Author Topic: Water Has My Head Spinning...  (Read 15803 times)

Offline mmitchem

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2012, 07:04:53 PM »
I hear ya there, that is a good tip for keeping the pH from dropping too low. The problem with this is that the pH remains too high when the additions are made to balance out the additions. Yeah, I am thinking Martin might need to weigh in on this one. We say you Mr. Brungard?
Michael P Mitchem
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Offline mmitchem

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2012, 09:34:30 PM »
Wait wait wait, I think I have stared at this thing enough to see the light...
In a mash, roasted malt doesnt contribute to the acidity nearly as much as when you have crystal malt thrown into the recipe. The mash doesnt get too low when you use them, so you don't have to load your water down with chalk to get the bicarbonate. And in turn RA that you would need to help buffer that big pH drop is not needed.
The bottom line is that you add bicarbonate to raise your RA in order to counteract the big pH drop that crystal malts will have on your mash. It is not about color, it is about the grist you use to and balancing the pH to keep it in the 5.2-5.5 optimal range.
Of course, this is independent of your sulfate to chloride ratio which drives the flavor of your beer (hoppy vs malty), I think I have a firm grip on that.

...Is this the key that I have been missing???? :)
Michael P Mitchem
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2012, 05:22:32 AM »
Wait wait wait, I think I have stared at this thing enough to see the light...
In a mash, roasted malt doesnt contribute to the acidity nearly as much as when you have crystal malt thrown into the recipe. The mash doesnt get too low when you use them, so you don't have to load your water down with chalk to get the bicarbonate. And in turn RA that you would need to help buffer that big pH drop is not needed.
The bottom line is that you add bicarbonate to raise your RA in order to counteract the big pH drop that crystal malts will have on your mash. It is not about color, it is about the grist you use to and balancing the pH to keep it in the 5.2-5.5 optimal range.
Of course, this is independent of your sulfate to chloride ratio which drives the flavor of your beer (hoppy vs malty), I think I have a firm grip on that.

...Is this the key that I have been missing???? :)

That is why the programs that use the grist in the recipe get you close to the target pH. I think you have it. Brunwater has been getting me within 0.1 pH

With your water, you should not have to add alkalinity.

One other thing, chalk doesn't dissolve very fast as the reaction is slow. I have stopped using chalk, and use pickling lime to raise pH.

Jeff Rankert
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2012, 05:44:22 AM »
Beer color is a poor indicator of what mashing water RA should be.  Palmer's RA vs SRM nomograph is a little too aggressive in its recommendation for alkalinity.  MMitchem mentioned that the nomograph could have a brewer aiming for a RA of upwards of 250 ppm.  Compare that with some of the most alkaline brewing waters from Dublin and Munich which have RA values in the 170 to 180 ppm range.  Palmer was too extreme in his initial estimate on this subject. 

Several years ago when working with Gordon Strong on water information for the BJCP program, I was stunned to hear Gordon poo-poo the whole aspect of RA vs SRM.  I was firmly entrenched in the Palmer camp and assumed that there was a correlation.  I had not looked at the correlation closely at that time.  Gordon claimed that he had tasted hundreds of 'alka seltzer' beers that were made in accordance with Palmer's nomograph.  I figured I needed to take a closer look.

It was Kai Troester's work on grain acidity that finally turned on the light as to why color is not a good correlation to RA needs.  As pointed out above, roasted grains have fairly significant acidity, but crystal malts can produce acidity at much higher rates with respect to their color. 

When I started looking at the water profiles from around the world's historic brewing centers, it became apparent that alkalinity levels were much more modest than what Palmer's nomograph predicted.  As pointed out above, those historic brewing centers produced great black beers with RA in the 170 ppm range.  That alone pointed to a problem with the nomograph.  Then I started looking at trying to apply science to the problem using Kai's acidity information.  That's when it became apparent that you could calculate the mash's acidity and compare that with the mashing water's RA and arrive at a good correlation with a mash pH. 

The bottom line is that Palmer's nomograph was an early attempt at helping brewer's adjust their mashing water alkalinity.  It was just a bit off.  Since it hasn't been updated in quite a while, I suggest that a program like Bru'n Water is going to provide you a better guide to your mashing water alkalinity needs. 
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Offline mmitchem

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2012, 09:39:08 AM »
Yes indeed. That is the good word right there. Now I think of the acidifation that my grist will have on the water rather than the SRM of the beer I am brewing. And.....my head sins no more :)
I think Bru'n Water will be used in the future to help get my water where it needs to be. Thank you all for helping make sense of this apsect of brewing. I was in my LHBS yesterday picking up some gypsum and CaCl2 and one of my friends asked me, "Why are you adding all that stuff to your beer man?" I think I can answer him correctly now and maybe shine a little light on brewing water for him.
Cheers!
Michael P Mitchem
Beer and Ale Research Foundation (B.A.R.F.)
AHA Member since 2011

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2012, 12:17:51 PM »
Glad to help! Thanks as always Martin for chiming in.

mmitchem, i think you are indeed starting to wrap your head around it.

