Water questions and suggestions

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

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Re: RA by SMR

Postby slothrob » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:47 pm

Legman wrote:With my water profile, I have 0 ppm Cl. I would like to make a malty-very malty beer. I need to increase the amount of Cl to help acheive this. But in order for my RA to stay in range, the CO3 has to climb above the 300 ppm limit to offset the RA drop from the CaCl2 addition.
Now, this is in the mash tun, not the full boil volume, which would lower in the final boil to an acceptable level.
Is this ok to have in the mash tun or will this cause some kind of problem eventhough it is lowered in the end?
And if this is a problem, and I need to add it to the boil, how would you calculate that?

I'm not sure, but I get the impression, from Palmer, that the chemistry gets a little screwy above 300 ppm, so I wouldn't advise it even if it was diluted later.

I would try using:
-NaHCO3 instead of CaCO3, for at least part of the addition. You should be getting plenty of Ca from your CaCl2 addition if you are bumping your Cl up that much. The NaHCO3 will raise the RA with less CO3 addition because it isn't counterbalanced with a simultaneous Ca addition.
-NaCl to get some of your Cl. You won't need to add more CO3 to balance Ca from NaCl, as you would with CaCl, so less CO3 should be required. Also, higher Na should work well in beers where you want higher Cl. Also, this shouldn't affect pH.

The only caution would be adding a lot of Na if you have high SO4 in your tap water. Then you're water isn't really appropriate for the "very malty' ratio without diluting your water with RO or distilled.

...I was just reminded of some time I spent helping a buddy raise a sunken schooner from a river bottom in Shell Pile, NJ (or was it Bivalve?) near the Chesapeake and perhaps about 150 miles from North Carolina by boat. The water had so much sulfur that taking a shower to wash off the mud at the end of the day was like eating a week-old egg salad sandwich... :shock:
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Water Chemistry

Postby Legman » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:34 pm

MAN THIS WATER CHEMISTRY IS DRIVING NUTS!!! GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!! :x

Well I played around with it a little more and I think I got it as close as I can get it. I couldn't get the Cl up as much as I wanted it....only about 41 ppm. But at the same time, I'm not sure what that really translates to.
Is it mostly the SO4 to Cl ratio that creates the bitterness or maltiness? If that's the case, then I have a ratio of Cl/SO4 of about 2.41. That should be malty.

My water is !@#$ near void of any minerals. It's extremely soft water, so I would think it would be relatively easy to add minerals to it.

Your sulfur story reminded me of a time I went on a 5 day trip in the Okefenokee swamp. The 4th day we camped at an old hunting cabin back in the swamp that was built back in the 20's. Behind the cabin was an old water pump. And I thougt "Great, I'll wash up a bit." So I primed the pump and finally got water flowing and without thinking about it, dunked my sweaty head in the cool water coming from the pump. Aaaggghhhrrrr! Pure sulfur water! I washed off 4 days of sweat and dirt, but I smelled like a rotten egg the rest of the trip. I think I might have smelled better before my whores bath. :lol:
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water

Postby slothrob » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:29 pm

Legman, I'm not sure of the relative importance of the Cl:SO4 ratio and the Cl concentration. I try to get both in range.

What RA are you trying to hit? I have similar water, maybe I can figure out the additions.

Yeah, that's the smell. If I hadn't been covered in grey river bottom I would have been worse off. I bet they have hop presence, though!
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RE: water

Postby Legman » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:33 am

Hey that's ok, Slo. You don't have to go to all that trouble man. I think my biggest issue is that I just don't quite understand what the numbers really mean and what they really contribute to the beer. So right now, it just looks like a bunch of numbers with no real meanings. I understand what each does, just not at what range does it change. It's just one of those things I'll have to experience to fully get it. I'm one of those who needs to see it to get it.
I'll show you what I did. See what ya think. Now, I don't have a gram scale, so I'm limited to measuring down to an 1/8 of a tsp.

SMR=26.51 Target RA=216
Batch size=5.5 gal.

