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Old 06-10-2011, 11:41 PM   #1
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Default For all you water experts

I just got my water profile today from my city and could use some advice. I have 2 all grain batches fermenting right now, I have taken samples after primary fermentation is up and am still getting what I think is phenols. I used potassium metabisulfite in my brew water, but I sanitized with star-san mixed in tap water, which may have left enough chloramine to ruin my beer. Here are my numbers from the city water department. This is somewhat unrelated to the chloramine issue, but what do you suggest I can do to optimize my water. These are some numbers from the city water department (Garland, TX):

Calcium 57.7
Magnesium 4.72
Sodum 32.3
Potassium 5.23
Bicarbonates 113
Carbonates 0
Sulfate 64.8
Chloride 35

Total Alkalinity 113
Noncarbonate Hardness 71
Total Hardness 184

Chlorine residual 3.05
pH 7.77

Can someone translate all this for me. It would really help since I am pretty new to all grain and water chemistry. Thanks

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Old 06-11-2011, 03:07 AM   #2
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Everything looks pretty moderate, except the bicarbonate is a little high for pale beers. Probably anything amber or darker would be fine without adjustment. For lighter beers, you can use phosphoric acid to lower the mash pH.

This was the guideline I followed when I first started getting into water treatment. It's a good place to start:

http://www.themadfermentationist.com...-has-made.html

Depending on the beer you want to make (hoppy or malty, dark or light) you could tailor specific profiles for each recipe.

As for the chlorophenols, a carbon block filter, or buying RO water at the store would take care of that. I'd do at least one batch with RO water to make sure the issue is actually caused by you water, and not your fermentation temps or general yeast health. If the yeast is hot or sickly they'll throw off some wacky flavors.

I'd also download a copy of Bru'n water or Kai's spreadsheet. They're both great.

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page scroll down to the water_calculator spreadsheet link.

or

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

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Old 06-11-2011, 06:28 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Nateo View Post
Everything looks pretty moderate, except the bicarbonate is a little high for pale beers. Probably anything amber or darker would be fine without adjustment. For lighter beers, you can use phosphoric acid to lower the mash pH.

This was the guideline I followed when I first started getting into water treatment. It's a good place to start:

http://www.themadfermentationist.com...-has-made.html

Depending on the beer you want to make (hoppy or malty, dark or light) you could tailor specific profiles for each recipe.

As for the chlorophenols, a carbon block filter, or buying RO water at the store would take care of that. I'd do at least one batch with RO water to make sure the issue is actually caused by you water, and not your fermentation temps or general yeast health. If the yeast is hot or sickly they'll throw off some wacky flavors.

I'd also download a copy of Bru'n water or Kai's spreadsheet. They're both great.

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page scroll down to the water_calculator spreadsheet link.

or

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/
Thanks, I have made a couple decent extract brews with store bought water that didn't have a phenol flavor, but weren't good enough for me to be totally satisfied. I just assumed it was extract twang or less than ideal yeast fermentation. I do well with my fermentation temps, I can use the water, tshirt and fan trick to get my temps low enough. My last two brews I kept in the lower to mid 60's for ales using that method. Yeast health may be a concern, up until my last batch, I was just sprinkling dry yeast into the wort, I hydrated the yeast from my last brew and it took off quicker than the others, so that's something I am improving on. I should also add that I used pH stabilizer in my 2 all grain brews, not knowing the science behind it, but just out of caution.

My concern now is that water I mixed with sanitizer wasn't free of chlorine and chloramine, and there was enough left after I dumped it from the bucket to still ruin my batch. I dumped it completely out, but there was still star-san foam and it was wet.

Also, I filled my cooler up with water filtered through the system in my fridge and added potassium metabisulfite to it and let it sit over night to de-chlorinate. Should I have left the lid open overnight to let the chlorine/chloramine escape?
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:34 PM   #4
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I doubt that the film of sanitizing solution will leave your beer with enough chloro compounds to affect your beer flavor. Relax.

