Author Topic: Palmer Spreadsheet Error  (Read 8377 times)

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2010, 12:11:12 PM »
Cool, my water is pretty soft.  Not Plzen soft, but soft.  Ca 15, Mg 7.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2010, 12:15:41 PM »

I also think that you can add all your salts to the mash and don't add any to the sparge water.

That's exactly what I do.
I do the same but I figured since I was batch sparging it didn't really matter because the sparge water was only in the tun for a short period of time. Can't say if it makes a difference with fly sparging though.

Also,  I have been using Palmer's spreadsheet for a while & found that if I adjust my water on the high end of the Estimated RA for lighter beers (<15 SRM) and on the lower end of the Estimated RA for darker beers (25+ SRM and never exceeding RA of 180) my beer turns out better. Might just be coincidence though.  Cheers!!!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 12:17:15 PM by hamiltont »
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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2010, 12:27:05 PM »
Cool, my water is pretty soft.  Not Plzen soft, but soft.  Ca 15, Mg 7.
Yes, I think you are fine.

Just as a clarification. Don’t confuse hardness with alkalinity. Alkalinity is a measure of the water’s bicarbonate/carbonate content while hardness is a measure of its Ca and Mg content. Granted, most hard waters also end up being fairly alkaline and most soft waters tend to be low in alkalinity. Waters that don’t follow this rule are the ones that have lots of Sulfate and/or Chloride. They can be hard (lots of Ca + Mg) but have low alkalinity (little HCO3). On the other side are soda alkaline waters which are characterized by high sodium and bicarbonate content. Those water’s are soft, in fact this is the kind of water that comes out of a water softener, but still alkaline.

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Offline narvin

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2010, 12:30:40 PM »
I use Kai's spreadsheet.  Don't you all want to be cool like me and use it too?   ;)
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2010, 12:37:07 PM »
I add salts to the mash and sometimes to the boil, and just use acid to adjust sparge water.

Never had the need for a spreadsheet, though.  Wouldn't brew without a pH meter, however.  Or at least with having used one enough in the common brewing situations to understand what causes my target mash pH to be hit.

A spreadsheet is a model.  Models may or may not accurately represent reality.  They may have unstated assumptions that don't fit the circumstance you are in.  Using them without some form of validation is just shooting in the dark.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2010, 01:44:26 PM »
What would be the purpose of bypassing salt additions to the mash and putting the salts in the boil?
What does it accomplish?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2010, 01:47:49 PM »
What would be the purpose of bypassing salt additions to the mash and putting the salts in the boil?
What does it accomplish?
Some ions only really affect mouthfeel and other flavor perceptions.  If you want to know exactly how much of them you're adding to the beer, they should go in the kettle.  Otherwise some could be lost in the mash.
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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2010, 01:57:21 PM »
What would be the purpose of bypassing salt additions to the mash and putting the salts in the boil?
What does it accomplish?
Some ions only really affect mouthfeel and other flavor perceptions.  If you want to know exactly how much of them you're adding to the beer, they should go in the kettle.  Otherwise some could be lost in the mash.

I often add gypsum to the kettle and not the mash.  With my water, the pH for AIPA/APA arrives at the correct value without any mash additions.  I want to add gypsum to accentuate the hops, but if I added it to the mash it would drop the pH too low.  Adding it to the kettle avoids that.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2010, 02:16:50 PM »
After reviewing a water profile created by a brewer using Palmer's Spreadsheet, I found a very serious error that must be corrected.  

The bicarbonate concentration calculated from the addition of chalk is in error.  It appears that the calculation is actually giving the carbonate concentration instead of the bicarbonate concentration.  Since carbonate cannot exist at typical mash pH, it must be converted to the bicarbonate form.  That means that the carbonate concentration should be multiplied by 2.033.  This also means that the alkalinity calculated for the chalk addition in the spreadsheet is also in error and should be multiplied by 2.033.


Without looking at the spreadsheet (if someone pointed out where the spreadsheet is and which cells have the error, I would probably look at it), since alkalinity is usually reported as alkalinity as mg/l of CaCO3, I don't see an error in the alkalinity number.  Perhaps, the bicarbonate concentration is being reported as mg/l of CaCO3 too?
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Offline richardt

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2010, 02:29:27 PM »
Good to know.  I'll get there one day.
Right now, I'm working on nailing the mash temps and the pH. 

