Author Topic: Water Chemistry  (Read 3909 times)

Offline kramerog

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2013, 02:52:18 PM »
I don't have time to flip vinyl over during the brew day so  I don't listen to much music.  But if I did, I would listen to some Feelies.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2013, 03:40:43 PM »
In working through the Water book editing, Colin Kaminski has mentioned that he has brewed with up to 1000 ppm sulfate.  He has also stated that he enjoys 600 to 800 ppm in some beers, but his customers don't.  I've heard pro-brewers mention that the beers can get sulfury when you get on up there.  I think the 300 to 350 ppm range is about the limit for dry yet not sulfury beer. 

I have data from the English Environmental Agency for shallow wells at 2 of the Burton breweries and one had ~600 ppm and the other ~800 ppm.  I don't recommend trying to replicate that water.
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Offline redzim

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2013, 05:42:59 AM »
Remember, you can't just add chloride and sulfate to your heart's desire.  At some point, you'll have a minerally beer on your hands.  I feel that keeping chloride to less than 100 ppm is always good and you can vary sulfate from 0 to around 300 ppm with no problem.  However when you really boost sulfate, chloride should be reduced well below 100 ppm.  If you want minerally beer flavor, boost chloride above 150 ppm and sulfate above 300 ppm.

However, what about calcium... if I add gypsum to my well water to get sulfates to 300ppm I end up with around 150ppm calcium.... is this going to be ok for an IPA?  my chlorides remain at 28ppm, which is what they are in the well water, giving a good 10:1 sulfate-to-chloride ratio

-red

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2013, 06:17:51 AM »
High calcium is generally not a detriment to beer flavor.  It has little flavor impact.  However, the high calcium can drive the RA of the water down.  If you start with RO or distilled water, it could be possible to need some alkalinity in the water to help avoid an excessive mash pH drop.
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Offline redzim

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2013, 06:54:09 AM »
High calcium is generally not a detriment to beer flavor.  It has little flavor impact.  However, the high calcium can drive the RA of the water down.  If you start with RO or distilled water, it could be possible to need some alkalinity in the water to help avoid an excessive mash pH drop.

OK.  Here's another question about Brun Water: What difference is there is adding something like gypsum to the mash vs. adding it to the boil. For instance, with my current SNPA clone recipe, if I add gypsum to my water to get around 150ppm sulfate, my mash pH is predicted to be around 5.7.  If I add more gypsum to get 300ppm sulfates, it drops my pH to 5.5.  Both of these are OK mash pHs, but if I want that higher sulfate level is it more "efficient" to add the extra gypsum to the boil? 

I guess not being a water chemist (I'm an engineer and HS physics teacher) I sometimes wonder how much of the gypsum I add to the mash is actually getting into the finished beer and how much is sort of just staying in the spent grains that I compost.... 

-red

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2013, 07:11:48 AM »
High calcium is generally not a detriment to beer flavor.  It has little flavor impact.  However, the high calcium can drive the RA of the water down.  If you start with RO or distilled water, it could be possible to need some alkalinity in the water to help avoid an excessive mash pH drop.

i just tinkered with the higher sulfate in my mash in doing right now. used distilled and after brunwater adjustments, profile was 93ppm calcium, 9.6ppm magnesium, 7.2ppm sodium, 185ppm sulfate, 57ppm chloride, 20ppm bicarb, -57 RA. tagret PH according to brunwater was 5.4,, and happy to say im exactly at 5.4.
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Offline yso191

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2013, 10:34:57 AM »
High calcium is generally not a detriment to beer flavor.  It has little flavor impact.  However, the high calcium can drive the RA of the water down.  If you start with RO or distilled water, it could be possible to need some alkalinity in the water to help avoid an excessive mash pH drop.

Martin, How is this best accomplished?  It has been a while since I even considered RA, as I found myself chasing my tail: add salts to increase RA, add salts to decrease pH, repeat.

I use 100% RO water, and frequently my RA is very low.  For example I brewed a Baltic Porter where the RA was -71.  Pretty low for a very dark beer (fortunately it tastes great!).  I have been just targeting Palmer's recommended ranges while maintaining a good mash pH, but would love to get my head around the concept of RA as it relates to RO water.

BTW, thanks for your comments on this thread.  I have copied and pasted them to a Word Doc so I can reference them later.
Steve
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2013, 01:40:28 PM »

OK.  Here's another question about Brun Water: What difference is there is adding something like gypsum to the mash vs. adding it to the boil. For instance, with my current SNPA clone recipe, if I add gypsum to my water to get around 150ppm sulfate, my mash pH is predicted to be around 5.7.  If I add more gypsum to get 300ppm sulfates, it drops my pH to 5.5.  Both of these are OK mash pHs, but if I want that higher sulfate level is it more "efficient" to add the extra gypsum to the boil? 

-red

It may be more efficient to add it to the boil if adding it to the mash drives the pH down too far.  However in most cases, it is best to add it to the mash.  Calcium can be bound and precipitated in the mash reactions, but the more mobile ions such as Na, SO4, and Cl will predominantly stay in the wort and be carried into the kettle.  Your sulfate contribution will make it to the kettle.  The other good thing about adding minerals to the mashing and sparging water (and not adding them directly to the kettle) is that you are increasing the ionic strength of the water which helps reduce the extraction of things like tannins and silicates from the malts. 

