Ph crashes in sugar washes

Sugar, and all about sugar washes. Where the primary ingredient is sugar, and other things are just used as nutrients.

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Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by Manc » Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:33 pm

I've been making Rad's All Bran Neutral and in general had excellent results. But recently i've been experiencing pH crashes. After reading much stuff on here I've picked up Various bits of information. Maybe a little knowledge is dangerous but here's my thinking and can someone correct me or confirm

After reading that over pitching yeast can cause problems ( Forget what it was ), I started to use a bit less yeast dry active baker's is my weapon of choice and have slowly been pitching less. But now I seem to be having more pH crashes.

I also recently read that the pH drops in the first 12/24 hours so I have been correcting with calcium carbonate after 12 hours, Anyway my thinking is it the initial reproduction of the yeast that causes the pH crashes and by going back to the original recipe of 2 tsp of yeast per gallon this should solve the problem.

Hey that's why they are tried and trusted

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by fizzix » Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:52 pm

A tip picked up here is to put a small fist of oyster shells in a brew sock (for easy retrieval) and toss in the sugar wash.
Oyster shells are common for poultry feed supplement and I get mine from Amazon.
They can help buffer a low pH by dissolving, and they're self-regulating --no measuring.

Sugars can be notorious for pH crashes, but I've never had a single issue since using oyster shells.
Also, your yeast pitch quantity becomes a non-issue.

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by kimbodious » Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:01 pm

+1 on oyster shells although now instead I add 1/4 cup of shell grit per 5 gallon wash
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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by Manc » Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:12 pm

Cheers guy's thanks for the advice I'll try the brew sock and next time at the pet store I'll try some of the grit I've seen it but didn't think it would do.

But is it the initial reproduction that causes the pH crash as when I've corrected it after 12/24 hours it seems to stay at that level, And if the yeast is pitched at correct level there is no need for additional controls

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by StillerBoy » Sat Apr 28, 2018 2:25 pm

Sugar wash will drop in PH within the first 24 hrs if it is started at Ph of less than 5.. starting the wash at a Ph of 5 by adding citric acid, and the Ph will drop very little, and less calcium carbonate will be needed to bring the Ph back to 4.5..

Also pitch the yeast, if using baker's yeast, at a starting temp of about 82 - 83*F for the first 12 hrs, then raise it to 85*F, and along with a starting Ph of 5, the Ph will stay in the 4.5 rate..

And this also applies to all grain mash..

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by Manc » Sat Apr 28, 2018 2:46 pm

Thanks mars

After reading your post I now remember that I use to add lemon juice when infusing the sugar and have since stopped (think I need to keep starting notes ) my next purchase is citric acid.

Just to clarify is it correct that it crashes if less than 5 pH as I live in a soft water area and I thought citric acid reduced pH just want to make sure I understand

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by bluefish_dist » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:06 pm

Yes, sugar washes crash. You can adjust with calcium carbonate as needed. I do big ferments vs what most are doing here , 85 to 110g. In those sizes oyster shells don't work. They simply dissolve too slowly to prevent crashing. The amount of cc required depends on the buffering capacity of the wash. The agave run I am doing now has needed almost 3 lbs added. A rum might only need .5 lb.

If you want more buffering capacity simply add calcium carbonate at equal parts by volume with citric acid. This will allow more cc to dissolve in the water and provide more buffering. It will slow the crash.

I have never heard the 5 ph thing and for me it is not true. I can pitch at above 5 and they will all crash to below 4. Ph and buffering are not the same thing. Ph can be high and not have any buffering capacity which may lead to a crash or ph could be lower and have more buffering capacity and it may not crash.
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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by frunobulax » Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:35 pm

Oyster shells are calcium carbonate and do need an acidic environment to break down, so it takes a long time to work. I prefer Pickling lime, (Calcium hydroxide) It works almost instantly, but it's a strong caustic. Also your starting ph has nothing to do with a ph crash, it's about the alkalinity (buffering capabilities) of your water.

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by StillerBoy » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:25 pm

frunobulax wrote:Also your starting ph has nothing to do with a ph crash, it's about the alkalinity (buffering capabilities) of your water.
Have you experimented or played with variest wash/mash starting PH..
Manc wrote:Just to clarify is it correct that it crashes if less than 5 pH as I live in a soft water area and I thought citric acid reduced pH just want to make sure I understand
The Ph will move down (become acidic) no matter what PH level you start the wash/mash at.. if you start at a Ph of 6 and up, it will crash within 12 hrs rapidly.. if you start at a Ph of 5 or somewhat higher, it will more stable.. it will go down some, but not as rapidly and not as low..

Got the idea from making wine kits.. wine Ph at start is 3.4 to 3.6, and does not move off of that mark during fermentation.. so I ask myself what would happen if I start my wash/mash at a lower Ph than 6.. so started some at 5.5, and I am now starting at 5.. the past 7 batches have been quite stable.. they will move down to 4.1-.2, added calcium carbonate to move it up to 4.5 and stays there the rest of the ferment, and using less cc..

