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Old 10-03-2013, 05:38 PM   #1
LovesIPA
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Default Ideal bicarbonate level

Palmer's book gives the following information about ideal bicarbonate levels:

0-50 ppm for pale, base-malt only beers
50-150 ppm for amber colored, toasted malt beers
150-250 ppm for dark, roasted malt beers

The Bru'n Water spreadsheet says:

Bicarbonate does not have an ideal range. It is needed only to the extent required to produce the appropriate mash pH.

Right now I'm looking at a water profile for BM's OktoberFAST Ale that has a bicarbonate level of 982.8 ppm to get the correct mash pH. It also has a Ca level of 350.4 ppm.

Two questions - who should we believe about bicarbonate levels, and is the calcium level too high? Again, with regard to calcium, Palmer and Bru'N Water do not agree on ideal levels.

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Old 10-03-2013, 09:56 PM   #2
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The required amount of bicarbonate is that which provides the proton deficit not provided by other mash components which is necessary to cancel the proton surfeits of anything acidic in the grist (such as a roast or caramel malt). This is a 'modern' way of saying what you got from Bru'n water. Other than providing its proper share of proton absorbing power bicarbonate does not have a role. In absorbing protons it gets converted to carbon dioxide gas and leaves the solution i.e. there is no flavor contributing bicarbonate level in finished beer (other than that from the carbon dioxide gas used to carbonate the beer).

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Old 10-04-2013, 12:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange
The required amount of bicarbonate is that which provides the proton deficit not provided by other mash components which is necessary to cancel the proton surfeits of anything acidic in the grist (such as a roast or caramel malt). This is a 'modern' way of saying what you got from Bru'n water. Other than providing its proper share of proton absorbing power bicarbonate does not have a role. In absorbing protons it gets converted to carbon dioxide gas and leaves the solution i.e. there is no flavor contributing bicarbonate level in finished beer (other than that from the carbon dioxide gas used to carbonate the beer).
I concur!
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovesIPA View Post

Right now I'm looking at a water profile for BM's OktoberFAST Ale that has a bicarbonate level of 982.8 ppm to get the correct mash pH. It also has a Ca level of 350.4 ppm.
You are clearly miss-applying something. There is no way that any brewing requires calcium or bicarbonate levels that high.

Take John's alkalinity levels with a grain of salt. They are generalizations that may or may not be correct for a particular brew. As indicated in Bru'n Water, there is no ideal bicarbonate level. You adjust that ion concentration to the degree necessary to produce an acceptable mash pH. For sparging water, low bicarbonate is always preferred.
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