Frequently Asked Questions
How do I use ACCUmash?
Obtain 1.5 quarts of purified water (RO or distilled) per pound of grain to be mashed, blend the entire package’s content into a pound of dry grain. Add the mixture to mash water. Stir vigorously to ensure that ACCUmash is completely dissolved. Add the remaining grain. DO NOT add ACCUmash directly to the water by itself (This is really just for basic chemistry safety). It is typically not recommended to add a base or acid directly to water. We want to be safe as possible even if it seems like overkill.
Can I use ACCUmash in extract batches?
As much as we would like to see a packet of ACCUmash used in every batch of beer brewed, it would be a waste of the brewer’s money to buy a packet of ACCUmash for an extract batch. The maltster has designed the extract in such a way that the minerals needed for yeast and a quality balanced beer are already present. If you are using RO or distilled water, you may still want to add some calcium or magnesium for yeast health. You may want to consider adding a little sulfate for a hoppier beer or calcium chloride for a malty beer. It would be impossible to design a product that would add enough minerals for an all grain mash, but not over add chemicals when brewing an extract. If someone is saying that a single product is good for both applications, they are misleading the brewer by either over adding for extract brewing or under adding for all grain brewing.
Can I use ACCUmash for BIAB (Brew in a Bag) batch?
Although we have not exhaustively tested this method, several brewers are reporting success with the method outlined below. Select the appropriate ACCUmash packet and make sure the packet is very well mixed. Then scale down the packet of ACCUmash proportionally to the size of your batch. For instance, if you are brewing a 3-gallon batch, you would use 3/5 of your packet of ACCUmash (use a scale if available to help accuracy). Once you have scaled down your packet, add the scaled down portion of ACCUmash to your grain per the instructions on the back of the packet. Monitor your pH, and slowly add more while monitoring your pH until your desired pH is met or is no longer moving in the correct direction. Wait 5 minutes between each addition and pH measurement (remember all pH measurements should be done at room temperature even if you have an autocorrect pH probe). At that point make a small acid or base adjustment if necessary to get you closer to your desired pH.
If you don’t have a pH meter, don’t worry, just scale down as outlined above and add per the instructions on the back of the packet. It is certainly an improvement over not making any adjustment to your water or using tap water alone without treatment. ACCUmash has run multiple experiments on every formulation at a standard 5-gallon batch size. The basic minerals should be close if you scale down as suggested.
What do I need to do to make adjustments to my sparge water?
In most cases no adjustment is needed, but don’t take our word for it, research it for yourself. The necessity of making adjustments to your sparge water depends on your set up and your sparge practices. For instance, if you batch sparge it is typically not necessary to adjust your sparge water. If you use a continuous sparge, it really depends on what you choose as your sparge stopping point to determine if you need to adjust your sparge pH. Check out the following references on good sparge water practices:
Should I use RO or distilled water for my sparge water?
Yes; you want to eliminate the variability that tap water and spring water introduce into your beer even in your sparge water. By using Reverse Osmosis (RO) or distilled water in your sparge, you are ensuring that you are using blank palette for your water and are adding in the proper minerals for the type of beer you are brewing with your ACCUmash packet. If you use tap water or spring water in your sparge, you could be reintroducing minerals (or contaminates like chlorine/chloramine) and change the water profile that ends up in your wort/final beer. See “Why do I need to use RO water or Distilled? Couldn’t I use tap?”
Should I use RO or distilled water for my mash too?
Yes; for the same reasons as not using tap water in your mash. See “Why do I need to use RO water or Distilled? Couldn’t I use tap?”
Why do I need to use RO water or Distilled? Couldn’t I use tap?
ACCUmash is designed to be used with Distilled or Reverse Osmosis (RO) water. Tap water often contains chlorine, and the mineral profile varies from location to location (same for well water). Tap water’s chemistry/mineral content even varies throughout the year. For instance:
This variation is one of the many reasons that home brewers are often challenged when undertaking their own chemistry calculations. Even a person very well versed in water chemistry may have water that changes throughout the year. This can lead the brewer to start with the wrong water profile before they even start performing their first calculation.
