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Author Topic: Water Profile for Brown Ale  (Read 5225 times)

Offline Brewtopalonian

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Water Profile for Brown Ale
« on: October 07, 2018, 09:54:55 am »
Hi everyone!

I'm working on trying to put together a water profile for my brown ale.  I'm using Bru'n Water, entered my grain bill, using RO water, and aiming for Brown Full profile.  However, I am worried about the ultra low pH I'm getting.  It's saying the predicted pH, even with 86ppm CaCO3, will be at 5.03.  As I understand it, I want a pH at around 5.4-5.6 for a brown.  Do I just keep adding more Bicarbonate or is there something else I should be doing?  Here's my grainbill and the profile I'm going after:

Grist:
 
Maris Otter - 8lbs 4.7oz
Brown Malt 2lbs 14oz
Crystal, medium 8 oz
Honey Malt 6.4 oz
Crystal, Dark 4oz
Chocolate Malt 3.5oz
Special Roast 3.5 oz

Target Water Profile:
Brown Full

Ca - 50
Mg - 5
Na - 27
SO4 - 50
Cl - 60
CaCO3 - 85
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Online denny

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2018, 09:58:55 am »
Maybe becasue CaCO3 is so ineffective at raising pH?  I stopped using it years ago for that reason.  I now use baking soda for slight adjustments and pickling lime for larger ones.
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2018, 10:00:17 am »
Maybe becasue CaCO3 is so ineffective at raising pH?  I stopped using it years ago for that reason.  I now use baking soda for slight adjustments and pickling lime for larger ones.

Hmmm. Interesting!  I'll try that!  Thanks Denny, always great getting your advice!  Curious to see if Martin chimes in on this one.
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2018, 10:11:31 am »
Hmmm interesting, I'm no chemist, but I'm seeing something happen in Bru'n Water that isn't making much sense to me.  Adding Pickling Lime Ca(OH)2 increases Bicarbonate levels.... but Bicarbonates are CO3 .  There Hydroxide OH- Ions from the Pickling lime, which should correctly reduce pH, but no Bicarbonates.  Now I really do want the chemist to chime in!   :o

To get my pH to the correct 5.3 I need to increase my supposed bicarbonate level to 256ppm which seems ridiculously high and I'm afraid it will ruin other aspects of my beer.  Also, my sodium is off the chart or my calcium will be off the chart if I go the other way.  I'm at a loss here.

Edit:  Maybe my mash sucks?  Perhaps a recipe building issue and not a water issue at all?
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Offline Richard

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2018, 02:01:50 pm »
If the dark malts are bringing down your mash pH too much, you could try steeping them separately, or adding them at the very end of the mash after most of the conversion has taken place.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2018, 02:22:00 pm »
No, bicarbonate is HCO3-. Bru'n Water uses bicarbonate as its placeholder for acid neutralization. It knows that the OH-2 ions from pickling lime are actually equivalent to two HCO3- ions.

That recipe has a large amount of crystal and roast and I guess I'm not really surprised that the prediction is low. However, I'm surprised that the amount of bicarbonate that you say will be in that mashing water is not enough to neutralize the acidity from the crystal and roast.

PS: brown malt is not a crystal malt.
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2018, 02:40:41 pm »
PS: brown malt is not a crystal malt.

That did change a little bit!  However, here is what Bru'n Water is telling me to add to get to the desired pH of 5.3:

I have to add 1g/gal of Baking Soda and .2g/gal Pickling Lime - which gives me way too much sodium (80ppm) and a bicarbonate level of 295 in my mash.

OR

I add .5g/gal Pickling Lime and .36g/gal Baking Soda - this gives me high calcium (72ppm), still slightly higher than called for Sodium (34ppm), and Bicarbonate of 302

Do I just trust the science and go with it?  Is there anything wrong with having that high of a Bicarbonate in this particular mash?  Will it create astringent flavors? 

Thanks for your input Martin!  I really do appreciate it!

Here is a link to exactly what I've got going on right now:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QBJoDQLnOM5Scx0Cpd34cLhYDC3T8QwW/view?usp=sharing
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2018, 02:58:22 pm »
I'm going to assume that you're using the free version of Bru'n Water. It only reports what the mashing water quality will be. That mashing water calcium and sodium content should be significantly reduced when the low alkalinity sparging water is added.

Don't be afraid of sodium in brewing water. Below 50 ppm is fine for pale beers and below 100 can be OK in dark styles. 
Martin B
Carmel, IN

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Brewing Water Information at:
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2018, 03:01:45 pm »
I'm going to assume that you're using the free version of Bru'n Water. It only reports what the mashing water quality will be. That mashing water calcium and sodium content should be significantly reduced when the low alkalinity sparging water is added.

Don't be afraid of sodium in brewing water. Below 50 ppm is fine for pale beers and below 100 can be OK in dark styles.

I just had the big, "oooooOOOOOOoooooo" moment there.   Yes, the free version 1.18a.  Okay, I'm gonna trust it and go with it!  Thanks so much Martin! I owe you a homebrew!
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Online BrewBama

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2018, 03:52:52 pm »
You might want to go see if there is a later version.


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Offline Robert

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2018, 04:35:52 pm »
You might want to go see if there is a later version.


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Or slip Martin a little something and get the new v. 5.4, it rocks.  Just sayin'.
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2018, 04:37:40 pm »
Robert, I literally just slipped him 20$ in hopes of getting it! Lol

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