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Old 02-04-2012, 10:37 PM   #1
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Default Adding Gypsum - Water Report Calculations

I just want to bounce this off someone who has done this before.

Basic report has

Magnesium = 11ppm
Calcium = 19ppm
Total Alkalinity = 248

So



It looks to me like my area is GREAT for dark beer - not a surprise - however if I want to make a lighter color brew, something in the 5SRM range I would need to add about 310ppm of gypsum right?

So 310 / 61.5 = 5.04 grams which is about 1.25 teaspoons of gypsum PER GALLON!!!

Is that right? Seems like a lot! Can I assume gypsum has no flavor??

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Old 02-04-2012, 11:24 PM   #2
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No, gypsum does have flavor and I think adding too much is something that is noticed. This is often the complaint when people try to mimic the Burton on Trent water profile.

I ran your profile thru John Palmer's spreadsheet for water calculations from How to Brew and got something similar to your calculations. http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-3.html

I do use this spreadsheet and recommend it. I am in Indiana with water very high in alkalinity. I always dilute at least 50% with RO water when doing a pale beer, again using the spreadsheet to help determine which dilution rate I want to use and what minerals to add back.

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Old 02-04-2012, 11:26 PM   #3
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Well if this is correct how do I correct the water profile without adding flavor???? Especially in a 30 gallon batch

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Old 02-04-2012, 11:39 PM   #4
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Dilute with RO (reverse osmosis) or distilled water, in order to reduce the amount of alkalinity, at 50% or more, then add gypsum (and potentially magnesium sulfate - aka epsom salts) back to achieve your desired residual alkalinity. I assume my RO water has 0 minerals, but it does have some, say 5-10% of the source water. Distilled water has 0 minerals.

Another option is to start with entirely RO or distilled, but you will then have to add some alkalinity back in with chalk (Calcium Carbonate) or baking soda (sodium carbonate) in addition to the gypsum.

Hope this helps, water treatment can be a challenging topic.

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Old 02-04-2012, 11:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlainJay View Post
Dilute with RO (reverse osmosis) or distilled water, in order to reduce the amount of alkalinity, at 50% or more, then add gypsum (and potentially magnesium sulfate - aka epsom salts) back to achieve your desired residual alkalinity. I assume my RO water has 0 minerals, but it does have some, say 5-10% of the source water. Distilled water has 0 minerals.

Another option is to start with entirely RO or distilled, but you will then have to add some alkalinity back in with chalk (Calcium Carbonate) or baking soda (sodium carbonate) in addition to the gypsum.

Hope this helps, water treatment can be a challenging topic.
Exactly. With alkalinity that high, you either need to dilute with RO water (a lot) or treat by slaked lime in advance of brewing. I've been diluting lately, but will be doing slaked lime in my next brew. My alkalinity is high like yours.

The only thing incorrect in the above is "needed to add some alkalinity back in with chalk or baking soda". That's an almost never scenario and I can't even imagine that needing to occur.
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
treat by slaked lime in advance of brewing
LOL - What the hell does that mean. Are witches involved? What do commercial brewery's do.

BTW - Southern Wisconsin
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:00 AM   #7
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http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...th_slaked_lime
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:20 PM   #8
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Be very wary of using either a nomograph or program that bases its residual alkalinity recommendation on beer color. The correlation is poor and in the case of Palmer's work, the recommendation for high RA in dark beers is excessive.

To the OP, don't even think about hardening the water to the degree indicated to make the water suitable for brewing lighter beers. You'll just have an alka seltzer beer. Lime softening, RO dilution, or acidification are all better alternatives to the excessive hardening proposed. In the case of that starting water, the alkalinity may be a bit high for acidification since a significant amount of acid may be needed.

If brewing a dark beer and starting with straight RO or distilled, adding alkalinity is a desirable component to keep the mash pH from dropping too far. Given the OP's water, it appears that he would be foolish to start with straight RO water and build a water back up. Dilution of the tap water with percentages of RO water would be a good way to maintain the 'proper' level of alkalinity for a particular mash. Bru'n Water is a tool that helps a brewer how to do it properly.

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Old 02-05-2012, 04:05 PM   #9
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I'm not REAL worried about MY beer as I brew 5 gallon batches but being involved with a nano brewery that is selling a barrel a day I was trying to help out with the chemistry. The main brewer has a blind spot when it comes to water.

We here obsess over brewing . . . . I'm the obsessive one in this operation. While some make beer that is "good enough" us HBT members are always striving got better.

Our city adds chlorine, fluoride and silicates. MANY people taste the chlorine in the beer. Personally I use filtered water. But he brews 30 gallon batches for sale. I feel the lighter beers taste . . . . muddy, not crisp!

So I was trying to figure out what we could do to help he hops without spending a lot of money that they don't have (only open for 2 months now . . . .the place is packed on weekends).

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Old 02-05-2012, 04:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
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The main brewer has a blind spot when it comes to water.
Water has historically been overlooked in brewing practice and in texts. For instance, most professional brewing texts have a rudimentary chapter on water and ions. But they provide very little guidance or training on ANYTHING further on how to assess and correct their water to fit their brewing. It should be no surprise that even professional brewers have no idea of what they should or shouldn't be doing with their water. There is no training or emphasis. That extends to the technical schools too. Palmer and Kaminski's upcoming book on brewing water will be the first text that actually provides more than a chapter to brewers. I expect it to be a seminal text on the subject. Unfortunately, its publishing has been delayed to 2013.

Quote:
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Our city adds chlorine, fluoride and silicates. MANY people taste the chlorine in the beer. Personally I use filtered water. But he brews 30 gallon batches for sale. I feel the lighter beers taste . . . . muddy, not crisp!
If a professional brewer is not removing chlorine from the brewing water, my apologies to the consumers of the beer. That brewer has no business being in business. It won't be too long before the Brewer's reputation is ruined and the business lost. Chlorophenols produced when chlorine is left in brewing water is an easily correctable problem and it produces a serious defect in the beer. I'm hoping that I'm just miss-understanding the quote above.

Regarding the muddy flavor in lighter beers. Given that the OP resides in the land of alkaline water, it is not really a surprise that the lighter beers have that flaw. Apparently the brewer does not understand the need to reduce alkalinity when brewing those lighter styles. The mash pH is probably too high and the flavor and crispness suffer. Again, this is typically an easily correctable flaw through the application of acidification or dilution with a low alkalinity water such as RO or distilled water.

Bru'n Water was created with both the homebrewer and craftbrewer in mind. Hopefully that brewer will take the time to learn a couple of easy improvements that can be implimented from that software.
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