Water questions and suggestions

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

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Re: water

Postby Legman » Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:25 pm

slothrob wrote:
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.


Hmmm. That's interesting. That would definately would help trying to reach my RA easier. The approach I was taking was trying to get the values up higher, thinking the higher ppm the more effect it has. I still can't stop and think that to some level it does. But who knows. I'll have to experiment some.

I'm thinking I need to get my water tested. After looking closer at the email my water company had replied to, I don't think they tested for Chloride, but instead tested for Chloramide. I'll have to look at that again to make sure.
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Re: water

Postby slothrob » Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:36 pm

Legman wrote:The approach I was taking was trying to get the values up higher, thinking the higher ppm the more effect it has. I still can't stop and think that to some level it does. But who knows. I'll have to experiment some.

My thoughts exactly.

The Cl that you listed could be Chlorine or Chloramine, since it is is the 1-3 ppm range that you would expect, but looking at how low all the other ions are, that's almost certainly where your Cl is, too. I don't think you can really get high Cl- without high Na+ or Mg++ or Ca++. Not on the Earth, anyway.
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Postby jawbox » Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:23 pm

Yeah those podcasts have really helped me out.

Get my RA and mash PH in line. Make sure my Chloride to Sulfate ratio is appropriate for the style of beer I'm brewing (accentuate malt or hops).

Palmers spreadsheet is a nice tool. I still wish BTP could incorporate some kind of auto water chemistry that gives me the salt additions. That would put this software over the top of the others I've used.
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Re: water

Postby Legman » Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:23 pm

slothrob wrote:The Cl that you listed could be Chlorine or Chloramine, since it is is the 1-3 ppm range that you would expect, but looking at how low all the other ions are, that's almost certainly where your Cl is, too. I don't think you can really get high Cl- without high Na+ or Mg++ or Ca++. Not on the Earth, anyway.


Yep, just looked at that email again and it was Chlorine that they tested for.
But it does make sense what you said about the Cl- level and the rest of my water profile. I'd probably be close enough if I just used the values I already have rather than paying to have my water tested.
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Postby kevponce » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:27 am

Gotta use WARDlabs Legman. They are great. 16.00 bucks. They e-mail the results. DO it.
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First results

Postby Legman » Sat Jun 27, 2009 8:38 am

Well, I just tasted my first beer that I used brewing salts with. This was an English Brown Ale. My first impression that it did have an effect, even though the addition were not correct (from what I understand now). At the time I was more focused on getting the Ca concentrations up and not paying attention to the RA. Slo and I had a conversation about this on an earlier post: http://www.beertools.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5763

But long story short, it made a very significant difference. This Brown ale had a much bigger malt flavor than my Stout did without any water adjustments. I couldn't believe the difference. I'll have to compare some more of the beers coming down the line that I've already kegged. But I am anxious to see what the outcome is now that I've got a better understanding of water chemistry. So far this has been a positive improvement.
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Brown water

Postby slothrob » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:40 am

Glad to hear you're getting good results!

The difference between the harsh Stouts I made with my tap water and the first couple malty and smooth Porters and Reds that I made with some (crudely) corrected water is what motivated me to try and learn more about water chemistry.

Now, I'm starting to treat the salts as another ingredient in my recipe, which complicates recipe development a bit, but when I taste my latest batch I'm starting to think, "This would be better next time with a little less Caramunich, a little more Mt. Hood flavor, and a lower Cl:SO4 ratio."

What did you do to the water for that Brown?
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Re:Brown Water

Postby Legman » Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:01 pm

At that time I was kind of using the water profile for London water. I didn't get on the money, but it was close enough at the time. I didn't really understand what I was doing, so now I'm rethinking it. But it did seem to work out ok for what it was. The Cl:SO4 ratio was completely off for a malty beer, but you could have fooled me from what I tasted. :? I'm thinking the slight Na increase may have had something to do with it.
This is what I did. (only in the mash tun)

Water- 4 gal.

