Water questions and suggestions

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

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Postby slothrob » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:32 pm

kevponce wrote: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.

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.

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

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

I learned most of this from Palmer.

Be careful with the Mg. Palmer says that above 50 ppm it can lead to sourness and above 125 ppm it's a laxative. :D A little Epsom salt is good for yeast nutrition if you have no Mg in your water, but above that Gypsum will do everything that Epsom Salt does, and more.

"Toasted" malt is Munich, Vienna, Aromatic, Biscuit, Victory, and most light to dark Crystal Malt.

While "Roasted" would be Black Patent, Chocolate Malt, and Roasted Barley.

Do you mean the expected pH of your recipe's mash or the pH of a base malt only mash? You can get the latter number from Palmer's nomograph if you want (or from BTP), but I think Palmer has chosen to abandon the attempted prediction of a specific mash pH for the SRM / RA concept for hitting the target range.

I like his system if you want to modify your water to brew any beer style you wish, while the other system is perhaps easier if you want to create a beer that will work with the water you have. But either will work to get you close.
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Postby kevponce » Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:24 pm

slothrob wrote: Gypsum will do everything that Epsom Salt does, and more.

Do you mean the expected pH of your recipe's mash or the pH of a base malt only mash? You can get the latter number from Palmer's nomograph if you want (or from BTP), but I think Palmer has chosen to abandon the attempted prediction of a specific mash pH for the SRM / RA concept for hitting the target range.


Slo I toy'd with the epsom vs Gypsum and see what you mean. My Mag only goes to 23 so that isn't too bad but I will toy with the gypsum some more to check.

I have posted my numbers Image
Image
and I am missing something here in that under step 4 I put in a target RA as 100, so it calls for addtl alk needed as 33 so under step 5 I add 2 grams of chalk wich adds 61 alkalinity but I still end up with a RA of 84. What am I missing?

PS to get the addition of minerals to my base water I just entered it as the target as well in BTP. I just wanted to see how close Palmer was to BTP

Truthfully the only reason why I added anything at all was that I wanted a little more balance in the Chloride to sulfate ratio as from what I have read, even though Roggenbier has a malty profile it isn't "very malty"
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Postby slothrob » Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:32 am

kevponce wrote:...it calls for addtl alk needed as 33 so I add 2 grams of chalk wich adds 61 alkalinity but I still end up with a RA of 84. What am I missing?

That's because Calcium reduces alkalinity while Carbonate increases alkalinity, so Chalk increases alkalinity, but not at a rate equal to the amount of Carbonate added.

Baking Soda increases alkalinity faster because it doesn't add Calcium. Of course it's disadvantage is that it... doesn't add Calcium.
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Postby kevponce » Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:20 am

Slo, you should own a homebrew store man. I'd buy from you!
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Latest All-Grain Endeavor - post Analysis and Questions

Postby kevponce » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:48 am

My brewing brothers and I brewed two days ago and I decided to document a bit of it for questions and analysis. Hope you aren't bored. Opinions and observations welcomed.

We brewed a Roggenbier. I know, I know, kind of a reach for guys who probably would be better off focusing on a brown or pale ale to work out the issues, but it was fun and boy did it smell fantastic, even just while crushing the grain.

Here is a capture of the final BTP numbers:

Image

First water:

My thought here was have a "balanced" beer as I had read the bjcp guidelines called for "an initial malt sweetness (sometimes with a bit of caramel) to be tasted before yeast and rye character takes over" which in hindsight I perhaps misinterpreted as "balanced". So I formulated the numbers below.

Image

The mash pH as predicted by BTP was 5.9 but I figured the munich malt and chocolate rye and caramel wheat would drive it down into the proper range.
I also had been reading that pH meters don't like heat too much, at least if you want to increase probe life, and that it is best to read the mash at the same temp that you calibrate at. So I cal'd my pH at 75 and cooled my mash to 75 and read 5.9. Which I thought strange due to it seeming that the toasted end grains had almost no effect.

