Author Topic: Water help needed...RA=450  (Read 923 times)

Offline denny

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Water help needed...RA=450
« on: October 08, 2010, 10:52:03 AM »
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?
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline euge

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2010, 11:24:03 AM »
Add more. This is an established recipe- yes? Try it and see how it turns out opposed to your prior efforts.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2010, 11:35:27 AM »
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
« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 11:39:19 AM by tschmidlin »
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2010, 12:00:04 PM »
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?
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2010, 12:40:25 PM »
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.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tom

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2010, 12:41:00 PM »
And I think John Palmer recommends going no higher than an RA of 250.
Brew on

Offline denny

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2010, 12:43:54 PM »
Thanks, Tom G.!  I thought that he had recommended a limit, but couldn't recall what it was.  I think I'm in the ballpark now.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline narcout

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2010, 03:20:06 PM »
I've found that for really dark beers you can back off quite a bit on the RA suggested by Palmer's spreadsheet and still maintain a proper pH.

The last time I brewed your VBIP, I added 5 grams of chalk which gave me an RA of 124 according to Palmer's spreadsheet. My room temp Ph, tested using Colorphast strips, was 5.2. Given Kai's experiment where he demonstrated pretty thoroughly that these strips tend to read .3 low, that put me at a room temp ph of 5.5.

Offline denny

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2010, 08:13:21 AM »
I appreciate that data point.  You guys have given me a real world perspective.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline thcipriani

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2010, 07:00:27 PM »
If I were doing this recipe, I'd probably hold off on all additions that were meant to balance pH until you've measured something outside the range that you're targeting.

Anecdotal evidence: Two weeks ago I brewed a Am. Amber ale with an SRM of 16 with water with an RA in the -60 range (for some reason) but I ended up with an initial mash pH of 5.11 which I adjusted with Calcium Hydroxide (pickling lime) up to 5.2. This past weekend I brewed a Belgian Dubbel with an estimated SRM of 27 (this is all estimated with Morey, by the way) with water that had an RA of -30 and hit a mash pH of 5.25.

My point is that it's too hard to guess - and also my point is the you should get some pickling lime because chalk never did a darn thing for me - strong bases, like hydroxide, are where it's at.
Tyler Cipriani
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Offline richardt

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2010, 07:53:57 PM »
How's the beer taste after pickling lime is used during the brew process?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2010, 10:49:30 PM »
Pickling lime is Ca(OH)2, so when you add it all it does is raise the pH and give you some more Ca.  It shouldn't affect the flavor other than changes caused by Ca levels and pH.  It's chemically the same as slaked lime, although I'd stick with the pickling lime since that is definitely going to be food grade. 
Tom Schmidlin

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Water help needed...RA=450
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2010, 10:13:29 AM »
Quote
If I were doing this recipe, I'd probably hold off on all additions that were meant to balance pH until you've measured something outside the range that you're targeting.

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