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Old 11-28-2012, 04:35 AM   #511
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The Primer assumes you are using water with low alkalinity (i.e. RO water or tap water diluted with RO to the point where the alkalinity is below 30). Thus the acid malt is there mostly to combat the alkalinity of the malt. Thus it doesn't matter how you sparge. The correct amount of acid malt is the amount that sets the mash pH correctly.

The 4% limitation is thought to be the level above which the sauermalz would render the beer tasting lactic. Sauermalz has a flavor effect at this level and below but that is generally thought to be a positive one by those who detect it but not all users do.

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:36 PM   #512
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Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
the acid malt is there mostly to combat the alkalinity of the malt. Thus it doesn't matter how you sparge. The correct amount of acid malt is the amount that sets the mash pH correctly.
Are you saying that the amount of water is irrelevant? I am not using RO water, but I have relatively low amounts of minerals in my tap water. I follow the primer, but I often add slacked lime in place of calcium chloride. I started by using the primer, but making the end result equal to what it would if I were starting with RO/DI water. The only mineral that I have more the 20ppm is chloride, so I add less of that. It works for me and my PH is steady. I am just questioning how adding 10 gallons of at mash in will change instead of adding 5.

My water report is below.

pH 7.3
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 157
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.26
Cations / Anions, me/L 2.2 / 2.3
ppm
Sodium, Na 21
Potassium, K 1
Calcium, Ca 16
Magnesium, Mg 5
Total Hardness, CaCO3 61
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.2 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 3
Chloride, Cl 42
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 56
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 46
Total Phosphorus, P 1.06
Total Iron, Fe 0.03
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

My uneducated guess makes me think that the disparity is because of the bicarbonate in my water as compared to RO/DI water?
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:59 PM   #513
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First observation is that slaked lime is a powerful alkali. If you add enough of it to pick up 40 mg/L calcium you are increasing the alkalinity of your water by about 100. That can be overcome by adding acid but you might as well just add calcium chloride or calcium sulfate instead of the hydroxide and then the acid.

Yes, the amount of water is a minor consideration if the water is soft (low in mineral content). The acid has to overcome the alkalinity of the malt and it has to overcome the alkalinity of the water. If the water contains little alkalinity then the amount of water doesn't matter much. If it contains lots then it does. You are right at the dividing line between low and moderate alkalinity so with your water you might find that you need a bit of extra acid if you mash in with the full volume rather than a subset.

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Old 11-28-2012, 05:59 PM   #514
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Originally Posted by Willum View Post
Are you saying that the amount of water is irrelevant? I am not using RO water, but I have relatively low amounts of minerals in my tap water. I follow the primer, but I often add slacked lime in place of calcium chloride. I started by using the primer, but making the end result equal to what it would if I were starting with RO/DI water. The only mineral that I have more the 20ppm is chloride, so I add less of that. It works for me and my PH is steady. I am just questioning how adding 10 gallons of at mash in will change instead of adding 5.
Yes, changing the amount of water in the tun with the grist will affect mash pH. This is less true for really low alkalinity water, but is especially true as the tap water alkalinity rises. There is a limited amount of acid provided by the grist. There is X mg/L of alkalinity added with every drop of water in the tun. The acid quantity minus the total alkalinity added via the water drives the mash pH.

The BIAB method is a good case in point since typically the whole charge of water is added at once and the bag steeped. In this case, you assume that the mash water volume is the total water volume in contact with the grain and there is probably no (little??) sparge water.

I see that this water is pretty nice and I'm hoping that lime is only added in those cases where Bru'n Water says its really needed. As AJ says, its a powerful alkali. You definitely want the mash pH to end a little low than a little high. So an easy hand with the lime is important to avoid screwing a batch of beer.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:44 PM   #515
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I am using very small amounts of slacked lime. Just enough to get the water up to 50ppm calcium. I read in a few books that water with less then 50ppm can cause problems? It is often between 1-2 grams in 10 gallons of water.

