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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Pawtucket Patriot on February 12, 2011, 02:35:28 PM

Title: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on February 12, 2011, 02:35:28 PM
Does chocolate malt count as a roasted malt for the purposes of inputing an amount of roasted malt in the "Recipe Info" section of EZ Calc 2.0?  I know it's not as roasted as roasted barley.  Does it have a similar effect on pH in similar proportions as roasted barley though?
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: mrcceo on February 12, 2011, 04:37:44 PM
Since carafa is 300-340L I would consider it a roasted malt for the purpose of buffering.  Since these calculators are not exact I always add 2/3 to 3/4 of the recommended salts and then dial it in after the initial pH reading.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: denny on February 12, 2011, 05:04:36 PM
Does chocolate malt count as a roasted malt for the purposes of inputing an amount of roasted malt in the "Recipe Info" section of EZ Calc 2.0?  I know it's not as roasted as roasted barley.  Does it have a similar effect on pH in similar proportions as roasted barley though?

It's the color, not necessarily the roasting, that matters.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on February 12, 2011, 05:07:03 PM
Does chocolate malt count as a roasted malt for the purposes of inputing an amount of roasted malt in the "Recipe Info" section of EZ Calc 2.0?  I know it's not as roasted as roasted barley.  Does it have a similar effect on pH in similar proportions as roasted barley though?

It's the color, not necessarily the roasting, that matters.

Ok, that makes sense.  So a 450L chocolate malt would probably qualify as a roasted malt for the purposes of the EZ Calc.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: mabrungard on February 13, 2011, 01:34:00 AM
Any malts kilned to a color of about 200 or higher SRM should probably be considered a roast malt.  The acidity contribution for any roasted malt falls in a relatively narrow range with little correlation to color.  Read Kai's information on malt acidity and mash pH for a better confirmation. 

Chocolate malt contributes similar acidity as Roast Barley or Black Malt.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: tomsawyer on February 13, 2011, 04:52:16 PM
Does chocolate malt count as a roasted malt for the purposes of inputing an amount of roasted malt in the "Recipe Info" section of EZ Calc 2.0?  I know it's not as roasted as roasted barley.  Does it have a similar effect on pH in similar proportions as roasted barley though?

It's the color, not necessarily the roasting, that matters.

How do you get one without the other?  Are we differentiating between kilning and roasting?

Also, is roast green barley more acidic for a given Lovibond, than roast malt?
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on February 13, 2011, 05:41:31 PM
While I appreciate all the research/experiments that went into creating EZ Calc 2.0, I have to say that my measured results don't really square with the estimated pH for most recipes.  I learned how to adjust my mash using CaCO3 to increase and LA88 to lower pH.  The amount of CaCO3 it usually takes to adjust the pH for just about any of my recipes squares more with Palmer's nomograph (in that when I measure my salt additions with the goal of hitting an appropriate RA, the pH is correspondingly correct).  For example, I have fairly soft water (see screenshot below).  In an oatmeal stout recipe I brewed last weekend, I used 6g CaCO3 + 3g NaHCO3 in the mash to achieve a measured pH of 5.3 (measured with colorpHast strips -- concededly not as accurate as a pH meter).  But according to EZ Calc 2.0, I could have achieved the same result with only 2g NaHCO3 (or a very small amount of some combination of CaCO3 and NaHCO3).  I realize that EZ Calc 2.0 has a disclaimer about estimated pH, but it seems like this is a pretty substantial difference from my measured results.  Incidentally, I arrived at my measured results by adding more and more salts to the same recipe over time to find the "sweet spot" with regard to pH.  Is it time to invest in a pH meter?  

