Water Types and Effects of All Grains

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

Moderator: slothrob

Water Types and Effects of All Grains

Postby cleone » Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:51 pm

Has anyone experienced much noticeable difference when using Spring Water versus purified water for all grains. I understand that different water sources a nd brands will yield different mineral and PH levels. But as a general rule, has anyone found spring to be more reliable to purified or visa versa.

I have been using Poland Spring with success, but wondering if it may be too low in Calcium, Bicarbonate, SO4, etc.
cleone
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:43 pm
Location: New Jersey

Postby BillyBock » Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:31 am

Your water is soft. According to http://www.bottledwaterweb.com, your water's analysis is:

Bicarbonates: 7.2 - 20 PPM
Calcium: 3.7 - 8.2 PPM
Flouride: 0.2 PPM
Magnesium: 0.76 - 1.4 PPM
Potassium: 0.59 - 0.7 PPM
Sulfates: 0.81 - 5.1 PPM
Sodium: 2.4 - 4.7 PPM
Total Dissolved Solids: 26 - 60 Mg/l *(except TDS which are parts per million)
Other Principal Components: Nitrate: 0.13 - 0.75 PPM, Chlo PPM

Remember that addition of different ions will provide different flavor results--so ask yourself what it is you think should be different in the beer and pick the salts to help you get that flavor profile.

Also remember, it's the specific ion-load of the water when mixed with a specific grain bill that determines the resulting mash pH. Therefore it's difficult to generalize 'spring water is better than purified water' or vice-versa.

Are you having problems with proper mash pH? What kinds of beers are you making?
BillyBock
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 561
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2000 12:37 pm
Location: Ohio

Time Will Tell

Postby cleone » Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:38 pm

Hi Billy,

No real problems so far. Now, that I am getting comfortable with the all grain process, lautering, etc--starting to get more into the chemistry and how to better control the brew.

I have been a little concerned with the extract efficiency and how the water I am using may be effecting the mash extraction.

In a nutshell, I am wondering if the tweaking of the water chemistry will significantly enhance the brew or are we talking about a 5 - 10% possible enhancement?

Thanks
cleone
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:43 pm
Location: New Jersey

Postby BillyBock » Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:42 am

There's a number of factors that affect your extract efficiency--crush and mash pH are the first two that come to mind. As far as the mash pH, you want it between 5.2 and 5.5 for optimum conversion. Outside these limits and you will see lower extract efficiencies. Calcium has a direct effect on the mash acidification--it reacts with natural compounds in the grain to acidify the mash. So if your water is low on calcium, this acidification step is limited. Your mash pH isn't probably where it needs to be due to your water without modification. BTW, do you have a pH meter or pH test strips? Oh yea, and when talking about extraction efficiency, 5-10% is a big deal :-)

I would add calcium to your water. The water analysis didn't list a value for Chloride, so you may want to use Gypsum instead since you know what the starting values for Calcium and Sulfate are.

From John Palmer's, 'How to Brew' at http://howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html, "Brewing Range = 50-150 ppm. Calcium is the principal ion that determines water hardness and has a +2 charge. As it is in our own bodies, calcium is instrumental to many yeast, enzyme, and protein reactions, both in the mash and in the boil. It promotes clarity, flavor, and stability in the finished beer. Calcium additions may be necessary to assure sufficient enzyme activity for some mashes in water that is low in calcium. Calcium that is matched by bicarbonates in water is referred to as "temporary hardness". Temporary hardness can be removed by boiling (see Bicarbonate). Calcium that is left behind after the temporary hardness has been removed is called "permanent hardness"."

And for Sulfate, John say, "Brewing Range = 50-150 ppm for normally bitter beers, 150-350 ppm for very bitter beers. The sulfate ion also combines with Ca and Mg to contribute to permanent hardness. It accentuates hop bitterness, making the bitterness seem drier, more crisp. At concentrations over 400 ppm however, the resulting bitterness can become astringent and unpleasant, and at concentrations over 750 ppm, it can cause diarrhea. Sulfate is only weakly alkaline and does not contribute to the overall alkalinity of water."

