Effects of pH on Fermentation

Physics, chemistry and biology of brewing. The causes and the effects.

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Effects of pH on Fermentation

Post by Skier1 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:59 am

I am hoping somebody can give me some information on pH and how it affects yeast. I am an avid homebrewer and have been brewing all-grain for a couple of years now. I am not an expert but I feel that I have an above average understanding of the process and of basic chemistry.

I know that pH has a big effect on mash efficiency but I want to know if it has as big an impact on yeast's ability to ferment or carbonate beer.

I have a particular beer in mind where I would like to add citric acid at bottling to provide a counterpoint in flavor to the malty sweetness. Will doing this inhibit the yeast in anyway from conditioning the beer? If so, would there be any potential negatives from just force carbonating the beer and then bottling?

Thanks in advance for any help that you may give.

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Acid and yeast

Post by slothrob » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:33 pm

At some point Citric Acid will inhibit the yeast, but I don't know what that point is. On the other hand, there are plenty of very sour and highly carbonated beers in the world. Yeast shouldn't have a problem above pH 4.0, from my quick research, but I've also had beers that I believe were close to pH 3.

There's no real downside to force carbonating the beer, then filling bottles, however. I do it frequently.
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