Author Topic: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]  (Read 2505 times)

Offline ccfoo242

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How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« on: March 07, 2012, 08:05:54 PM »
Brewing an oatmeal stout this weekend...

Using Bru'n Water's "Black Balanced" water profile and mixing my filtered tap water with 50% distilled:


There's an option on the water adjustment tab to add gypsum and calcium chloride to the sparge water...do I need to use that?  If I check it then it adds 2.2 grams of gypsum and 1.2 grams of calcium chloride.

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Offline ccfoo242

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2012, 05:51:33 AM »
Also, would pickling lime be better than chalk for bringing calcium and bicarbonate up to match the water profile? I have both.

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2012, 06:10:46 AM »
I would keep the sparge water at the same levels of Ca, SO4 and CL.

Pickling lime is Ca(OH)2, so that adds Calcium.  It increases pH as the OH- ions combines with  H+ ions to make H2O. 
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 06:53:30 AM »
You can't really depend on the theoretical alkalinity provided by chalk.  To reach that alkalinity, chalk has to be dissolved with carbonic acid.  That's kind of a pain.  Pickling Lime is a very strong alkalinity producer and it will get the job done.  The problem with the lime is that it is very strong and requires careful dosing and measurement.  You have to have an accurate scale that reads into the tenths of grams.  One way around that is to measure out 1 gram of pickling lime and mix that with 100 mL of water.  Then you can add the lime dose more accurately by measuring out a liquid volume.  For instance, 10 mL of solution provides 0.1 gram of lime. 

It does look like a little more alkalinity is needed in that mash water to keep the pH from falling too low.  A room temp mash pH of 5.2 is on the low side of the range.  I find that moving to 5.4 produces a better beer. 

The check box on the Water Adjustment sheet is intended to be used in cases like this, where chalk and lime are used to add alkalinity to the mash.  But since sparge water has to have low alkalinity, you don't add the chalk or lime to the sparge water.  In order to keep the overall calcium content of the wort at a level similar to the mash water, doses of gypsum and calcium chloride are calculated to provide that same calcium concentration in the sparge water.  If the mash water calcium concentration is at the lower limit (ie. 40 to 50 ppm), then you should click the box to keep the calcium up in the overall wort.  If the calcium concentration is already high in the water, then there is no need to raise the calcium concentration up in the sparge water.  Don't bother with the box in that case. 
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Offline ccfoo242

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2012, 07:53:05 AM »
The problem with the lime is that it is very strong and requires careful dosing and measurement.  You have to have an accurate scale that reads into the tenths of grams.  One way around that is to measure out 1 gram of pickling lime and mix that with 100 mL of water.  Then you can add the lime dose more accurately by measuring out a liquid volume.  For instance, 10 mL of solution provides 0.1 gram of lime. 
OK, I'll switch to using pickling lime. I do have a scale that measures tenths of a gram.

It does look like a little more alkalinity is needed in that mash water to keep the pH from falling too low.  A room temp mash pH of 5.2 is on the low side of the range.  I find that moving to 5.4 produces a better beer. 
Adding 1.2 gr pickling lime brings estimated mash ph to to 5.3, calcium to 86, alkalinity to 190, and RA to 118.
Adding 1.8 gr  brings the ph up to 5.4, calcium to 110, alkalinity to 251, and RA to 162.

I assume I should give ph more priority over the other parameters and should use 1.8 grams?

The check box on the Water Adjustment sheet is intended to be used in cases like this, where chalk and lime are used to add alkalinity to the mash.  But since sparge water has to have low alkalinity, you don't add the chalk or lime to the sparge water.  In order to keep the overall calcium content of the wort at a level similar to the mash water, doses of gypsum and calcium chloride are calculated to provide that same calcium concentration in the sparge water.  If the mash water calcium concentration is at the lower limit (ie. 40 to 50 ppm), then you should click the box to keep the calcium up in the overall wort.  If the calcium concentration is already high in the water, then there is no need to raise the calcium concentration up in the sparge water.  Don't bother with the box in that case.
Thanks. When I dilute my tap water it brings the calcium to under 40, so I'll be sure to check the box.

