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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: tygo on December 01, 2009, 02:55:11 AM

Title: Another Water Report
Post by: tygo on December 01, 2009, 02:55:11 AM
Yeah, I know there have been a lot of these posted recently so I appreciate your patience but I just received my Ward Lab report this evening as well.  I got the complete test on two samples:

First Sample:  Tap Water

Na               22
Potassium     3
Ca               46
Mg              11
Nitrate         0.7
SO4            21
Cl               23
CO3            <1
HCO3         121
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3         99
Total, Hardness CaCO3       161
F               1.22 (no bearing on the beer, I know, I was just curious)
Fe              <0.01 (just curious)

Second Sample:  Tap Water run through a Brita Filter

Na               25
Potassium    18
Ca                 8
Mg                4
Nitrate         0.3
SO4            19
Cl               23
CO3            <1
HCO3          16
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3         13
Total, Hardness CaCO3         37
F               1.18
Fe              <0.01

So based on reading the advice in other threads on the subject I think I'm okay just to go with my tap water and adjust as necessary.  Correct me if I'm wrong but my most important adjustments would be to Ca, SO4, and HCO3.

I'm going to be brewing an ESB and just as an exercise I popped these values (for the tap water) into Beersmith and compared it to London water.  If I added a gram each of Gypsum, Table Salt, Epsom Salt, and Baking soda it would get me very close to that water profile with the exception of Sodium which would still be 41 ppm lower than that water profile. 

Also I've seen many recommendations to add Campden tablets to the water to eliminate Cloromides (sp?).  Does this have an impact on any of these numbers?

Any thoughts on the profile and my assumptions (actually wild ass guesses) would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: dontblake on December 01, 2009, 04:30:29 AM
Your analysis and profile looks pretty good (along with your assumptions, etc).   Go to the Brewing Network and find the series of podcasts from Brew Strong about water.  There's a wealth of knowledge there that will help to explain things better than a forum thread.   Also, get a copy of Palmer's Residual Alkalinity spreadsheet to do your calculations.   Shoot for RA vs the classic brewing water profile.

Have fun and good brewing!
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: tygo on December 01, 2009, 04:44:36 AM
Thanks.  I just downloaded Palmer's spreadsheet and am trying to work through it and figure out what it's telling me.
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 01, 2009, 01:46:34 PM
Congradualtions on reproducing London water.

When I toured Fullers, they had a pallet stacked with of bags of gypsum.   Not to make plaster...

The brewers adjust their water, you need to think about what they are trying to achieve.
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: Kaiser on December 01, 2009, 02:28:42 PM
tygo,

Your Britta filter has some ion exchange resin in it which removes hardness from the water. I see a lot of Ca and Mg missing while potassium and, to some extend, sodium increased. Definitely use the tap water or filter the tap water through a standard charcoal filter. Those filters don’t change the water profile.

In general, this is great brewing water.

When using Palmer’s spreadsheet, keep in mind that his SRM to RA formula doesn’t work so well for really dark beers which have a lot of roasted malts in the grist. Those beers need a lower RA that what you would expect from his spreadsheet. I know he says the opposite, but that doesn’t match my experience. I’m currently in the process of compiling a SRM / RA chart myself. It’s taking some time b/c the relationship is not linear and dependent on a number of factors. However, for any given beer color there is a rather wide residual alkalinity range that will work. Conversely, for a given RA there tends to be a wide range of beer colors that will work and will produce an acceptable mash pH. This is why many commercial brewers don’t even worry that much about water if it is of moderate hardness which you water is.

Make sure you don’t overdo the salt additions. Some brewers tend to get carried away with that and end up adding too much which may cause a mineral taste in the beer.

Kai
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: tygo on December 01, 2009, 04:56:57 PM
Thanks for the advice.  I am planning on using a very light hand on the brewing salts until I get a better feel for what I'm doing. 

One thing that occurred to me though is the calculations that I did to figure out ppm where based on the final recipe volume, in my case 5 gallons.  If, say 1g of gypsum was added to the mash this would cause the ppm to be higher in the mash than in the final product since the mash water is only 3 gallons or so.  Is that something that needs to be factored into the calculation of how much of a particular salt to use?

I'm thinking of the gypsum specifically because I think I need to at least bump up by Ca a bit for the mash, correct?
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on December 01, 2009, 06:21:35 PM
This might be a little bit off topic but I just purchased this scale:
American Weigh AMW-100 Silver Precision Digital Pocket Scale 1543 x 0.1 grain and 100 x 0.01 gram With 100 Gram Calibration Weight
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KegUjKHHL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-AMW-100-Precision-Calibration/dp/B001ODPFXE/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=office-products&qid=1259691485&sr=8-5

I purchased this to measure salt additions.
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: tygo on December 01, 2009, 06:47:02 PM
That's nice and reasonably priced.  I was thinking of picking up something like that.  The scale I have only measures in 1 gram increments.
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: Kaiser on December 01, 2009, 07:20:33 PM
One thing that occurred to me though is the calculations that I did to figure out ppm where based on the final recipe volume, in my case 5 gallons.  If, say 1g of gypsum was added to the mash this would cause the ppm to be higher in the mash than in the final product since the mash water is only 3 gallons or so.  Is that something that needs to be factored into the calculation of how much of a particular salt to use?

