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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Received my Ward Labs test results
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:55 PM   #11
ajdelange
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Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
I agree. 600 ppm would be ridiculously high. 2 tsp is about 3.5 grams for me. In five gallons that brings the Ca up by 37 and the HCO3 up by 55. My pH doesn't change much at that level, especially with a lot of malt which i would be using in a dark thick beer like a stout.
3.5 grams in 5 gallons would increase calcium by 74 mg/L and, if dissolved naturally (by CO2) and brought to pH 7, bicarbonate by 225 mg/L. Dissolved by some other acid (such a lactic) and brought to pH 7 the bicarbonate would be increased by 92 mg/L and it would take 2 mEq/L acid to do it. To get to pH 5.3 would take 3.55 mEq/L acid. For 19L that means you need 67.45 mEq of acid. Assuming you are going to get that from 600L Patent malt with a DI pH of 4.3 and a buffering capacity of 30 mEq/pH-kg (a lot) you would require 67.45/(1*30) = 2.37 kg of that just for the water plus the acid you would need to get the base malts from their DI mash pH's to 4.3. If you are brewing stout using 4.4 pounds of 600L Patent in 5 gallons you will need less than 3.5 grams in 5 gallons. For any sensible dark beer that is way too much.


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Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
The OP has low calcium water, so I like to boost that to get closer to European water.
Calcium carbonate is a terrible choice as a source of calcium. Each unit added has 1 unit's worth of pH reducing power but 3.5 units of pH raising power.



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Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
You are right about adding alkalinity without measuring pH. I shouldn't have put that number out there blindly. If you add CaCO3 and then have to add Lactic Acid to bring the pH back down then you will have minerals precipitating out of solution.
Calcium lactate is quite soluble e.g. to the extent of 79 grams/liter so I don't think you'd have precipitation but you will have the anion of the acid in solution. To raise alkalinity and overcome what you have done by adding acid is chasing your tail. If you want calcium lactate in your beer just add calcium lactate.

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Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
The OP has such soft water and a low pH I think he's probably going to have to add CaCO3 for a stout.
That depends on the stout. Irish stout with up to 30% roast barley (not that he'd want to use nearly that much) will keep his pH at or above 5.2. With a more nominal 10% some acid will actually be needed (but can be skipped usually). Stouts with over 2 kg black malt/5 gal will need some alkali but lime (Ca(OH)2) should be used as it does dissolve right away and is effective at neutralizing malt acid.

I definitely do not recommend tweaking water to some RA based on color. That practice is pretty much out of favor these days as it should be. OP should have a look at the Primer here.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:59 PM   #12
ajdelange
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I do not agree with AJ that a brewer should wait and see if the pH falls into range when the water supply and malts are well known. I find that the low pH excursion can damage the beer body if allowed to exist too long in the mash. Don't chase your tail, know what the mash pH is 'likely' to be and be ready to add those pre-calculated additions to the mash to hit your target.

No disagreement here. A simple test mash will answer the question as to whether alkali is needed and a spreadsheet can be used to give an idea as to what to do in the test mash.
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