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Old 01-10-2014, 02:06 PM   #1
wobrien
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Default How to Reduce Chloride

Here is my Ward Labs report for Plymouth Meeting, PA:

pH - 8.1
Na - 4.3
K - 2
Ca - 73
Mg - 30
CaCO3 - 308
Nitrate - 16.4 (adj)
Sulfate - 24 (adj)
Cl - 113
CO3 - 9
HCO3 - 257
T.Alkalinity - 226

I'm new to water chemistry and my first thoughts are that Cl is high, Sulfates are low, Ca is good and Alkalinity is high.

I'd like to raise sulfates and lower chloride, but where I get confused is, if I dilute with distilled or RO water, how do I add back more sulfates than Ca? Is it possible to reduce Cl any way other than dilution? I'd like to avoid having to buy water for every brew, but it's looking to me like I will need to...



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Old 01-10-2014, 02:19 PM   #2
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According to Palmer, up to 250ppm of Chloride is generally acceptable in brewing water, so I wouldn't be concerned about it.

The 2 things I notice about your water are: (1) your sulfate is low, which leads to a high chloride to sulfate ratio, which favors malty flavors. I think you're on the right track in trying to raise your sulfate content in order to balance this out (depending on the style you're brewing). (2) your Mg level is right at the upper end of Palmer's recommended range (10-30).

There are 2 ways to increase sulfate that I'm aware of: add Gypsum (which will also increase calcium level, but that's ok with your water) or Epsom Salt (which will also increase Mg level, which is not ok with your water).

So here's what I'd do: for malty beers, I'd add 2g of Gypsum. For hoppy beers, I'd add 3g (assuming 5gal batch size). You can use a spreadsheet like EZ Water if you want to get more tailored than that.



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Old 01-10-2014, 02:23 PM   #3
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You definitely want to keep your chloride under 100 ppm, and often lower than that. Your alkalinity is too high as well, so the best way to deal with that is to dilute your tap water 50% with RO water or distilled water. I like RO water because it is easy to buy from those "water machines" at the grocery stores and it's pretty cheap. I think I paid $1.50 for 4 gallons. That will also lower your magnesium so it would be a good idea to do that.

Anyway, then the way to increase calcium and sulfate is to add some gypsum to the brewing water.

It's easy to do, and we can help you with navigating a spreadsheet to get the additions just right.

Just adding more gypsum to that water wouldn't work out very well, as you'd still have to much chloride and you'd have a very "minerally" taste in the finished beer.

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Old 01-10-2014, 02:32 PM   #4
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Not surprisingly, looks like Yooper is correct. I just checked his newer book "Water", and Palmer recommends keeping Chloride under 100.

Sorry man, looks like you're in "dilute with RO" country.

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Old 01-10-2014, 02:42 PM   #5
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Ok, thank you for the replies. So in navigating Bru'n Water for the first time, I chose a yellow bitter water profile for an IPA:
11# 2-row
2# Vienna
0.5# Cara-pils
0.5# C60

I used Yooper's recommendation of 50% RO dilution and added 1g/gal gypsum and 5 mL/gal phosphoric acid (10% strength).

According to the spreadsheet I get:
Ca - 98.4
Mg - 15
Sulfate - 160
Cl - 58.5
Alkalinity - 45
Estimated Mash pH - 5.4

These numbers all look good, right?

Another question jumps out at me. 25 mL of Phosphoric acid for the 5gal of strike water, but another 53 mL for the 4 gal of sparge water? Does that sound right?

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Old 01-10-2014, 02:45 PM   #6
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That water profile looks great.

Did you use the "sparge acidification" part of bru'nwater to come up with the 53 ml of phosphoric acid for the sparge water? If so, that would be about right off of the top of my head. Or, you can sparge with 100% RO water and not acidify it at all.

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Old 01-10-2014, 02:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
That water profile looks great.

Did you use the "sparge acidification" part of bru'nwater to come up with the 53 ml of phosphoric acid for the sparge water? If so, that would be about right off of the top of my head. Or, you can sparge with 100% RO water and not acidify it at all.
I did, but I notice that the sparge acidification tab comes before water adjustment, so it does not take into account the 50% dilution with RO water. Is there a reason for that?
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Old 01-10-2014, 04:12 PM   #8
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Yooper's correct. If you can just sparge with R/O then you can forget the acid in the sparge water - there isn't much chance for the pH to rise too high. Remember that the acid is knocking out the alkalinity first - then lowering the pH.

I was going to run your numbers in Bru'n, but I cannot get your water profile to balance. Are you sure the numbers are transcribed correctly? On the Water Input page, you should see the Cation/Anion Difference box in the Ion Balance Results section. After reviewing your numbers again - I show a 2.12 meq/L difference. Is this what you are seeing? That value minimally should be under 0.5 meq/L. This is an indicator of the validity of the test results.

Above the ion concentrations of your Ward report, there should be a line that reads Cations/Anions, me/L - what are the two values they provide? Are they close to the values in the Ion Balance Results section of Bru'n?

Perhaps Martin or AJ can weigh in. Depending on their advice, I might ask Ward to retest so you can have an accurate starting point.

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Old 01-10-2014, 04:20 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=mchrispen;5810902]Are you sure the numbers are transcribed correctly?QUOTE]

I noticed this as well because it was only a 0.4 difference on the lab report. As it turns out, I did transcribe it incorrectly and my sodium number is actually 43ppm. Nice catch, thank you.

Even with that error, the numbers still look good. Another question that I have is, do you add the gypsum and acid in the mash tun, or to the water ahead of time and does it make a difference?

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Old 01-10-2014, 04:52 PM   #10
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Thanks, I need the practice like everyone. That did the trick.

Quote:
do you add the gypsum and acid in the mash tun, or to the water ahead of time and does it make a difference?
For what it is worth, I add the gypsum addition into the ground grist before I dough in. As for the liquid acid - I add after dough in, and after verification that it is required with a pH meter. When doing this - I see the mash pH settle within the first few minutes and very minor changes after that unless I manipulate it.

Since you are adding in a moderate amount of acid, consider adding half, stirring like crazy (or recirc), measuring and then adding half again - rinse repeat until you hit your 5.4 target. That may hurt your strike temperature though - depending on your process. A mini test mash may help you dial that in and have the confidence to add it all at once.

Rather than confusing things relative to the target profile - let me recommend that you brew with your proposed profile, then test your finished beer with this batch by adding in measured doses of dissolved gypsum and tasting. This will give you a better idea of where your preference and threshold is for gypsum and you can scale your preferred addition for the next time your brew your IPA. Some people prefer much less than 100 ppm - while others will go over 500 ppm. I have replicated a brew using just short of the levels in the Pale Ale profile in Bru'n and found that to my liking than Yellow Bitter. That dosing exercise (often recommended by AJ and Martin) was very telling to me.

Best of luck!


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