The intention, with the spreadsheet you are using, is to treat the complete volume of brewing water with the calculated amounts of salt. But I doubt that it will make a big difference if you add all the salts to the mash and none to the sparge water. The pH may be a bit lower since there is more pH lowering Ca in the mash, but you didn’t calculate the RA and pH that precisely anyway.

Quote
I'm thinking of the gypsum specifically because I think I need to at least bump up by Ca a bit for the mash, correct?

The importance of Ca in the mash is overrated. But it is generally accepted that a minimum amount of 50 ppm Ca in the brewing water is beneficial for a number of process steps in brewing. This being said, I have made very good and clear beer with just 20ppm Ca in the water.

Kai
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 01, 2009, 09:43:28 PM
I have often wondered how the brewers in Pilsen get conversion with their soft water?
Do they add some CaCl2? 

Anyone know?  Or is it overrated as Kai says?

Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: a10t2 on December 01, 2009, 10:15:10 PM
If the original 19th century pilsners used any water treatment it would have been gypsum AFAIK. It's one of the things that made pale lagers such a recent development. Until well-modified pale malts became available you simply couldn't brew a beer that light in color. So people in places like Pilsen with extremely soft water more or less had to wait on the malts to be developed before they could get reasonably good conversion in a mash. They didn't know what pH was but they had access to hydrometers.
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: Kaiser on December 01, 2009, 11:41:46 PM
I have often wondered how the brewers in Pilsen get conversion with their soft water?
Do they add some CaCl2?

the need of Ca for mash conversion is overrated. In fact the benchmark
mash, the congress mash, is done with distilled water. Ca stabilizes a-amylase but not b-amylase. At mashing temps a-amylase is plenty stable and it is b-amylase that could use some help.

When I evaluated the effect of Ca on efficiency and fermentability I did not find any significant effect on either of them: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Effects_of_mash_parameters_on_fermentability_and_efficiency_in_single_infusion_mashing#Calcium

Ca helps in lautering and beer clarification but I just recently brewed a Helles with 20 ppm Ca which is good and very clear.

Kai
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: tygo on December 02, 2009, 04:25:00 AM
What about adding Campden tablets?  Should I still hit this water with a crushed up tablet before I use it?
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: a10t2 on December 02, 2009, 04:43:37 AM
What about adding Campden tablets?  Should I still hit this water with a crushed up tablet before I use it?

That really depends on whether your water is treated with chlorine, chloramines, or both. The Brita filter will strip out chlorine but not chloramines. Your water utility will tell you; it may even be on their website.
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: tygo on December 02, 2009, 05:34:56 AM
From the advice given above I think that using the tap water and staying away from the Brita is the way to go.

My county water authority's website if fairly weak which is the reason I went with the Ward Lab report in the first place.  A search of the entire website for "chloramines" yielded one notice about how consumers might notice a slight increase in chlorine due to a temporary switch from chloramines to chlorine during a routine water flushing exercise.

So from that I take it that they routinely use chloramines and I should use the campden.

Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: tygo on December 05, 2009, 03:36:58 AM
Congradualtions on reproducing London water.

When I toured Fullers, they had a pallet stacked with of bags of gypsum.   Not to make plaster...

The brewers adjust their water, you need to think about what they are trying to achieve.

As I was just going through my final (probably) brewing salt calculations for this recipe this comment popped back into my head.  Per advice above I decided to just dial back my additions to add a little gypsum to bump up the Ca a little.  However your comment made me wonder why Fullers would do that.  And my conclusion is that in addition to Ca they're bumping up their SO4.

According to Palmer:

Quote
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.

And per the BJCP style guidelines:

Quote
...Medium-dry to dry finish (particularly if sulfate water is used)...

Is this what you were referring to?  It seems to make sense if brewing to style.  I'm sticking to just gypsum for this brew so as to not overdo things but what level of Ca and SO4 would you recommend for the style?  I realize I'm going a little overboard here, and I'm not shooting for perfection by any means, just a good beer.  But I'm just curious as to the effects of the SO4 on hop bitterness.
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 05, 2009, 02:12:02 PM
The tour guide said they Burtonized the water.

For my London Pride clone I try and get the sulfate to about 150 ppm, which is about 1 gram/gallon of gypsum.  This also gives about 60 ppm Ca.  You could go higher on the additions, as Burton is much higher than 150 ppm..
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: tygo on December 11, 2009, 03:07:20 AM
Damn, no gypsum.  I was sure I had some in my bag of brewing salts.  I mean, I did have some.  It must have escaped.   Oh well.  Since adding the gypsum isn't an option at this point I think I'm just going to skip the mineral additions completely for this batch and regroup next time with some better planning.  Brew day tomorrow!
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: a10t2 on December 11, 2009, 03:35:47 AM
Have any epsom salt (MgSO4)?
Title: Re: Another Water Report
Post by: tygo on December 11, 2009, 03:40:54 AM
Nope, that's also on my shopping list.