Author Topic: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis  (Read 16880 times)

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2011, 07:11:30 PM »
Martin,

I had a chance to play around with Bru'n Water after work tonight.  Great work!  I have a question though: is it possible to have a particular mineral salt addition only apply to the mash volume?  The reason I ask is because according to Bru'n Water, I only need to add .5g NaHCO3 to my mash to achieve a pH of 5.3 (for the beer I plan on brewing this weekend).  I don't need (or want) to add any NaHCO3 to the kettle for my flavor additions, however.  The way the calculator seems to work now is that when you change the water volume from mash volume to pre-boil kettle volume, the salt additions change proportionally along with it.  I hope I'm articulating my question well enough!
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2011, 07:58:33 PM »
Looking good. Thank you Martin.
Any chance to have it in the Open Office / Libre Office format?
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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2011, 07:11:27 AM »
Bru'n Water works in Open Office on my computer.  It doesn't look quite as nice since the formating gets a little screwy, but it works fine.  Try it out.  Anyone can get Open Office on their computer since its freeware.  That is one of the reasons I was OK with using Excel as the programing basis.  Enjoy.
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Offline jibblett

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2011, 05:22:02 PM »
yeah, works fine in NeoOffice on Mac, too. 

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2011, 09:16:19 PM »
Kai, the malt acidity was based on your work and you are credited on the instruction sheet of the program.  Thanks!

Thanks, I noticed that later.

You mentioned that the results are prooven to be within 0.2 pH units of the actual mash pH. How did you perform this proof?

Kai

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2011, 07:34:00 AM »
Used Bru'n Water to formulate my mash/kettle additions for an American Amber yesterday.  Here are my observations...

Based on the grain bill I plugged into the calculator, Bru'n Water calculated that I needed to add .8g NaHCO3 to hit a mash pH of 5.3  At the end of my 60 minute mash, I tested the pH using a colorpHast strip.  The strip read 5.1-5.2.  Assuming that colorpHast strips read a little low (between .1-.3, from what I've been able to gather from others' experiences), then my pH was pretty much within the desired range (but only if I accept that my colorpHast strips read low).

My mash conversion was excellent.  I hit my target O.G. (1.056) and brewhouse efficiency.

I added 2g CaCO3, .7g CaCl, and 4.5 MgSO4 to the kettle (pre-boil) to create the following profile: 55 Ca, 21 Mg, 18 Na, 41 Cl, 93 SO4, 77 CaCO3.  After chilling my wort, I had phenomenal cold break.  Honestly, it may have been the most I've ever seen in my fermenter.

So, my initial impression is that I like how this calculator takes specific grain bills into account because it seems to make a difference.  Using a Palmer-style RA calculation based solely on SRM, I would have had to add considerably more mash salts to hit my target pH.  Over the past few weeks, I've been a little skeptical of some of these new water chemistry calculators (see this thread).  Having observed some impressive results using Bru'n Water, I think the subject is worth exploring further.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2011, 07:40:38 AM by Pawtucket Patriot »
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Offline denny

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2011, 07:59:11 AM »
You mentioned that the results are prooven to be within 0.2 pH units of the actual mash pH. How did you perform this proof?

Kai

At least partially through the results of myself and other beta testers.  I found that I was within .1 of the predictions.
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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2011, 08:00:36 AM »
Having observed some impressive results using Bru'n Water, I'm beginning to develop a healthy skepticism of the RA:SRM calculators.

Matt, check out my recent post to your thread.

I think that both SRM and a grain bill based approaches yield about the same precision when it comes to predicting mash pH. This is because both tools use a correlation that exists between grist color and malt acidity. Neither of these tools use actually measured malt acidity and this is where their limitation is. It's just easier to enter the correct "percentage of roasted malt color" into the grist based calculator.

They work best when the majority of the color is coming from specialty malts since the color of those shows a stronger correlation to their acidity than the color of base malts. When I try to predict the mash pH of a Dunkel, where most of the color comes from the Munich malt or example, the SRM and grist based calculations will be fairly imprecise because the pH established by the munich malt cannot easily predicted from the munich malts' color.

You'll also run into trouble if you use pale base malts that have a lower than expected pH. The Rahr that I was using for some experiments is one example.