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Offline nateo

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2012, 08:08:14 AM »
When using pickling lime, I'd recommend wearing goggles and gloves. Probably overkill 99% of the time, but I'm in the "better safe than sorry" camp. I got some on my hand once that I didn't notice right away. It gave me a chemical burn that lingered for about a month or so before it was fully healed. When lime is in powder form gets airborne pretty easily. I talked to an ER doc about eye injuries once (he happened to be treating an eye injury of mine at the time), and he said strong bases turn your cornea into oatmeal. He said strong bases injure eyes more severely and permanently than strong acids.
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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2012, 08:53:14 AM »
Martin would you advise against using Chalk to produce desired alkalinity? Im doing an imperial stout next week and was dosing the mash with around 7 or 8 grams of chalk and a little Baking Soda to get my bicarbonate level to around 250ppm.  Its a hefty one, around 65 SRM. I am adding the little bit of crystal malt in at vorlauf and the SRM does not include that malt into calculations. All dark malt being mashed is Roasted malt, Bru'n Water estimates my ph to be 5.5 the way I currently have it.

Should I swap the chalk with Pickling Lime? I'd have to go get some, and would prefer not to work with such a caustic chemical if possible but will if the Chalk isn't going to get me what I want. Dont want an acid bomb imperial stout!
Jason
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Offline nateo

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 09:49:06 AM »
Should I swap the chalk with Pickling Lime? I'd have to go get some, and would prefer not to work with such a caustic chemical if possible but will if the Chalk isn't going to get me what I want.

Pickling (slaked) lime isn't nearly as caustic as quicklime. Quicklime is seriously nasty and I would never recommend using it. Pickling lime requires only slightly more care in handling than boiling water. As long you don't get it on your skin or get it in your eyes you'll be fine.
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Offline narvin

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2012, 10:37:46 AM »
I wouldn't use pickling lime unless I had a very accurate scale and a pH meter.  It's going to be easy to over-modify your water, which is probably fine without any adjustments.  In general, I'd take a reading before ever adding any alkalinity.  My water has a RA that is slightly lower than yours, and my latest oatmeal stout mash pH came in at 5.5 without any adjustments. 
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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 11:14:32 AM »
I do have a ph meter and scale that measures to .1g so that wont be an issue.  I may give it a shot this week with a Belgian Dubbel where I want a little bit of alkalinity(im using de-ionized RO water through a 6 stage system that measures 0 on my TDS meter).  My predicted mash ph is 5.2 and id like it at 5.4 so Ill try the chalk here and see how it handles things. If I dont have any luck ill pick up the lime for the big IMperial Stout next week.
Jason
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Offline narvin

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2012, 11:26:45 AM »
I do have a ph meter and scale that measures to .1g so that wont be an issue.  I may give it a shot this week with a Belgian Dubbel where I want a little bit of alkalinity(im using de-ionized RO water through a 6 stage system that measures 0 on my TDS meter).  My predicted mash ph is 5.2 and id like it at 5.4 so Ill try the chalk here and see how it handles things. If I dont have any luck ill pick up the lime for the big IMperial Stout next week.

I was referring to the OP, whose RA was 35, but I'd also be interested to see what your Dubbel mash pH is before adding any chalk.
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Offline beersk

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2012, 11:56:40 AM »
What I'd do is calculate your water using the "Amber balanced" option and add the roasted grains at the end of the mash before you vorlauf. 
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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2012, 01:29:50 PM »
I do have a ph meter and scale that measures to .1g so that wont be an issue.  I may give it a shot this week with a Belgian Dubbel where I want a little bit of alkalinity(im using de-ionized RO water through a 6 stage system that measures 0 on my TDS meter).  My predicted mash ph is 5.2 and id like it at 5.4 so Ill try the chalk here and see how it handles things. If I dont have any luck ill pick up the lime for the big IMperial Stout next week.

I was referring to the OP, whose RA was 35, but I'd also be interested to see what your Dubbel mash pH is before adding any chalk.

I will report all my findings after I brew tomorrow! estimated was 5.2 and id like 5.4 so well see how that goes. I will add the chalk separately from the other salts after taking a ph reading.
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.