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Brewing Water Questions

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Brewing Water Questions

Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:28 pm
by rjfvt
I’m just starting with all grain and have done my best to try and adjust my water to get a good water profile for my beer. At first I thought it would be best to add the salts to my 15gal drum and then re-test to make sure it’s correct but my results didn’t come out like the calculators said it would. Also the chalk basically sat at the bottom and didn’t dissolve. So I then used EZ-water calculator and added it to the mash and sparge water. I don’t know how the best way to prepare my water, if I treat the mash and sparge, you have no way to insure the correct amount of salt was added. If you mix the salt to the water before brewing some will not dissolve.

Can anyone help me with my water questions? I added my water test results. Thanks!

This is my well water run through a up flow neutralizer. (I by-passed my water softener.)
Ca – 24
Mg – 18
Cl – 110
So4 – 0
Na – 72
Total Hardness CaCo3 – 100
Total Alkalinity HCO3 – 144
Residual Alkalinity – 18

This is my well water run through a up flow neutralizer and a RO system. (I by-passed my water softener.)
Ca – 0
Mg – 0
Cl – 20
So4 – 0
Na – 22
Total Hardness CaCo3 – 0
Total Alkalinity HCO3 – 24
Residual Alkalinity – 0

Re: Brewing Water Questions

Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:35 pm
by BSBrewer
I'm not sure if you've looked at Bru'nWater, but it has some great instructions on the first tab that explain a lot about the "how" of adding salts.

I assume you're building up from RO, in which case we don't need to worry much about your source water.

I treat my total water (mash + sparge) prior to heating. My water profile is relatively soft, but not RO. I'm basically just adding a few grams (2-5 for most styles) of CaCl and CaSo4 to boost my calcium and get the ratios right. Then I add a few mL of lactic to deal with the alkalinity and help lower the mash pH to around. 5.4-5.6 at 68F. Of course all of this depends on the grain bill (for pH reasons) and the style (for flavor reasons).

I wouldn't bother with chalk. As you observed, it doesn't really dissolve (the other salts will). The latest data also suggests it doesn't really raise the mash pH very effectively anyway (see Palmer's Water book for more on that).

If you need to raise the alkalinity of your RO water to offset the acidity of dark grains, try baking soda or pickling lime. Baking soda has a ton of sodium, but unless you need to add a lot of alkalinity it's probably OK. The spreadsheets will give you some guidance on how much might be too much.

Re: Brewing Water Questions

Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:03 pm
by rjfvt
Hi I made a Imperial Stout and entered the grain into EZ Water cal along with water profile and targets. I adjusted to meet my targets. It showed the PH should come out at 5.54. the actual PH 10 min on mash was 4.72 so now i'm worried about using the calculator but I probably did something wrong.

This page can be used for copying and pasting

Starting Water (ppm):
Ca: 36
Mg: 22
Na: 39
Cl: 70
SO4: 20
CaCO3: 84

Mash / Sparge Vol (gal): 6.7 / 4.8
RO or distilled %: 0% / 0%

Total Grain (lb): 19.0

Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:
CaSO4: 8 / 5.731343284
CaCl2: 2 / 1.432835821
MgSO4: 2 / 1.432835821
NaHCO3: 0 / 0
CaCO3: 0 / 0
Lactic Acid (ml): 0
Sauermalz (oz): 0

Mash Water / Total water (ppm):
Ca: 129 / 129
Mg: 29 / 29
Na: 39 / 39
Cl: 108 / 108
SO4: 227 / 227
Cl to SO4 Ratio: 0.48 / 0.48

Alkalinity (CaCO3): 84
RA: -25
Estimated pH: 5.58
(room temp)

Re: Brewing Water Questions

Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:07 pm
by rjfvt
also I added about 1/2 of the salts to get the 15gallons of RO water closer just to cut down on the amount going into the mash & sparge

Re: Brewing Water Questions

Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:34 pm
by BSBrewer
I haven't used EZ Water and I'm on my phone so don't have access to Bru'nWater right now to double check.

The one thing that does jump out at me is for a 19 pound grain bill on a 5 gallon imperial stout you may need quite a bit of alkalinity to balance that out. The CaSO4 and CaCl2 are going to reduce the alkalinity along with the dark grains, so I could see the being an issue.

Also the source water here doesn't seem to match either water profile you posted above. Did you do something different for the Imperial Stout?

Either way, my advice would be to plug your grain bill and water info into another calculator and see if you can spot the issue. Sometimes someone labeling a field differently in another system helps you realize what was wrong.

Re: Brewing Water Questions

Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:07 pm
by rjfvt
I've down loaded Brun Water Calculator and I'm reading the instruction right now. But on the Imperial Stout I started with 15 gallons of RO water and used Brewer's Friend Brewing Water Treatment calculator, entered my target numbers and only added 1/2 the salts just to get the water close to the target so I wouldn't have to add so much to the mash and sparge.

I might know part of the problem after thinking about it. I didn't add the grain build to the Brewer's Friend Brewing Water Treatment calculator. The new adjusted numbers from the RO treated water was added into the EZ water calculator along with the grain build. so maybe it had something to do with it?? I don't know. It seems like it should have all worked but I'm just learning and I'll still drink the beer even if it comes out a little funny.

Brewing Water Questions

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:27 pm
by BSBrewer
Yes, the grain bill will have an impact -- especially with this beer.

If you mashed a mostly Pils malt grainbill with RO water your mash pH will probably be close to correct without any acid and you're just adjusting salts for taste.

Brew a mostly Munich malt grainbill with the same water and you'll need to add alkalinity or come in too low.

Mash either of the same grainbills with your source water and both will come out with pH too high.

It's all about balancing the alkalinity in the water with the acids in the roasted grains or the acid you add to the mash.

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