Author Topic: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?  (Read 434 times)

Offline KCguy

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kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« on: March 19, 2019, 01:09:00 AM »
Here is my water, alkalinity and hardness are high.  Estimated bicarbs at 271.  I can do bitter beers no problem, and use a few campden tablets per 5g regularly, but would like to move on to belgian tripels and golden ales.  Curious what steps youd take with my water?  I know I need to bring the ph down with acid, but beyond that?

Scroll down to page 3, table outlined in red is the pertinent stuff.

https://www.bpu.com/portals/0/bpu_reports/2018_bpu_waterreport.pdf


Michael B
Kansas City

Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2019, 01:16:15 AM »
I would get an RO unit and build from scratch.  You've got very hard water and a lot of Sulfate.  It could lend to harsh flavors with hops.  Calcium looks good for brewing though.  I also suffer from very hard and mineralized water.  I bought an under sink RO unit relatively cheaply and it's improved my brewing ten fold.

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Online Robert

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2019, 01:42:28 AM »
Agree.  That is difficult  brewing water.   Building from RO is the best option I see.  You can use software to help you build any water profile you like, and predict your mash pH fairly accurately, and also dispense with Campden for eliminating chloramine.   I would suggest you might look into a stand alone, portable, rack-type RO unit if you don't want to install an under sink or whole house system and just need to run brewing water.
Heres one I use. https://www.amazon.com/APEC-Countertop-Water-Installation-Free-RO-CTOP/dp/B00IB14XDU
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 12:02:11 PM by Robert »
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Offline KCguy

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2019, 01:57:28 PM »
OK, thanks guys.  I ordered that Olympia system after looking at the myriad choices on amazon.  Will get it next week.  Anything I can do about the sulfates in the water in the meantime?  I had kinda planned on brewing today, got yeast started for a belgian strong golden ale and had thought 5.2 stabiliser would be a magical fix.  I trusted Five Star's claims on the packaging, as I trusted (and still do?) their claims on the Starsan.  Of course, people here educated me otherwise. 

So now, I have things ready to go for that ale and wondering if I can just make do with my current water?  Or I could go get 6 gals of distilled water and add back to that?  Can I add something to distilled water to make it good brewing water for a belgian golden ale?   Hoping to end up with something like Duvel....
Michael B
Kansas City

Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2019, 02:01:05 PM »
You can certainly dilute your water with distilled. 

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Online Robert

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2019, 02:20:31 PM »
Absolutely.   With around 80 ppm calcium,  you could dilute your water half-and-half with store bought distilled and still have 40 ppm calcium,  which is just enough for the mash, and cut everything else in half too.  One Campden tablet in 10 gallons is more than enough to eliminate chloramine, and will make an insignificant contribution to chloride and sulfate.  You'll still need to reduce some of that alkalinity with acid, especially in the sparge which ideally will have no alkalinity. (You could even sparge with straight distilled.) Should get you through this weekend.  And you could do the same with RO once you have the unit, if you decide you don't need to build entirely from scratch all for every style.

If you haven't yet, go to the Bru'n Water website and read the Water Knowledge page.  It is the most indispensable source of information on brewing water you can find. Well, that and its creator Martin, who's always around to answer questions here on the forum! Download the spreadsheet too if you can run Excel to help with your calculations now and in the future. (The free version is  just fine to start with, but I bet eventually you'll want to get the latest updated supporter version.  A very helpful tool.)
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Offline KCguy

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2019, 02:42:36 PM »
Thanks Robert and Brewtopalonian -  I will dilute 50/50 and try it. 

I have actually been playing with the free brunwater ss but I feel a bit overwhelmed by all the variables to keep in mind at once.  Its a bit hard to be sure you've got all the boxes filled in as expected, and after staring at the screen for half an hour I found I had still been overlooking "alerts".  Love Martin for providing this, but maybe a web-style interface would be more user-friendly.  Anyway, it seemed to be telling me to add about 2 teaspoons of citric acid to 5g of my tap water, to match the Flanders Belgium water profile.  So if I dilute by half with distilled, only one tsp citric?  I will adjust the ss and confirm...
Michael B
Kansas City

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2019, 03:16:55 PM »
If you've entered your grain bill,  water report and dilution, for the acid, just try entering different amounts until it shows a mash pH in the acceptable range.  For now ignore red cells on the flavor related ions, and don't worry about exactly duplicating a profile.  If you've entered the water source on the sparge acidification page, it will tell you just how much acid you need in the sparge on the adjustment summary.  Again, just worry about getting around 40 ppm Ca in the mash, a good pH prediction, and acid to reduce the alkalinity in the sparge.  That will really hit all the important points and give you way better results than just using your straight tap water.  And remember some Campden for the chloramine in your tap water.  (1 tabler is really enough for 20 gal.)
Rob Stein
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Offline KCguy

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2019, 02:27:33 PM »
If you've entered your grain bill,  water report and dilution, for the acid, just try entering different amounts until it shows a mash pH in the acceptable range.