My water profile:
Ca 1
Mg 1
Na 1
HCO3 24.4
SO4 17
Cl 1
HDNS 6

I added 1.1g NaHCO3, 1.5g CaSO4 and 2.4g CaCO3.
Adjusted water (mash tun)

Ca 88
Mg 1
Na 21
HCO3 167
SO4 72
Cl 1
HDNS 222

RA: 74.04
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Re:Brown Water

Postby slothrob » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:19 pm

Legman wrote: The Cl:SO4 ratio was completely off for a malty beer, but you could have fooled me from what I tasted. :? I'm thinking the slight Na increase may have had something to do with it.

From what I've read, the higher Carbonate and pH might have contributed to the perception of maltiness, as well.
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Second eval

Postby Legman » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:19 pm

I'm now drinking another pint of the Brown Ale and I now notice that it is much more of the bitter side rather than malty. I think my initial reaction was due to the increase in overall flavor. The malt flavors are definitely more pronounced but it is on the bitter side with a distinct crispness that I've been lacking in some of my beers, like my Pale Ale.

This was not necessarily what I was shooting for, but overall, still a good beer and a good experiment. I think I've learned something here. :)
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re:second eval

Postby slothrob » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:27 pm

Well... it will be good to compare to future versions and see how they compare.

It's good to see that it seems worth the time and effort.
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Re:Brown Water

Postby kevponce » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:01 pm

Legman wrote:I added 1.1g NaHCO3, 1.5g CaSO4 and 2.4g CaCO3.
Adjusted water (mash tun)

Ca 88
Mg 1
Na 21
HCO3 167
SO4 72
Cl 1
HDNS 222

RA: 74.04


Legman

So you did no adjustments at all to your sparging liquor?
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Re: Sparge

Postby Legman » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:11 am

Kev, I did not add anything to the sparge water. It's not necessary to adjust it.......for reasons I can remember at this moment. :oops:
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sparge

Postby slothrob » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:09 am

The mash should buffer the grain pH through the sparge during a batch sparge. This seems to be the experience of brewers who have measured the pH during a batch sparge. If you have very alkaline water, you may want to check the pH during the sparge to make sure this is true with your water, but reasonably soft water shouldn't need further correction.
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Postby kevponce » Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:25 pm

I was pretty sure of the fact that I didn't need to pH monitor the sparge water as you say Slo, but as i said before So many opinions so little time.

Last night I listened to the first two sections of Jamil and Palmers brew strong podcasts on water as recommended by jawbox. It is pretty interesting. Too bad i was wiped from work. I closed my eyes and listened and it was like the beer trance.

I had previously downloaded Palmer's Excel chart and that is pretty cool in that I like how it has a chloride to sulfur ratio cell that tells you what your balance is like. My water falls under "very malty" but I quickly saw that with some Epsom salts i was able to get more balance. Also it really helped me to understand the low and high SRM values and there was a side note that mentioned using the toasteds for the lower range and the roasteds for higher range. Concurring what Slo had said earlier in this thread.

It really just helped to solidify some of the stuff we had been speaking about.

I have been reading Daniels book recently and he has a pretty simple calc for the mash pH so I ran my numbers and came up with a pH of 5.95. Man and i thought Palmer's book was heady stuff. Get your calculator out for Daniel's.

I am seeing that my water falls pretty well into most of the ionic category ranges, with my mag a little low which is OK because the addition of a little mag for drier beers doesn't hurt much, and my calcium is a pinch low but nothing a little gyp can't clear up.

So the "art" here as i see it is to try and get a handle on just how much specialty grain one needs to drive down the pH properly. We discussed before there isn't much "available" science on that due to diversity. So it is more of a feel.

Is there a typical lovibond that separates "toasted" from "roasted"?

Also Palmer's chart doesn't have any pH calc. Wonder why?
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