When adding 1 gram/gallon of Gypsum, you add: 61ppm Ca & 147ppm SO4.
When adding 1 gram/gallon of Calcium Chloride, you add: 72ppm Ca & 127ppm Chloride.

For now, I'd try adding 0.5 to 1.0 g/gal of Gypsum to your mash and sparge water to see how this helps. This should a sufficient amount of calcium to your mash without exceeding the recommended brewing range for sulfate.

Cheers!
v/r
Bill
BillyBock
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 561
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2000 12:37 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby cleone » Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:43 am

Will try adding 1 gram/gallon of Gypsum to the next batch (Irish Red Ale) and see how this works. Right now, I am rereading the water chemistry sections of howtobrew.com. John Palmer's book is my bible right now for brewing--this has been a very valuable resource (not to mention beertools.com :D).

I also will get my hands on some ph test strips.

Thanks again for the expert assistance!

Cheers,
Chris
cleone
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:43 pm
Location: New Jersey

Postby BillyBock » Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:46 pm

Well...I wouldn't call myself an expert, just many lessons learned. But thanks for the compliment :D

You can pick up a pH meter relatively cheap, $25-30. I tried strips but I found them to be a pain because you're looking for a color change in the strip and if you have a dark wort it makes it difficult to determine the measurement. So I just went with a digital pH meter.
BillyBock
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 561
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2000 12:37 pm
Location: Ohio

Oh, one more question about testing PH

Postby cleone » Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:49 am

Bill,

Assuming that we are testing PH of our wort to optimize mash extraction, at what point of the mash would I test? Since the grain will contribute to the overall balance and PH of the wort, how far into the mash schedule do we want to sample. Let's assume a single infusion schedule . . .
cleone
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:43 pm
Location: New Jersey

Postby BillyBock » Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:15 pm

It doesn't take long actually for the mash to stabilize. I normally test after I'ved doughed in completely--a few minutes into the schedule. If things are off then I make adjustments.
BillyBock
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 561
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2000 12:37 pm
Location: Ohio

How Does Calcium Contribute to the Acidification?

Postby cleone » Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:02 pm

Okay Bill,

I have my Gypsum in hand and will be adding some to the mash to my next batch as recommended.

As you quoted, "Calcium has a direct effect on the mash acidification--it reacts with natural compounds in the grain to acidify the mash. So if your water is low on calcium, this acidification step is limited."

However, I am confused how an akaline such as Calcium will help the acidification of the mash. How does calcium do this? Will this lower the PH of the mash?

Thanks again,
Chris
cleone
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:43 pm
Location: New Jersey

Postby BillyBock » Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:05 am

Chris: The pH of calcium-bearing water always drops when it's mashed with malt. How? When you add salts to water, they disassociate into their respective ions in the water. Once gypsum, for instance, hits the water the calcium and other ions break free and float around in the water. Then the calcium reacts with phosphates naturally occurring in the malt. Calcium phosphate is then precipitated which lowers the mash pH. If you have a pale mash (ie no specialty/roasted grains) and calcium content of the water is low, this reaction is insufficient to give an acceptable mash acidity.

In actuality there are 3 compounds commonly found in water that affect mash pH: bicarbonate (HCO3) which raises mash pH; calcium; and magnesium. The latter two lower mash pH for the reasons above. The effect of these 3 together were put into an equation by Kolbach to determine the mash pH with given amounts of calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate. A distilled water mash with pale malt will yield a pH of 5.8. The equation below factors in the effects of the 3 constiuents:

pH = 5.8 + (0.028 * [(Total Alk * 0.056) - (Ca * 0.04) - (Mg *0.033)])

where Total Alk is measured as ppm of CaCO3, and Ca & Mg are also measured in ppm.

