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Old 03-15-2010, 10:04 PM   #1
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Default EZ water adjust questions

I recently brewed for the first time in quite a while. Brewed a brown ale and everything seemed to turn out ok. I'm planning to brew the same beer again, but I really think my water is holding me back from brewing an above average beer. Here is what I have come up with using EZ water adjustment:

Starting Water (ppm):
Ca: 49.7
Mg: 6.75
Na: 39.7
Cl: 60
SO4: 3
CaCO3: 288

Mash / Sparge Vol (gal): 7.75 / 11.5
Dilution Rate: 0% 10%

Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:
CaCO3: 3.7 / 5.5
CaSO4: 0 / 0
CaCl2: 0.30 / 0.4
MgSO4: 4.3 / 6.4
NaHCO3: 6.8 / 0
NaCl: 2.3 / 0
HCL Acid: 0 / 0
Lactic Acid: 11.9 / 17.7 (phosphoric acid @ 85%???)

Mash Water / Total water (ppm):
Ca: 103 / 100
Mg: 20 / 20
Na: 133 / 75
Cl: 112 / 80
SO4: 60 / 60
CaCO3: 487 / 388

RA (mash only): 170 (19 to 24 SRM) BU:GU = 0.6
Cl to SO4 (total water): 1.33 (Malty)

Now for the stupid question(s) part of the program.

Does this water profile suit a brown ale?

I have been using a carbon filter for the water.
Will filtering have any effect on my starting water?
What effect will boiling have on my starting water?

With my water being so alkaline it looks as though quite a bit of Lactic acid is going to be needed.
Can I use phosphoric acid in place of lactic acid?
Will the measurement be the same or do I need to tweak something in the spreadsheet?

Thanks in advance

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Old 03-15-2010, 10:14 PM   #2
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I'd go way simpler.


Starting Water (ppm):
Ca: 50
Mg: 7
Na: 40
Cl: 60
SO4: 3
CaCO3: 288

Mash / Sparge Vol (gal): 7.75 / 11.5
Dilution Rate: 0%

Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:
CaCO3: 0 / 0
CaSO4: 5 / 0
CaCl2: 0 / 0
MgSO4: 5 / 0
NaHCO3: 0 / 0
NaCl: 0 / 0
HCL Acid: 0 / 0
Lactic Acid: 0 / 0

Mash Water / Total water (ppm):
Ca: 89 / 66
Mg: 23 / 13
Na: 40 / 40
Cl: 60 / 60
SO4: 165 / 68
CaCO3: 288 / 288

RA (mash only): 211 (23 to 27 SRM)
Cl to SO4 (total water): 0.88 (Balanced)

There's no reason to use CaSO3 when your already need to lower RA. Note, the mash only additions there are keeping the RA low enough for a Brown while not overwhelming the total product with Ca or SO4.

Filtering will only cut Ca by a few PPM, don't even worry about it.

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Old 03-16-2010, 01:29 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input....Im all for keeping is simple

I may add a little CaCL to raise the CL:SO ratio.

Just ordered a scale and should be here before next brewday

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Old 03-16-2010, 03:35 PM   #4
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On the surface, the water looks like it suits a dark brown ale. If you can drop your bicarbonate level by half, you'd have perfect water for a lighter one. I'd dilute by half and then add back CaCl2 to bring the Ca above 50.

However...

If your first batch turned out fair and *all* of your other parameters (mash temp., grain bill, sparge process, ingredient quality, yeast selection and management, fermentation process, handling and sanitation) are absolutely 100% spot-on, *then* I'd look at the water. But if it tastes fine, leave it alone.

In terms of improving beer quality, I'd look at those other issues way, way, way before I start tweaking something as minute as the Cl:SO ratio of my water.

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Old 03-16-2010, 05:06 PM   #5
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A 20:1 CL:SO4 is pretty out of whack no matter what. Of course a million other things can be jacked with a brewer's process, but at least he's identified one thing that can use improvement. Sure, fixing a fuel leak is more important then replacing four bald tires but...

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:05 PM   #6
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I do consider the water adjustment/treatment part of the process improvement, along with taking pH measurements, which is something I have never done before. But these seem to go hand in hand.

I'm not even sure of what the pH was of the Brown Ale in question was, but I'm sure it was way off because of the high alkalinity of my untreated water. Is there any way to estimate what the pH may have been? Water analysis reports my water as 7.7 pH.

I have always been very relaxed about the water treatment/pH part of the process. But I've decided that I really need to focus on this part of the process.

Mash temp and conversion has never been an issue for me as I have always been able to hit my temps within a few degrees....usually within +/- 1 deg F.

There is one part of the process that didnt go right during the last batch and that was the fermentation. Lag time was very long and the whole fermentation seemed to go very slow. Possible high wort pH?

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