So I decided to add some calcium chloride and baking soda and added 3.4 grams and 1 gram of baking soda. This lowered the mash by 1 tenth to 5.8 which I figured was the top end of the room temp scale and I let it be and startd mashing. I also decided to read the mash at mash temp and, oddly enough, read a pH 5.2 which was in the low range for that scale. See numbers below.

Image

During the mash I worked the numbers a bit because I noted that my additions although driving the mash down a bit also changed my flavor profile to "very malty". I concluded my analysis with the thought that I could add some Calcium sulfate to the boil to bring my flavor profile back to an acceptable "malty". I did this by changing the mash water volume on the chart to the 6.75 gallon kettle pre-boil volume then simply adding Gypsum to the original numbers until I arrived at "malty" then subtracting the original numbers out.

Image

My first thought when sampling the finished wort was that the sulfate levels added a little more bitterness than I wanted. We'll see upon final tasting.

Efficiency
I must admit that the whole locking and unlocking of the Kettle Vol/Final Vol/Efficiency buttons has me a little confused and I have to straighten that understanding out. I had a preboil volume of 6.75 and after adjusting my efficiency based upon my pre-boil readings I was at a 1.041 gravity pre-boil with a 69% efficiency, but after my boil where I felt pretty sure that I boiled away 1 gallon I read a 1.054 which changed my efficiency to closer to 75% which I was pretty sure once you read your efficiency then that is pretty much it since you really don't lose or add fermentables during the boil, just concentrate them. So that puzzles me, although I guess this is where our process needs to become more exacting and more closely monitored. I do realize that we needed to document "exactly" how much wort we ended with, but I am not sure of how I would unlock a button to change the volumes without screwing others areas up.

Some positives.
BTP has really nailed the water usage so far for us. That is pretty sweet as we were really able to end up with a full carboy.

For doing a Roggenbier with Rye as our second full mash it went pretty well. Our crush may have been ever so slightly finer than it should have been, because the grainbed was pretty dense, although we didn't really have much trouble sparging except toward the end of the first of two batch sparges.

Full fermentation activity was within 12-18 hours.

Some negatives.
As mentioned a little stuck sparging at the end of the first sparge, where we also started to see much bubbles in the out hose. In hindsght I guess that is the air flowing through the grainbed which is the signal to STOP and add the second sparge.

Am I missing something or is there no way to print the water chemistry window?

The temperatures in the schedule were off again, but less than last time. I am feeling that we need to re-cal our cooler. The duration of the mash-in was shorter as there was not the need to break up as many dough balls this time as last. I figured that was due to the higehr grist to water volume that we used to offset the gummy Rye possibilities.

I am realizing just how critical the durations come into play as to their effect on temp as well, but I don't see how one can calculate how long it will really take for the mash-in to be "un dough-balled" enough, as well as the "futz-with the pH" time that is necessary.


1 other Question:(for now)
Is the pH that BTP calculates in water chemistry mash or room temp?[/img]
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Postby jawbox » Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:07 pm

Sounds like you need to calibrate your tun, or should I say tweak your calibration to match re-world results.

Here's a link to the calibration method you should employ http://www.beertoolspro.com/wiki/Vessel

You'll be off the first few brews. Most people end up having to tweak the thermal mass and heat transfer. The standard calibration method gets you in the ball park.

Here's another thread on mash tun calibrations from way back
http://www.beertools.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2365&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
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water

Postby slothrob » Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:10 am

My gut feeling would be to trust the pH measured at room temperature over that measured at mash temperature, since you calibrated at room temp, even though your meter probably has temperature correction.

When you wanted to lower the pH, you should have added CaCl2, without more CaCO3 which just raised the RA back up again.

For dealing with doughballs: Try stirring in, walking away for about 5 minutes, then coming back. I find the doughballs have usually either disappeared or fall apart easily with a quick stir.

Also, thinner mashes help with the doughballs and make stirring easier. If your recipe allows, try mash thickness around 1.5-2 qts/#. You may see increased efficiency as well.

