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Old 02-05-2013, 11:19 PM   #21
kenlenard
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Originally Posted by BigEd View Post
... especially for the upcoming Czech Pils.
Btw... I brewed that beer last week. Hochkurz mash 145x30 and 160x60, 90% distilled water, 10% filtered tap (for 'trace amounts') and 3.5g of calcium chloride. Durst Turbo Pils, Weyermann Vienna (and Munich too?), Hallertau Tradition for bittering and some late Saaz with Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager yeast. It smells like beer heaven as it ferments in the fridge... thanks to you guys!
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:42 PM   #22
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You are in a minority but not alone. Most craft brew/home brew afficionados seem to want hops hops and more hops. I'm associated with a brewpub where the guy is an excellent Kölsch brewer, has gotten medals at GABF for his Kölsch's etc but the patrons don't by them (and they are good, believe me). They buy his insanely hopped stuff. Whatever they'll buy is OK with me (and him) so that's fine but not everyone likes beer that way. I'm one of them.
I know I'm probably getting precariously off-topic, but... I have always been a fan of balanced, beery beers. Amber lagers and ales, Red lagers and ales, Pale ale, Bitters, Oktobers, Viennas, Marzens, Bocks, Dunkels, Helles, Blonde ales, West Coast Lagers, Kolsch, Altbier, etc. My highest IBU beers probably come in around 40 or so. I can drink ultra-hoppy IPAs or Bourbon Barrel stouts when I'm out or at homebrew gatherings but I wouldn't want 5 gallons of it around because it would take forever for me to drink it. I do not make stouts, porters, IPAs, Hefes or Belgians. Most homebrewers wince at that but that's me. There is PLENTY of wiggle room in the styles I like to make to keep my creative juices flowing. Thanks again for the help! Very helpful and informative thread.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:17 PM   #23
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As AJ said, you have to attend to excessive bicarbonate in brewing water. Ken, you are effectively using one option to reduce bicarbonate (alkalinity) in your brewing water. However, I feel that you are ignoring a simpler and less expensive option, acidification. The modest bicarbonate level in that water should be no problem for phosphoric acid use and only a possible problem for lactic acid.
Does it matter in the finished beer which of these 2 methods are used (assuming same mash pH and ppm of Ca, Cl, SO4 etc in finished beer):

Mix tap water + RO water for both mash and sparge, and use "less" acid malt in grist and acidify sparge water

OR

Use all tap water for mash plus "more" acid malt in grist and use all RO water (no acidification) for sparging.

I'm trying to determine the best way to reduce/neutralize bicarbonate - acid reduction or dilution - all else being equal.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:50 PM   #24
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The difference that you must always recognize is that each bicarbonate ion removed is, when acid is used, replaced by an equivalent amount of the anion of the acid used but the concentrations of all the other ions stay the same (unless phosphoric acid is used and conditions are such that calcium is stripped). This may be an advantage or disadvantage compared to the dilution method depending on the water and the beer being brewed. On the other hand when dilution is used all ions, not just bicarbonate, are reduced by the same amount. Again, this may be an advantage or disadvantage.

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Old 02-06-2013, 04:01 PM   #25
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The difference that you must always recognize is that each bicarbonate ion removed is, when acid is used, replaced by an equivalent amount of the anion of the acid used but the concentrations of all the other ions stay the same (unless phosphoric acid is used and conditions are such that calcium is stripped). This may be an advantage or disadvantage compared to the dilution method depending on the water and the beer being brewed. On the other hand when dilution is used all ions, not just bicarbonate, are reduced by the same amount. Again, this may be an advantage or disadvantage.
Couple of follow ups AJ - by advantage/disadvantage, are you referring solely to taste? What is the anion of lactic acid
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:13 PM   #26
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Under the assumption that you get mash pH correct by these manipulations and have sufficient calcium then yes, taste is the consideration.

The anion of lactic acid is lactate ion CH3COHCOO-. It is the flavor in many fermented foods such as sauerkraut, sour dough bread and, of course, sour beers.

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Old 02-06-2013, 06:13 PM   #27
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Under the assumption that you get mash pH correct by these manipulations and have sufficient calcium then yes, taste is the consideration.

The anion of lactic acid is lactate ion CH3COHCOO-. It is the flavor in many fermented foods such as sauerkraut, sour dough bread and, of course, sour beers.
Ahhh - the pieces are slowly falling into place. Now I understand why light, delicate ales and lagers should be brewed with RO / soft water rather than acidified tap water. Even though the pH can be manipulated to the desired level when using tap + acid, and the bicarb neutralized, the flavor from the anion may be too pronounced for a Boh pils or Kolsch n'est pa?
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:17 PM   #28
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So, does lactic acid throw the ion balance off? I just want to be sure I understand what I am reading.

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Old 02-06-2013, 06:24 PM   #29
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I'll give you a definite 'it depends' on this. In priciple, yes but there are a few additional things to consider. In a Boh Pils you may want as little of any ions, an- or cat- as you can get. This is the traditional Urquel beer: very low ion water. But chloride tends to lend some body, roundness and sweetness to a beer so you might want some chloride in which case you might want to dispose of alkalinity with hydrochloric acid. Presuming the alkalinity was paired with calcium hardness the end result would be calcium chloride: the same result you would get by adding calcium chloride to RO water. I expect this is a little confusing to you at this point so I guess that may be an advantage of the RO approach I hadn't thought of before. It may be easier to see what's going on.

In delicate lagers that use noble hops sulfate is a disaster so you would not want to use sulfuric acid to dispose of bicarbonate in these beers.

Acid beyond what is required for alkalinity nullification is required for these beers. German brewers use acidulated malt or sauergut i.e. lactic acid for that purpose and, of course, if alkalinity in the water can't be fully dealt with by boiling or lime treatment lactic will take care of that too. Sauermalz adds subtle flavors to beers brewed with it and so, in some cases, lactic flavor, at the level of the violas in an orchestra, may be desirable. But you certainly would not want to add enough to make the lactic a primary flavor. Weyermann, who sells acidulated malt, has a recipe for Berliner Weiße on their website that uses enough that you can taste it.

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Old 02-06-2013, 06:25 PM   #30
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So, does lactic acid throw the ion balance off? I just want to be sure I understand what I am reading.
No. Nothing can throw the ion balance off. One proton, one singly charged anion: CH3COHCOOH ---> H+ + CH3COHCOO-
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