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In almost all cases, adjusting the brewing water pH is the first ste of the process. Clean, potable water is the basis for all beer, but a specific range for pH is preferred for brewing water. Once heated water is mixed with milled grain to produce a mash usually with malted barley. Maintaining the correct pH of for critical enzymes during the mash ensures the proper conversion of starces and degradation of haze causing proteins. There are naturally acidifying properties of malt, but many brewers additionally adjust the water with calcium sulfate or food grade acid. Brewers normally look for a mash of pH 5.2-5.5. Water and mash temperature is also very important at this stage, as enzymes can become denatured at elevated temperatures.
At the end of fermentation, beer is usually cooled down to finish or condition. Most of the yeast and some protein will settle out at this point. The beer builds up carbonation as the remaining yeast utilizes the last of the fermentable extract. Along with carbonation levels, brewers look at dissolved oxygen levels just before sending the beer to filtration.
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Beer is a food product that is fermented, and like all food products, process monitoring and sanitation are of paramount importance for clean, consistent results. From incoming raw materials to finished packaged beer, the pH, temperature, and a host of other parameters will determine whether the beer in the bottle will taste the same way every time. Learn more about pH and temperature in Beer by reading this white paper.