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Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
First observation is that slaked lime is a powerful alkali. If you add enough of it to pick up 40 mg/L calcium you are increasing the alkalinity of your water by about 100. That can be overcome by adding acid but you might as well just add calcium chloride or calcium sulfate instead of the hydroxide and then the acid.
The reason I added the lime was in place of calcium chloride, to make for the fact that my water already had 42 chloride. It was not in addition to, but in place of. This of course is variable, based on how much chloride/calcium I am looking to end up with.

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Yes, changing the amount of water in the tun with the grist will affect mash pH. This is less true for really low alkalinity water, but is especially true as the tap water alkalinity rises. There is a limited amount of acid provided by the grist. There is X mg/L of alkalinity added with every drop of water in the tun. The acid quantity minus the total alkalinity added via the water drives the mash pH.
This was my assumption, but I wanted to ask someone to confirm, thanks! Just so I have it right in my head, the "Total Alkalinity, CaCO3" is what we are talking about right? I assume because RO/DI water would have 0, less acid would be required to reach the same PH. As the volume of water increases so the does the acid requirement.

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In this case, you assume that the mash water volume is the total water volume in contact with the grain and there is probably no (little??) sparge water.
In my case, no sparge water at all. This is a change for me, as I have always used a three vessel system and batch sparged. I want to go all electric and a 3 vessel system is just not in the cards.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:48 PM   #516
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willum View Post
I am using very small amounts of slacked lime. Just enough to get the water up to 50ppm calcium. I read in a few books that water with less then 50ppm can cause problems? It is often between 1-2 grams in 10 gallons of water.



The reason I added the lime was in place of calcium chloride, to make for the fact that my water already had 42 chloride. It was not in addition to, but in place of. This of course is variable, based on how much chloride/calcium I am looking to end up with.
Try using Bru'n Water to check what that does to your alkalinity (even in 10 gallons). For example, to raise my bicarbonate in 4.5 gallons of mash water to the 60s (for a dry stout) I only need about .5 grams of lime. You're likely adding more alkalinity than you want to add.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:01 PM   #517
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willum View Post
I am using very small amounts of slacked lime. Just enough to get the water up to 50ppm calcium. I read in a few books that water with less then 50ppm can cause problems? It is often between 1-2 grams in 10 gallons of water.
I'm hoping that you're adding lime only as needed to provide the alkalinity needed for your mash. Don't add it based on its calcium contribution or you are likely to add too much alkalinity to the mash and the pH could be too high. Using calcium chloride and calcium sulfate are the preferred additives to raise calcium content.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:06 PM   #518
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:13 PM   #519
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Try using Bru'n Water to check what that does to your alkalinity (even in 10 gallons). For example, to raise my bicarbonate in 4.5 gallons of mash water to the 60s (for a dry stout) I only need about .5 grams of lime. You're likely adding more alkalinity than you want to add.
According to Bru'n Water 1 gram in 10 gallons increases my calcium to 30.3 and my bicarbonate to 96.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:34 PM   #520
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This was my assumption, but I wanted to ask someone to confirm, thanks!
I think you are being led down the garden path a wee bit here. While in principal the amount of water does have an effect on pH in practice it is, for low alkalinity waters, small. Let's take your water and call its alkalinity 50 ppm as CaCO3 because that's a nice round number: 1 mEq/L. To move one L of that water to pH 5.4 will, assuming it comes to you at pH 7, require 0.9 mEq/L. Assuming that you put 455 g of malt in that liter of water (about 1 qt/lb) and that the malt had the typical buffering capacity of 25 - 30 mEq/pH-kg to move that malt from pH 5.8 to 5.4 would require 25*.4*455/1000= 4.55 to 5.46 mEq per pound of grain + liter of water for a total of about 5 (splitting the difference between 25 and 30 for the grain). The 0.9 for the water is about 15% of the total. That's what I meant when I said most of the acid goes to take care of the grain. Given a nominal buffering capacity for the grain of 27.5 mEq/kg-pH 0.9 mEq more of less of acid will move the pH of a pound of grain by 0.9/(27.5/2) = 0.06 pH. I'll leave it to you to decide whether that's significant or not. As I said, you are right on the borderline.
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