My Water
Ca++ 1 ppm
Mg++ 1 ppm
Na++ 1 ppm
HCO3 24.4 ppm
SO4 17 ppm
Cl 1 ppm
Hardness 6 ppm
pH 7

RA 18.62


Water Adjusted (4 gallons)
Added:
CaCO3 - 1.8g
CaCl2 - 1.275g
NaHCO3 - 4.4g

Ca++ 71 ppm
Mg++ 1 ppm
Na++ 80 ppm
HCO3 303 ppm
SO4 17 ppm
Cl 41 ppm
Hardness 184 ppm

RA 196.86
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Postby slothrob » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:13 am

If it's any comfort, I made a ~25 SRM Robust Porter Earlier this year that came out nice and malty, with a smooth roastiness. Harsh dark beer is a problem I usually have with my soft house water and dark beer, and this beer didn't have that, even though I probably should have used less Black Patent.

I brought the RA to 202, the Cl to 72, the SO4 was at 10, and Na at 116. So I guess the Cl:SO4 was 7:1.

I was very happy with the result and got some good feedback on that beer (I'm not a competitor, so it might have got slammed in a competition, for all I know). As with all my beer, I found things in it that I think I can improve next time. I think I will try and double the Cl next time.

Good luck!
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Postby kevponce » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:53 pm

Slo Is it Slo-Throb or Sloth-rob? Just wondering. I am doing good here thanks for asking.. I am just trying to keep up with you and Legman. I really have to brew again to implement some water stuff. We have a small Brew Club going that meets at my Masonic Lodge. F.O.A.M. Fermenting Officers (or Others) At Mosaic (our lodge name). Its just 5 guys but that is good. Enough to split up the work, but not too much that we get in each others way. We brew together rather than seperately at home. Nice industrial kitchen. We have a Roggenbier and an Oatmeal stout that we have stuff for. We just finished our first all-grain (group has been together a year). I have been brewing on and off since 1980. Mostly extract ales. So i am considered the group Brewmaster. Scary Huh? But we have a blast. We took over a room in the basement, fridge down there now, It stays pretty cool. Now a couple of lagers and pilseners under our belt. So we got tired of extracts and partial mashes and I have read much regarding batch sparges and so we finally got the equip together and the first rent went really well. I had the efficiency in BTP set to 65% because our partial mashes were always low, and to compensate for the batch sparge. We were shooting for a 1048 - 1050 but ended up at a 80% efficiency and near a 1058. So my Northern Brown Ale quickly became an American Brown Ale.

I am curious about if I should treat all of my 8 gallons or so of liquor (water) or just the mash? The amazing thing about brewing is there are so many different opinions. Half the people say white, half say black, so i just try and filter it all out.

Getting back to brewing sometime next week should clear up some things and the more we do the better we will understand our system and its heat and efficiency capabilities.

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Here are the guys. I had to try that with the image thats pretty cool.

We do some beer labels for the GrandMaster in New Jersey

Here is one

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Hope this didn't bore you. just wanted to test the pix thing.
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Postby Legman » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:12 pm

kevponce wrote:Slo Is it Slo-Throb or Sloth-rob?

:lol: The question resurfaces again. :lol:

Hey Kev, don't get discouraged with all this brewing mumbo-jumbo. You don't have to get crazy technical to make a good beer. This is just fine tuning and customizing your brews and learning control of the outcome. You're right about all the different opinions in brewing. But the truth of the matter, there's really only a few basic rules you need to follow. So just have fun and enjoy some of the fruits of your labor with your buddies!

I've only been brewing about 2 1/2 years now, doing all-grain about the last year or so. I've learned a lot, but it's a process. I started out trying to get results by being as simple as possible. Now I'm just improving my whole process. I've always got great reviews from my friend on my beer, so I must be doing something right! :wink:
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One more thing........

Postby Legman » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:14 pm

Slap that guy on the end drinking the Coors Light. That's a homebrew club for God's sake! :o

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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NaCl

Postby Legman » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:34 pm

Hey Slo, I just realized that NaCl was salt. Duh!
I'm so brain dead sometimes. Well that just solves my issues I had before. It didn't dawn on me till just now.
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Re: NaCl

Postby slothrob » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:24 pm

Legman wrote:Hey Slo, I just realized that NaCl was salt. Duh!

Sorry, I didn't mean to be cryptic, but in this conversation saying "salt" can mean a lot of things. Besides, I'm a biochemist, so I think of it as NaCl!

kevponce wrote:Slo Is it Slo-Throb or Sloth-rob? Just wondering.
I am curious about if I should treat all of my 8 gallons or so of liquor (water) or just the mash? The amazing thing about brewing is there are so many different opinions. Half the people say white, half say black, so i just try and filter it all out.

:P Why it's Sl-öthr-øb, of course! :P

How's the saying go?... "Opinions are like pieholes, everybody's got one"
The latest edition of John Palmer's "How to Brew" is a great source of information based on a current understanding of brewing science instead of opinion.

