Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mash pH Calculator (MpH Calculator v1.0)

With some prodding from a fellow homebrewer (you know who you are!), I have put together a simple spreadsheet for calculating mash pH.  The equations used in the spreadsheet are discussed in the two papers introduced in the previous two posts of this blog.  The spreadsheet is not unlike others that are out there (think EZ Water, Brun Water, and Kaiser Water), but it is not as extensive in that (for this first version, anyway), it only deals with estimating the pH of the mash. This does, however, make the spreadsheet quite simple and (I hope) quite straightforward to use.

One thing the sheet assumes is that you know the ion concentrations (in ppm) associated with your brewing water.  If your water report does not give these in a straightforward manner, I suggest you search around on the web to first figure out how to convert your information to ppm of the individual ions.

The outline of the spreadsheet is as follows.  From your grain bill and strike water volume, the pH that your mash would have if you were to use distilled water is calculated.  Next the spreadsheet takes into account any ions in the strike water that can affect pH.  These ions are Ca^(2+), Mg^(2+), and HCO_3^+.  After this you can enter any salt additions that you wish, and pH is calculated again taking these into account.  Lastly, you have the option of several acid additions that will also affect pH.  The bottom-line pH value is your estimated pH.  Along the way you may find the comments attached to various cells useful.

One feature you may find lacking is that this spreadsheet does not deal with CaCO_3 (chalk) additions.  This is intentional.  First, the addition of chalk is (i) really never necessary, and (ii) somewhat problematic in that chalk only fully dissolves in the presence of elevated CO_2 pressure.  If you really needs to raise the HCO_3^- (bicarbonate) level of the brewing liquor, a little NaHCO_3 will go a long way, as the spreadsheet will calculate for you.

As always, thoughts, comments, and questions are always welcome.  Cheers!


  1. Is the estimated pH at mash or room temp?

    1. The estimated mash pH is at room temperature. Bringing a sample of the mash to room temperature is standard practice for measuring mash pH.

    2. one must subtract 0.3 from the pH measured at room temp to get an estimated mash pH.
      Also, in the acid added calculation, the amount would be just milliliters..right?
      Your calculator is just what the Dr ordered for me. Thanks again.

    3. Yes, subtracting 0.3 would give you an estimate of the mash pH at mash temperature, but when people talk about mash pH they (practically) always mean the room temperature (RT) pH. So if you want to shoot for a pH of 5.4 (which is generically a good target), this is the pH measured at RT.

      Yes, liquid acid additions are in milliliters (mL). Acid malt measurements are in ounces (weight).

      In case you have not noticed, I have several versions of my calculator. The latest is version 3.0, which can be found in a later post than this one. All of them use (essentially) the same calculations to estimate mash pH.

  2. I enjoyed reading your work. I'll come back for more

    Keep up the good work :) from TheStillery, a stuart bar in Florida

    1. I'm glad you find it helpful. Cheers!