Author Topic: Water Help..  (Read 4268 times)

Offline greg_rosace

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Water Help..
« on: November 09, 2009, 08:40:19 AM »
Hi all,
Ive been brewing all grain beers with good success using spring water, filtered water and my tap water for about 5 years now.
I want to hone in on quality control and want to start dabbling into making my own water.
I want to start making different water profiles for the variety of styles using RO water since it seem to be inabundances her in Tampa.. My tap water is less ideal for making great beer.
I havent gotten any reports on mineral content of my water or have'nt I sent out for any..
I somewhat understand the basic of the brewing salts and what they achieve.
But I am somewhat lost on the quantities and such as it relates to the different calculators.
I have this calculator that am toying with and it seems pretty straight forward..
I am inputting quantities of salts until I reach the desired water profile, but it seems all greek to me.???
So I'm reaching out to you all to get the laymans terms on water and understanding.
Heres the calculator I have...

Thanks Greg
http://www.brewersfriend.com/water-chemistry/
 
Beer today- Gone tomorrow

Offline majorvices

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2009, 10:17:12 AM »
This could take a four page post to cover it all. The chapter in John Palmer's book covers it really well. What you want to do first is figure out what kind of beer your water is suited for, which will mean looking at your residual alkalinity. Check out this page http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-3.html and use the nomagraph to figure out the style your water is best suited for.

If your water is failry hard (has high CAC03) you might need to cut your water with RO water to get that under control. For instance, light colored beers are best when the CACO3 is under 50, amber beer between 50 and 150 and up to 300 and even more for dark beers (or around there. I'm not sure if those are specific numbers - just off the top of my head.)

You also want to be sure your Calcium is at least at 50ppm. You can adjust that with CAlcium chloride (Cl) or gypsum (So4) which will also help lower the mash pH if needed. There is also a ratio of So4 to Cl you will want to target for certain beers. For instance, if it is a hop focused beer a good ratio would be So4 to CL 2:1. For malt focused beer you reverse that (So4 accentuates hops, Cl accentuates malt).

Of course, before all of that pH is the main focus and I normally use So4 or Cl to lower the pH and Calcium Carbonate (CAC03) to raise the pH. Remember that lighter beers will tend to have a higher mash pH and darker beers lower pH because the darker malts acidulate the mash.

I am missing a bunch of stuff but hopefully that will give you something to start with. I'm sure others will chime in to add or cover something I missed.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2009, 10:30:47 AM by majorvices »
Keith Y.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2009, 03:31:44 PM »
Keith covered the basics really well. I find this link helpful: http://nomograph.babbrewers.com/ It basically just automates the Palmer nomograph.
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2009, 09:35:04 PM »
I understand that RO water is what is readily available but like distilled water it lacks micro-nutrients.  Micro-nutrients are needed for proper cell growth, in well, micro quantities.  Adding salts to RO water is not the best thing to do.  If you can get spring water use that, even if you need to cut it with half RO water.

Fred
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AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline narvin

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2009, 11:16:53 PM »
I understand that RO water is what is readily available but like distilled water it lacks micro-nutrients.  Micro-nutrients are needed for proper cell growth, in well, micro quantities.  Adding salts to RO water is not the best thing to do.  If you can get spring water use that, even if you need to cut it with half RO water.

Fred

This sounds vaguely... homeopathic.  What exactly are these micro nutrients that are needed in almost non-existent quantities?  Aside from the standard brewing salts, some Wyeast yeast nutrient should give the yeast what it needs.
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Thanks
Chris S.

Offline drf255

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2009, 03:52:52 AM »
I learned what I know from the NB forum.

I agree with Narvin, I bet the micronutients are enough from the yeast packet.

I would build your water from 100% RO.  Download Palmer's RA table and figure out the alkalinity you need for the SRM beer you will brew.  Then figure out how much Ca and Bicarb you need.  The rest of the salt, like sodium, chloride and sulfate are just there to spice it up.  Chloride and sodium for malt sweetness, sulfate for hop crispness, etc.


I just use the graph, calculate how much chalk I need, then use only CaCl and or Gypsum to get my Calcium in the 50-100 range.  This has worked out pretty flawlessly for me.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2009, 05:25:58 AM »
I understand that RO water is what is readily available but like distilled water it lacks micro-nutrients.  Micro-nutrients are needed for proper cell growth, in well, micro quantities.  Adding salts to RO water is not the best thing to do.  If you can get spring water use that, even if you need to cut it with half RO water.

Fred

That's why you need at least 50ppms of calcium. Mostly it helps in yeast floculation.



I would build your water from 100% RO.

Certainly nothing wrong with building your water from scratch but nothing wrong with blending your water with RO water either. For me it only takes 1/2 RO water to get my minerals low enough to brew the lightest beers, then a tsp or two of either Cl or So4 to get my calcium in the range. I brew 12 gallon batches so that ends up being close to 10 gallons of water to cut my brewing liquor in half. Saves me the hassle of having to walk out of the store with 20 gallons of water!! My 02 is to save money and time where ever possible. Cut you water if you can.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 05:30:33 AM by majorvices »
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Offline drf255

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2009, 06:42:51 AM »
I understand that RO water is what is readily available but like distilled water it lacks micro-nutrients.  Micro-nutrients are needed for proper cell growth, in well, micro quantities.  Adding salts to RO water is not the best thing to do.  If you can get spring water use that, even if you need to cut it with half RO water.