RO or distilled water gives ACCUmash a blank palette to work from, free from impurities or contaminents that could cause off flavors. From that blank pallet, ACCUmah’s formulation is tailored to the subset of brew you are purchasing it for. Distilled water is available at most grocery stores and many grocery stores or homebrew shops have a RO water dispensing station. If you brew often, you can even have a small RO system installed in your house (they are very economical these days). This cost of the water is very small and will help you lock down the variability around your water chemistry.
What if I do not have a pH meter?
ACCUmash is designed to put your mash pH in the desired pH range (5.2-5.7 at room temperature) and as close as possible to the range for the desired subcategory. Monitoring your pH gives you more control over your mash. If for some reason your specific recipe or process pushes the mash pH out of range, you can catch it and adjust. Additionally, some brewers may have a certain pH target for the beer they are brewing. By monitoring the pH, the brewer can make a small acid or base addition to hit an exact pH. Each formulation of ACCUmash has gone through exhaustive testing and should put the majority of recipes in the correct pH range. If you are not monitoring your pH, you can rest assured your pH will be significantly closer with using ACCUmash than if you add nothing to your water. Most importantly with using ACCUmash, you always know you have the correct water profile for the correct taste, aroma, and yeast nutrients for the style of beer you are brewing.
What if my pH is off slightly?
ACCUmash is designed to put your mash pH in the desired pH range (5.2-5.7 at room temperature) and as close as possible to the range for the desired subcategory. There is a very small chance that your mash pH may end outside of the desired 5.2-5.7. In the event this occurs, you can rest assured a small acid or base adjustment will bring the pH back in range. Keep in mind that all of the needed components are included in ACCUmash to ensure the correct taste, aroma, and yeast nutrients for the style of beer you are brewing in addition to targeting the right pH.
There are phosphates in ACCUmash. Aren't phosphates ineffective and add sodium?
ACCUmash only uses a small amount of phosphates as compared to other mash/water additives available in the market. This small amount of phosphates is used to help bring the mash pH down and/or to help allow for additional recipe variations. When using phosphates, you do have to be aware of the sodium contribution. ACCUmash takes the sodium content into account when developing its formulations. We guarantee that the total contribution from salts, minerals and phosphates result in the proper ppm range to enhance the flavor of the beer and not result in off flavors. While we will not comment on the effectiveness of someone else’s product, we will tell you that ACCUmash works mostly because the nonphosphate materials do the heavy lifting.
I heard Calcium Carbonate is not soluble in water. Is that true?
ACCUmash no longer uses Calcium Carbonate. In case you have one of the first edition packets that includes calcium carbonate, don’t be worried: Depending on the water gurus you reference, calcium carbonate is documented to be soluble somewhere between 0.26-1.0 grams per 5 gallons. We use less calcium carbonate than what the majority of the water guru’s say is soluble in 5 gallons of water. For the sake of argument, let’s say that all of the calcium carbonate used in ACCUmash was ineffective; we do not believe that to be the case, but regardless, our product’s effectiveness has been proven with exhaustive real life testing. Even assuming that the calcium carbonate addition was useless, our testing would have failed until we compensated with other ingredients to make ACCUmash effective.
I have heard ACCUmash is like that product that promises to lock in your mash pH?
ACCUmash is not like any product that promises to lock in your pH. First and foremost, ACCUmash is focused on targeting the aroma and taste profile for the style of beer you are brewing. Think of having the correct pH as an added benefit. We have developed our formulations with repeat experimentation. Due to a small recipe range and thorough repeat testing, we were able to develop our formulations with the added benefit of coming close to the desired mash pH. On our packaging and website, it is stated that you may need to make additional pH adjustments; this may occur from time to time as it is hard to plan for all of the variables a specific recipe/homebrewer may introduce. Although for the majority of recipes in the color and alcohol range, ACCUmash is designed to put you very close to the correct mash pH, much closer than if the brewer does nothing to affect their mash pH.
With ACCUmash, you always know you have the correct water profile for the correct taste, aroma, and yeast nutrients for the style of beer you are brewing.