The pitching temp also affects the Ph crash.. starting the temp to high (95*) will assist will make the Ph drop fast.. starting temp at 82-83*F range, slows the Ph drop.. once the fermentation start, usually around the 12 hrs mark, I will raise the fermentation temp to 85-86*F range..

These batches are all 26 litres and using baker's yeast..

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by 6 Row Joe » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:41 pm

Do you guys just use litmus paper to check ph? I haven't had issues but I should start checking these details closer.
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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by fizzix » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:16 am

6 Row Joe wrote:Do you guys just use litmus paper to check ph? I haven't had issues but I should start checking these details closer.
I used them once months ago, but since jumping on the oyster shell bandwagon I have never looked back or used them again.

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by StillerBoy » Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:53 am

6 Row Joe wrote:Do you guys just use litmus paper to check ph?
I use this type of Ph meter, and with proper care they last about 2 yrs..
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-PH-Met ... SwwBha0Wie" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
bluefish_dist wrote:85 to 110g. In those sizes oyster shells don't work. They simply dissolve too slowly to prevent crashing.
It has also been my experierence with oyster shells using them in 6 gal batches.. they do help some, but done work well unless they are very fine.. so I use cc instead, easier to manage and cost about the same..

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by frunobulax » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:14 am

StillerBoy wrote:
frunobulax wrote:Also your starting ph has nothing to do with a ph crash, it's about the alkalinity (buffering capabilities) of your water.
Have you experimented or played with variest wash/mash starting PH..
Of course I have. I have very soft water,( I've had it checked several times for making beer) and I know if I'm making a sugar wash the PH is gonna crash terribly so I'll buffer it upwards with pickling lime.(I use a Milwaukee 102 PH meter) On the other hand, someone else may live in the mountains and have very hard water from all of the rock the water has to pass through, picking up calcium and magnesium along the way, which will buffer the wash. And while we both have a starting PH of 7 (due to the ionic balance), my wash will certainly crash into the 2's and the alkaline water may only drop a few points, it may not stall at all. That's why it's silly for a recipe to say "add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or x amount of carbonate" for a perfect ferment. everyones water is different so every ferment will be different. All that said, if your sure PH is crashing then stalling, throw a few tablespoons of carbonate in.

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by Manc » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:23 am

It has also been my experierence with oyster shells using them in 6 gal batches.. they do help some, but done work well unless they are very fine.. so I use cc instead, easier to manage and cost about the same..


Hi I like to thank everyone for there help on this topic. I have also recently started doing larger batches of 60 litres didn't think this would make a difference, Thanks for pointing that out. I also use the pH pen find it's very good.

Am going to start adjusting my starting pH just ordered some citric acid and also try starting at 83°f. Think some of my problems could be getting complacent with my success so far. I like the idea of prevention than finding a cure. I'm going to use your recommendations mars on my next wash might be a month as I'm off on holidays next week to Ibiza for a fortnight with the family but would like to report back

Thanks

Lee

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by frunobulax » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:48 am

The best thing to do is check ph along the way and keep notes on what you do. Remember, there are no nutrients in sugar either.

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by Manc » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:08 am

The best thing to do is check ph along the way and keep notes on what you do. Remember, there are no nutrients in sugar either.

+1 Thanks

Lee

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by StillerBoy » Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:30 am

I am in agreement with the water quality of each region being different, and one has to learn how to manage it for his use..

The best result of wash/mash start with providing the yeast used the best enviorment to do its work.. pitching dry, proofed or starter, pitching temp, fermenting temp, starting SG level,Ph level, nutrients, and the water quality used, and keeping notes, are all points which needs attention.. as each wash/mash base (be BW, potatoes, rice, plain sugar,all grains) will behave different..

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by Manc » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:26 pm

Thanks everyone for all your help on this matter I'd like to update on my new procedure and fingers crossed it keeps working

The water where I live is soft water it does come out of the tap at 7ph but I think the water authority uses buffers to stop the corrosion of the pipes. Once my sugar is added I add some gypsum to help with the soft water and various other nutrients. The pH is then adjusted to a pH of 5 by adding equal amounts of citric acid and calcium carbonate ( the feed store calls it lime powder I'm pretty sure it's the same). I'm currently pitching 60grams of baker's yeast in a 60litre wash sprinkled on top of wash at 28°c and left for 30mins before being mixed in. After 24 hours I check the pH it's usually gone down to about pH 4 I adjust up to 4.5 with calcium carbonate.

My ferments are now finishing in 4 days it's working for me I'd like to thank everyone again for there help with this and especially stillerboy for his advice and patience

Lee

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by StillerBoy » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:54 pm

Thanks Lee and your're most welcome..