(http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j137/mattschwandt/Picture1-6.png)
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: mrcceo on February 13, 2011, 11:28:43 PM
Pat:
A good pH meter will not only give you more accurate readings it will give you some piece of mind.
If you can afford it, It’s worth the investment! IMO
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: malzig on February 14, 2011, 12:24:42 AM
 For example, I have fairly soft water (see screenshot below).  In an oatmeal stout recipe I brewed last weekend, I used 6g CaCO3 + 3g NaHCO3 in the mash to achieve a measured pH of 5.3 (measured with colorpHast strips -- concededly not as accurate as a pH meter).  But according to EZ Calc 2.0, I could have achieved the same result with only 2g NaHCO3 (or a very small amount of some combination of CaCO3 and NaHCO3).
ColorpHast strips read about 0.3 pH units low, so your additions lead to a pH of 5.6.  Perhaps the EZWaterCalculator would have given you an actual pH of 5.3, as predicted.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on February 14, 2011, 12:53:32 AM
 For example, I have fairly soft water (see screenshot below).  In an oatmeal stout recipe I brewed last weekend, I used 6g CaCO3 + 3g NaHCO3 in the mash to achieve a measured pH of 5.3 (measured with colorpHast strips -- concededly not as accurate as a pH meter).  But according to EZ Calc 2.0, I could have achieved the same result with only 2g NaHCO3 (or a very small amount of some combination of CaCO3 and NaHCO3).
ColorpHast strips read about 0.3 pH units low, so your additions lead to a pH of 5.6.  Perhaps the EZWaterCalculator would have given you an actual pH of 5.3, as predicted.

Maybe, but I've read around on the interwebs and it doesn't appear that I'm alone.  There are others who say that colorpHast strips read just as accurately as their pH meter (after presumably doing side by side testing).  I think most importantly, when I calculate my salt additions based on the RA relationship to SRM, I don't notice any off flavors in my finished beers.  And I've noticed a slight efficiency bump also, which leads me to theorize (not implausibly, I think) that there exists a causal relationship between my salt additions and mash pH (which would make sense if I accept that the colorpHast strips are reading accurately).
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: johnf on February 14, 2011, 01:43:17 AM
 For example, I have fairly soft water (see screenshot below).  In an oatmeal stout recipe I brewed last weekend, I used 6g CaCO3 + 3g NaHCO3 in the mash to achieve a measured pH of 5.3 (measured with colorpHast strips -- concededly not as accurate as a pH meter).  But according to EZ Calc 2.0, I could have achieved the same result with only 2g NaHCO3 (or a very small amount of some combination of CaCO3 and NaHCO3).
ColorpHast strips read about 0.3 pH units low, so your additions lead to a pH of 5.6.  Perhaps the EZWaterCalculator would have given you an actual pH of 5.3, as predicted.

Maybe, but I've read around on the interwebs and it doesn't appear that I'm alone.  There are others who say that colorpHast strips read just as accurately as their pH meter (after presumably doing side by side testing).  I think most importantly, when I calculate my salt additions based on the RA relationship to SRM, I don't notice any off flavors in my finished beers.  And I've noticed a slight efficiency bump also, which leads me to theorize (not implausibly, I think) that there exists a causal relationship between my salt additions and mash pH (which would make sense if I accept that the colorpHast strips are reading accurately).

My Colorphast strips read low, it seems like there is at least a very good chance they will.

A local club does a pH meter calibration at a meeting once a year. Many members own a meter and calibrate it once a year.

Given that, it should be stated that the best possible way to measure mash pH is via competent use of a freshly calibrated meter.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: mabrungard on February 14, 2011, 02:03:50 AM
I appreciate the concern about the pH prediction with this program.  Unfortunately, it appears to be missing an important component in the acid and buffer equation.  From my review of the equations in the pH calculation, it doesn't seem to adequately evaluate the buffering capacity of the water.    I would still assume that this program's pH estimation could be better than an estimate based on beer color only.  Maybe it just needs more calibration, but adding the overall water contribution into the mix would seem to be important too.

John, I hope that your clubmates know that an annual pH meter calibration is not sufficient.  I recommend that anyone with a meter have the 4 and 7 buffer solutions on hand so that the meter can be calibrated prior to each session.  In addition, keeping the probe saturated in the potassium chloride solution is a really good idea too.   
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on February 14, 2011, 02:57:50 AM
Martin, would you say that harder water has a greater buffering capacity?  And that softer water would have a less robust buffering capacity?  Or is the relationship between water and buffering capacity related to something other than just relative ion concentrations?

I'm not sure if EZ Water Calc 2.0 factors in the buffering capacity of the water (or if it does, to what extent), but if soft water (defined for the purpose of this thread as my water profile in the screenshot above) has less buffering capacity, it would provide some explanation for my measured results, i.e., my soft water does not offer as much buffering resistance to the acidifying darker malts in darker beers, which is why I need to add more salts (CaCO3 and/or NaHCO3) to hit my mash pH.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: mabrungard on February 14, 2011, 02:00:05 PM
Hard and soft is not key to water buffering but it is related due to cation/anion pairing.  Alkalinity is the primary component to buffering capacity and carbonate chemistry is typically the primary contributor to the alkalinity in most drinking water.   

