Author Topic: 1st time messing with water chemistry  (Read 2161 times)

Offline uintafly

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1st time messing with water chemistry
« on: August 14, 2013, 03:36:37 PM »
So I am finally starting to take a look at water chemistry, but I want to try to keep it simple. I don't have a way to measure Ph and probably won't anytime soon (new skis and a season pass makes to afraid to float the idea by wife). After doing a little research about my local water (very high alkalinity, but limited available info on much else) and the fact that I can get RO water for .35/gal, I have decided to build from RO.

Here's the recipe for an American Red:

Pale Malt 2-Row (Muntons) 9.5 lb. 74.8%
Victory .5 lb.  3.9%
Crystal (40L) 1 lb.  7.9%
Munich Malt 1 lb. 7.9%
Crystal (120L) .5 lb.  3.9%
Chocolate .2 lb.  1.6%

.5 oz Magnum @ 60 min
.5 oz. Centennial @ 10 min
.5 oz Cascade @ 10 min
.5 oz. Centennial @ 0 min
.5 oz Cascade @ 0 min

US-05 yeast
Mash @ 153 for 60 minutes (Batch sparge)

For the water I was planning on adding 1 teaspoon of calcium chloride and 1 teaspoon gypsum to my 5 gallons of strike water and 6 oz. acidulated malt into my grist.   For the sparge I am probably just going to use the RO water.

Any advice on water chemistry for this recipe, or just in general is much appreciated.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 03:48:49 PM »
best advice I can give you is to download bru'n water. read the instructions and have at. I build from RO and keep Calcium Chloride, Gypsum, Lactic Acide 88%, and pickling lime on hand. Additionally my wife keeps Epsom salts on hand.

Most of the time I use the amber/yellow/dark malty/bitter profiles and mostly just try to get >50 ppm calcium in there. I use the lactic when needed (most of the time when making lighter beers) to get my pH down (predicted pH, not measured). I use pickling lime when needed (Rarely) to bring pH up in very dark beers.

I go back and forth with acidifying the sparge water and don't think it matters much with RO.

I would suggest getting a gram scale though. makes it easier when the water recipe calls for 2.3 grams of gypsum

**EDIT**

to add, I don't bother with acid malt because it's just another variable and 88% lactic acid is much easier to keep around since a tiny little bottle lasts and lasts and does not go stale while acid malt is bulky, and will eventually go stale. but that's just me.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 04:16:19 PM »
+1 to all of what Mort said. Bru'nWater takes the guesswork out.
Jon H.

Offline uintafly

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 05:09:33 PM »
+1 to all of what Mort said. Bru'nWater takes the guesswork out.

So after leaving tab 1 and 2 blank in BrunWater (because I am using RO), and entering in my additions of gypsum and calcium chloride in tab 3 (Water Adjustment), and inputting my recipe in Mash Acidification it gives an estimated pH of 5.2. So does that mean I should leave it be at that point? No need to add the acidulated malt right?

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 05:17:48 PM »
No don't add any acid malt - it'll lower your pH more.  What profile are you using ?  5.2 is low for that style (and most others). Since you are using RO I would use the software to add baking soda to get your pH up to 5.3 or 5.4. That'll put you at a more desireable pH. 
Jon H.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 09:27:05 PM »
+1 to all of what Mort said. Bru'nWater takes the guesswork out.

So after leaving tab 1 and 2 blank in BrunWater (because I am using RO), and entering in my additions of gypsum and calcium chloride in tab 3 (Water Adjustment), and inputting my recipe in Mash Acidification it gives an estimated pH of 5.2. So does that mean I should leave it be at that point? No need to add the acidulated malt right?

sounds right. Just to check did you set the dilution % to 100 and the dilution water to RO?

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 07:33:49 AM »
I also agree that you should download Bru'n water and buy a scale that breaks down to tenths of grams. You can find them fairly cheap on Amazon.

Make sure you set the scale to grams rather than ounces when measuring brewing salts. I learned that the hard way.

You can get those ph strips at HBS for a few bucks. They aren't perfect but at least they can tell you if you are in the right neighborhood.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm

Offline uintafly

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 03:29:32 PM »
No don't add any acid malt - it'll lower your pH more.  What profile are you using ?  5.2 is low for that style (and most others). Since you are using RO I would use the software to add baking soda to get your pH up to 5.3 or 5.4. That'll put you at a more desireable pH.