Anyway, treating the liquor can be problematic, especially with Calcium Carbonate, due to low solubility. It's best to add the salts directly to the mash, where the low pH will facilitate their dissolution.

If you are batch sparging, John Palmer's recommendation is to treat the mash with whatever additions are needed to correct the pH. Then you can add the same salts to the boil, proportionate to the additional volume, plus any additional flavor ions you want to add. That somewhat simulates the situation in the cities where the styles evolved and the same water was used throughout the process, without the complications of adding salts to the sparge.

When I can do it and still hit my pH, I try and add all my salts to the mash, so that I only have to make the one addition. If all you want to do is control the mash pH and add enough Calcium, you can easily accomplish that with just a mash addition.

If you prefer, you can add salts to your sparge water. However, you don't need to treat the sparge because, unless you have very alkaline water, the mash should buffer the sparge and the mash pH should establish the sparge pH. With my water, the sparge doesn't change more than a couple tenths from the mash pH. When adding a lot of Carbonate, treating the sparge water might actually raise the sparge pH too high. Also, adding the salts to the sparge water may leave them on the bottom of the MLT, due to their low solubility.
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Postby kevponce » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:33 am

Hey Kev, don't get discouraged with all this brewing mumbo-jumbo. You don't have to get crazy technical to make a good beer. This is just fine tuning and customizing your brews and learning control of the outcome. You're right about all the different opinions in brewing. But the truth of the matter, there's really only a few basic rules you need to follow. So just have fun and enjoy some of the fruits of your labor with your buddies!


Legman - Brewing is too much fun to get discouraged, and our beers are pretty good, just think they have been missing that special "something" that bready biscuity thing that I think you only get from all-grain. The rest is as you say fine-tuning.


Slap that guy on the end drinking the Coors Light. That's a homebrew club for God's sake!

That is Jerry. He is the best, man. But yes he is a Coors light man. He joins us regularly for home-brewing sessions and has bought his share of equipment and ingredients, but never drinks what we brew. He just enjoys the camaraderie, which is fine with us. I am on the left end. See the brewmaster Halo around my head? Then Big D (Daren) - Then Aaron, Lou and Jerry. Good group of guys.


Why it's Sl-öthr-øb, of course!

Sounds Norse or something. Got a family wooden Brewstick?

I have meandered around Palmer's book many times and must say I have learned much from him. Smart guy. Figures that you being a BC would "get" him moreso than I, who being a Graphic Artist by trade, seem to embrace the "Don't worry" of Papazian, Luckily,my curiosities over the last 20 years of my life, led me to BTP and this site, it keeps it interesting.

So if I get the additions correctly, I add the chemisty to the mash, proportionate to the mash, add none to the sparge, then add the remaining minerals to the boil proportionate to the boil minus the mash water used. Correct?

Solubility is curious though. Foster in his Pale Ale book states that gypsum is more soluble in colder water. And one last thing that Legman triggered. When I was looking at my water profile, I too realized that the two minerals that seemed abnormally higher (in proportion to everything else) was the NA and Cl, and I said Hey! that is salt. And I thought, Now what the hell is there so much salt in municipal water for.

So my next thing I think is that since I already sent a unfiltered, unboiled, sample of my water to WardLabs, I figure now I am going to boil and decant another sample and send it and see where that takes me. Optimally CL should come down I think and the carbonate, but I think it is to just give me another baseline to start with. Ideally I would like to set my BTP up with the basic six or so citites/profiles as compared to my water(s) and have this working "comparison" as a permanent record to draw on each time I brew. I suppose most all beers can fall into one or another of these categories. But I do wonder where wheat falls in, what type of water? If I remember what you said Slo, it seems a wheat would be about a 10-12 SRM, so with every 7.5 srm 30 ra then about a 50 RA ought to do it, right? And with that this Roggenbier we have, I read has similar to wheat characteristics. PS I also hear that mashing RYE is tricky and see that the grain kit that we bought from NB has rice hulls in it. I've read to keep the MASH thin. Ever do Rye?

Our latest three. Dig that brewing kitchen. Stainless baby!
Image
Brown ale all-grain on left, Altbier in center, Am Wheat on right. Lost the syphon on the Alt, Hence the low net, Bummer.

PS One last thing. Why do my quotes read "quote" and not "Legman wrote" or "Slothrob wrote." I got that to work once but haven't remembered how I did that.