This forum really has helped open my eyes to some of the finer points of good homebrewing. 
For example, Martin B. had a good point a few weeks ago about calibrating his thermometers at 150 F rather than 0 or 212 F.
 
It got me thinking:  my last few beers have been too dry and light bodied. 
Turns out one of my cheapo digital Taylor thermometers calibrates fine at 0 and 212 but reads 5+ degrees too high at 150 F.
The damn calibration dial doesn't change it no matter how much I turn it counterclockwise.  It is going to get replaced.  Turns out the analog thermometer gauges were right, not the digital one.

Same thing for the pH and water adjustments with brew salt additions.  I appreciate the wise counsel and explanations of those experts and brewing veterans who take the time to post replies on the forum.

Edit:  Here's Palmer's spreadsheet
http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-3.html
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 02:31:43 PM by richardt »

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2010, 03:15:52 PM »
Here is how you see the error. Add 100 mg CaCO3 to 1 l water. The expected alkalinity should be 100 ppm as CaCO3 but it is only 46



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Offline kramerog

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2010, 03:21:39 PM »
Looking at  the US spreadsheet, the  formula in cell E30 should be roughly (C27*322 + G27*363)/C23.  In other words, the factors for converting chalk and baking soda to bicarb are both wrong.  Correcting E30 should result in L30 giving the proper result.

Edit: corrected cell refs
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 03:26:00 PM by kramerog »
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2010, 04:34:40 PM »
Looking at  the US spreadsheet, the  formula in cell E30 should be roughly (C27*322 + G27*363)/C23.  In other words, the factors for converting chalk and baking soda to bicarb are both wrong.  Correcting E30 should result in L30 giving the proper result.


The "corrected" equation assumes that the chalk and baking soda fully dissolve.  However, Kai points out earlier that the chalk does not fully dissolve and thus the original factor of 158.4 rather than 322 might not be wrong as an empiricism.  However, it is unclear why the discrepancy for the baking soda factor.  Baking soda dissolves well; the solubility of baking soda is 100 g/l at 20 C vs. .015 g/l for chalk at 25 C per wikipedia.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2010, 07:26:21 PM »
Interesting findings.

I haven't used Palmer's spreadsheet but was considering it. I want to take a better look at my water and purchase a pH meter intead of using strips. I've also considered using Kai's spreadsheet but never found enough time to actually do it.

Gordon points out a very important issue. Once one's water has been adjusted it should be qualified to determine the actual composition at that point. In an effort to target a specific water profile it is necessary to verify the actual profile and any adjustments that have been made. If this isn't done the water profile is assumed to be adjusted based on calculated additions.

Determining the actual water chemistry must be qualified in a lab which can be costly but is necessary in order to have confidence in any adjustments that have been made.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2010, 09:32:01 PM »
I use the EZ water spreadsheet because it's, well, easy.  And I've found it to be somewhat accurate and I've applied my trial and error experience to it (and continue to refine that) to figure out what additions I need to make.  I've been moderately successful getting into the range I'm looking for and I feel that I can zero that in given more practice.

Kai - I've tried using your spreadsheet and it's just not intuitive to me.  I just tried it again as a matter of fact to see if I could figure out the water treatment for my next brew.  Where I run into an issue is I don't want to define each salt addition as ppm.  That doesn't mean much to me.  I want to enter the grams of salts and see what the ppm will be in my given volume and then tweak the additions to get to where I need to be.  Maybe I'm missing something in the functionality and if so I'd be happy to stand corrected.

I'm comforted by Gordon's post that he doesn't even use a spreadsheet. I love spreadsheets, I'm a spreadsheet guy, but all I really want to know is the approximate concentrations of the ions that I'm putting into the mash and an approximation of what that's going to do to pH and the final beer.  From there I'm always going to be a trial and error guy who adjusts based on those practical data points.

Water chemistry is a very complex subject and if you're an expert in the field you're going to be able to dial things in to a degree that most of us cannot.  I think these types of discussion are great and I follow them with great interest.  But my objective is to make great beer and to the extent I can do that without taking a chemistry course that's what I'm going to do. 
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