Bru'n Water has tools to help you evaluate the water report information you've been provided and better assure its correct and usable. There is also plenty of information on brewing water chemistry to help you figure out for yourself what you should be doing with your water for each brew.

Enjoy.

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Old 06-11-2011, 06:17 PM   #5
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I doubt that the film of sanitizing solution will leave your beer with enough chloro compounds to affect your beer flavor. Relax.

Bru'n Water has tools to help you evaluate the water report information you've been provided and better assure its correct and usable. There is also plenty of information on brewing water chemistry to help you figure out for yourself what you should be doing with your water for each brew.

Enjoy.
I wouldn't have thought so either, that's why I was surprised when I tasted a sample and it had a bitter phenol flavor. When I added the potassium metabisulfite to my brew water, I closed the lid and let it sit over night, would that have kept the chlorine in?
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:37 AM   #6
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No, the reaction between chlorine and chloramine with metabite is pretty quick. In fact that lets you know on the spot that you have dosed enough metabite. The chlorine smell is gone on seconds perhaps to have been replaced with a sulfur dioxide smell (burnt matches). The chlorine does not escape - it is converted to chloride ion. The metabite is converted to sulfur dioxide and it is that which reduces the chlorine. If excess bisulfite has been added then you will smell the SO2 as some of it will escape the water. But you needn't worry about expelling it from the beer. It has a beneficial effect.

There are other places to get phenolics. In fact the phenolic induced flavor/aroma from chloramine is usually described as "plastic like" whereas the harsher phenolic flavors tend to be yeast induced (by yeasts carrying the "POF" gene).

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Old 06-12-2011, 03:53 AM   #7
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No, the reaction between chlorine and chloramine with metabite is pretty quick. In fact that lets you know on the spot that you have dosed enough metabite. The chlorine smell is gone on seconds perhaps to have been replaced with a sulfur dioxide smell (burnt matches). The chlorine does not escape - it is converted to chloride ion. The metabite is converted to sulfur dioxide and it is that which reduces the chlorine. If excess bisulfite has been added then you will smell the SO2 as some of it will escape the water. But you needn't worry about expelling it from the beer. It has a beneficial effect.

There are other places to get phenolics. In fact the phenolic induced flavor/aroma from chloramine is usually described as "plastic like" whereas the harsher phenolic flavors tend to be yeast induced (by yeasts carrying the "POF" gene).
Okay, I was just pretty stumped why the batch had that taste. I'm going to let it sit in primary another couple weeks and taste it again to decide if I want to dump it and try again or wait on it and keg it. I used US-05 yeast by the way, which I have had very bad luck with.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:24 PM   #8
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I have found that the "recommended" dosing rate of 1 tablet per 20 gallons is not enough. I use a carbon block filter and still treat at that rate just in case I missed some in the filtering process. If you aren't filtering try a half tablet per 5 gallons, and use chlorine/chloramine test strips from the pet store to make sure you are really getting it all. I have lost more batches to chloramine in my water than anything else so I am VERY paranoid about it now.

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Old 06-21-2011, 07:16 PM   #9
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I tablet per 20 gal is based on a 696 mg sodium metabite Campden tablet and a worst case chlorine load of 3 mg/L all as chloramine. The max the EPA allows is 4. Thus if 1 tablet per 20 gal doesn't do it your situation is somewhat unusual. I guess I would try to find out from the water authority what the maximum residual leaving their plant is. I would probably also get a decent test kit from Hach or Lamotte... In general, if you do not smell chlorine but do smell some sulfur dioxide you have killed chlorine/chloramine but a test would make positive confirmation.

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Old 06-29-2011, 03:46 AM   #10
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So an update for this thread. I have made 2 AG brews now, a SNPA clone and a blond ale. The sierra nevada clone is actually pretty great, the blond ale is less than stellar and am giving it some more time in the keg at room temp to see if some flavors will age out. I think for my next brew, I may try to to dilute with some RO water, but will def try some lactic acid and get some ph strips so I know my mash is at a proper ph

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