If you want, feel free to personal message me the water profile's your creating as a sanity check... not saying I know everything but with Martin's help Ive been turning out good beers of all different styles and think I have a decent grasp on things.
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2012, 12:30:36 PM »
Here's something I should know, but for some reason I find it confusing:
If I take a sample of my mash and cool it down to 60 or 70 F and then take a pH reading which shows 5.4, is that the number I am generally looking for or do I need to correct it for the mash temperature?  If so, what is the correction factor? 
I understand that the same mash will read completely different pH figures depending on the temperature, but I wonder if mash pH number needs to be corrected to the 148 to 156 range.  Or maybe the pH is exactly the same and I need a meter that corrects automatically.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline denny

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2012, 12:41:56 PM »
When I asked pretty much the same thing, the answer is that pH is read at room temp.  So, 5.4 at room temp is what you're looking for.  Unless of course I totally misunderstood....
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline ccfoo242

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2012, 01:04:16 PM »
To make matters worse Gordon Strong says to measure it at mash temperature in Brewing Better Beer. :-\  But I am a convert in the Water Church of Martin so I use room temperature... :P

[Edit]
It seems there's conflicting info in his book. Page 34 states:
Quote
The mash pH should be in the 5.2 to 5.5 range with a target of about 5.3. Note that the mash pH is measured at mash temperatures, not cooled.

But on page 140 he states:
Quote
...adapt a common system, typically measuring at warm room temperature (25C, 77F), using a pH meter with ATC, or by keeping a temperature compensation table handy.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 07:52:04 AM by ccfoo242 »

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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2012, 01:31:19 PM »
Thats a confusing one to me as well...Ive always measured at room temp and corrected .2 ish lower to get my mash temp since that makes sense to me...if the pH is working at a certain temp then thats whats actually going on in there.

So if I read 5.6 on my pH meter, then Im assuming my pH at sach temps is about 5.4.
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2012, 01:45:39 PM »
Thats a confusing one to me as well...Ive always measured at room temp and corrected .2 ish lower to get my mash temp since that makes sense to me...if the pH is working at a certain temp then thats whats actually going on in there.

So if I read 5.6 on my pH meter, then Im assuming my pH at sach temps is about 5.4.
This is what I do, and I remember the correction to be 2.5 to 3 ish.
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Offline mmitchem

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2012, 01:55:49 PM »
In my case I think that I would be better off using Distilled Water...even with alot of crystal malts, the pH gets pretty high with the RA in my water (303ppm)...
For instance I am brewing a Doppelbock this weekend doing a big triple decoction. Here is my recipe I have come up with after reading the Classic Styles Series for a 6 gallon batch...

OG 1.078
IBU 25ish
SRM 24ish

14lbs Munich I (7SRM)
2lbs Bohemian Pilsner (1.7SRM)
8oz Caramunich I (39SRM)
8oz Caramunich II (57SRM)
2.25 Mittelfruh @ 60mins (4.1%AA)
.35oz Mittelfruh @ 30mins (4.1%AA)

120 Boil

-----------------------

Using distilled water for a 6.15 gallon mash (1.4 quarts/lb)

I am making the following mash additions:

2.5g Gypsum
2.5g Calcium Chloride
1.8g Chalk

That gives me 85ppm Calcium, 59ppm Sulfate, 51ppm Chloride, 106 Bicarbonate, RA of 27 annnnnnnd a mash pH of 5.4. That puts me in the ballpark because I am not using heaps of crystal malt that lower the pH of the mash.

Sound about right?????
Michael P Mitchem
Beer and Ale Research Foundation (B.A.R.F.)
AHA Member since 2011

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2012, 02:02:26 PM »
In my case I think that I would be better off using Distilled Water...even with alot of crystal malts, the pH gets pretty high with the RA in my water (303ppm)...
For instance I am brewing a Doppelbock this weekend doing a big triple decoction. Here is my recipe I have come up with after reading the Classic Styles Series for a 6 gallon batch...

OG 1.078
IBU 25ish
SRM 24ish

14lbs Munich I (7SRM)
2lbs Bohemian Pilsner (1.7SRM)
8oz Caramunich I (39SRM)
8oz Caramunich II (57SRM)
2.25 Mittelfruh @ 60mins (4.1%AA)
.35oz Mittelfruh @ 30mins (4.1%AA)

120 Boil

-----------------------

Using distilled water for a 6.15 gallon mash (1.4 quarts/lb)

I am making the following mash additions:

2.5g Gypsum
2.5g Calcium Chloride
1.8g Chalk

That gives me 85ppm Calcium, 59ppm Sulfate, 51ppm Chloride, 106 Bicarbonate, RA of 27 annnnnnnd a mash pH of 5.4. That puts me in the ballpark because I am not using heaps of crystal malt that lower the pH of the mash.

Sound about right?????
Not heaps in your recipe, but CaraMunich is a crystal malt, make sure you take that into account.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline mmitchem

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2012, 02:02:36 PM »
I could even use something like 1.2g of gypsum, 1.2g CaCl2 and 2.5g Chalk to get a little more towards that room temp pH of 5.6, or mash pH of 5.3-5.4

Y'all know what I mean
Michael P Mitchem
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Offline mmitchem

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Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2012, 02:05:12 PM »
Not heaps in your recipe, but CaraMunich is a crystal malt, make sure you take that into account.

Yeah man, all was accounted for when I calculated the Mash Acidification. You are right, only a pound of crystal and like 16lbs of base malt...Doesnt acidify the mash a whole lot...
Michael P Mitchem
Beer and Ale Research Foundation (B.A.R.F.)
AHA Member since 2011