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Old 12-15-2010, 01:37 PM   #1
p-nut
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Default Is there ever any need to treat sparge water.

Is there ever a case where I should treat my sparge water. My water is very soft and I have never treated my sparge water. I have made adjustments to the mash water with great success.

pH 7.8
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 55
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.09
Cations / Anions, me/L 0.7 / 0.8
ppm
Na 14
K < 1
Ca 1
Mg < 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 3
SO4-S 1
Cl 4
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 37
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 30

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Old 12-15-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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On paper, to be really authentic to the water profiles of brewers of the world, sparge water should be treated. But I will be honest with you and tell you I have never treated my sparge water. Your starting to split hairs at this point. I have a friend who eyeballs his brewing salts (of which he only uses 3, sea salt, chalk and gypsum) and he frequently hits 40+ scores in competitions. I'm not saying water treatment isn't important, but that you don't need to be perfect with that aspect of brewing to pull off fantastic beers. My two cents.

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Old 12-15-2010, 02:50 PM   #3
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No, not from the point of view of worrying about husk tannin extraction. I suppose if you were trying to emulate say, Dortmunder, and you went to the trouble to synthesize Dortmunder water for your mash I suppose you might argue that as Dortmunder brewers would be sparging with that same water you ought to sparge with that water too. Other than that, IMO, the answer is "no".

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Old 12-16-2010, 01:03 AM   #4
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That's pretty awesome water. Don't touch it for sparging and your pH should be good at the end of sparging as long as your mash pH was good (5.5 or lower?). If you're going for a profile, make up for the sparge water in the kettle.

<and then AJ chimes in with accurate or more accurate advice>

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Old 12-16-2010, 03:45 PM   #5
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So I'm brewing tonight and my scales are broken. I usually heat up 15 gallons in my HLT. Can just dose that with 3 tsp of CaCl2 to get the 1 gram per gallon rate AJ has recommended as a baseline? I know you are suppose to treat the mash and not the mash water, but i remember reading some discussion of CaCl2 having the ability to dissolve in water.

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Old 12-16-2010, 03:49 PM   #6
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I forgot to mention, I will be treating the mash with lactic acid to adjust for pH. I just want to add the CaCl2 to the HLT before dough-in. I will add the lactic acid to the mash if needed.

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Old 12-16-2010, 08:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p-nut View Post
So I'm brewing tonight and my scales are broken. I usually heat up 15 gallons in my HLT. Can just dose that with 3 tsp of CaCl2 to get the 1 gram per gallon rate AJ has recommended as a baseline?
YES.

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I know you are suppose to treat the mash and not the mash water, but i remember reading some discussion of CaCl2 having the ability to dissolve in water.
You are supposed to treat the water. The exception would be where you have measured mash pH and found it too be too low or too high. In the the former case you would add chalk or lime to the mash. In the latter, acid.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:53 PM   #8
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AJ thanks for all the great information you have provided us with. It has been extremely helpful and I think my beers are starting to show it!

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Old 12-17-2010, 01:24 AM   #9
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Great! That's what we are shooting for.

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Old 12-17-2010, 01:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
No, not from the point of view of worrying about husk tannin extraction. I suppose if you were trying to emulate say, Dortmunder, and you went to the trouble to synthesize Dortmunder water for your mash I suppose you might argue that as Dortmunder brewers would be sparging with that same water you ought to sparge with that water too. Other than that, IMO, the answer is "no".
Well, from one AJ to another, I find that with my brewing practices, it does help to treat the sparge water.
I fly sparge, and stop the sparge either when I have collected the required pre-boil volume, or when the gravity readings of the sparge get down to 2.5 brix (1.010). I realize that taking the pH of the runnings would be more accurate, but this takes time to cool the sample, whereas the refractometer with ATC allows be to take a nearly instantaneous reading and this saves me a lot of time.
My water is pretty soft, and has a pH of about 7.5 (averaged over the year).
If I treat my sparge water (using gypsum (I like hoppy pale ales)), I reduce the sparge water pH from 7.5 to 6.5, and if I stop the sparge at 2.5 brix, the pH of the final runnings is about 5.7
Before I had a pH meter, I still used to stop the sparge at 2.5 brix, but with untreated sparge water I used to get excessive tannin extraction. (I don't know what the pH of the final runnings was, but my taste buds could certainly detect the tannins).

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