Phosphates are another contributor to buffering capacity, but they are typically in very low concentration in drinking water.  But in the mash, phosphates are a major component and they become a significant factor.  I'm just getting started in phosphate chemistry since it is not a significant concern in my field of water supply engineering.  AJ Delange has produced a good paper on the subject, but have lots of cafeinated beverage nearby when reading it.  It is a very tough subject.

Water hardness influences how a mash performs, but high or low hardness doesn't really matter that much.  Alkalinity is actually the thing that brewers need to pay the most attention to.  It is a key to brewing well. 

Terms like Temporary Hardness and Alkalinity are the terms that brewers need to perk up to when reading their water report.  Since these components are typically reported (as CaCO3), they are actually equal to each other: Temp Hardness = Alkalinity when both are reported in (as CaCO3) terms. 

So, think less in terms of hardness and focus on more on alkalinity.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: johnf on February 14, 2011, 05:23:06 PM


John, I hope that your clubmates know that an annual pH meter calibration is not sufficient.  I recommend that anyone with a meter have the 4 and 7 buffer solutions on hand so that the meter can be calibrated prior to each session.  In addition, keeping the probe saturated in the potassium chloride solution is a really good idea too.   

Well it is a different club than mine and I don't see most of the members ever and the rest once or twice a year. But given the quality of the meters homebrewers own (many cheaper than the Hanna pHep 5 I own) the annual calibration is troubling. I figured I would suggest that when they do it next they first use the meters to measure one of the calibration solutions. I think that would be eye opening.

I calibrate daily (on days I take measurements).
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: tomsawyer on February 14, 2011, 08:26:38 PM
I have an inexpensive Hanna pH meter, and I check my calibration every time I use it.  I rarely have to re-calibrate though, it has been quite steady (within 0.1pH units, the thing reads to 0.01).  I do rinse it well after each reading and store it with storage buffer.  I have more trouble with the pH buffers, the 4.0 likes to grow a white mold.

The one other aspect of the EZ Water that I noticed, is that it doesn't take boil loss into account when calculating flavor ion concentrations.  This can increase the actual concentrations by 20-30%.  Is this the case or am I missing something there?

On the subject of hard vs soft water, I would think the bicarb is going to have some amount of buffering ability even though its not exactly in its sweet spot as a buffer since the pH is about 1 unit below the pKa.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: tygo on February 15, 2011, 01:24:45 AM
The one other aspect of the EZ Water that I noticed, is that it doesn't take boil loss into account when calculating flavor ion concentrations.  This can increase the actual concentrations by 20-30%.  Is this the case or am I missing something there?

I added a tab to my spreadsheet that calculates the concentrations based on the post-boil batch volume.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Kaiser on February 15, 2011, 03:09:39 AM
I know that the EZ water calculator's pH estimate is mostly based on my work on this subject. The problem of predicting mash pH seems more complicated than I was hoping for it to be. As I keep looking into this problem and keep running experiments I oftentimes encounter contradicting results.

But I keep meaning to check the results against my own brewing logs. The problem is that I don't necessarily calculate beer color for my recipes. I know what grains make what color and that's what I tend to use. In addition to that I often re-brew recipes which limits the coverage and testing I can get for SRM-pH correlation.

In my experience, colorpHast strips do read about 0.3 units low. We did an experiment on the NB board a while back that confirmed this for the strips used by a few brewers. Check out this writre-up: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/An_Evaluation_of_the_suitability_of_colorpHast_strips_for_pH_measurements_in_home_brewing and don't it being work in progress. I meant to add more but never got to it.

Martin, I don't think that the buffer capacity if the water. i.e. the alkalinity, has much effect on the buffer capacity of the mash. At mash pH hardly any bicarbonate is left and therefore the carbonic buffer system is weak. I once titrated mashes made with R/O and my fairly alkaline well water (230 ppm CaCO3) and both mashes showed similar buffer capacity.

I wouldn't mind receiving data sets (mash water composition, grist information, mash thickness, pH) from brewers to see if there is a substantial systematic error or if there is more unpredictability than I expected.

Lennie, I don't think that there is a need to calculate the flavor concentrations post boil unless we have post boil data on which flavor concentrations are desirable.