PSS. What does SRM stand for?

Anyway I fell asleep after work and slept through til 1:00m now I am wide-eyed and killing time. Be well gents.
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more water

Postby slothrob » Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:26 pm

legman wrote:Hey Kev, don't get discouraged with all this brewing mumbo-jumbo. You don't have to get crazy technical to make a good beer. This is just fine tuning and customizing your brews and learning control of the outcome.

Definitely a refinement process. My beer was fine mashing at the wrong pH, but I could tell that it could be better. I'm very happy that I'm starting to see the benefits of trying to figure this stuff out.

kevponce wrote:So if I get the additions correctly, I add the chemisty to the mash, proportionate to the mash, add none to the sparge, then add the remaining minerals to the boil proportionate to the boil minus the mash water used. Correct?

Yes. If 5 gallons went into your mash, you would calculate the additions using the Water Calculator for 5 gallons. If you sparged with 3 gallons, you would then add 3/5 of the amount of salts you added to the mash into the kettle.

kevponce wrote:Solubility is curious though. Foster in his Pale Ale book states that gypsum is more soluble in colder water.

Now what the hell is there so much salt in municipal water for.

Calcium Carbonate and Gypsum are a couple of the rare salts that decrease solubility at higher temperatures, but luckily dissolve in the low pH of the mash and kettle.

Some places just have salty water. I suppose it could also be a sign that the town softens the water, which adds Na.

kevponce wrote:So my next thing I think is that since I already sent a unfiltered, unboiled, sample of my water to WardLabs, I figure now I am going to boil and decant another sample and send it and see where that takes me. Optimally CL should come down I think and the carbonate,

Do you mean Chloride or Chlorine (as in hypochlorite or bleach)?
I don't think boiling will remove Chloride, though it will volatilize Chlorine.
The most effective way to remove Chlorine and Chloramine (which won't boil-off) is 1 Campden tablet per 20 gallons of water before adding to the mash.

kevponce wrote:But I do wonder where wheat falls in, what type of water?
10-12 SRM, so with every 7.5 srm 30 RA then about a 50 RA ought to do it, right?

Ever do Rye?

7.5 SRM should require an RA of 0 +/-30. then another 30 RA for each 2.5 in SRM, so 10 SRM would require an RA of 30 +/-30 and 12.5 SRM would require an RA of 60 +/- 30 RA, so 50 should be okay.

Never used Rye Malt, but I hear it's gummy.

kevponce wrote:PS One last thing. Why do my quotes read "quote" and not "Legman wrote" or "Slothrob wrote." I got that to work once but haven't remembered how I did that.

PSS. What does SRM stand for?

In the start-quote tag, make it read [quote="Legman"]. It happens automatically if you hit the Quote button in the upper right corner of a thread post.
SRM = Standard Reference Method.
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Postby jawbox » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:36 pm

Brewing network - Brew Strong just had a 4 part podcast on water chemistry with John Palmer & Jamil Zainasheff. Go download those, well worth listening to.

My water is crap so I always build it from scratch.

http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew-Strong
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Postby jawbox » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:42 pm

all numbers in ppm

Sodium, Na 81
Potassium, K 4
Calcium, Ca 98
Magnesium, Mg 49
Total Hardness, CaCO3 449
Nitrate, NO3-N <0.1
Sulfate, SO4-S 18
Chloride, Cl 181
Carbonate, CO3 <1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 378
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 310
Fluoride, F 1.80
Total Iron, Fe 0.12

PH 7.4

Take about a messed up sulfate chloride ratio.

I'd highly recommend Ward Labs for water testing.



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water

Postby slothrob » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:07 am

Jawbox, I don't know what you're complaining about, it looks like you have perfect water to make anything from a malty stout to... a malty stout. My water is at the other end, being close enough to distilled that I have to build it from scratch as well, which is why I've spent so much time trying to understand this chemistry.

Legman, on one of the other boards, I saw a comment that the SO4:Cl ratio was of primary importance over the concentration of either and not to get it much more than 2.5 or less than 0.5. He made the point that in order to get your Ca up to 50-100 ppm, you'll probably need to get your Cl or SO4 to the 50-100 ppm range, anyway, then you can correct the other ion to hit the ratio. He said not to be concerned with hitting values like 300+ ppm for SO4, but focus on the ratio. I thought that kind of dealt with your question about optimal values for these ions.
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