Helping those that are willing to be helped is what it is all about..

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by Tomb » Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:57 pm

(Late to the party)

Found that oyster shells (from the pet store) are not ground fine enough to react enough to send the ph back up. I run them through a blade type coffee grinder to turn them into powder first. (Was using egg shells before but it is a bit too much hassle collecting and boiling them)

T

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by cayars » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:10 pm

Are you boiling your oyster shells?
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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by shadylane » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:04 pm

Tomb wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:57 pm
(Late to the party)

Found that oyster shells (from the pet store) are not ground fine enough to react enough to send the ph back up. I run them through a blade type coffee grinder to turn them into powder first. (Was using egg shells before but it is a bit too much hassle collecting and boiling them)

T
Grinding the shells finer helps. :thumbup:
Especially if your trying to restart a stalled wash.

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:15 pm

What's wrong with dumping fine ground shell into a food blender with a bit of water and giving it a buzz.
Should be finer and work even better.
Just don't let she whos in charge of the kitchen catch you at it.

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by The Baker » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:08 pm

Tomb said, 'Found that oyster shells (from the pet store) are not ground fine enough to react enough to send the ph back up.'

Someone else said recently that if you need to 'send the ph back up' it is too late for shells.

You should put some in early. Not necessarily ground up, some people even use chunks of marble.

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by thecroweater » Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:07 am

If you got a pH issue the wash will chew into whole shells but if you have some sort of catastrophic crash then maybe look at something like quick line to shock restore the pH level
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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by Stibnut » Sun May 03, 2020 4:32 pm

Might it make sense to use sodium or potassium citrate along with the citric acid to create a buffer solution directly? I've been using sodium citrate for my first few sugar washes and it has seemed to work pretty well so far - the fermentation is fast and the pH doesn't dip below 4.

On Friday night I started a 1 gallon Birdwatcher's. The pH started at 3.9 and declined to 3.5 by the 12 hour mark with relatively slow bubbling. I used 0.71 g citric acid instead of the 0.66 the calculator recommended, but that shouldn't account for much difference. To fix the pH I added 10 g of sodium citrate, and the pH rose to 5.3. The bubbling rate increased noticeably and it seems to be doing better now; pH was 4.7 last I checked about four hours ago.

I'm happy with my citrate buffer so far but perhaps calcium carbonate is better, since it's self-regulating and provides calcium as it dissolves. It's probably quite a bit cheaper as well.

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by bluefish_dist » Mon May 04, 2020 5:23 am

Adding buffer does work. For my water, I could add equal parts citric acid and calcium carbonate by volume. This would both lower the ph to 5.2-5.4 which is a recommended pitch ph and depending on how much I could control how fast the ph would drop in the first 24 hrs. For my rums I would vary the amount depending on the amount of molasses as it contains calcium. More molasses, less buffer. Same thing for grain. More grains, less buffer.
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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by bastardbrewer » Tue May 05, 2020 1:02 am

Glad I found this post. Reading on PH initially and having bought a PH meter I stopped adding citric acid to my wash as I wanted to keep PH at about 5.0, only to find it at 3.3 next morning. Then adding calcium carbonate to reach 4.5 but had horrible foam overs in the hours and day after. It was a light rice sugar wash using Sebstar HTL and GL and just wouldnt stop foaming after adding CC, and bubbles were large and almost "soapy like" and pushing through the hole in the lid even though 6 or 7 cm headspace. Spilled everywhere.

Gonna try adding equal parts (about 4 gram each for my 25 liter wash) citric acid and calcium carbonate now before pitching the yeast, which should hopefully help buffering.

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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by shadylane » Tue May 05, 2020 1:52 am

Here's my trick for preventing sugar wash pH crash
At the very beginning, put in a sock full of crushed oyster shells
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Re: Ph crashes in sugar washes

Post by bluefish_dist » Tue May 05, 2020 5:18 am

bastardbrewer wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 1:02 am
Glad I found this post. Reading on PH initially and having bought a PH meter I stopped adding citric acid to my wash as I wanted to keep PH at about 5.0, only to find it at 3.3 next morning. Then adding calcium carbonate to reach 4.5 but had horrible foam overs in the hours and day after. It was a light rice sugar wash using Sebstar HTL and GL and just wouldnt stop foaming after adding CC, and bubbles were large and almost "soapy like" and pushing through the hole in the lid even though 6 or 7 cm headspace. Spilled everywhere.

Gonna try adding equal parts (about 4 gram each for my 25 liter wash) citric acid and calcium carbonate now before pitching the yeast, which should hopefully help buffering.
Adding CC can cause a reaction and release a lot of trapped co2. Think mentos is coke or baking soda and vinegar. The trick is to add it in small amounts. This allows it to foam without going crazy. Also wait between additions to give it time to react. Nothing worse than adding too much and watching your fermenter turn into a fountain.
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