Kai
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Kaiser on February 15, 2011, 04:00:08 AM
One more note.

The pH of the base malt has a very strong influence on the mash pH and I found only a very loose correlation between basemalt color and the resulting distilled water mash pH. Because of this the calculator may work for some and not for other brewers.

Kai
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on February 15, 2011, 02:20:33 PM
Kai, I really do appreciate the work you've done on water/mash chemistry. I've learned a lot on the subject over the past month from reading your posts and your wiki page.  But I think you're right that EZ Calc 2.0 works better for some than it does for others.

As for colorpHast strips reading low, I guess I have no way of determining that for myself at this point. I don't know that I want to invest in a pH meter right now. And, as I said above, I haven't noticed any off-flavors in my beer that I would attribute to a higher than desirable pH (honestly, I don't really have off-flavors in my beer at all -- at least that I can taste).

I think I will continue to adjust my mash pH based on the RA and SRM relationship for now, as that seems to work well for me.  What ain't broke, and that.  ;)
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: tomsawyer on February 15, 2011, 08:47:08 PM
Lennie, I don't think that there is a need to calculate the flavor concentrations post boil unless we have post boil data on which flavor concentrations are desirable.

Kai

I am assuming the flavor recommendations are for post-boil.  How would they know how much boil-off you are going to have otherwise?  That does vary depending on length and vigor of boil, 20-30% reduction in volume.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Kaiser on February 15, 2011, 09:45:04 PM
I am assuming the flavor recommendations are for post-boil.  How would they know how much boil-off you are going to have otherwise?  That does vary depending on length and vigor of boil, 20-30% reduction in volume.


Lennie,

It all depends how they arrived at these recommendations for flavor ions. If it was through a series of beers brewed with different waters, the numbers would be pre-boil. If it is through beer or post boil wort analysis the numbers would have little to do with the numbers we shoot for in the water since malt also contributes these ions.

I assume that these numbers are for the water. I don’t think that the boil off difference between 10 and 20%, example, makes much of a difference when it comes to the flavor contributions from water ions.

Kai
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: tomsawyer on February 16, 2011, 01:09:43 PM
A 90min boil from 6.5gal to 5gal would give you a 30% increase, thats pretty substantial.  I understand that the recommendations are probably based off of base water analyses from the origin of the various styles.  I just think it would be worth switching to final boil levels going forward, its more accurate that way.  Then when we say "my beer has 300ppm SO4" we will know its that and not something between 330 and 390.  With these forums we've got the ability to quickly accumulate data to give us new guidelines.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: mabrungard on February 16, 2011, 02:42:38 PM
I don't see a strong reason to concern ourselves with ion concentration from boiling.  This is getting into minutiae that would be difficult to discern in the finished beer.  

While its been pointed out that a 60 to 90 minute boil can generally increase the ion concentrations by about 20 to 30 percent, that may not be the right way to look at it.  Since most brewers boil between 60 and 90 minutes, we need to be looking at the difference between these results instead.  Under that assumption, then the difference in the finishing ionic concentrations is 8 percent or less.  That is a much less significant variation.  

Given that most of us can estimate what ion concentrations we are starting with in brewing water and can use that information to discern if they would prefer to increase or decrease a particular ion's contribution based on their taste preference, it seems pointless to say that we need to estimate what that ion's concentration might have been in the post-boil.  In addition, the action of fermentation and trub may be altering that post-boil estimate even further.  

I think we are in good enough shape to base our brewing ion adjustments on only their pre-boil concentrations.  

Kai, I agree regarding the effect of the carbonate alkalinity.  That's why I mentioned that it was for WATER.  I then mentioned phosphates which are the predominate buffer in the mash.  The phosphate buffer system is the next knowledge hurdle to cross for me.   
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: maxieboy on February 16, 2011, 03:41:03 PM
 This is getting into minutiae that would be difficult to discern in the finished beer.    

