Author Topic: Does water hardness directly lower the mash pH?  (Read 702 times)

Offline jeeyeop

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Does water hardness directly lower the mash pH?
« on: November 29, 2015, 06:55:36 PM »
So, I'm aware that addition of chalk or baking soda will directly increase the alkalinity of the mash pH. However, I was taking a look at the RA nomograph used by Palmer (link below). Based on the nomograph, adding Calcium will effectively lower the mash pH as well.

What I'm wondering is, does adding CaCl or CaSO4 directly to the mash immediately lower the mash pH? Or is it expected that the Ca and bicarbonates will cancel each other out indirectly lowering the pH from precipitates of the 2.


http://nomograph.babbrewers.com/

Offline Whiskers

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Re: Does water hardness directly lower the mash pH?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2015, 07:25:17 PM »
Phosphate in the malt is bonded to H+, which gets released to the wort when Ca++ swaps for the H+.  Protons (the H+) are stronger acids than Ca++, and there is a net acidifying effect.

Offline jeeyeop

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Re: Does water hardness directly lower the mash pH?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2015, 07:34:43 PM »
Ah, so there's no need to boil my strike water?

While I'm on the subject of water. I know boiling would cause some Ca and HCO3 to precipitate out effectively changing the water profile. However, if I'm only heating the water to 170 F, is there any other reaction I need to be aware of that might affect my water profile?

Thanks for the help!

Offline Whiskers

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Re: Does water hardness directly lower the mash pH?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2015, 08:17:08 PM »
Funnily enough, yesterday I heated some well water (125ppm Ca, 400ppm HCO3) up to 170-180degF for another purpose.  Electric elements had an impressive amount of film on them and the bottom of the pot had quite a bit too.  Either those temps were sufficient to drop a good deal of the carbonate, or it was the local environment around the elements that did the deed.  No idea how much %-wise came out though.  Last bit I poured out of the vessel was as white as milk. 

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Does water hardness directly lower the mash pH?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 09:49:00 PM »
Funnily enough, yesterday I heated some well water (125ppm Ca, 400ppm HCO3) up to 170-180degF for another purpose.  Electric elements had an impressive amount of film on them and the bottom of the pot had quite a bit too.  Either those temps were sufficient to drop a good deal of the carbonate, or it was the local environment around the elements that did the deed.  No idea how much %-wise came out though.  Last bit I poured out of the vessel was as white as milk.
My calcium and bicarbonate numbers are just a little under your. I used to pre oil the water the night before brewing, rack off the next day, and what I couldn't get out looked lik milk once the residue was disturbed.

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Offline santoch

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Re: Does water hardness directly lower the mash pH?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2015, 12:52:07 AM »
I think this is an important concept, particularly when considering how historical cities' water was used in brewing.  I seem to remember that Mitch Steele talked about this at one of the NHC talks on historical IPA he gave a few years ago (SanDiego11? Seattle? Philly?) when he spoke about how they used to preboil the temporary hardness out and brewing with the remainder.

I think it should make a big difference in what the proper water profile should be when brewing using historical water profiles.  Then again, I guess it would precipitate out during the boil itself (or not due to all the sugar, etc).

Sounds like a Brulosophy exbeeriment in the making.....  Burton profile pre-boiled vs Burton profile "straight".

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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Does water hardness directly lower the mash pH?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2015, 03:13:34 AM »

Sounds like a Brulosophy exbeeriment in the making.....  Burton profile pre-boiled vs Burton profile "straight".

Bad example. Burton water has very high permanent hardness and low temporary hardness. Pre-boiling will make very little difference in the water and its response in brewing. The experiment would be more telling by starting with a water with high temporary hardness. Then there would be a notable difference.
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