I am pretty sure I was using the Pale Ale profile, but I am not sure because I downloaded it on a different computer. I guess I am a little surprised that I would be too low on the pH with this recipe. I was under the impression that it was very difficult to get too low without having a higher proportion of roasted malts. Is this not accurate?

+1 to all of what Mort said. Bru'nWater takes the guesswork out.

So after leaving tab 1 and 2 blank in BrunWater (because I am using RO), and entering in my additions of gypsum and calcium chloride in tab 3 (Water Adjustment), and inputting my recipe in Mash Acidification it gives an estimated pH of 5.2. So does that mean I should leave it be at that point? No need to add the acidulated malt right?

sounds right. Just to check did you set the dilution % to 100 and the dilution water to RO?

Yes I did add that part in, I should have mentioned that originally.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 03:43:02 PM »
No don't add any acid malt - it'll lower your pH more.  What profile are you using ?  5.2 is low for that style (and most others). Since you are using RO I would use the software to add baking soda to get your pH up to 5.3 or 5.4. That'll put you at a more desireable pH.

I am pretty sure I was using the Pale Ale profile, but I am not sure because I downloaded it on a different computer. I guess I am a little surprised that I would be too low on the pH with this recipe. I was under the impression that it was very difficult to get too low without having a higher proportion of roasted malts. Is this not accurate?

+1 to all of what Mort said. Bru'nWater takes the guesswork out.

So after leaving tab 1 and 2 blank in BrunWater (because I am using RO), and entering in my additions of gypsum and calcium chloride in tab 3 (Water Adjustment), and inputting my recipe in Mash Acidification it gives an estimated pH of 5.2. So does that mean I should leave it be at that point? No need to add the acidulated malt right?

sounds right. Just to check did you set the dilution % to 100 and the dilution water to RO?

Yes I did add that part in, I should have mentioned that originally.

When using RO water it is very easy to make big changes to the pH because there is very little buffer there. You have a fair amount of character malt (25%) in that recipe and it is all reducing the pH. with nothing to buffer that change it will be significant. I would think you could safely add a little baking soda to bring your pH up a point or two (5.3-5.4ish) You can also use pickling lime (a very very tiny amount)

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 03:52:09 PM »
No don't add any acid malt - it'll lower your pH more.  What profile are you using ?  5.2 is low for that style (and most others). Since you are using RO I would use the software to add baking soda to get your pH up to 5.3 or 5.4. That'll put you at a more desireable pH.

I am pretty sure I was using the Pale Ale profile, but I am not sure because I downloaded it on a different computer. I guess I am a little surprised that I would be too low on the pH with this recipe. I was under the impression that it was very difficult to get too low without having a higher proportion of roasted malts. Is this not accurate?

+1 to all of what Mort said. Bru'nWater takes the guesswork out.

So after leaving tab 1 and 2 blank in BrunWater (because I am using RO), and entering in my additions of gypsum and calcium chloride in tab 3 (Water Adjustment), and inputting my recipe in Mash Acidification it gives an estimated pH of 5.2. So does that mean I should leave it be at that point? No need to add the acidulated malt right?

sounds right. Just to check did you set the dilution % to 100 and the dilution water to RO?

Yes I did add that part in, I should have mentioned that originally.
You are right that darker roasted malts will lower pH in a bigger way, but crystal malts do that as well, but to a lesser extent. Martin's recent posting on using baking soda allows for using it especially in RO water (which has next to no sodium) to correct pH. I use it in APAs and AIPAs  where high sulfate levels can lower pH to around 5.2 in my case. I use baking soda to raise pH back to 5.3 -5.4.  Martin even mentioned that a low/moderate amount can be beneficial to beer, but to be sure to keep sodium levels under 50 ppm, which is not a problem for most beers with RO water.
  Also, did you enter the correct mash and sparge water volumes?
Jon H.

