Author Topic: PH adjustment?  (Read 748 times)

Offline quattlebaum

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PH adjustment?
« on: April 28, 2013, 07:32:20 PM »
I brew on a EHERMS. My HLT is a 20gal blichmann with a SS coil. I need to fill it up with 13 gal of water to cover the coil.  My water PH is 8.1:(. I cut my mash with RO and add salts.   Question is is there any other way I can bring my HLT/sparge water down to a good PH level without cutting it with RO. My water profile is 66ca, 20mg, 27na,  18cl, 36 sulfate, 262 bicarbonate. I have added latic attempting to decrease the PH but soon learned that the buffeting of my hard water prevented my PH from changing

Offline wort-h.o.g.

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Re: PH adjustment?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2013, 04:49:39 AM »
I brew on a EHERMS. My HLT is a 20gal blichmann with a SS coil. I need to fill it up with 13 gal of water to cover the coil.  My water PH is 8.1:(. I cut my mash with RO and add salts.   Question is is there any other way I can bring my HLT/sparge water down to a good PH level without cutting it with RO. My water profile is 66ca, 20mg, 27na,  18cl, 36 sulfate, 262 bicarbonate. I have added latic attempting to decrease the PH but soon learned that the buffeting of my hard water prevented my PH from changing


I used to have the same problem with high bicarbonate water. You want your sparge water to be more acidic and well below 6, and that's difficult to do without the acid additions. The problem I ran into, is that I had to use higher than desirable levels of lactic acid to achieve a 5.5 ph, and I noticed a twang in my beers that shouldn't have a tart twang to them.

I have since switched to all RO water for my brewing. IMO, either use RO or distilled to knock down your waters buffering capacity...otherwise you may not be happy with the finished product- whether that's tartness or twang from the lactic, or tannin extraction.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH adjustment?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2013, 05:27:35 AM »
That water is well suited to pretreatment by either pre-boiling or lime softening.  Lime softening requires some special training and equipment, but pre-boiling is simple. 

Those pretreatment alternatives will substantially reduce the alkalinity and reduce the degree of acidification needed.  Another alternative is to switch your acid to phosphoric acid to avoid flavor effects.  Given the level of alkalinity in that water, its likely that enough lactic acid would be needed that would add that 'twang' to the beer flavor.  That can be fine in some beer styles, but unwelcome in others. 

Dilution with RO is also a simple alternative, but might be a pain if you have to run to the store to buy it.  Phosphoric acidification is probably the simplest alternative and quickest.  Use Bru'n Water to figure out how much acid you need to add to your brewing water.
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Offline quattlebaum

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Re: PH adjustment?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2013, 08:33:57 AM »
Any suggestions on how long to boil to precipitate some of that bicarbonate out?  I do use phosphoric however It never changes my PH in my HLT with my water profile. I assume that there is just to much bicarbonate and it is buffering the acid to much. 

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Re: PH adjustment?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2013, 08:54:05 AM »
Any suggestions on how long to boil to precipitate some of that bicarbonate out?  I do use phosphoric however It never changes my PH in my HLT with my water profile. I assume that there is just to much bicarbonate and it is buffering the acid to much.
Phosphoric is often sold in a 10% solution, lactic acid is 88%, so you will need more phosphoric. Use Brunwater to get the ml to add.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH adjustment?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2013, 09:21:13 AM »
Any suggestions on how long to boil to precipitate some of that bicarbonate out?  I do use phosphoric however It never changes my PH in my HLT with my water profile. I assume that there is just to much bicarbonate and it is buffering the acid to much.

Although any period of boiling should drive all CO2 from the water and cause all the precipitation, there are plenty of sources that state that 20 minutes is required to remove the maximum possible.  One of these days, I'm going to have to test that for myself.

I am assuming that you are using 10% phosphoric.  Its so dilute that it would seem like its not doing anything.  Get some real phosphoric from Duda Diesel, 75 or 85% strength.  That is far cheaper than buying the diluted stuff from the LHBS.  However if the dilute stuff is all you have, just add more.  Bru'n Water will tell you that you are going to have to add a lot of that strength acid to provide the neutralization.
Martin B
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Offline wort-h.o.g.

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Re: PH adjustment?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2013, 10:37:06 AM »
Any suggestions on how long to boil to precipitate some of that bicarbonate out?  I do use phosphoric however It never changes my PH in my HLT with my water profile. I assume that there is just to much bicarbonate and it is buffering the acid to much.

Although any period of boiling should drive all CO2 from the water and cause all the precipitation, there are plenty of sources that state that 20 minutes is required to remove the maximum possible.  One of these days, I'm going to have to test that for myself.

I am assuming that you are using 10% phosphoric.  Its so dilute that it would seem like its not doing anything.  Get some real phosphoric from Duda Diesel, 75 or 85% strength.  That is far cheaper than buying the diluted stuff from the LHBS.  However if the dilute stuff is all you have, just add more.  Bru'n Water will tell you that you are going to have to add a lot of that strength acid to provide the neutralization.

so is there a way to figure out the needed acid additions (if any) after boiling and driving out CO2? 

Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH adjustment?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2013, 11:01:21 AM »
Sure.  It turns out that the minimum alkalinity level achievable through boiling is around 50 ppm as CaCO3.  That equates to about 61 ppm bicarb.  If the boiling is a little incomplete, then the level may be higher (say 80 ppm bicarb).  So 60 to 80 ppm is a typical range. 

This bicarb reduction also reduces calcium.  The formula for decarbonization by boiling is shown on the Water Knowledge page of the Bru'n Water website. 

So with the revised Ca and HCO3 concentrations, you can enter those values in Bru'n Water and that will allow you to estimate the new acid amounts for that decarbonated water.  What you are doing is creating "boiled" water profiles that are similar to those included in Bru'n Water, but this one is based on your tap water quality.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

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Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

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https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

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Offline wort-h.o.g.

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Re: PH adjustment?
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2013, 11:20:10 AM »
Sure.  It turns out that the minimum alkalinity level achievable through boiling is around 50 ppm as CaCO3.  That equates to about 61 ppm bicarb.  If the boiling is a little incomplete, then the level may be higher (say 80 ppm bicarb).  So 60 to 80 ppm is a typical range. 

This bicarb reduction also reduces calcium.  The formula for decarbonization by boiling is shown on the Water Knowledge page of the Bru'n Water website. 

So with the revised Ca and HCO3 concentrations, you can enter those values in Bru'n Water and that will allow you to estimate the new acid amounts for that decarbonated water.  What you are doing is creating "boiled" water profiles that are similar to those included in Bru'n Water, but this one is based on your tap water quality.

another great water chemistry lesson -thanks.