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Old 09-13-2012, 12:55 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ggoodman View Post

below ph 7 acidic, above 7 basic or alkaline. This definition is by no means limited to highschool as you will find it micro bio, Anatomy and phyisiolgy, pathology, and a long list of other classes that are def not high school courses.

oop it's 5 o'clock time for beer.
Yep, that's right.

Except defining the pH as "basic" isn't the same as discussing the alkalinity of the water.

If you read AJdeLange's post again, slowly, this is explained here:

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Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
In dealing with brewing water, however, acidity and alkalinity have different meanings. They refer to the buffering capacity of a solution. Alkalinity is the amount of acid which must be added to a liter of the water in question in order to lower its pH to a value near 4.5 (as Martin has pointed out). This, in potable water, is the acid required to convert all the carbonate and bicarbonate in a water to carbon dioxide gas. This is what we must do in the mash tun in order to get the mash pH into the proper range and that's why alkalinity is such an important measure to brewers - independent of pH.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:03 AM   #12
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Sorry I let my feathers get ruffled by the high school comment.

How can one measure the buffer capacity of the Water to determine what we must do in the mash ton.

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Old 09-13-2012, 02:02 AM   #13
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Wow that had to take a while to type up.
No, it didn't.

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You can complicate this as much as you like or keep as simple as you like. Having had Chem 1, 2 organic and biochem I too can make this very complicated or we can keep it simple.
It is indeed quite simple. Alkalinity is the amount of acid needed to move water sample to a specified pH (around 4.5). That's all there is to it.

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below ph 7 acidic, above 7 basic or alkaline.
Because alkalinity means something else (buffering capacity) in the water and brewing (and many other) industries it is misleading to imply that pH higher (lower) than 7 implies more (less) alkalinity. You can have alkalinity of 50 at pH 5, pH 6, pH 7, pH 8, pH 9 or any pH in between. At pH 5.57 you can have alkalinity of 2, 22, 103 or 200 or any value in between. pH and alkalinity are virtually independent.
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:07 AM   #14
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How can one measure the buffer capacity of the Water to determine what we must do in the mash ton.
The standard procedure is to measure out 100 mL of sample and place it in a beaker with a stir bar and either a pH electrode or indicator (bromcresol green - methyl red). This is titrated with 0.1 N acid (hydrochloric or sulfuric) until the end point is reached. In the ISO method the end point is 4.5 in the AWWA method the end point is arbitrary but end points are suggested depending on the anticipated alkalinity. 0.1 N acid going into 0.1 L of sample implies 1 mEq/L alkalinity for each mL of acid consumed. It is standard practice in the US to multiply the mEq/L by 50 giving units of 'ppm as calcium carbonate'.
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