Getting into minutiae is in the Terms and Conditions for the use of this board!!!  ;D
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: malzig on February 17, 2011, 11:51:18 AM
A 90min boil from 6.5gal to 5gal would give you a 30% increase, thats pretty substantial.  I understand that the recommendations are probably based off of base water analyses from the origin of the various styles.  I just think it would be worth switching to final boil levels going forward, its more accurate that way.  Then when we say "my beer has 300ppm SO4" we will know its that and not something between 330 and 390.  With these forums we've got the ability to quickly accumulate data to give us new guidelines.
Many ions will change more significantly during the mash and boil due to chemical interactions than they will due to concentration.  So, unless you are willing to analyze the final beer, concentrations in the final beer would be an estimate, at best.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Kaiser on February 20, 2011, 03:27:40 AM
I have to say that my measured results don't really square with the estimated pH for most recipes.

Matt,

I finally got around to putting together a spreadsheet to compare the measured mash and first wort pH and the mash pH predicted from the color (SRM) of the beer for my last 20+ batches and I'm surprised how well it actually works. The surprise is because I re-brew beers so many times that in most cases I go with my gut feel or past experiences when determining what residual alkalinity and acid addition to target.

The results are shown in this table:

(http://braukaiser.com/images/misc_forum/SRM_based_mash_pH_prediction.gif)

green means less or equal to 0.1 pH difference, yellow is <= 0.2 difference and red is > 0.2 difference.

The predictions are in the columns labeled "mash pH (SRM and mash thickness)" and "mash pH (ARM and grist buffer)"

The red ones are two batches of Alt where the mash pH was surprisingly high and the addition of lactic acid dropped the pH much more than expected. I don't know what was going on there and consider this a fluke for now.

Then there is a Dunkel where most the pH and color is determined by the base malt. This is a difficult case to handle for any mash pH predictor unless it knows the pH of the base malt. That pH only shows a loose correlation with the color of the malt.

But it does seem to do reasonably well for beers that use a light base and specialty malts for color, at least with the limited set that I tried.

"mash pH (SRM and mash thickness)" is similar to what is published on my website, implemented in my current water calculator and most likely used by the EZ water calculator. "mash pH (ARM and grist buffer)" is similar but contains a few tweaks I'm planning to release in an upcoming version.

Kai

Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on February 20, 2011, 03:00:38 PM
Very interesting results, Kai.  Thanks for posting!

The biggest question on my mind right now regarding estimating mash pH is whether we're just getting too technical about it.  In other words, what might seem to make a significant difference on paper doesn't really make a significant difference in actual practice.  In Martin's Bru'n Water thread (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=6016.msg72373#msg72373), I just posted about my results using his new spreadsheet in yesterday's brew session (my results using Bru'n Water were excellent, btw).  Depending on whether my colorpHast strips read slightly low, I likely hit my target pH (5.3-5.4).  But I've been hitting that range just fine with this beer -- which I've brewed several times -- using mash additions formulated solely through trial and error (i.e., adding CaCO3 until I hit my desired pH).  Using trial-and-error-based additions, my measured pH is almost always 5.2-5.3, which seems to be more in line with the SRM:RA estimates.  But at the end of the day, we're talking about a +/- .1 pH difference between my traditional method and using Bru'n Water.  I'm not criticizing Bru'n Water at all, I'm just asking whether in the end the various methodologies for calculating mash pH are just different sides to the same coin.  After all, your table above demonstrates that the SRM:RA calculated pH doesn't stray much, if at all, from your measured results.
Title: Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
Post by: Kaiser on February 20, 2011, 03:39:29 PM
The biggest question on my mind right now regarding estimating mash pH is whether we're just getting too technical about it.  In other words, what might seem to make a significant difference on paper doesn't really make a significant difference in actual practice.

This is a very important point and I have found myself on both sides of the argument. Over time I have learned that most brewers are a pragmatic bunch and unless something makes a huge difference they won't adapt to a new tool or technique. In addition to that most of them also don't want to be bothered with the details. This is why the EZ water calculator has been so successful and why my water spreadsheet has a basic and an advanced page. But unless you know how a tool works it is difficult to determine how much you can rely on it.

Being off by 0.1 pH units (or even 0.2 in some cases) doesn't make much of a difference. I had side by side experiments that differed in mash pH by 0.15 (I believe) and couldn't taste a difference.

In your case, the likely error of the colorpHast strips is thrown in. I don't advocate for you to buy a pH meter since those strips work just fine when you know how to read them, but if you suspect your pH to be off, change it in future batches and see how well you like the results.

The biggest value of all this is that it drives brewing knowledge forward. If we were to settle on what we have now and don't explore new ground we will get stuck and may never run across the next thing that will make brewing easier and the beer better.

Kai