Water Salt Calculator

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Water Salt Calculator

Postby JonesZ » Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:10 am

Not sure if this is rehash or not. But are there any plans on putting a water salt calculator in BTP? I see the profiler, but that is simply a reference. For instance, if I want to replicate London's water profile from RO or Distilled water I need to not only know what the profile is but how many grams of each salt to add to achieve that profile. Then I want BTP to place that profile in the print out, or better yet, place the salt additions in the incrediants list, with the achieved profile next to it. Any plans for this?
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Postby just-cj » Sun Jan 28, 2007 1:01 am

I was also surprised that salt additions were not in the ingredients list unless I placed them there.
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Postby slothrob » Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:41 am

The water/salt calculator is under Session>Water Chemistry In the Menubar.

JonesZ, it does what you're looking for, giving you a place to enter your local water profile (mine was included) or distilled water, select which salts you would like to add, and select a target water profile. It even calculates residual alkalinity for you, which is the most important value.
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When are water adjustments made?

Postby billvelek » Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:31 am

I've never made water adjustments. I had assumed that they would be made in the HLT so that the water would already be adjusted for strike, infusions, and sparge; however, as I think about it, I'm wondering if folks are using RO water for their mash and are adding their salts for just the boil. If it is done at the boil, then I presume you would use your kettle's pre-boil volume. When should water adjustments be made, and does it make a difference? Thanks.

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Postby slothrob » Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:14 pm

People make water adjustments at Mash, Sparge and Boil, depending on the effect they want.

Adjust Mash water to add calcium, if you have soft water, to aid the enzymes, and to adjust the residual alkalinity depending on the target SRM, to keep the mash pH within the optimal range. Some also add acid of bicarbonate to directly adjust pH. These modifications are done based on the mash volume, but with awareness of the salt concentrations in the final volume.

There's probably no reason to adjust mash out water, but it would make sense to adjust all parts of a step infusion.

Some people adjust Sparge water pH, particularly fly spargers, to maintain the pH as the wort becomes dilute and looses it's buffering capacity. These adjustments are based on the sparge volume, but with awareness of the salt concentrations in the final volume.

Some people add salts, particularly Burton Salts or calcium sulfate and table salt, directly to the boil water when they want to add ions that affect flavor, but don't want or need their effect on the mash pH.
Last edited by slothrob on Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby just-cj » Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:15 pm

When using RO or distilled water (or really any water), mineral adjustments MUST be made in the mash. It is less critical to adjust the sparge water in many cases, and many brew salts are useless in the sparge water anyway since they need the presence of malt/sugars in order to release their buffering ability. There's usually no need to add anything to the boil.
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In other words, adjust in the HLT as I suspected?

Postby billvelek » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:15 pm

The reason I had pretty much assumed that that is the case is because, if I'm trying to duplicate water from Pilsen, then all of the water that goes into my beer ought to be Pilsen water (equivalent) -- which would include mashout and sparge, too, otherwise it would be like mashing with Pilsen and sparging with Greenbrier, Arkansas. Thanks for the advice. Our water is pretty good here, and I'm not advanced enough to start thinking about RO and salt additions.

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Postby just-cj » Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:44 pm

Bill, the problem with adding minerals to the strike water/hot liquor tank is that they often don't dissolve in just water. If you mix a tablespoon of gypsum into five gallons of water, for example, you'll end up with a bunch of undissolved gypsum at the bottom of your tank at the end of the sparge. Plus, you need certain minerals in the mash, not necessarily in the sparge, which means you'd have to add even more to your HLT which would result in even more undissolved minerals.

Your point about needing to match water completely is good, but mostly that applies to the mash. A little acid in the HLT is often the only treatment you need to make (to ensure that the pH of the final runnings doesn't go over 6.0). The buffering power of the minerals will last for a long time even when you add non-treated water.

If you have a chance to go to a brewery, ask the brewer about this -- I'll bet my brewery that they don't add any brewing salts to the HTL, only a bit of acid (and sometimes not even that).
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My misconception

Postby billvelek » Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:26 pm

I guess I've been laboring under the misconception that if I take reverse osmosis water (or distilled water) which I presume is completely free of all minerals (at least the distilled water is!), and then if I want to match the water from Pilsen, that I could use the water chemistry tool in BTP to add the necessary minerals to get an exact match -- even if I just wanted to drink the stuff as plain old 'Pilsen' water. Why the minerals wouldn't dissolve, I don't know, but if that is, in fact, a problem, then how do you work around it? I had expected that if I wanted to brew a beer just as if I were sitting in Pilsen, Czech, that I could take mineral free water, add the necessary adjustments, and ... VOILA! ... I'd have 'Pilsen' water. As I stated in my previous post, if a brewer is not able to replicate water exactly from another area -- from the 'get go' (in the HLT) -- then what you would really end up with is a mixture of a water profile from one area and also from your own. Or am I missing something?

