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Old 11-10-2011, 01:31 PM   #1
dum_71
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Default Water Adj. Help

Hi all, another chemistry newb jumping into the deep water.

My report from Ward Labs:

pH 6.6
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 152
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.25
Cations / Anions, me/L 2.3 / 2.2

Sodium, Na 11
Potassium, K 1
Calcium, Ca 26
Magnesium, Mg 6
Total Hardness, CaCO3 90
Nitrate, NO3-N 6.2 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 6
Chloride, Cl 13
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 62
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 51
Total Phosphorus, P 0.41
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit


I am attempting a DFH 60 minute clone today and these are the numbers I came up with on Kai's calculator

Based on what I have read I attempted to bring up the Ca and SO4 to bring out more hop character.
After adding 8g of Gypsum and 2.2g of Chalk my numbers look like this:

Ca - 94.8
mg - 6
Na - 11
SO4 - 149.9
Cl - 13
HCO3 - 102.1
Alkalinity - 88.2 ppm

Est mash Ph - 5.54 - w/o acid addition

So what are your thoughts?
Am I on the right track?
What should I tweak?

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Old 11-10-2011, 03:27 PM   #2
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I'm no expert but that seems like an excess of S04 in your final water. Note also that you need to multiply Wards S04-S by 3 for the correct value. What's your pH without the chalk addition? If you can scale back the gypsum perhaps you can eliminate the chalk all together.

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Old 11-10-2011, 03:35 PM   #3
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That water is a pretty good starting point for many beer styles. The calcium still needs to be bumped up to at least 40 ppm for all brews and there isn't really a maximum level. But, don't add extra calcium or alkalinity unless its really needed.

For a pale ale, a 150 ppm sulfate level is quite modest. I typically run up around 300 ppm sulfate for my pale ales. You can see a large suite of water profiles in Bru'n Water. They are all accurate and attainable. I don't know what Kai has in his sheet. Bru'n Water also has a large section on brewing water knowledge that will answer the questions posed above.

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Old 11-11-2011, 10:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.
Due to time issues I went with the adjustments above but added another 4g of Gypsum at the start of the boil.
Excited to see how brewing salts effect the flavor.

24 hrs later and the airlock is dancing along at 62F.

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Old 11-11-2011, 11:06 PM   #5
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You violated the cardinal rule of brewing water adjustment: never add chalk to water and never add it to mash unless you have verified with a calibrated pH meter reading that it is necessary*. The probable effect of this is that the beer will be flat (not in the carbonation sense necessarily but the flavors will be dull as a consequence of high mash pH). The beer will probably be drinkable though. I hope you really, really like blasting bitterness as you had a pretty high sulfate level and then boosted it even further. Beers are brewed with sulfate at these high levels but I strongly recommend approaching them gradually to see if you like what sulfate does to the particular cultivar you use. OTOH, you can start high and work down but first get mash pH under control (skip the chalk).

*There's an exception to adding to adding it to water too but few know how to do this properly (though it isn't hard) and it is seldom justified.

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Old 11-12-2011, 01:37 AM   #6
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A Ph 5.5 Mash is that out of range? Or was I mis-reading what the spreadsheet was telling me?
As for the sulfate - most IPA profiles had elevated levels - so thats what I did. I was worried it was still too low. mabrungard's comment seemed to imply the same.
Either way it will be beer and I'll have learned more.

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Old 11-12-2011, 05:16 AM   #7
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5.55 isn't out of range at all but unless DFH (I don't know what that is) contains a lot of roast/dark crystal malt in it it is unlikely that the pH will be as low as 5.55 with 2.2 grams of chalk added to the mash or water regardless of what the spreadsheet says. Adding chalk to a brew is a common mistake and I think we are making progress in getting people to stop doing it except in the relatively rare cases where it is necessary (lots of dark malt) which can really only reliably be detected by measurement. It is possible that it is needed here but you are very much more likely to ruin a beer by adding chalk when it is unnecessary than to ruin one by leaving it out of one where it is needed. Most beers need acid. Few need alkali.

Quote:
Either way it will be beer and I'll have learned more.
That's the way to look at it.

As for the sulfate: if you like that level of sulfate then by all means use it. I tend to advocate walking before running though. As a general rule you will find that the less minerals in the water, the better the beer. There are exceptions and, of course, the ultimate driver is your personal taste (and/or those of the people you brew for).
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