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Water help needed...RA=450

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denny:
I'm about to brew a batch of BVIP and rather than randomly throwing a tsp. of CaCO3 in the mash like I've always done, I'm sitting here with Palmer's spreadsheet trying to calculate my additions.  My water..

Ca=34r
Mg=7
Bicarb=90
Na=11
Cl=3
SO4=57

The beer color comes out to 45 SRM and according to the spreadsheet 450 is the median RA to shoot for.  6.5 gal. of mash water.  If I add 5 gr. of CaCO3, 3 gr. of CaCl2 (to balance the sulfates), and 4 gr. of baking soda, it only gets me up to 160 and those amounts are enough to start me worrying.  What to do?  Do I call it close enough or go crazy and add more?

euge:
Add more. This is an established recipe- yes? Try it and see how it turns out opposed to your prior efforts.

tschmidlin:
What I would do Denny, is not worry so much about hitting 450 RA. :)

But if you want to really go for it you can -

First, don't add the CaCl2 to the mash, add it to the kettle.  That is lowering your RA in the mash and is more important in the finished beer than anywhere else.

Second, don't treat your sparge water.  That will dilute the ions you're adding to more acceptable levels in the finished beer.

Third, add as much CaCO3 as you are comfortable with to get the Ca ppm where you are comfortable.  Say 150 ppm.  That's 1.1 grams per gallon according to the EZ water spreadsheet.

Fourth, add NaHCO3 to get to your target RA.  EZ water says that's 2.2 grams per gallon.

Last, Dublin water has a RA of 261 according to the EZ water spreadsheet.  London's is 85.  Burton's is 262.  Dublin and London are historically known for their dark beers, Burton for pale ale.  RA isn't everything.

<edit> I can't believe I forgot to say RDWHAHB!  ;D

denny:
Thanks for your comments, guys.  Tom, you echoed my feelings when you say don't worry about 450 RA.  I'll take your advice and ad the CaCl2 to the kettle and add more NaHCO3 to the mash.  I never treat my sparge water.  How much Na is too much?

tschmidlin:
The recommended range on the EZ water sheet is 0-150 ppm, but that is in the finished beer.  That being said, when I googled famous brewing waters I didn't find any cities with Na over 100 ppm.  London's is pretty high, 86-99 depending on the data source.

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