

Mars
Why wait to make make adjustments
It's easier to have it right at the beginning.

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