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Old 11-01-2012, 02:30 PM   #31
ajdelange
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Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
So to summerize. It can't be done. And if you try it it will ruin your beer. So don't try it.
While you don't say what 'it' is the answer really doesn't much depend on that. It's one of the fundamental questions of life. If you see that someone is doing something less than optimally should you
1. Ignore it in the expectation that he will see what the problem is, learn something and stop doing it.
2. Ignore it based on the 'better is the enemy of good enough' philosophy
3. Tell him that he is an idiot and should immediately start doing it 'my way'.
4. Try to explain what is going on in the hope that if he is at least moved in the direction of understanding the principles he will be able to interpret what he sees and react accordingly.

Obviously those of us who post here strive to implement No. 4 but often some of the other approaches slip in. No. 1 works for some individuals, is often referred to as sending them to 'the school of hard knocks' and is probably ultimately the best course but it takes a long time and only works for the sort that can learn on his own.

If 'it' means introducing alkalinity into brewing water by the use of chalk and carbonic that does work. Nature has done it that way for ever. There are easier ways to introduce alkalinity into water i.e. lime and while this may be a new concept to the home brewing community it is commonly done in commercial brewing, at least in parts of the world where the main water source is RO. If 'it' means introducing bicarbonate flavor into beer - no, that can't be done and most people would find that a good thing.

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Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
I was making ok extract beer. But it was lacking something. My brews were tasting watery, lacking flavor, body, chill haze, high finishing gravities, off flavors, the usual new brewer problems. I did a lot of reading. Went all grain. Beer got better. Bought a fermentation fridge. Beer got better. Learned about yeast. Beer got better.
This is the normal progression of things. Mastering water is often the last step. But you can't expect to master it over night. It is a complex subject, misinformation abounds and personal opinions about things like, for example, whether bicarbonate tastes good can be strong (not that they shouldn't be).

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When I buy a PH meter and make pickling lime or phosphoric acid additions will it be even better? If it fits the pattern I would have to say probably yes.
Yes it will.

One part of the process you have not mentioned is getting other knowledgeable people to taste your beer. They will often point out things you miss and will point out flaws you may have missed.

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Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
Take a glass of water. Add vinegar. Test the PH. Acidic. Now add baking soda. The baking soda reacts with the vinegar and as it buffers the acid you get CO2 (fizz) as it dissipates. If it's dissipating it's not buffering? Test the PH. Now it's higher. Sodium Bicarbonate buffers acid.
You are confusing 'buffering' with 'neutralization'. Bicarbonate (the sodium has nothing to do with it - well it does but it's a third order effect) is a base. It accepts protons from an acid such as acetic acid (vinegar) in the process converting to carbonic acid

HAc + HCO3- ---> H2CO3 + Ac-

If the carbonic acid stays in solution then the ratio of its concentration to that of the bicarbonate will depend on the pH:

[HCO3-]/[H2CO3] = 10^(pH - 6.38)

If you hold the number of carbon atoms constant and add varying amounts of acetic acid to the mix you will see that the pH change per unit of added acid is minimum at pH = 6.38 i.e. the system resists pH change from the stress of added acid best at pH 6.38. This is buffering.

If you add enough acid to raise the concentration of carbonic acid high enough then it decomposes into water and CO2 which leaves the solution (it fizzes)

H2CO3 ---> H2O + CO2

There is no buffering (the pH changes). The acid has neutralized the base.

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Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
Why wouldn't it work in a mash? I don't know.
Again it's not clear what 'it' is (sounds like Bill Clinton). Bicarbonate doesn't buffer in the mash for the same reason it doesn't buffer in the experiment with vinegar and bicarbonate. But just as the acetic acid in the experiment will neutralize some of the bicarbonate (and be neutralized by it) so will mash acids neutralize bicarbonate in mash water and be neutralized by it:

HA + HCO3- ---> H2CO3 + A- ---> H2O + CO2 + A-

where A- represents the anion of whatever acid we are considering (and there are several in malt). The bicarbonate brings the pH up. The acid brings the pH down. Most people struggle to get bicarbonate out of their water because they want pH in the 5.2 - 5.4 range. In that range the ratio of bicarbonate to carbonic in solution is

[HCO3-]/[H2CO3] = 10^(pH - 6.38) = 10^(5.3 - 6.38) = 10^(-1.08) = 0.08

There will be little bicarbonate - most will convert to carbonic which, under the heat of the mash will convert to water and carbon dioxide and leave. That's why you can't get bicarbonate flavor in beer by adding carbonate or bicarbonate to the water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
Water, CO2, salt for flavor, and a little baking soda so it's not so sour. Club soda makes a nice drink. That's how they make it. I looked it up. Just a tiny amount of minerals.
You can indeed add bicarbonate (or other alkali) to fizzy water. I wrote earlier that this would be defeating the purpose because that would raise the pH and I think part of the appeal of fizzy water is it's tartness but perhaps not all people think that way. As I mentioned in an earlier post even carbonation to 2 volumes would result in a pH of 3.78 (and bicarbonate level of 10 mg/L.) Adding 50 mg/L NaHCO3 to this would raise the pH to 4.35 while keeping the 2 volumes but raising the bicarbonate to 39 mg/L. This should be low enough that you don't taste it and go a bit easier on your tooth enamel. Note that some Gueze's can be as low as pH 3.8 whereas lots of ales come in at around 4.4.