With your current water, your estimated pH with pale malt only is around 5.8, at the upper end of acceptable mash pH, which is 5.2 to 5.8. The closer to 5.2 you are the better your yield, but staying between 5.2 - 5.5 is a good target. Additions of calcium salts or specialty/roasted grains will lower your mash pH. Direct acidification of the mash with food-grade acid will also work. You could also employ an acid rest in your mash schedule. However, I think at this point, the addition of calcium will yield you an overall benefit to your mash, your boil, your ferment, and the stability of the final product. But that's another post :-)
BillyBock
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 561
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2000 12:37 pm
Location: Ohio

A few more questions regarding Gypsum

Postby cleone » Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:21 pm

Okay Bill,

Thanks for the detailed explaination of Gypsum's impact. I think I got it. A few related questions:

1. I added .75g of Gypsum per pound of water (Poland Spring) to the mash of the Irish Red Ale (following beertools.com's Sinfonia Red recipe). Got really good extraction efficiency and a preboil gravity of around 1.050 and OG of 1.056. After removing from the primary after 4 days and sampling, the beer is pretty bitter (more than expected). The gravity at this point is 1.008. Sounds pretty light, but okay. I am not an expert at this type of beer, but I am wondering if Gypsum @ .75g should significantly increase bitterness (e.g. 147ppm additional of SO4 from the Gypsum is significantly pushing the recommended upper limit of 50-150 ppm for normally bitter beers).

The problem is I tested mash PH with some PH strips I could quickly get my hands on, but they (as you mentioned) are !@#$ hard to read with wort.

2. Next up this weekend is a Porter. First time for this type. I have read that this style actually favors soft water. Is this true--seems that harder water would be best to balance the darker malts' acidity. Wondering if I should forget the Gypsum all together for this batch?

Chris
Last edited by cleone on Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
cleone
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:43 pm
Location: New Jersey

Postby BillyBock » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:17 pm

The beer's still pretty young and green...give it time and it'll age out. However the sulfate in gypsum does enhance bitterness--if you want a good reference try some of the IPAs from Burton-on-Trent where the SO4 content is close to 700ppm. As an alternative, you can use Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) which rounds out the flavor while adding the Ca component.

The roasted grains in a typical Porter recipe should help acidify the mash to the target range w/o much extra work. It's the pale malt mashes that tend to be difficult. But, calcium is an all-around good thing to have--it provides many benefits to the mash, boil, ferment, and final stability of the beer. So I'd advise keeping a calcium addition to your water.

v/r
Bill
BillyBock
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 561
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2000 12:37 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby cleone » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:32 pm

Bill,

Thanks again, yeah I was actually editing my last reply as you were replying. I thought it thru a little more and realized (as you pointed out) that the SO4 addition is actually what will contribute to the over bitterness. However, if we compare my 147 ppm SO4 addition to 700+ ppm IPA levels, sounds like the addition is rather insignificant.

So, now you can shut me up on the subject with one (yes another ) final question :roll:

If I am looking to use common bottle water to simulate a balanced/middle of the road mineral composed water (lets say something in the range of Munich water), any brand recommendations?
cleone
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:43 pm
Location: New Jersey

Postby BillyBock » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:45 pm

Hey, no problem. As far as your bottled water question, I'm not aware of any that would have similar mineral levels as Munich water. Most manufacturers add some minerals for taste, but not too much. So I think you'll end up having to 'build' the water profile you want. I use Promash for all my recipe formulation--it also has a water profiler to help with this task. You just need to know your starting mineral content and the target you're trying to achieve. If you're going to do this, it may be simpler to just start with distilled water, since it has no minerals in it, and then build your profile from there.
BillyBock
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 561
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2000 12:37 pm
Location: Ohio

The Never-Ending Thread . . .

Postby cleone » Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:32 pm

Hi Bill,

I lied, here is another question. You will be happy when I get off this water chemistry subject!

I have done some calculations and I think I would like to add 1g per gallon of chalk for the porter I am preparing. It will be an experiment, but would like to simulate the higher HCO3 and Calcium levels found in Dublin water w/ my low-test Poland Spring. Trying to curb the potential bitterness of the roasted malts. Was going to add about .25 g of Gypsum to bump up the SO4 level a bit, but why go crazy.

The question: howtobrew.com states: "Because of its limited solubility [chalk] is only effective when added directly to the mash."

Does this mean I should mix the chalk with the dry grains or mix it in the tun?

Thank again!
Chris
cleone
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:43 pm
Location: New Jersey

Next

Return to Techniques, Methods, Tips & How To

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 3 guests

cron