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Old 04-25-2013, 08:40 PM   #1
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Default Negative alkalinity

I'm brewing a standard bitter tomorrow and, as always, I used the EZ Water spreadsheet to build up from distilled water. Specifically, I'm building up to the below and am getting an estimated 5.46 "estimated room-temp mash ph" from the spreadsheet

Ca: 110
Mg: 10
Na: 0
Cl: 153
SO4: 100


Everything looks ok but, as usual, I'm getting very negative numbers for "effective alkalinity" and "residual alkalinity" (-83 and -168 respectively) (screenshot here: http://imgur.com/Db8rLe1)

Is this ok to ignore? I'm reading "Brew Like A Pro" by Dave Miller and for amber colored beers he suggests alkalinity around 25 ppm. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. From playing with the spreadsheet I can bring the effective alkalinity up to around 25 ppm by adding chalk to the mash but that puts my calcium number too high, and if I try to fix this by reducing the CaCl2 then I don't have enough chloride..and so forth

Help!

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Old 04-25-2013, 08:49 PM   #2
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If it helps, the grain bill is:
6.5 lb maris otter
1 lb victory
.5 lb crystal 120
1 oz sauermalz

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Old 04-25-2013, 09:34 PM   #3
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The "negative RA" is fine, and a mash pH of 5.46 is fine.

I'm very concerned about the too-high chloride, though. You don't want to go over 100 ppm chloride.

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:15 AM   #4
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The "negative RA" is fine, and a mash pH of 5.46 is fine.

I'm very concerned about the too-high chloride, though. You don't want to go over 100 ppm chloride.
IMO, you don't want to get the chloride over about 20 - 30 ppm for an ordinary bitter

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:33 AM   #5
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Thanks for the heads up--ez water lists 0-250 as a recommendation for chloride. Is there another source I should be using for guidelines by style?

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:46 AM   #6
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Thanks for the heads up--ez water lists 0-250 as a recommendation for chloride. Is there another source I should be using for guidelines by style?
Well, there are other spreadsheets (I like bru'nwater) but my understanding is that no matter what the source, chloride should be kept under 100 ppm always, and lower for many beers.

I'm really a "less is more" type of person, and rarely add much to my RO water anyway but I make sure the pH is right and the sulfate and chloride are in acceptable amounts.

I'd lose the epsom salts totally, get rid of the "sparge" additions, and see what you get then. The amounts of the sparge additions in that spreadsheet are ridiculously high! Keep your calcium to 50 ppm (or thereabouts) and see what you come up with then. You have over 10 grams of calcium chloride in a 5 gallon batch- that's a lot!
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:05 AM   #7
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Thanks for the heads up--ez water lists 0-250 as a recommendation for chloride. Is there another source I should be using for guidelines by style?
I'm not saying you should use it, but Pale Ales by Terry Foster recommends calcium 50 - 100 ppm, sulfate 100 - 200ppm, and chloride 20 ppm. I have been using his recommendations for several years, and have found them to be very good.

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Old 04-26-2013, 01:07 AM   #8
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Thanks yooper. My understanding was that I wanted to treat the sparge water as well to avoid any distilled water taste but ill take your advice. Any suggestions on what I should be using to calculate ph and additions when I build up from up from distilled? I used your primer for a while and thought ez water would be a step up from that. I find bru'n water pretty daunting but maybe that's what I need to do

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Old 04-26-2013, 01:27 AM   #9
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Thanks yooper. My understanding was that I wanted to treat the sparge water as well to avoid any distilled water taste but ill take your advice. Any suggestions on what I should be using to calculate ph and additions when I build up from up from distilled? I used your primer for a while and thought ez water would be a step up from that. I find bru'n water pretty daunting but maybe that's what I need to do
You can use a spreadsheet, as you are, but I don't get the predicted pH from EZ water. It's always predicted it too high. I've been using Bru'nwater, which is right on for me.

You don't have a "distilled" taste from water, if your mash pH is correct and your water profile is correct. Aside from adding salts to the boil kettle just to ensure your mash pH isn't too low but needed it for taste, there is NO reason to add those salts, especially in quantity, to the boil kettle.

You have too much calcium chloride by a lot. The epsom salts aren't needed at all, and the gypsum additions can go into the mash if you're using them. Just uncheck all those "sparge additions" and see what you get, after you remove the epsom salts totally.
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