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Old 05-10-2011, 12:42 PM   #1
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Default In Gordon strong's new book pgs 145-147 he states this about alkalinity & RA

"Color is not a factor in water adjustment."

"Alkalinity can be neutralized; it's what's left over(RA) that is undesireable from a flovor standpoint."

I've been led to believe differently. I've tried to adjust my water RA to achive a certain beer color. And I never knew it could effect taste in an undesirable way.

I add chalk to raise the RA of my water but being that it is hard to dissolve chalk in an alkaline environment(so it's true effectiveness is mostly a guess) and raising RA may be undesirable, maybe I shouldn't add chalk.



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Revvy>>You shouldn't worry about ANYTHING, you didn't hurt the yeast, they know what they need to do, they want to eat all that sugar they are swimming around in. They want to pee alcohol and fart co2, it's their nature.

Bobby_M>>I flood the keg with CO2 for one minute with the lid off, rack the beer in to the bottom gently, seal it, flood it, vent it. If there's still O2 in there after that, F it.

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Old 05-10-2011, 01:07 PM   #2
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No, you should never add chalk to water and only add it to mash when it is necessary as determined by a reliable pH measurement. I believe Gordon to be spot on in this statement. I think the attempts to calculate an alkalinity or RA requirement from beer color have done more harm to homebrewing than anything else I can think of.

This is not to say that there isn't a correlation between beer color and the alkalinity of the water from which it was, in the days of the evolution of the style, brewed. The problem is that the correlation is much too weak to serve as the basis for setting water chemistry (IMO). Others differ on this. Some pretty sharp guys have put together water treatment spreadsheets that rely, to various extents, on color as an input. Discussions here and elsewhere have, at least, put color into a much less significant role that it used to have.



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Old 05-10-2011, 01:11 PM   #3
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Actually, you're better off lowering the alkalinity of your water. High alkaline water can cause most of the malt enzymes to lose activity. It also lowers extract yield, causes slow fermentation, and causes a hard taste.

The higher the R.A., the higher the wort pH....not good.

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Old 05-10-2011, 01:34 PM   #4
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Interesting reply's. Maybe When I do my water adjustments I should keep my focus on having enough calcium, low sodium and a proper sulfate/chloride ratio and not worry so much about color, let the grains take care of that and what ever color I get is what I get. Because taste is what's most important.

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Revvy>>You shouldn't worry about ANYTHING, you didn't hurt the yeast, they know what they need to do, they want to eat all that sugar they are swimming around in. They want to pee alcohol and fart co2, it's their nature.

Bobby_M>>I flood the keg with CO2 for one minute with the lid off, rack the beer in to the bottom gently, seal it, flood it, vent it. If there's still O2 in there after that, F it.

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Old 05-10-2011, 03:31 PM   #5
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Quit worrying about color and you have shed one shibboleth. Now quit worrying about chloride/sulfate ratio and you are rid of the other. Chloride and sulfate are not antagonistic except in the broadest sense. Does anyone seriously believe that brewing water with 1 ppm chloride and 1 ppm sulfate will make a beer anything like water with 200 of each even though the chloride/sulfate ratio is the same in both cases?

The use of the terms shibboleth is particularly appropriate here as it is British brewers who developed the notion that the ratio may be as telling as the absolute amounts (and the literature on this is pretty sparse). On the continent the higher the ratio the better (no sulfate is considered desirable). This may (or may not) have something to do with the way sulfate effects British hop cultivars as opposed to continental ones.

In general, the water with the lowest mineral content seems to make the best beer. Getting rid of sulfate is a large part of this (but in some cases the effect on hops is part of the style and is necessary if you seek authenticity though low sulfate ales may actually be better). There is a Water Primer in the stickies here which may be of some help in getting started with water treatment for brewing.

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Old 05-10-2011, 04:44 PM   #6
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This post couldn't be more timely for me. My cousin and I just brewed an oatmeal stout last weekend that had an estimated color of 47 SRM and a ton of roasted grain. I have used the EZ calculator in the past with good results but on this beer I just could not get the estimated mash pH, Alkalinity, and RA in line. I decided to just rely on my brew notes from stouts past to get me in the ball park. We doughed in with my low alkalinity water and used some baking soda and chalk till we hit our mash pH of 5.4. I was suprised to see that the amounts used were alot less expected.

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Old 05-10-2011, 05:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a_potter View Post
This post couldn't be more timely for me. My cousin and I just brewed an oatmeal stout last weekend that had an estimated color of 47 SRM and a ton of roasted grain. I have used the EZ calculator in the past with good results but on this beer I just could not get the estimated mash pH, Alkalinity, and RA in line. I decided to just rely on my brew notes from stouts past to get me in the ball park. We doughed in with my low alkalinity water and used some baking soda and chalk till we hit our mash pH of 5.4. I was suprised to see that the amounts used were alot less expected.
Hmmm...you added soda and chalk during the mash? Is 5.4 adjusted for temperature?
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Revvy>>You shouldn't worry about ANYTHING, you didn't hurt the yeast, they know what they need to do, they want to eat all that sugar they are swimming around in. They want to pee alcohol and fart co2, it's their nature.

Bobby_M>>I flood the keg with CO2 for one minute with the lid off, rack the beer in to the bottom gently, seal it, flood it, vent it. If there's still O2 in there after that, F it.

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Old 05-10-2011, 06:30 PM   #8
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...an estimated color of 47 SRM and a ton of roasted grain. baking soda and chalk till we hit our mash pH of 5.4. I was suprised to see that the amounts used were alot less expected.
That is the problem with most of the spreadsheets - when the color get's moderately high they ask for lots and lots of alkali. At the lower color levels they do better.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:39 PM   #9
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Yes I added Baking Soda and Chalk to my mash to bring the mash pH up to 5.4 at room temp. It work perfectly this time. The point I was getting at was that the calculator was saying I would need to add about double what I actually used to get the mash pH where I wanted it. EZ water calculator estimates alot with regard to the effect of CaCO3 in your mash. Because I keep detailed notes on everything during the brew day I could confidently brew this stout and get the correct mash pH even though the EZ water calculator said it wasn't going to work. I have Bru'n Water but am waiting on a more detailed water report so at this time I am still using other calculator which have worked well for me in the past.

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Old 05-10-2011, 09:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a_potter View Post
Yes I added Baking Soda and Chalk to my mash to bring the mash pH up to 5.4 at room temp. It work perfectly this time. The point I was getting at was that the calculator was saying I would need to add about double what I actually used to get the mash pH where I wanted it. EZ water calculator estimates alot with regard to the effect of CaCO3 in your mash. Because I keep detailed notes on everything during the brew day I could confidently brew this stout and get the correct mash pH even though the EZ water calculator said it wasn't going to work. I have Bru'n Water but am waiting on a more detailed water report so at this time I am still using other calculator which have worked well for me in the past.
What I am asking is: When I add salts, I add them to the strike water (a one shot deal)when I pour it in the MLT. I was wondering if you add it while your mashing then check you pH as you go. The way I do it it's sort of a shot in the dark. Adding a little at a time during the mash would prolly be better.


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Revvy>>You shouldn't worry about ANYTHING, you didn't hurt the yeast, they know what they need to do, they want to eat all that sugar they are swimming around in. They want to pee alcohol and fart co2, it's their nature.

Bobby_M>>I flood the keg with CO2 for one minute with the lid off, rack the beer in to the bottom gently, seal it, flood it, vent it. If there's still O2 in there after that, F it.

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