Yeah, there's no way to lose fermentables during the boil. It can be difficult to get a good gravity readings from the mixed runnings. I take a sample just as the wort hits boil, at which point it seems to be mixed well enough to get numbers that correlate well to the post-boil numbers.

Remember that the pre-boil gravity is based on volume at 212°F or the volume from the end of the mash schedule if you have the volume lock box ticked. Also, the post-boil volume is that at 68°F. Not getting the volumes accurately measured (e.g., "I'm pretty sure i lost 1 gallon to the boil") or taking them at the wrong temperature can throw off the accuracy of these values by 4& or more.
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HCO3

Postby Legman » Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:11 pm

Slo, I've been tinkering with Palmer's Suggested Beer SRM Color/Style Guide
for Residual Alkalinity Mash pH chart.
Palmer says the HCO3 range for dark beers is 150-250, but if I'm trying to get my RA up to about 270, my HCO3 has to go up to about 365. I believe you told me that it should not exceed 300, but I could not find this in Palmer's writings.
If I can not exceed 300, how am I to get the RA high enough? :?
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Postby kevponce » Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:07 pm

Leg

If I remember correctly just recently I was listening to Brewing Network "BrewStrong"Jamil and Palmer. Palmer definitely says not to go over 300. I would imagine that you need to dilute, also, sorry I am an amateur compared to Slo but I think its the ratio more than the actual ion count. What is your sulfate?

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Postby kevponce » Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:16 pm

I also remember him saying that the way they calculate SRM for really dark beers is slightly suspect because they (whoever "they" is, I guess the SRM gods) dilute really dark beers then multiply the value to arrive at the really dark beer SRMs. What are you brewing anyway?
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Postby Legman » Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:43 pm

I was brewing an Oatmeal Stout tomorrow. It has an SMR of about 35. So if using the RA method, it's supposed to be about 270. But I can't get it that high if I'm not supposed to go over 300 (HCO3). So I'm not sure what good that method is then. :?

I understand the SO4/Cl ratio concept. That's not a problem. The sulfate in my tap water is 17 ppm. So that's easy to take care of. I have extremely soft water, so all of my ppm levels are easily adjusted by adding salts. I don't need to dilute anything.
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Postby kevponce » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:11 pm

Leg

Again, if my memory serves me, if you listen ti either the third or fourth Water show with Jamil and Palmer that is the one where Palmer says that there is a top end limit to how dark dark can be as far as carbonate. I'd have to go back myself and listen and to be honest I have been polishing off quite a few HBs today and would fall asleep before I could get through it. Stoudt's are pretty !@#$ near opaque anyway. It would be interesting to know at what SRM Beer become opaque, unless of course you are shining a laser through it.
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Postby kevponce » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:24 pm

leg

I just entered into Palmers Excel chart a water based on Poland Spring Water which is pretty soft. As you said the minute I put in 35 SRM the Estimated RA Low and High went red. The best I could get while staying under 300 was about a 29 srm, which isn't so bad color wise from a 35. I wonder if 29 to 35 isn't spiltting hairs.
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Postby kevponce » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:48 pm

I remember reading some articles about adding the Dark Roasts at the end of the Mash. I played with the Beer tools Water chem again and put in the poland again. i then added some baking soda which increased the RA and the pH of the mash to the 6.1 range. Considering that Palmer's nomograph is a reference to a mash of pale malts 6.1 with soft water puts you in the real dark area. Would it follow that if you mashed your light malts with some baking soda that would drive up your pH to the dark color pH. Then perhaps you could add the dark's at the end so as not to drive the pH back down? Just a thought.
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Postby Legman » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:54 pm

I'm just driving myself nuts with this !@#$. :x
I'm just gonna say screw it and get my RA up as high as I can without the HCO3 getting over 300 and just go with it. I've done a bigillion different combination and I can't get it there.
I'll just have to see what happens. I think I'll still be alright.

..........I always swore I wasn't going to get into water chemistry. Now look at me. :wink:

To hell with it. On with the brewing!!! :lol:
Last edited by Legman on Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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