Cheers.

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Postby just-cj » Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:49 am

Bill -- Just add the minerals to your grains as you mash in. They will dissolve once they mix with the grains and the water. Just sprinkle the salts in with your grains before you start your mash in -- no matter how you mash in (start with all your water and just dump in the grains, or dump your water on top of the grains, or slowly add water and grains until you're completely mashed in), that will work well. You can add some to the sparge water as well, but it won't be nearly as effective there -- and like I mentioned before, as long as your final runnings pH doesn't wander above 6.0, you'll be okay without anything, or with only a small amount of acid added.
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Thanks, just-cj

Postby billvelek » Mon Jan 29, 2007 12:01 pm

I guess we've wandered off of BTP discussion in the last few posts, so let me try to get us back on track. If I am trying to clone a beer that is brewed in another place and I feel that the water profile is vital, I'd either make adjustments to my tap water if possible, or start with reverse osmosis or distilled water and then make the adjustments; correct? Should the quantity of salts initially added to the tun be enough for the 'Total Water' figure shown in the 'Schedule' display? I don't know much about chemistry; do any acid additions or buffers contain any 'salts' that should be accounted for?

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Postby slothrob » Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:10 pm

The salts are added for 2 reasons, mash chemistry and flavor effects.

Any salts added to the mash need to be adjusted to arrive at the proper calcium concentration and residual alkalinity (RA, determines pH of mash) for the mash water volume and the grains being used.

The concentrations of these salts need to be considered in the final volume to be sure that any given ions don't exceed the desired concentration for optimal flavor. If it's desired to add additional salts to change the flavor profile of the beer, but these would throw off the residual alkalinity for the grains used, the mash salts need to be adjusted to correct for this or these salts must be added to the boil, based on the final volume.

My opinion is that Pilz is agreat water profile for very light beers, except the calcium concentration is too low for a good mash. To best duplicate the Pilz water's effect on a very light beer at home, you are better off increasing the calcium in the mash water to 50 ppm or higher by adding cacium cloride and calcium carbonate, keeping the RA to around 5, than duplicating the Pilz water. You may be able to hit a similar RA with your house water, without trying to duplicate Pilz water.

If using RO water, you may choose to use a touch of calcium sulfate or epsom salt, to highlight the hop flavor, and table salt, for "roundness". There's no reason to add the table salt to the mash, the calcium or magnesium sulfate could be added to the mash, if the RA is adjusted to account for it, or to the boil. I'd probably just throw a big pinch of each into the boil.
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Water Chemistry continued

Postby FrugalBrewer » Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:45 pm

Okay heres my scenario and following will be my question.

I use a direct fired HLT to which I add 5.2 pH Stabilzer buffer salts. I heat this water to temp, strinke or infuse rest temp etc.., and sparge. I calculate my entire volume first, heat in the HLT and adjust temp as necessary for the next step.

If I wanted to clone a beer from a region that has significantly different water chemistry than I do, have I eliminated the possibility of modification in the boil due to the buffers added prior to the kettle ( i.e will the buffer salt counter any additions I make this late in the "game").?
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Postby slothrob » Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:07 pm

I don't use 5.2, myself, but if I understand the concept well enough... I believe the adjusted salts, if chosen with target SRM and Residual Alkalinity in mind, will bring the pH within the proper range, without the 5.2. Essentially, you're building a mild buffer, targeting a good pH range for mashing, out of the grain and salt combination. In this case, the 5.2 would just act as a bit of insurance that the pH is hit, not counteract the effect.

The other way to think of this is that without adjusting your water, depending on how radical your local water chemistry, the 5.2 alone may be insufficient to correct the pH.
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Postby JonesZ » Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:59 pm

slothrob wrote:The water/salt calculator is under Session>Water Chemistry In the Menubar.

JonesZ, it does what you're looking for, giving you a place to enter your local water profile (mine was included) or distilled water, select which salts you would like to add, and select a target water profile. It even calculates residual alkalinity for you, which is the most important value.


Sure, but what it doesn't do is tell me how many grams of each salt I need to add to a specific quantity of water, then print it out for me.
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