Author Topic: Water Profiles and Mash pH  (Read 1005 times)

Derek

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Water Profiles and Mash pH
« on: March 20, 2015, 02:40:35 AM »
I pulled my municipality's water report and was pleasantly surprised. It nearly matches that of Westmalle from the table in BLAM. It is slightly basic with a pH range of 7.3-8 and the mineral contents are all favorable.

I've used a few excel based spreadsheets and given that my first few all grain brews will mostly likely be darker Belgian styles, it does not seem as though I will need to do much modification to the water.

My question then is this: what is the most basic way to reduce the mash pH the last several tenths to get it in the 5.2-5.5 range? As an engineer I'd like to minimize additions and keep things as simple possible yet I have the desire to give my beer the best chance right out of the gate. Using the previously stated excel based programs I'm getting 5.8 for my dark strong recipe and around 5.7 for my Dubbel recipe.

Cheers,

Derek

Offline TMX

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2015, 02:48:23 AM »
I would guess lactic acid
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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2015, 05:13:36 AM »
A direct acid addition (lactic or phosphorus) or acid malt would probably do the trick. I probably wouldn't mess around with changing the mineral profile if it's already in a good place.
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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 10:51:58 AM »
Welcome to the forum, Derek.  You are jumping into water right off the bat, so you probably have more brewing experience than your post count would lead one to think.  So, I am going to state the obvious - remember to use Campden tablets if your water supply is chlorinated and consider a carbon filter, if the water has been treated with chloramine.

But like I said above, you probably knew that....best of luck!
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Offline JT

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2015, 11:56:22 AM »
Also good to point out that, while we may know the mineral content of a brewery's water supply, we may not know what the brewery is doing to their water. 
The above advice is all good: treat for chlorine or chloromine, and use an acid like lactic or phosphoric to reduce pH.

Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2015, 01:16:55 PM »
Water pH means little in brewing. Alkalinity needs attention, and IIRC most Belgian water profiles have a lot of HCO3. Acid will be your friend to take care of that. Mash pH is very important. Mash pH from a speadsheet is a prediction, and as an Engineer I like the verification, or not, from the pH meter measurement. If off then I adjust with acid to decrease pH, or Baking Soda/Pickling lime to increase the pH.

The city water profiles that one can find on the net should be taken with a grain of salt (pun). Brewers drop alkalinity using acid or slaked lime treatment. Brewers use gypsum or CaCl2 to adjust water (I have seen bags of those stacked high in many breweries). Some also use RO or Nano filtration to strip most of the minerals out, and blend some untreated water back to get to a profile they want.

What am I saying? If you are paying attention to water chemistry, ask what the brewer using a certain water would do. Read Martin Brungard's articles in Zymurgy, and those will give good guidance. Download Bru'nwater and look at the treated profiles in the pulldown.

There is a lot to learn, but the beer you make will benefit from your increased knowledge.

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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2015, 02:07:06 PM »
+1 to the above...

Also - The Bru'n Water website and spreadsheet have some of the best information on water management and how to approach this on the knowledge page! If you want to go a bit deeper, read the "Water" book by Palmer and Kaminski.

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2015, 03:35:14 PM »
+1 to the above...

Also - The Bru'n Water website and spreadsheet have some of the best information on water management and how to approach this on the knowledge page! If you want to go a bit deeper have a nap, read the "Water" book by Palmer and Kaminski.
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Derek

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2015, 05:43:26 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Derek.  You are jumping into water right off the bat, so you probably have more brewing experience than your post count would lead one to think.  So, I am going to state the obvious - remember to use Campden tablets if your water supply is chlorinated and consider a carbon filter, if the water has been treated with chloramine.

But like I said above, you probably knew that....best of luck!

To be totally honest, I only have 3 brews under my belt and I am planning my first foray into all grain brewing. With that said, I am also an engineer and part of that training is a thorough research period into all the important topics of a subject. I'm an EE by trade but brewing is no different. My colleges motto was "Knowledge and Thoroughness".

I previously filtered my water for my extract brews and have taken note of Campden tablets so I can research their use.

Cheers,

Derek

Derek

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2015, 05:51:08 PM »
Water pH means little in brewing. Alkalinity needs attention, and IIRC most Belgian water profiles have a lot of HCO3. Acid will be your friend to take care of that. Mash pH is very important. Mash pH from a speadsheet is a prediction, and as an Engineer I like the verification, or not, from the pH meter measurement. If off then I adjust with acid to decrease pH, or Baking Soda/Pickling lime to increase the pH.

The city water profiles that one can find on the net should be taken with a grain of salt (pun). Brewers drop alkalinity using acid or slaked lime treatment. Brewers use gypsum or CaCl2 to adjust water (I have seen bags of those stacked high in many breweries). Some also use RO or Nano filtration to strip most of the minerals out, and blend some untreated water back to get to a profile they want.

What am I saying? If you are paying attention to water chemistry, ask what the brewer using a certain water would do. Read Martin Brungard's articles in Zymurgy, and those will give good guidance. Download Bru'nwater and look at the treated profiles in the pulldown.

There is a lot to learn, but the beer you make will benefit from your increased knowledge.

If I'm not mistaken, my levels of bicarbonate were given in a general range from 100-190 ppm.

As it stands right now I am just looking to get the foundation of good process down as I transition to all grain. I don't necessarily want to be the brewing water master, but I definitely appreciate people chiming in with more experience and letting me know even a few little things I can do to be conscious of it starting out.

Derek

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2015, 05:56:28 PM »
+1 to the above...

Also - The Bru'n Water website and spreadsheet have some of the best information on water management and how to approach this on the knowledge page! If you want to go a bit deeper have a nap, read the "Water" book by Palmer and Kaminski.

Even with my relative lack of experience I can spot a helpful program from 100 miles away. Bru'n water is one of those.

Beer aside for a second Denny: seeing as your a retired audio engineer, you and I could probably shoot the breeze about good music all day given the chance! I'm the music lover/historian and guitar sound junkie of my circle of humans.....

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2015, 06:03:19 PM »
Even with my relative lack of experience I can spot a helpful program from 100 miles away. Bru'n water is one of those.

Beer aside for a second Denny: seeing as your a retired audio engineer, you and I could probably shoot the breeze about good music all day given the chance! I'm the music lover/historian and guitar sound junkie of my circle of humans.....

Cool!  I've been out of the biz long enough now that I almost enjoy music again!
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2015, 08:42:38 PM »
That book is a bit dry for a book on Water...

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2015, 08:50:04 PM »
That book is a bit dry for a book on Water...

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Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2015, 08:50:30 PM »
That book is a bit dry for a book on Water...
I see what you did there.  Did you happen to attend the Dixie Cup milliconference around the time the book came out?