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Old 03-09-2012, 01:32 AM   #1
Mpavlik22
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Default Brewing Salts and water profiles

Hello,
Please take it easy on me. I have been reading a lot on this topic but still have questions i cant figure out, and no one i ask seems to know.

So i cant say anything bad about my city tap water, i use it 100% and it always makes great beer. I would how ever love to learn to alter it to other profiles. I do realize that altering it may make it closer to style/profile, but not necessarily better tasting. Or at least help make a brown ale more malty accentuated and a IPA more hop accentuated.

So I occasionally stop by two local micros and both add brewing salts. First off they both have large carbon filters. One place always and only adds Gypsum and the other uses primarily Calcium Chloride.

1. Does a carbon filter remove the ions in the water or alter them? One brewer says it does remove them and the other dosent know.
2. From what i understand adding the salts changes the water profile and taste, but also helps buffer the PH? Or are salts primarily for Taste?
3. Should you rely on salts to adjust PH down or use Acidulated Malt/Lactic instead?
4. Ill list my water profile, but is there a general rule of thumb, like say add gypsum for a maltier beer and calcium chloride for a bitter' beer? Or is it completely dependent on your water profile that your using?

My profile: Please tell me any comments.
Ca - 9ppm
Mg - 2ppm
Na - 10ppm
Cl - 9ppm
SO4 - 12ppm (SO4-S = 4ppm*3=12ppm for sulfate)

Now could i only alter my water profile to change my chloride/sulfate ratio to get a more malty or bitter beer and not even worry about hitting the recommended ranges?

Thanks for any help!

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Old 03-09-2012, 01:57 AM   #2
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1. Does a carbon filter remove the ions in the water or alter them? One brewer says it does remove them and the other dosent know.
No. A carbon filter is effective agains NOM (organics that render water musty smelling or tasting), some man made organics and chlorine/chloramine)
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2. From what i understand adding the salts changes the water profile and taste, but also helps buffer the PH? Or are salts primarily for Taste?
Sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate add, respectively, bicarbonate and carbonate which increases the buffering capacity of the water and results in a higher mash pH. These salts should be used cautiously for this reason. Calcium salts contribute calcium ion which reacts with malt phosphate to release hydrogen ions thus lowering pH. They do not change the buffering capacity of the malts (except by removing phosphate). Sulfate and chloride can be used to control flavor.
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3. Should you rely on salts to adjust PH down or use Acidulated Malt/Lactic instead?
While calcium does lower pH somewhat it takes a lot to achieve a large shift. Thus acidulated malt, sauergut, lactic acid, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, citric or phosphoric are the major players in mash pH control.
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4. Ill list my water profile, but is there a general rule of thumb, like say add gypsum for a maltier beer and calcium chloride for a bitter' beer? Or is it completely dependent on your water profile that your using?
Sulfate tends to make beer seem drier mostly through its effects on the way hops bitterness is percieved. Sulfate makes bitterness harsher/rougher. Chloride adds to mouthfeel, sweetness and mellowness in the beer. Because of the sweetness component to this some think it makes the maltiness more pronounced and think you can move beer along a malty/hoppy axis by adjusting the ratio of sulfate to chloride. The way to make a beer hoppier is to add more hops and the way to make it maltier is to use more malt.

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My profile: Please tell me any comments.
Ca - 9ppm
Mg - 2ppm
Na - 10ppm
Cl - 9ppm
SO4 - 12ppm (SO4-S = 4ppm*3=12ppm for sulfate)
The most important parameter, alkalinity, is missing but as everything else is low so too will the alkalinity be low. This is excellent source water. See the Primer for suggestions on how to use it.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:17 AM   #3
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Sorry total Alkalinity CaCO3 = 22, but total hardness CaCO3 is listed at 31.

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Old 03-09-2012, 05:03 AM   #4
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Also nice and low. The basic conclusion stands.

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Old 03-09-2012, 02:34 PM   #5
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Are a lot of people using acidulated malt or some other type of acid to adjust the PH?

Can someone explain the difference of Total Hardess CaC03 & Total Alkalinity CaC03 as shown on Wards in laymans terms?

Assuming you had very hard water and high ions, besides using RO or distilled water, what other solution can you do to remove the ions? Or lower them?

I assume you treat the water before mashing in and also before you sparging?

So is my water suitable for any style beer being so low on ions?
Would it be worth even adding brewing salts?

I looked at the Primer but what is the weight of a tsp of calcium chloride and gypsum?

Assuming I follow the primer, are calcium chloride and gypsum the only salts that you really need? What about Epsom salt, chalk, & baking soda?

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Old 03-09-2012, 09:07 PM   #6
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Are a lot of people using acidulated malt or some other type of acid to adjust the PH?
More and more every day from what I can see. It is one of the secrets of good beer that is no longer so secret. I'll never go back.

