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Old 11-01-2012, 04:03 PM   #1
Tiroux
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Default Adjusting water - Mash / Sparge

Hi!
When I realized that Beersmith have a Water Profile Tool with which we can calculate the amounts of different adjuncts needed to achieve a precise water profile, I bought CaSO4 and MgSO4, and I already had at home, of course, NaCl and NaHCO3.

I began to use it, and adjust my water profil, but my question is about the mash water versus the sparge water. Should I use the same profile for both?



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Old 11-01-2012, 04:51 PM   #2
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Adjust your water for the FINAL volume you plan to collect in the fermentor. For the carbonate additions, put those in the kettle, everything else can go in the mash water. For sparge water, you only need to acidify it using Lactic Acid (88% sold in LHBS), or Phosphoric Acid...adjust to a pH around 6



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Old 11-01-2012, 06:09 PM   #3
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Because the water evaporates and the solid components stay, i guess?

Ok, just to make sur I understand...
I have 5 gallons mash water
I have 4 gallons sparge water
For a total 6 gallons batch

I put the Gypsum, Epsom and Table salt for ajusting 6 gallons, into the 5gal mash water.
I put the backing soda or chalk at boiling, again for 6 gallons concentration.
I put nothing in the sparge water exept something to lower the PH at 6.

Lactic Acid isn't dangerous for the mash. I've heard a lot about lactic infections? Or maybe it's the lactobacillus that's dangerous?

That said, I'm using bottle water that plays around 6.

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Old 11-01-2012, 06:26 PM   #4
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I have to disagree with the recommendation from helibrewer. I recommend adding minerals in proportion with the actual water volumes used for mashing and sparging. This is intended to duplicate what a brewer would see if they were brewing with water from a particular location.

There are several reactions and results from mashing, sparging, boiling, and fermentation that alter the ionic content in the finished beer. It makes no sense to try and aim for a certain ionic concentration in the kettle or beer when you can just correlate a starting water quality to a finished beer perception.

Carbonate additions should never be added unless needed in the mash. Adding carbonate to the kettle is counterproductive and if those additions raise the wort pH too high, the resulting hop character can be 'rough'. Do not take a water profile from a historic brewing city and assume it is what will make the best beer. The brewers from those cities often altered that starting water to better suit the style they were brewing. Blindly using 'city' profiles is sure to get you in trouble and produce less than stellar results.

Acidifying sparge water is typically a good idea, excepting that pH is not the criterion that should be used to assess when the acidification is adequate. The final alkalinity of the acidified water is what really counts. Using a acidification calculator like found in Bru'n Water is more appropriate than aiming for a pH value. The final pH value of properly acidified water could range between 5 and 6 depending upon the starting water alkalinity. Water that is naturally low in alkalinity (rain water, RO, distilled) do not need acidification at all.

If you are interested in learning more about brewing water chemistry, visit the Bru'n Water website and go to the Water Knowledge page.

Enjoy!

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Old 11-01-2012, 07:03 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot!
That makes more sens, and that is what I was doing by instinct!
I'm not recreating water from a particular city, but I'm aiming the right concentration of each components according to the beer I'm brewing. I'm gonna check our that site for sure!

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Old 11-01-2012, 07:11 PM   #6
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I just download the calculator and looked around a bit.

So, I add everything for mash water, for the actual volume of water.
For the sparge, I add only salt, gympsun and/or epsom, as needed, and the needed acid acording to the calculator. NOT carbonate or chalk.

Got it?

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Old 11-01-2012, 07:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
Acidifying sparge water is typically a good idea, excepting that pH is not the criterion that should be used to assess when the acidification is adequate. The final alkalinity of the acidified water is what really counts.
Strictly speaking that is, of course, correct but let's observe that if a brewer acidifies his water to some pH less than 6 there is no way that this water could ever pull the pH of the mash over which it flows above 6 so that it is quite sufficient from that POV to acidify to pH < 6 and be safe with respect to phenol extraction. But what about adding alkalinity to the kettle? By the time one gets to pH under 6 most of the alkalinity has been converted to CO2 and driven off by the high temperatures of the HLT. If, for example, a brewer decides to acidify sparge water to pH 5.5 only about 9% of carbo is in the form of bicarbonate and thus able to contribute to alkalinity. Supposing the brewer had water with alkalinity 300 and added acid to the point where the pH was 5.5 (I chose that number because it is supposedly the target that Chico brewing uses in treating their water). This would require 5.25 mEq/L of acid (257.2 mg/L of, for example, sulfuric acid). The alkalinity would be reduced to 35 ppm as CaCO3. More important that that, perhaps, is that the buffering capacity of the water at that point is modest so that if, for example, the brewer wanted to take kettle pH to 5.0 he'd only need an additional half an mEq/L for the water part (and appreciably more for the grains).

We could use the same reasoning as before. It should be clear that if the sparge water pH is the same as the mash pH it isn't going to change the mash pH. Our approach could be to set sparge water pH to be the same as mash pH and not have to worry about alkalinity measurement or calculation.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:40 PM   #8
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NaCl and MgSO4 have done more harm than good for me. I would stick with CaCl and CaSO4 unless your calcium is really high already. I agree with mabrunguard about not matching a profile just to match it. Learn what the different salts do and when to use them instead of trying to match things. As for adjusting the water for the final volume you have things working both ways. Boil off concentrates minerals, but spent grains will take some of your minerals (and water) with them.

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Old 11-01-2012, 07:45 PM   #9
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The PH of sparge water is adjusted only for better extraction of the residual sugars in the grain, or for other reason? Because if it's only a efficiency question, I don't really bother. I don't brew much, and I don't care about a high eff... only a stable and constant one. If I could skip the acidification part, with all that goes with it, and only stand to salt additions, to boost, let say, hop caracter, mouthfeel, maltiness, etc...

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Old 11-01-2012, 08:03 PM   #10
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The main reason is because phenols are acids (phenol is 'carbolic acid') and acids are, when protonated, less soluble than when ionized. The lower the pH the larger the fraction of acid molecules are protonated. Thus low pH extracts less phenols from the grain husk. This is also the reason for keeping sparge water temperature below 170 °F. Hotter water dissolves more phenols.

If your water isn't terribly alkaline there is probably no need to acidify it. The best thing to do is monitor runoff pH and extract (gravity) as you sparge. If pH stays below 6 until extract gets down to say 4 °P ( 1.016) SG then you can simply stop collection at 4 °P confident that your pH will not rise above 6 during the sparge. Do this for a couple of brews. This will calibrate you with respect to your equipment and brewing practice.

Finally, if a little phenol gets into your beer it isn't a big deal unless you are in a hurry. There are few beers that don't benefit from appreciable aging (lagering) and during this time phenols coalesce and drop out.



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