I cant seem to find a way to affect the mash ph, as you indicated above.  I cannot change the acid cell value.
 The mash ph value seems a constant after entering info on the grain bill tab?   Only way it changes is when I change the volume of water on the Sparge Acidification tab.  Heard there was a sour taste to lactic acid, so Im using Citric acid (solid, 88%). 

Also should mention, Im a BIAB, so no sparging.  To that effect, I changed the sparge water volume cell on the Water Adjustment tab, to zero, because I usually start with 5 gallons of water in the pot.  Hopefully thats correct? 

Also - is there a cell to check for adding a campden tablet?
Michael B
Kansas City

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2019, 02:51:51 PM »
The newest version has accommodation for sodium metabisulfite, if that's what your tabs are made of (could be potassium.)  Any time you change any of the hardness minerals or acid additions, it will revise the mash pH.  If you're doing no sparge then obviously ignore the sparge acidification page.  Just set your full volume as the mash volume.   I've always used lactic acid because it is the one acid produced naturally in brewing processes (acid rest, sour mash, acid malt) and has a very unobtrusive flavor. 
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2019, 03:09:33 PM »
The newest version has accommodation for sodium metabisulfite, if that's what your tabs are made of (could be potassium.)  Any time you change any of the hardness minerals or acid additions, it will revise the mash pH.  If you're doing no sparge then obviously ignore the sparge acidification page.  Just set your full volume as the mash volume.   I've always used lactic acid because it is the one acid produced naturally in brewing processes (acid rest, sour mash, acid malt) and has a very unobtrusive flavor.

Phytic acid?

http://www.howtobrew.com/book/section-3/how-the-mash-works/the-acid-rest-and-modification
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Online Robert

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2019, 03:22:23 PM »
The newest version has accommodation for sodium metabisulfite, if that's what your tabs are made of (could be potassium.)  Any time you change any of the hardness minerals or acid additions, it will revise the mash pH.  If you're doing no sparge then obviously ignore the sparge acidification page.  Just set your full volume as the mash volume.   I've always used lactic acid because it is the one acid produced naturally in brewing processes (acid rest, sour mash, acid malt) and has a very unobtrusive flavor.

Phytic acid?

http://www.howtobrew.com/book/section-3/how-the-mash-works/the-acid-rest-and-modification
Pretty sure I've read that old ideas on how the acid rest supposedly worked are incorrect, that phytase is denatured somewhere earlier in the process (malting?) and phytic acid doesn't actually come into play.  I'll do some poking around when I get a chance.  What has been pretty well demonstrated is that the traditional,  relatively short, "acid rest" doesn't have a real effect on pH in practice.  Remember, it was only commonly practiced before the concept of pH, let alone ways to measure it, were invented!  Overnight lactic acid production or separate sour mashes are of course sound practice.   But I don't want to derail this.  OP is confused enough.

 EDIT  I know I've read more in depth, but a quick look into Briggs indicates that phytase is indeed destroyed on the kiln.  Some small percentage could survive the lightest of kilning, but it would have little practical effect.  In the old wind malts or white malts, presumably enough would have been present that an acid rest involving phytase might have been theoretically conceivable, I suppose.  But since the optimum for phytase is pH 5.0, you'd have to have already acidified the mash in order to bring it into play, rendering it redundant.   I'd bet that lactic bugs always were the real means of mash acidification.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2019, 06:08:03 PM by Robert »
Rob Stein
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Offline KCguy

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2019, 04:01:14 PM »
The newest version has accommodation for sodium metabisulfite, if that's what your tabs are made of (could be potassium.)  Any time you change any of the hardness minerals or acid additions, it will revise the mash pH.  If you're doing no sparge then obviously ignore the sparge acidification page.  Just set your full volume as the mash volume.   I've always used lactic acid because it is the one acid produced naturally in brewing processes (acid rest, sour mash, acid malt) and has a very unobtrusive flavor.

Ive got the potassium kind...Im also going with citric, since its what ive got on hand, although Id heard references that lactic was only for sours?  Past it now. 

How long after I mash in will the correct ph register on a testing strip or meter?  Is it nearly immediately, or does it take 10-20 mins? 
Michael B
Kansas City

Online Robert

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Re: kansas city kansas water profile -advice?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2019, 04:07:39 PM »
Lactic is the acid in sours, because it's in all beers.  Just a matter of degree.  But sure, use what you have.  As Goose mentioned elsewhere, you might settle into a realistic pH quicker if recirculating, but it usually takes at least 10 minutes to get a good reference. 
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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