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Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
Add a teaspoon of baking soda in 5 gallons of water, you might not even notice.
Perhaps not but that would instill 68 mg/L sodium and 113 ppm as CaCO3 alkalinity. That is a bit more than twice the alkalinity most people strive for (50 or less). Most people are trying to reduce alkalinity, not increase it, unless they are doing very dark beers and then they use lime.

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Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
My wife and kids didn't even notice.
I must say that I find the taste of bicarbonate particularly offensive. My house in Quebec has a well that boasts 314 ppm hardness and alkalinity of 276 ppm. Needless to say the previous owner installed a water softener but the bicarbonate (about 340 mg/L) comes right through and at first I couldn't drink that water so I went to the super market and bough bottled water only to find that awful too. I hadn't checked the mineral content before I picked it up. It has bicarbonate at about 120 mg/L. Eventually I learned to drink the house water (because I never got around to installing the RO system I took up there). My wife and son are untroubled by this water.

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Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water, of course it tastes bad but as stated above it dissipates as it neutalizes acids in the mash so why should the taste of baking soda in a glass of water prevent someone from brewing with it? I don't know.
Most would object based on the sodium. Others would say 'Yes you can use baking soda but you can also use lime which does the same job of neutralization and does not introduce at best don't care sodium but in fact introduces beneficial calcium' and chose lime on that basis. As I noted earlier this is a relatively new concept for home brewers. In the past they would have tried to use chalk.


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Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
Baking soda will neutralize a sour stomach.
Yes, that's correct.


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Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
Eat a chalk tablet (Rolaids) and it will also buffer a sour stomach.
No, it will neutralize stomach acid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddybrew View Post
Chalk and baking soda neutralize acid. Why won't it buffer acid if you disslove it first and add it to your mash? I don't know.
Because buffering and neutralization are not the same thing. But it will neutralize.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:30 PM   #32
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Ajdelange, thanks for your time and effort. "It" is using baking soda and chalk to make delicious beer. I enjoy brewing, drinking and sharing beer. I hope you enjoy brewing as much as I do. Relax and have a homebrew.
Bigdaddybrew

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Old 11-02-2012, 12:33 PM   #33
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Klnosaj, My apologies. Your post got hijacked. How do you dissolve chalk? A small amount of chalk can be dissolved with seltzer water. I do it all the time with delicious results. Good luck.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:46 PM   #34
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nothing like squandering a great opportunity to learn

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– "A Wicked Beverage," New York Times, April 10, 1894
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:07 PM   #35
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Just had a look at #31. Obviously I copied and pasted a huge section of the stuff where I didn't intend to. I tried to edit this out and hope I made things better rather than worse. I apologize for making you read all that twice.

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Old 11-02-2012, 02:21 PM   #36
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nothing like squandering a great opportunity to learn
I offered my experience as a homebrewer and my simple reasoning for my methods. I'm confident about my process. I'm no chemist but my beer sure is good. I'm not afraid to way in even if my methods fall short of the beeristocracy. Pickling lime has been accepted as the superior method. So what. No one should offer an alternative method or process because it's been written into homebrew law? I particpated in the debate to the best of my experience, knowledge and ability. The knowledge gained from these forums is why my friends killed a corny of my irish red at last weekends pig roast and left half a keg of bud light to go flat. Damn good beer!
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:27 PM   #37
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Just had a look at #31. Obviously I copied and pasted a huge section of the stuff where I didn't intend to. I tried to edit this out and hope I made things better rather than worse. I apologize for making you read all that twice.
Thanks again for your time. I appreciate the discussion. This is what makes this forum so interesting to me. People who share my passion about brewing beer.
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:46 PM   #38
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The knowledge gained from these forums is why my friends killed a corny of my irish red at last weekends pig roast and left half a keg of bud light to go flat. Damn good beer!
I enjoy HBT as well.

But my friends love my free beer too. Even the beers that I think didn't turn out well. They know they can get store bought beer anytime so they enjoy mine whenever they get a chance.

The only reason I say this is because of the fact that people drinking your free beer over other free beer does not mean that there is no room for improvement. And FWIW, the main guy you have been discussing this with is pretty well known to be an expert on the subject.
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:52 PM   #39
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I'm no chemist...
but aj is.

i don't think he necessarily speaks to "homebrew law", he just offers the scientific explanation.

there are many ways to make good beer - but to ignore the science because it worked for you in the past is a mistake, imo.

have you ever thought you were making good beer in spite of your water process, instead of because of it?
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The man who intoxicates himself on bad whisky is sometimes moved to kill his wife and set his house on fire, but the victim of applejack is capable of blowing up a whole town with dynamite and of reciting original poetry to every surviving inhabitant.

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Old 11-03-2012, 02:55 AM   #40
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Motobrewer, Ever think that this thread is my so many brewers only lurk and never post?

Ayoungrad, Until dialing in the mineral additions nobody really cared what beer I brought. I got compliments but I often found the samples abandoned. Now they try it, compliment me and ask, you brewed this? And now they keep drinking. Can I do better? For sure. So far every batch has been better than the last. Pickling lime? Gonna have to try that.

Tomorrow I'm gonna keg 5 gallons of cream ale and brew 5 gallons of american amber while I enjoy a 6 pack of Bell's midwest pale ale cause they drank all my irish red. Relax and have a homebrew. I know I will as soon as it's carbed up.

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I made a lot of beer and I can't drink it all by myself...okay I can but I like to share too.


Last edited by bigdaddybrew; 11-03-2012 at 03:13 AM. Reason: my sarcasm removed.
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