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Old 09-30-2009, 11:54 PM   #1
wildwest450
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Default Do I have the hang of water adjustments yet?

Last time i'll bother you good people with inane water profile questions. My water is NOT suitable for dark beers, and i'm trying to come up with a decent profile to use. If this looks good it will be my permanent profile for dark beers.

As always thanks for trying to help guide me through the maize that is water chemistry.
Almost forgot, it's a Brown porter with a srm of 20.

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Old 10-01-2009, 01:13 AM   #2
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The only thing I would say is that your bicarbonates are at 300. I think I would keep the HCO3 at 200 for this beer. Palmer's recommended range for dark beer is 150 - 250 ppm.

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Old 10-01-2009, 01:49 AM   #3
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I think the only issue I have with this solution in general is the way it splits all additions linearly with mash/sparge split. For example, is there any benefit at all to adding baking soda to the boil kettle? It seems like the only salt that is really only beneficial in mash pH adjustment. I'd go with what you have but skip the NaCO3 addition to the BK.

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Old 10-01-2009, 11:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfohio View Post
The only thing I would say is that your bicarbonates are at 300. I think I would keep the HCO3 at 200 for this beer. Palmer's recommended range for dark beer is 150 - 250 ppm.
Where does it say my bicarbonates are 300?

Also, if i use alkalinity instead of bicarbonate in the starting water profile it jacks up the projected SRM and RA, which number is more accurate?
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:22 PM   #5
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Bicarbonates can be found from alkalinity as CaCO3 by dividing the alkalinity by 50 then multiplying by 61. Residual alkalinity is the alkalinity of CaCO3 - effective hardness.

The reason the projected srm and ra are increasing when you switch to alkalinity on the sheet is because you are essentially increasing the bicarbonates on the sheet without realizing it. Alkalinity as CaCO3 at 9 ppm is now 11 HCO3 ppm. Make sense?

I tend to agree with Bobby M and might even take it a step further. The idea of the mash is to setup a profile that will give you a RA that is ideal for mash pH for the beer that is being brewed. So why not just add salts to the mash that will affect the overall RA as well as having enough calcium for sufficient enzyme conversion. Then add salts to the kettle that will affect the overall flavor.

I have not tried that yet but the theory makes sense to me. So for your beer I would add 1.5g Chalk and 2g Baking Soda to the mash. Then to the kettle add 2g gypsum, 4.5g calcium chloride, and 3g Epsom salt.

Anyone have an opinion on this type of addition?

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Old 10-01-2009, 03:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfohio View Post
I tend to agree with Bobby M and might even take it a step further. The idea of the mash is to setup a profile that will give you a RA that is ideal for mash pH for the beer that is being brewed. So why not just add salts to the mash that will affect the overall RA as well as having enough calcium for sufficient enzyme conversion. Then add salts to the kettle that will affect the overall flavor.

I have not tried that yet but the theory makes sense to me. So for your beer I would add 1.5g Chalk and 2g Baking Soda to the mash. Then to the kettle add 2g gypsum, 4.5g calcium chloride, and 3g Epsom salt.
How do you find the ideal RA for the beer being brewed? Please don't tell me Palmers stupid connect the dots graph, my numbers are so low it's not accurate. And why so much gypsum in the kettle, it's not an IPA?




Quote:
Originally Posted by dfohio View Post
Bicarbonates can be found from alkalinity as CaCO3 by dividing the alkalinity by 50 then multiplying by 61. Residual alkalinity is the alkalinity of CaCO3 - effective hardness.

The reason the projected srm and ra are increasing when you switch to alkalinity on the sheet is because you are essentially increasing the bicarbonates on the sheet without realizing it. Alkalinity as CaCO3 at 9 ppm is now 11 HCO3 ppm. Make sense?
It doesn't make sense, because I put in the total alkalinity # in, mine is 8 and bi-carb is 9.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:57 PM   #7
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Most tools I've seen base the target RA on the estimated color of the beer. For instance, your beer is estimated at 20 srm. My mash RA spreadsheet will then give a range RA from 122 - 181 for a beer of that color.

So in your case I settled for around 140 RA. I adjusted chalk and baking soda until I got calcium above 50, Bicarbonates around 200, and RA right around 140. This came out to an addition of 1.5g chalk and 2g baking soda for your 3 gallon mash.

I used the gypsum and Epsom to bring up the sulfates, calcium and magnesium to about where you had them before. I balanced the sulfates with CaCl which also raised the calcium more to where you had it.

Overall, your end 8 gallons looks like this

Ca Mg Na SO4 Cl HCO3
80 10.8 21 77.5 75.4 85.9

The mash profile was this

Ca Mg Na SO4 Cl HCO3
57 1 51 2 4 216


Now, I'm only doing these additions on the assumption that bicarbonates do not impact flavor of the beer, only the mash pH. If anyone has an argument against this please respond.

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Old 10-01-2009, 04:22 PM   #8
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The saga continues.

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Old 10-01-2009, 07:40 PM   #9
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Sorry if that made things worse, I confuse myself sometimes. I think water is the hardest concept of brewing to truly understand.

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Old 10-01-2009, 08:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfohio View Post
Sorry if that made things worse, I confuse myself sometimes. I think water is the hardest concept of brewing to truly understand.


Because there is not much you can see or feel and we have little intuition when it comes to how all these compounds react with each other. In addition the effects of water can be rather subtle. Only few of us have actually run experiments that evaluate the taste impacts of various ions and we rely on generally accepted knowledge for that.

The concept of only treating the mash water, especially for dark beers which may require a lot of alkaline salts, is an interesting one. It basically allows you to effectively use softer water for the beer since the water profile will get diluted by the sparge water. In this case you may want to check that your mash and your pre-boil pH are ok. Both should be around 5.4 (cooled sample). But otherwise I don’t see an issue with not treating the sparge water and omitting its salt treatments completely.

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