When the pH will be depressed farther than desired, then adding a bit of alkalinity could be the best way.  In that case, use baking soda or lime.  Lime is the preferred option since no sodium is added.  However, last week during our discussion for the upcoming Water book, we came to the conclusion that using baking soda MIGHT be OK as long as the Na concentration is kept below 50 ppm.  If you had no sodium in your starting water, 0.5 gram of baking soda per gallon raises the sodium to 36 ppm and the alkalinity rises to 80 ppm.  That might be enough for many brewing situations.  If your water already has a lot of sodium, then this option is probably out. 
Martin B
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Offline brewsumore

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2013, 04:32:18 PM »
Great thread!  Thanks Martin!  I just pre-ordered the book, and look forward to "drying" my next IPA at your recommended higher sulfate level, i.e. 200 - 300 ppm, while keeping chloride well under 100.  I am currently keg-hopping an AIPA for which I used your "yellow bitter" profile and ended up with 100 sulfate and 45 chloride.  Per the hydro sample I would concur that the flavor profile is more towards wetter, slightly bitterness subdued but as a hop bursted, highly-hopped ale I know I will enjoy it immensely!

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2013, 05:37:34 PM »

OK.  Here's another question about Brun Water: What difference is there is adding something like gypsum to the mash vs. adding it to the boil. For instance, with my current SNPA clone recipe, if I add gypsum to my water to get around 150ppm sulfate, my mash pH is predicted to be around 5.7.  If I add more gypsum to get 300ppm sulfates, it drops my pH to 5.5.  Both of these are OK mash pHs, but if I want that higher sulfate level is it more "efficient" to add the extra gypsum to the boil? 

-red


It may be more efficient to add it to the boil if adding it to the mash drives the pH down too far.  However in most cases, it is best to add it to the mash.  Calcium can be bound and precipitated in the mash reactions, but the more mobile ions such as Na, SO4, and Cl will predominantly stay in the wort and be carried into the kettle.  Your sulfate contribution will make it to the kettle.  The other good thing about adding minerals to the mashing and sparging water (and not adding them directly to the kettle) is that you are increasing the ionic strength of the water which helps reduce the extraction of things like tannins and silicates from the malts. 

When the pH will be depressed farther than desired, then adding a bit of alkalinity could be the best way.  In that case, use baking soda or lime.  Lime is the preferred option since no sodium is added.  However, last week during our discussion for the upcoming Water book, we came to the conclusion that using baking soda MIGHT be OK as long as the Na concentration is kept below 50 ppm.  If you had no sodium in your starting water, 0.5 gram of baking soda per gallon raises the sodium to 36 ppm and the alkalinity rises to 80 ppm.  That might be enough for many brewing situations.  If your water already has a lot of sodium, then this option is probably out.


Good info. I added small amount of basking soda to mash to bump up my alkalinity and ph this weekend- used distilled water so sodium was no issue to contend with, and well und 50ppm.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
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C3A PA                  Apple Cherry Cider
ESB                       UK  PA   
Robust Porter          O'Fest                                             
Summer Wheat

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2013, 07:53:16 PM »
When the pH will be depressed farther than desired, then adding a bit of alkalinity could be the best way.  In that case, use baking soda or lime.  Lime is the preferred option since no sodium is added.  However, last week during our discussion for the upcoming Water book, we came to the conclusion that using baking soda MIGHT be OK as long as the Na concentration is kept below 50 ppm.  If you had no sodium in your starting water, 0.5 gram of baking soda per gallon raises the sodium to 36 ppm and the alkalinity rises to 80 ppm.  That might be enough for many brewing situations.  If your water already has a lot of sodium, then this option is probably out.

I have used baking soda for my dark beers since I have low sodium in my well water and have yet to come across pickling lime in my travels. I also have some potassium bicarbonate laying around, but I haven't used it because none of the water calculators I've seen really address K+. I know potassium can give some saltiness similar to sodium, but I have no idea what the flavor threshold would be, or if there are any other adverse consequences to using it in the mash. Any thoughts?
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Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2013, 06:25:36 AM »
When the pH will be depressed farther than desired, then adding a bit of alkalinity could be the best way.  In that case, use baking soda or lime.  Lime is the preferred option since no sodium is added.  However, last week during our discussion for the upcoming Water book, we came to the conclusion that using baking soda MIGHT be OK as long as the Na concentration is kept below 50 ppm.  If you had no sodium in your starting water, 0.5 gram of baking soda per gallon raises the sodium to 36 ppm and the alkalinity rises to 80 ppm.  That might be enough for many brewing situations.  If your water already has a lot of sodium, then this option is probably out.

I have used baking soda for my dark beers since I have low sodium in my well water and have yet to come across pickling lime in my travels. I also have some potassium bicarbonate laying around, but I haven't used it because none of the water calculators I've seen really address K+. I know potassium can give some saltiness similar to sodium, but I have no idea what the flavor threshold would be, or if there are any other adverse consequences to using it in the mash. Any thoughts?

You can find pickling lime at a farm supply store in the canning section. Or in season the big supermarkets will have canning supplies.

There is always online. http://www.fleetfarm.com/detail/mrs-wages-pickling-lime/0000000013296?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=shopping%2Bsearch&utm_campaign=google%2Bproduct%20search&gclid=CI-kqsKU47UCFShgMgod0CwA7g
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2013, 09:25:08 AM »
I think using baking soda to raise mash pH is fine. In the past I have gotten push-back on that idea since brewers seem to be afraid of sodium. But its nice to see that others are also coming to the conclusion that unless your sodium is already elevated that use of baking soda is just fine.

Kai

Offline malzig

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Re: Water Chemistry
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2013, 05:41:59 AM »
I think using baking soda to raise mash pH is fine. In the past I have gotten push-back on that idea since brewers seem to be afraid of sodium. But its nice to see that others are also coming to the conclusion that unless your sodium is already elevated that use of baking soda is just fine.

Kai
It's also very effective at raising pH and safe to handle.