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Old 03-20-2012, 06:13 PM   #1
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Default Boiling to reduce bicarbonates

I just ordered my aquarium test kit (GH and KH) for alkalinity, and the pickling lime, I had to get it off of the internet as I went to multiple places and had no luck with either item. Anyway, I remember reading that boiling can reduce the alkalinity and I can rack off of the precipitates.

I'm dying to brew! It's been two months, and I don't want to wait for two weeks for my order to come. Can I guestimate the values of the alkalinity by boiling, knowing my water chemistry? I thought I remember someone saying something to that effect a while back.

My water chemistry is:

calcium 58
magnesium 26
sodium 9
CaC03 251
SO4 45
Cl 14
HCO3 207

If I could preboil my mash water, and simply use lactic acid to acidify my sparge, then I could be in business. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 03-20-2012, 06:18 PM   #2
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http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...cium_carbonate
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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Yes. Assuming CaCO3 251 means alkalinity in ppm as CaCO3 (and I can't imagine what else it could mean) you have 5 mEq/L alkalinity. You also have 58/20 = 2.9 mEq calcium. The rule of thumb is that you can get the smaller down to about 1 mEq. That means you can expect to drop 1.9 mEq calcium and the alkalinity will go down by the same amount to 3.1 or 155 ppm as CaCO3. The obvious way to improve on this is to supplement the calcium with calcium chloride and or sulfate. If you can get the calcium up to or above 5 meq/L (100 mg/L) then bicarbonate becomes the limiting factor and you can get it down to 50. If you don't want either additional sulfate or chloride then you can add acid and get the anion of the acid or dilute with DI. That's the simplest approach and the numbers you calculate are precise. Precipitation is a bit dicey.

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Old 03-20-2012, 09:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
Yes. Assuming CaCO3 251 means alkalinity in ppm as CaCO3 (and I can't imagine what else it could mean) you have 5 mEq/L alkalinity. You also have 58/20 = 2.9 mEq calcium. The rule of thumb is that you can get the smaller down to about 1 mEq. That means you can expect to drop 1.9 mEq calcium and the alkalinity will go down by the same amount to 3.1 or 155 ppm as CaCO3. The obvious way to improve on this is to supplement the calcium with calcium chloride and or sulfate. If you can get the calcium up to or above 5 meq/L (100 mg/L) then bicarbonate becomes the limiting factor and you can get it down to 50. If you don't want either additional sulfate or chloride then you can add acid and get the anion of the acid or dilute with DI. That's the simplest approach and the numbers you calculate are precise. Precipitation is a bit dicey.
I can easily supplement with either CaCl2 or CaS04. To get the calcium above 5 meq/l, I will probably use a combo of them.

But what do you mean "precipitation is a bit dicey"?

My source for RO water completely disappeared while I was away for the winter! I can buy DI but at $1 a gallon (plus hauling it in separate jugs) I really don't want to.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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Did you give up on buying an RO unit Yooper? There was some pretty good info in that thread you started. I've got super hard water. ~300 TDS from the tap. I'm looking for solutions myself. I've done the boiling thing and I think it's more trouble than it's worth. You'd be amazed how much stuff precipitates out of my water though

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Old 03-20-2012, 09:32 PM   #6
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What I mean is that you never know exactly what is going to happen. All the calculations we do are based on thermodynamic equilibrium and a system in which precipitation is taking place is not in thermodynamic equilibrium. Furthermore, thermo doesn't tell you anything about how fast a reaction will take place. That is why you have to do a test after boiling or lime softening to see how well you did. Assuming 1 mEq per liter is probably going to get you close enough and whether you actually get 2 probably doesn't make that much difference. But dilution is much more predictable.

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Old 03-20-2012, 10:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
What I mean is that you never know exactly what is going to happen. All the calculations we do are based on thermodynamic equilibrium and a system in which precipitation is taking place is not in thermodynamic equilibrium. Furthermore, thermo doesn't tell you anything about how fast a reaction will take place. That is why you have to do a test after boiling or lime softening to see how well you did. Assuming 1 mEq per liter is probably going to get you close enough and whether you actually get 2 probably doesn't make that much difference. But dilution is much more predictable.
Ah! Thanks for the explanation.

Since I need to brew, but can't get RO water any more, and am not inclined to carry 6 gallons of plastic jugs of distilled home, I think I'm committed to boiling.

If this was your water, and you were boiling to reduce the alkalinity, how much CaSo4 and/or CaSo4 would you add?

I still want the RO system- but Bob put the kibosh on that at least for now. Since it cost under $30 for the lime and GH/KH kit, that was ok. We actually have great tasting water, so trying to sell him on using it for coffee didn't sway him a bit. He looked at me like I was nuts. And my goldfish don't care about RO water- they are perfectly content in the water out of my chiller (well, chilled first, as boiling water would probably irritate them. )
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:25 PM   #8
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Your water report is pretty badly imbalanced so anything I do with it is at best very rough. If you were to add 3 grams of each of calcium chloride and calcium sulfate to each 5 gal. being treated that would bring calcium to 152 mg/L (7.6 mEq/L) sulfate to 133 and chloride to 116. Alkalinity would stay at 5.5 and would probably drop,upon boiling,
to 1 or maybe even a bit more because of the extra calcium. Being conservative you would drop 4.5 mEq/L alkalinity and 4.5 mEq Ca++ leaving 3.1 which is 62 mg/L which should be good for most beers.

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Old 03-20-2012, 11:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
Your water report is pretty badly imbalanced so anything I do with it is at best very rough. If you were to add 3 grams of each of calcium chloride and calcium sulfate that would bring calcium to 152 mg/L (7.6 mEq/L) sulfate to 133 and chloride to 116. Alkalinity would stay at 5.5 and would probably drop,upon boiling,
to 1 or maybe even a bit more because of the extra calcium. Being conservative you would drop 4.5 mEq/L alkalinity and 4.5 mEq Ca++ leaving 3.1 which is 62 mg/L which should be good for most beers.
I think I might have understood most have that- so thanks for your patience with me as I take baby steps towards remembering my college chemistry! My next question then has to do with your specifics of "3 grams" of CaCl2 and CaSo4. Is that per batch, gallon, liter, etc? I'm sorry to be so thick, but I haven't a clue.

What is the report badly imbalanced? Not that it really means anything to me, but that's what I got from Ward's Labs a while back.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:57 PM   #10
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If you're looking for a good R/O unit, I bought one for my saltwater aquarium from this guy:

http://www.melevsreef.com/rodi.html

It worked really well. I don't have fish anymore, but I still have my unit. I think I'm going to start using it to craft better water for my brews. If I'm gonna do this (brewing), I may as well do it right. But I want to test with some R/O from the store to see if it really makes a big difference before I drop another $60 on a new set of filters to start using the unit again.

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