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 Home Brew Forums > Please check my water calculations
12-18-2011, 08:18 AM   #1
triangulum33
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These are the numbers I got from a water calculator from a HBT member. Am I adding the right stuff to my water?

My water report (mg/L):
pH = 7.7
Alkalinity = 21
Bicarbonate = 22
CA = 4.4
MG = 4.2
NA = 4.9
HCO3 = 22
SO4 = 0.9
CL = 4.3

10grams gypsum
10grams CaCL2

Calculated Results:
Mash pH = 5.37362165005732
CL:SO4 = 88.81%
SO4:CL = 112.60%
Balance = Balanced
Alkalinity = 22.00
RA = -78.9705882352941

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12-18-2011, 01:55 PM   #2
ajdelange
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Mash pH = 5.37362165005732? No way! Mash pH = 5.37362165005733 maybe but certainly not Mash pH = 5.37362165005732.

In a more serious vein: let's start with balance. The report isn't that well balanced (0.77 cations 0.55 anions). Interpreting the sulfate "as Sulfur" helps a little but not much. That isn't a terrible imbalance however - more or less typical of the reports available to home brewers. As any salts you add are automatically balanced an imbalanced source report leads to an imbalanced post treatment report - imbalanced by the same amount.

You say you are adding 10 grams of gypsum and 10 grams of CaCl2 but you don't say how much water you are adding it too so it is impossible to calculate the post addition concentrations and probable effects on mash pH. You also don't say which form of calcium chloride.

Assuming 5 gallons is being treated with the dihydrate alkalinity would be essentially unchanged at 21.3, calcium would be at 271.5 mg/L (pretty crunchy beer) sulfate at 297.6 (a lot but some do brew beer with that much sulfate), chloride at 259.2 (again a lot but with sodium under control you are probably OK). Sulfate/chloride ratio would be 1.15:1 (not that this makes much difference - it is the high levels of both that you need to worry about), residual alkalinity would be -175 and probable pH shift from that level of RA (or rather of calcium since the alkalinity is so low) - 0.29. Since you did not specify base malt distilled water pH it is impossible to predict what the mash pH would be. Base malt DI water mash pH's range anywhere from 5.8 to 5.5 so your mash pH could be anywhere between 5.2 and 5.5 assuming only base malt is being used.

Assuming 10 gallons is being treated the calcium, sulfate and chloride levels all drop approximately in half as do the RA (-79.6) and probable pH shift (-0.19).

The answer to your basic question "Am I adding the right stuff to my water?" is yes. Your water is quite low in mineral content and most beers will benefit from supplementation of calcium and chloride while beers where hops are to play a prominent role will also benefit from sulfate. The amounts seem high though of course depending on how much water you are treating. I usually recommend 5 grams of CaCl2 per 5 gallons as a starting point. The Primer in the stickies goes into this in more detail.

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12-18-2011, 04:35 PM   #3
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As the other aj said, you don't specify the amount of water you are treating. The other thing you didn't mention was what sort of beer you are making.
I don't think you would want any gypsum if you were making a lager (of any sort).
I also don't think you would want that amount of CaCl2 if you were to brew a hoppy pale ale.
For example, I have fairly soft water, but not as soft as yours. It is lacking in Ca, and for hoppy pale ales (which I brew most of the time), I need to add Ca, SO4, and a small amount of Cl.
For my last brew, I treated 8.5 gallons water with 11 grams gypsum and 550 mg CaCl2. This gave me about 100 ppm Ca, 20 ppm Cl, and 200 ppm SO4. The Cl:SO4 ratio of 10% is IMO "balanced" for an ESB, but would be terrible for a Pilsner lager.

-a.

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12-18-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
triangulum33
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Sorry, guys I dont really understand this water chemistry.

My last batch had about 8 gallons of mash/sparge water and it was a Pale Ale.
Up until this last batch I had, in my ignorance, not added anything to my water. Since I've started brewing, I've generally been unhappy with the hoppy beers.

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12-18-2011, 09:34 PM   #5
ajdelange
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You are certainly not alone in this. You are blessed with pretty low mineral water which means you can brew most styles some with an addition. I refer you again to the Primer which is designed to help people in your position.

When you say you have been unhappy with hoppy beers that usually means either that the quality of the bitterness has been too harsh or there isn't enough hop presence. In the former case, get all the calcium supplementation recommended in the Primer from the chloride. In the latter, from the sulfate (gypsum).

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12-18-2011, 09:40 PM   #6
triangulum33
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Thanks! Definately gonna read the sticky right now.
Hop presence in the past has been non existant - even when I add 20 IBU's of extra hop additions. This last PA was much better.

On a side note, my LHBS sells a water "kit" that has Gypsum, Calcium Carbonate, Burton Salts and Calcium Chloride. They recommend 1tsp of each per 5G of IPA for our local water.

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12-18-2011, 09:43 PM   #7
triangulum33
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BTW, I've also been adding Campden Tabs to get rid of Chloramine.

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12-18-2011, 10:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by triangulum33 Hop presence in the past has been non existant - even when I add 20 IBU's of extra hop additions. This last PA was much better.
So emphasize calcium sulphate as opposed to the chloride in future brews.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by gt541 On a side note, my LHBS sells a water "kit" that has Gypsum, Calcium Carbonate, Burton Salts and Calcium Chloride. They recommend 1tsp of each per 5G of IPA for our local water.
Burton Salts in mostly gypsum so don't use Burton salts and gypsum. Do not use chalk!!
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12-19-2011, 05:22 AM   #9
triangulum33
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Thanks aj.
Just read thru the sticky, and while I learned some, its still over my head. I wish Yooper added (or clarified) more styles on her Primer guide...

Could a rough starting point for a 5 Gal. batch for me be:

PA/IPA: 2 tsp each of Ca Sulphate and Gypsum
RIS: 1 tsp each of Ca Sulphate and Gypsum
Belgian: 1 tsp Ca Sulphate?

Also, should I be dividing these additions up proportionality in the mash and sparge waters?

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12-19-2011, 12:18 PM   #10
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Primer could probably use some tweaking but it is supposed to be very simple and very general. The idea is that it gets you a decent beer and that you must experiment to improve on it.

The general guideline is 1 tsp CaCl2 per 5 gal treated. Thus if you use 10 gal to make a 5 gal batch the starting point would be 2 tsp CaCl2. If, as in your case, you know that you want sulfate (for hops) then use 2 tsp of gypsum instead of CaCl2. I recommended CaCl2 at first because a lot of people don't like sharp hoppiness but a lot of people do so it is really up to the brewer to decide which he wants to start out with. Whichever he chooses it is important that he treat the first brew as a baseline and add some of the other salt in the next brew looking for improvement or detriment. At then vary the amounts on subsequent brews until nirvana is reached. It takes time and commitment to get to the near perfect profile.

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