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Old 02-20-2011, 11:35 PM   #1
iijakii
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Default First time water calculations, thoughts appreciated!

So I'm going to be making up a malty RIS somewhat similar to an Old Rasputin clone. I wasn't really sure what to formulate my water after, and wanted to see if I'm on the right track.

http://tinyurl.com/4o2ohbz

Any suggestions?

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Old 02-21-2011, 04:21 AM   #2
ajdelange
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I can't really tell what's going on with your water because I don't know the pH and because I don't know whether the 108 number is the alkalinity or the bicarbonate content. If I treat it as an alkalinity number I am shy 4 mEq/L on anions. That is a whole lot and a possible explanation is that the 144 value is not the calcium concentration as the ion but rather the calcium hardness as CaCO3. Interpreting it that way (and assuming that the magnesium number is in the same units) I am now high 0.3 mEq/L in anions. Interpreting 108 as the bicarbonate ion content gets me a pretty well balanced profile. In all this I am assuming a pH of 7. These assumptions do balance the water but I am, of course, on shaky ground making them. Under them the water is pretty nominal with an RA of 48 which is not too bad but with as little as 1.25 percent roast malt it is unlikely that the mash pH will go below 5.6 or so unless the 10% crystal is really dark, acidic stuff. Adding the bicarbonate violates the second rule of water treatment "Never add carbonate or bicarbonate to brewing water or mash unless a mash pH reading with a calibrated meter shows it is required." The first rule is "Alkalinity = bad" and this much bicarbonate raises the alkalinity from 90 to 249 which will also raise mash pH. So skip the bicarbonate. There is also little reason to ever add sodium chloride to brewing water with the exception being cases where you are trying to hit the particular ion profile of a particular brewing city for the ultimate in authenticity. If you want to increase chloride for mouthfeel/roundness use calcium chloride. Calcium is generally considered beneficial whereas sodium is, at best, useless and at worst contributes a sour quality to beers brewed with lots of it. This is a secondary reason for skipping the bicarbonate though the alkalinity increase is more significant.

My recommendation would be to brew this beer with the water as is i.e. no adjustments and check the mash pH. If it is too low (unlikely) then a small amount of pickling lime or chalk could be added to the mash, If it is too high (more likely) then you could either add more roast malt (1.25% seems low for a stout but I don't know much about RIS) or acid in the form of sauermalz.

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Old 02-22-2011, 07:45 PM   #3
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Damn, so this is definitely over my head still I guess.

I was trying to pump the bicarbonate up to match some of the ideal stout waters I had found searching around. I'll buy some pH strips or a cheap meter soon and try to delve into this some more later. Thank you for the help, I guess I will just brew this without any adjustments for now.

http://www.nrhtx.com/newsletters/Dri...y%20Report.pdf

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