Water as an ingredient

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Water as an ingredient

Postby Jerimi » Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:19 pm

I would like to see water added to the ingredients list with the ability to edit what we have added to it (mineral salts), much like the adding of grains, hops and yeast. Maybe this would have its own section like the equipment but regardless we should have more detail in water and a way to record it. Because water is the base from which all styles derive, i feel that this is an item that cant be over looked. I could give you the recipe for one of my beers but not knowing what the water conditions I used were you will come close but some of the finer points could be lost.

Oh is there a way or could we have a forum to exchange the items/information we have added to the various selections in the "Database"? I would be most happy to share all the added items that it put in as I complete them. Just a thought :)
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Postby ColoradoBrewer » Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:15 am

BTP has a water chemistry calculator. Just click on sessions in the top line menu, or hit Cntrl + H.
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Postby Jerimi » Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:41 am

Thanks, I do use it but I would like to see it added to the list of ingredients, so it can be shared in the recipes.
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Postby ColoradoBrewer » Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:23 am

OOPS! Guess I misunderstood your question :oops:
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Water additives as ingredients

Postby slothrob » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:24 am

The only problem I see with this is that your base water isn't my base water, so your final water profile might require completely different additions.

Perhaps a more practical solution would be to include the water profile as part of the recipe output, instead of the salt additions. This might require that a water profile had been selected in the Water Chemistry calculator before it was included in the recipe.

The one complication I see is, if you only change your water profile for the mash, as I do, you have 2 different water profiles, one for mashing and another in the brew water. But perhaps this is unusual enough a quirk that it wouldn't need to be accommodated, I don't know.
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Postby Jerimi » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:56 am

I guess i wasn't clear in what i had asked. yes you would have to enter a base water and then show a list of treatments to arrive at the finished water profile. But you do raise a valid point about Two different water profiles for mashing and brew water. I will thin that over. Thanks
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I don't understand this.

Postby billvelek » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:44 pm

Maybe it's because I haven't bothered with water chemistry in the past, but I don't understand the reference to two different water profiles -- one for 'mashing' and one for 'brew' water. If I duplicate water from 'Pilsen', wouldn't I use that water for the entire batch -- strike water, mashout, and sparging -- and isn't that all of your 'brew' water? The only other water I can see being added is if it you boiled too long or hard (evaporated too much) and had to add some water to bring your batch up to full size for your fermenter -- but even with that, the salts don't evaporate and so you'd still have the appropriate amount, wouldn't you? The only other water I can see that might not have the correct profile is the water in your yeast starter and in your primer, but I can't imagine that that would make a substantial difference, ... and if you think it would you could always correct your water to the correct profile for that purpose, too. So what am I overlooking here?

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Re: I don't understand this.

Postby bzwrxbz » Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:05 am

billvelek wrote:Maybe it's because I haven't bothered with water chemistry in the past, but I don't understand the reference to two different water profiles -- one for 'mashing' and one for 'brew' water. If I duplicate water from 'Pilsen', wouldn't I use that water for the entire batch -- strike water, mashout, and sparging -- and isn't that all of your 'brew' water? The only other water I can see being added is if it you boiled too long or hard (evaporated too much) and had to add some water to bring your batch up to full size for your fermenter -- but even with that, the salts don't evaporate and so you'd still have the appropriate amount, wouldn't you? The only other water I can see that might not have the correct profile is the water in your yeast starter and in your primer, but I can't imagine that that would make a substantial difference, ... and if you think it would you could always correct your water to the correct profile for that purpose, too. So what am I overlooking here?

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For example, I think some people add gypsum to their kettle, to accentuate (sulfate?) the hops... whereas they are not adding it to the mash... maybe because the want to keep a certain RA there for enzymatic reasons.

I have personally never done this.

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Re: I don't understand this.

Postby billvelek » Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:36 am

bzwrxbz wrote:For example, I think some people add gypsum to their kettle, to accentuate (sulfate?) the hops... whereas they are not adding it to the mash... maybe because the want to keep a certain RA there for enzymatic reasons.

Okay, I can see that. But then wouldn't the correct approach re BTP recipes be to have one water profile, and merely add the gypsum as a 'Special Ingredient' -- with a note that it is added to the kettle during the boil? It doesn't appear on that ingredient list, but a user can add it to the list him/herself.

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re: I don't understand this.

Postby slothrob » Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:24 am

billvelek wrote:If I duplicate water from 'Pilsen', wouldn't I use that water for the entire batch -- strike water, mashout, and sparging -- and isn't that all of your 'brew' water?

The only other water I can see being added is if it you boiled too long or hard (evaporated too much) and had to add some water to bring your batch up to full size for your fermenter -- but even with that, the salts don't evaporate and so you'd still have the appropriate amount, wouldn't you?

Dealing with the second point first, boiling water can't evaporate salts, but it can, and does, precipitate calcium and carbonate. This is a minor point, unless you are trying to find a way to reduce carbonates in your water, but it is one reason many people add salts directly to the mash tun and don't try and treat all their brewing water.

If you are treating water to duplicate a certain water profile, then you would do as you say, add salts to all your water in an attempt to duplicate the composition of a city's brewing water.

This technique is falling out of favor as it is an historic rather than a scientific reason for treating water. Many cities actually made do with their water and had less than ideal water for the beers they made. In modern times, many of these famous brewing cities actually adjust their water to more ideal profiles.

As an example, in areas with very soft water, such as many coastal regions and areas whose water supplies are fed by runoff, it can be important to add calcium to the mash to stabilize enzymes and other ions to adjust the RA to the SRM of the beer, improving the mash pH.

In this soft water, the bufferring capacity of the water is so low that the contents of the mash after first runnings is sufficient to maintain pH during the sparge. This means that, in this case, adding additional salts to the sparge is superfluous and has the potential to actually throw the pH off as the grain becomes depleted. For this, and other, reasons many people will adjust the pH of their sparge water with acids, but not their mash water.

Another way to look at this is that many of the salts are added to balance the effect of certain grains. During the sparge the salts and the compounds added by the grains become diluted at approximately the same rate. This should maintain a balance that buffers the grain bed at the proper pH, at least with relatively soft water that has little of it's own competing buffering capacity. Brewers working with high carbonate water are battling very different conditions and need to use different techniques, like adding acid to their sparge water to counter their water's buffering capacity and alkalinity.

To complicate matters, adjusting the salt profile of your water is not as simple as throwing the right salts into your water prior to strike. Some salts used in brewing are poorly soluble in tap water (calcium carbonate is the classic example). For this reason, the salts are often added directly to the mash tun. The low pH of the mash improves the salt's solubility and insures proper mash conditions. This means that the sparge water will have no further additions.

As I've already calculated all this for every SRM range, if I want Gypsum, I add it to the boil so that I don't have to recalculate everything.

Sorry for the long winded response, I couldn't think of any quick way to say all that.

As far as BTP, it would work to list the composition of your base water and then list the additions as ingredients, indicating when they were added and to what. It would be up to the person duplicating the recipe to determine if those additions were appropriate for their base water.
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That was a great post, slothrob. Thanks.

Postby billvelek » Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:10 pm

That was a great post, slothrob. Thanks. Except for when a brewer is located somewhere where water chemistry is an absolutley vital concern, I think most brewers ignore it and therefore don't understant it, but it's a great feature for BTP to have and one that I'm sure I'll _eventually_ get around to.

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