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Can someone explain the difference of Total Hardess CaC03 & Total Alkalinity CaC03 as shown on Wards in laymans terms?
When nature dissolves limestone she does it with carbonic acid
CaCO3 + H2CO3 --> Ca++ + 2HCO3-
Alkalinity is defined (loosely) as the amount of strong acid it would take to convert the bicarbonate back to carbonic acid:
2H+ + 2HCO3- --> 2H2CO3

i.e. the amount of H+ is the alkalinity. Thus when nature dissolves limestone (which is the way a lot of harndess and alkalinity get into water) we wind up with equivalent charges on the alkalinity defining acid (+2) and on the dissolved calcium (also +2). It therefore seems to make sense to describe the amount of hardness and alkalinity in the same terms. We have done that here - alkalinity = +2charges ; hardness = +2 charges. Chemists use the mole of charge (the equivalent) rather than the individual charge as that is a more reasonable sized unit. If we dissolve 1 millimole of CaCO3 (100 mg) with 1 mole of H2CO3 we will wind up with 2 milliequivalents of alkalinity and 2 milliequivalents of hardness. As those two mEq correspond to 100 mg of calcium carbonate we say 1 mEq is equal to 50 mg 'as CaCO3'.

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Assuming you had very hard water and high ions, besides using RO or distilled water, what other solution can you do to remove the ions? Or lower them?
If all the hardness is temporary (hardness about equal to alkalinity) then boiling or tha addition of lime will remove calcium and alkalinity. If the hardness exceeds the alkalinity the water is said to contain 'permanent hardness' because it survives boiling. That hardness can be removed by adding sodium bicarbonate which replaces the calcium with sodium.

Ion exchange resins which swap H+ ions for cations and (OH)- ions for anions will remove whatever is in the water.

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I assume you treat the water before mashing in and also before you sparging?
Some people treat mash and sparge water separately and it is sometimes necessary to do that. In most cases, however, it isn't and you can treat all the water the same.

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So is my water suitable for any style beer being so low on ions?
Would it be worth even adding brewing salts?
Yes, your water is pretty much suitable for any style of beer but you would want to add minerals dependent on style.

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I looked at the Primer but what is the weight of a tsp of calcium chloride and gypsum?
It is generally assumed that a tsp of either gypsum or calcium chloride is 4 - 5 grams.

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Assuming I follow the primer, are calcium chloride and gypsum the only salts that you really need? What about Epsom salt, chalk, & baking soda?
You want calcium for various reasons and sulfate and chloride for their flavor effects. Yeast and other enzymes need some magnesium as a cofactor but the malt itself contains quite a bit so you do not need to add any more. Magnesium is not flavor positive. Chalk and baking soda are both alkaline and alkalinity is nearly always to be avoided. In cases where mash pH is too low either of these salts can be used to raise it.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:28 PM   #7
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Thank you. I appreciate your time and help.

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Old 03-10-2012, 04:47 PM   #8
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this is awesome. I was just about to ask some of these questions.

I've had my water tested. I'd like to start using an inline RV filter. So from the discussion above it sounds like I really don't need to worry about the filter dramatically altering my profile.

Am I correct in assuming this?

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Old 03-10-2012, 05:05 PM   #9
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ajdelange - all of your responses are always great. Between your water primer and all of your responses to questions, that forms the basis of everything I know about or do for my water. So thanks.

Although I love that this is your response for describing hardness and alkalinity "in laymans terms"


Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post

When nature dissolves limestone she does it with carbonic acid
CaCO3 + H2CO3 --> Ca++ + 2HCO3-
Alkalinity is defined (loosely) as the amount of strong acid it would take to convert the bicarbonate back to carbonic acid:
2H+ + 2HCO3- --> 2H2CO3

i.e. the amount of H+ is the alkalinity. Thus when nature dissolves limestone (which is the way a lot of harndess and alkalinity get into water) we wind up with equivalent charges on the alkalinity defining acid (+2) and on the dissolved calcium (also +2). It therefore seems to make sense to describe the amount of hardness and alkalinity in the same terms. We have done that here - alkalinity = +2charges ; hardness = +2 charges. Chemists use the mole of charge (the equivalent) rather than the individual charge as that is a more reasonable sized unit. If we dissolve 1 millimole of CaCO3 (100 mg) with 1 mole of H2CO3 we will wind up with 2 milliequivalents of alkalinity and 2 milliequivalents of hardness. As those two mEq correspond to 100 mg of calcium carbonate we say 1 mEq is equal to 50 mg 'as CaCO3'.


I think I understood 3 words in all of that, which is why I'm glad the water primer exists!
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Old 03-11-2012, 01:43 PM   #10
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I understand the lower alkalinity the better, but can someone explain what bicarbonate is and how it relates, as well as how it affects flavor? What is the recommended ranges?

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