Fred

That's why you need at least 50ppms of calcium. Mostly it helps in yeast floculation.



I would build your water from 100% RO.

Certainly nothing wrong with building your water from scratch but nothing wrong with blending your water with RO water either. For me it only takes 1/2 RO water to get my minerals low enough to brew the lightest beers, then a tsp or two of either Cl or So4 to get my calcium in the range. I brew 12 gallon batches so that ends up being close to 10 gallons of water to cut my brewing liquor in half. Saves me the hassle of having to walk out of the store with 20 gallons of water!! My 02 is to save money and time where ever possible. Cut you water if you can.
Totally agree, but he doesnt know what his water has in it.  That's why I suggested building it from scratch.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2009, 06:46:43 AM »
Oh, I must have missed that. You certainly have to know what your water is.
Keith Y.
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Offline gail

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2009, 07:21:42 AM »
Keith covered the basics really well. I find this link helpful: http://nomograph.babbrewers.com/ It basically just automates the Palmer nomograph.
Thanks much for pointing to this link...great resource for visually presenting a complex issue.  I use John Palmer's Excel RA spreadsheet each time I brew but the BABB nomograph is a great visual representation.
Gail

Offline little.dipper

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2009, 08:47:19 AM »
If you don't know where your water is at, I highly recommend contacting you municipal and getting a report or getting one of those tests so you can do it yourself. As mentioned above, buying water for every batch is a huge hassle and can be expensive. I cut my water for lighter beers and I'm guessing that's what you'll need to do as well. There are likely a few styles that your water is perfect for as is.

Offline bonjour

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2009, 01:28:22 PM »
Wyeast
Quote
The Wyeast Activator provides:
The only package that provides essential fatty acids and micro nutrients for a healthy and complete fermentation.

Quote
7. My fermentation is not attenuating..
...  Are you using a yeast nutrient to ensure that you have adequate levels of essential micronutrients and free amino nitrogen? 

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0103-90161993000300024
Scientia Agricola
Print version ISSN 0103-9016
Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) vol.50 no.3 Piracicaba Oct./Dec. 1993
doi: 10.1590/S0103-90161993000300024 
AGROINDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY
Effect of some vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies on the production of higher alcohols by Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Quote
ABSTRACT
A study was carried out in order to determine the effect of vitamins (biotin, thiamine, pantotheniic acid and pyridoxal) and micronutrient (zinc, boron, manganese and iron) deficiencies on higher alcohol production during alcoholic fermentation with the industrially used yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae M-300-A. Zinc deficiency induced a reduction on the levels of isobutyl and isoamyl alcohols. An increase on isobutyl alcohol (fivefold) and a reduction of isoamyl alcohol (two fold) and n-propyl alcohol (three fold) contents resulted from pantotheiiic acid deficiency, whereas pyridoxal deficiency caused an increase on the levels of isobutyl and isoamyl alcohols. Biotin was not essential for the growth of this strain. 

Now Ray Daniels on using RO and distilled water
http://www.allaboutbeer.com/homebrew/water2.htmlWipe out your water worries
by Ray Daniels
Quote
On a higher level, "pure water" can mean "nothing but water." This is tricky since every natural water source -- and virtually all the water we drink -- contains small quantities of dissolved minerals. This includes things like calcium, magnesium, sulfur and chloride. These elements give water its hardness and even very soft water will have some mineral content. To get water that has no mineral content requires some form of serious treatment such as distillation or reverse osmosis.

It turns out that using "nothing but water" (e.g. distilled water) for making beer doesn't work very well. During both mashing and fermentation, beer requires the natural minerals found in water. Without these minerals, the enzymes that drive the chemical reactions of brewing won't function properly.


Fred

Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline narvin

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2009, 05:17:29 PM »

It turns out that using "nothing but water" (e.g. distilled water) for making beer doesn't work very well. During both mashing and fermentation, beer requires the natural minerals found in water. Without these minerals, the enzymes that drive the chemical reactions of brewing won't function properly.



Well, you definitely need to add salts (and maybe yeast nutrient) when building water from RO.  But once you do, I don't think there's any practical difference from spring water for brewing purposes.
Please do not reply if your an evil alien!
Thanks
Chris S.

Offline dwarven_stout

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2009, 03:18:58 PM »
It turns out that using "nothing but water" (e.g. distilled water) for making beer doesn't work very well. During both mashing and fermentation, beer requires the natural minerals found in water. Without these minerals, the enzymes that drive the chemical reactions of brewing won't function properly.


I don't think anyone is saying you should be brewing with *only* distilled water.

On the other hand, brewing with distilled water + appropriate salts is a method that works well for many people. If I took this path, I would use yeast nutrient as well (when using the city spring water, I only use nutrient for high-gravity beers).

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Water Help..
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2009, 11:08:31 AM »
A lot, if not all, the micro nutrients that Fred mentioned should be present in malt. I build my water from RO water all the time and don't see fermentation issues.

Kai