Offline uintafly

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 03:57:51 PM »
I think I need to go home and fool around with the spreasheets for a bit. I did for a bit yesterday and it seemed fairly straight forward. Thanks for everyones help on this.  I had a physics professor once say that  chemistry is nothing more interesting than baking a cake adn if I really wanted to discover the secrets of the universe I needed to be a physicist. I don't necessarily want to discover the secrets of the univeres, but the secrets to great beer would be nice.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 04:15:25 PM »
I didn't pump this into Brunwater, but my gut says: don't use any acid malt, and you'll need roughly a teaspoon each of gypsum, calcium chloride, and baking soda, and maybe just a smidge of epsom.  Then call it good.  You'd probably be even better off mixing your local water 50/50 with RO water, then you might be able to skip the baking soda or at least cut way back on it.  But you definitely will not need any acid malt.
Dave

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2013, 06:26:33 PM »
No don't add any acid malt - it'll lower your pH more.  What profile are you using ?  5.2 is low for that style (and most others). Since you are using RO I would use the software to add baking soda to get your pH up to 5.3 or 5.4. That'll put you at a more desireable pH.

I am pretty sure I was using the Pale Ale profile, but I am not sure because I downloaded it on a different computer. I guess I am a little surprised that I would be too low on the pH with this recipe. I was under the impression that it was very difficult to get too low without having a higher proportion of roasted malts. Is this not accurate?

+1 to all of what Mort said. Bru'nWater takes the guesswork out.

So after leaving tab 1 and 2 blank in BrunWater (because I am using RO), and entering in my additions of gypsum and calcium chloride in tab 3 (Water Adjustment), and inputting my recipe in Mash Acidification it gives an estimated pH of 5.2. So does that mean I should leave it be at that point? No need to add the acidulated malt right?

sounds right. Just to check did you set the dilution % to 100 and the dilution water to RO?

Yes I did add that part in, I should have mentioned that originally.
You are right that darker roasted malts will lower pH in a bigger way, but crystal malts do that as well, but to a lesser extent. Martin's recent posting on using baking soda allows for using it especially in RO water (which has next to no sodium) to correct pH. I use it in APAs and AIPAs  where high sulfate levels can lower pH to around 5.2 in my case. I use baking soda to raise pH back to 5.3 -5.4.  Martin even mentioned that a low/moderate amount can be beneficial to beer, but to be sure to keep sodium levels under 50 ppm, which is not a problem for most beers with RO water.
  Also, did you enter the correct mash and sparge water volumes?
Sulfate levels lowering pH.???
Ca from gypsum, yes.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: 1st time messing with water chemistry
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2013, 04:20:37 PM »
No don't add any acid malt - it'll lower your pH more.  What profile are you using ?  5.2 is low for that style (and most others). Since you are using RO I would use the software to add baking soda to get your pH up to 5.3 or 5.4. That'll put you at a more desireable pH.

I am pretty sure I was using the Pale Ale profile, but I am not sure because I downloaded it on a different computer. I guess I am a little surprised that I would be too low on the pH with this recipe. I was under the impression that it was very difficult to get too low without having a higher proportion of roasted malts. Is this not accurate?

+1 to all of what Mort said. Bru'nWater takes the guesswork out.

So after leaving tab 1 and 2 blank in BrunWater (because I am using RO), and entering in my additions of gypsum and calcium chloride in tab 3 (Water Adjustment), and inputting my recipe in Mash Acidification it gives an estimated pH of 5.2. So does that mean I should leave it be at that point? No need to add the acidulated malt right?

sounds right. Just to check did you set the dilution % to 100 and the dilution water to RO?

Yes I did add that part in, I should have mentioned that originally.
You are right that darker roasted malts will lower pH in a bigger way, but crystal malts do that as well, but to a lesser extent. Martin's recent posting on using baking soda allows for using it especially in RO water (which has next to no sodium) to correct pH. I use it in APAs and AIPAs  where high sulfate levels can lower pH to around 5.2 in my case. I use baking soda to raise pH back to 5.3 -5.4.  Martin even mentioned that a low/moderate amount can be beneficial to beer, but to be sure to keep sodium levels under 50 ppm, which is not a problem for most beers with RO water.
  Also, did you enter the correct mash and sparge water volumes?
Sulfate levels lowering pH.???
Ca from gypsum, yes.
Ok, when I said sulfate I used the word in the broad sense meaning calcium sulfate or gypsum, not an individual molecule of sulfate. :)
Jon H.