Unless we have good pH numbers for the base malts and/or even acidity numbers for the specialty malts, any grist based mash predictor cannot provide a substantial improvement over an SRM based scheme if they are both based on the same data set. This is why I never rushed getting out a water calculation spreadsheet that can do grist based mash pH prediction. It just didn't offer enough improvement.

Now, I don't exactly know what the EZ water cacluator does and how it implemented my SRM->pH formula. There is a good chance that it doesn't do it quite right and that the imprecision is from a bug in the tool itself.

Many may think that I'm trying to rain on Matin's parade here. His water calculator looks really nice, intuitive and powerful and it is a great addition to a home brewers arsenal of tools and I would have loved to be included in beta testing. In addition to that don't forget the extensive information about water. But since the pH predictor is largely based on the concepts and data I provided I know where the limitations are and, on occasion, I'm still trying to troubleshoot cases where the prediction was further off than expected.

Cheers,
Kai

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2011, 08:07:57 AM »
Having observed some impressive results using Bru'n Water, I'm beginning to develop a healthy skepticism of the RA:SRM calculators.

Matt, check out my recent post to your thread.

Just saw it and responded with a similar sentiment to what you just posted here.

I also tempered the sentence you quoted above a bit (you might even say I "buffered" my quote -- a little Sunday morning pH humor).   ;)
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2011, 08:17:55 AM »
I've been beta testing this for Martin.  I've gotta say, not to diss anyone else, this is the absolute best water calculator I've used.  My beers have improved greatly since I started using it.
Denny,
Just curious as to the imrovements that you have been seeing.  Is it in some of the beers you are brewing, or in all.  Peeking at your water report in the "Post your water report" thread, you might see improvements for darker beers or light beers, as your water might be good for Amber beers (just a guess).  I have been reading Martins instructions on the spread sheet, and will try it the next time I brew. 



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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2011, 08:26:06 AM »
At least partially through the results of myself and other beta testers.  I found that I was within .1 of the predictions.

Technically that is not a proof but I get the idea. In the end it's how beer quality is improved that matters. When John came out with his spreadsheet and a more basic SRM -> pH predictor it made a big improvement in people's beers because it raised awareness for the correlation that exists between mash pH, RA and beer color. Now we have a much better understanding how mash pH is affected and can do better predictions even in some of the more extreme cases that weren't well covered by early approaches.

Kai

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2011, 09:36:18 AM »
Denny,
Just curious as to the imrovements that you have been seeing.  Is it in some of the beers you are brewing, or in all.  Peeking at your water report in the "Post your water report" thread, you might see improvements for darker beers or light beers, as your water might be good for Amber beers (just a guess).  I have been reading Martins instructions on the spread sheet, and will try it the next time I brew. 

My light bees have always been hit or miss, both on flavor and clarity.  Using Martin's program, I made the clearest, best tasting batches of pils I've ever made.  And a maibock.  Nothing changed in my procedure or ingredients other than using his spreadsheet, so I attribute the difference to that.  I've got an American brown made using the sheet in the fermenter now, and I'll know about flavor on that one in another week or so.  But like you say, I'm pretty much right on for mid color beers.
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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2011, 09:37:48 AM »
Technically that is not a proof but I get the idea. In the end it's how beer quality is improved that matters.

Yeah, I agree that it's just data points and not really proof.  But based on how close I've come to predictions and how well the beer is turning out, I'll take it!
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2011, 10:14:01 AM »
I just discovered that Bru'n Water takes into account the bicarbonate content of the starting water in estimating the relative pH shift due to adding acid malt.  That's pretty useful, considering that the more bicarbonates in the starting water, the greater the buffering power of the mash.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2011, 10:22:32 AM »
I just discovered that Bru'n Water takes into account the bicarbonate content of the starting water in estimating the relative pH shift due to adding acid malt.  That's pretty useful, considering that the more bicarbonates in the starting water, the greater the buffering power of the mash.

This is actually not the case. The bicarbonate content of the water has no significant impact on the buffer capacity of the mash since at mash pH the carbonate system is not providing a strong buffer. I do have experiments that show that.

Kai