Salt additions vs 5.2 pH Stabilizer

Water profiles and treatment
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Hooch
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Salt additions vs 5.2 pH Stabilizer

Post by Hooch » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:11 am

Does anyone use the 5.2 pH Stabilizer product exclusively?

I'm a salt additions guy via John Palmer's spreadsheet, and was wondering what the results are using another method/product.

Has anyone tried both and compared them, eg same beer, different mash batches? :geek:

-Hooch
Always do sober what you said you would do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. - Ernest Hemingway

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hopbumpingbrewer
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Re: Salt additions vs 5.2 pH Stabilizer

Post by hopbumpingbrewer » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:17 am

In the past, I used 5.2 Stabilizer and had pH success.
However, pH adjustment via mineral additions has given me a wonderful freedom and control in the over-all flavors of the different beers along with proper pH.

I am not sure what minerals/salts make up 5.2 Stabilizer, but I doubt it is perfect for every style.
pH yes, but in terms of beer flavor it might be less effective.

Just a guess.

mchrispen
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Re: Salt additions vs 5.2 pH Stabilizer

Post by mchrispen » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:53 pm

If you head over to homebrewtalk.com and search AJ deLange's posts, he recently had a beer with the creator of the 5.2 stabilizer who admitted it was useful only in a specific scenario. There is a tremendous amount of anecdotal data points that can be summed as - it is junk, unless you don't monitor your water chemistry and mash pH and need the placebo.

From Martin Brungard's Bru'n Water Knowledge pages at https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge :

SPECIAL NOTE: Five Star 5.2 Stabilizer is indicated by its manufacturer to "lock in your mash and kettle water at a pH of 5.2 regardless of the starting pH of your water". Evidence by homebrewers indicates that this product does not produce a mash pH in the preferred room-temperature range of 5.3 to 5.5. That evidence shows this product does produce some pH moderation in waters with high Residual Alkalinity. However, the mash pH tends to center around 5.8 (room-temperature measurement). While 5.8 pH is acceptable, it is at the upper end of the desirable mashing range. The evidence also shows that in waters with low Residual Alkalinity, this product shows little effect on mash pH. Since Five Star 5.2 Stabilizer is a compound with high sodium content, its use will elevate the sodium concentration in the brewing water. High sodium content can be undesirable from a taste standpoint in beer. Proper alkalinity control of mashing and sparging water may produce more acceptable brewing results for most brewers than with the use of 5.2 Stabilizer. To add emphasis to difficulty in using this product, the following conversation posted on Homebrew Talk between noted brewing water expert, AJ DeLange and the chemist from Five Star Chemical regarding their 5.2 Stabilizer product. "Tipped a few last night with the chemist who designed this product and was able to confirm that it is indeed a mix of phosphates (mono and di basic) that accounts for the presence of the malt phosphate. This is something I have long suspected and am pleased to have finally confirmed. Good manners prevented me from pressing him on it's efficacy and suitability relative to the statement on the label. But his comments on it were basically that most brewers shouldn't use it/need it and that it was put together for a particular brewery that had variable source water and no desire to make any effort to track that variability."

The product is loaded with salt phosphates intended to buffer mash pH, as well as a significant amount of sodium. It can be useful to raise pH, but I find pickling lime more effective and without any flavor impact.
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HopMonster
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Re: Salt additions vs 5.2 pH Stabilizer

Post by HopMonster » Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:22 am

AJ and his pickling lime. There have been lots of talks here in NVA about what food safe acid, including AJ, and the end of the discussions is really any. I know a guy who has used starsan. We got our hands on a boat load of food grade powdered acid that we have switched to. To be perfectly honest, I have had plenty of success with filtered tap water through an RV water filter.

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Re: Salt additions vs 5.2 pH Stabilizer

Post by mchrispen » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:46 pm

AJ can be a curmudgeon alright - but a fun character. Now he is onto Proton Deficit mash theory these days.

My personal experience with 5.2 pH stabilizer is that is just doesn't work. You need a very specific and narrow range of alkalinity (135-145 as CaCO3 if I recall) - and even then - it locks room temp mash pH around 5.7-5.8. My container is now used to hold down my brewing sheet on windy days.

Star-san for an acid addition? urghh. Yeah there are a lot of ways to skin that cat. I pre-calculate my additions very carefully and generally don't need any lime unless doing a dark beer. RO + gypsum + calcium chloride gets me 95% of the way there most cases.
Matt Chrispen
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HopMonster
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Re: Salt additions vs 5.2 pH Stabilizer

Post by HopMonster » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:15 pm

The man flat out knows water. Only guy like him i ever met was a water works employee who "made his water" at work. Told us if we got to 5 club members he was a ghost. We had 6 one night years ago and he has never been seen again.

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