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Old 09-25-2010, 07:24 PM   #211
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I'd recommend grabbing the updated version of TH's spreadsheet. I think you'll find that you don't really need an RA of 493 for ANY beer.

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Old 09-25-2010, 07:31 PM   #212
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Originally Posted by Daddymem View Post
Going to brew a BIG RIS to age for 5 years. I want to get this one as spot on as possible....CaCO3: 8.3 / 4.36
These are conflicting statements. Adding chalk to the brew water for almost any beer will ruin it. In the first place it will cause the mash pH to come out higher than you want and in the second will give a, well, chalky taste to the beer.

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The recipe SRM=54.
I thought the word was out that the correlation between color and mineral content was too weak to base water chemistry decisions upon. Guess not.


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Originally Posted by Daddymem View Post
Here are my current numbers:

Starting Water (ppm):
Ca: 2
Mg: 1.1
Na: 6.5
Cl: 8.4
SO4: 4.1
CaCO3: 11
You are blessed with beautiful water. Don't ruin it. All you need to do to it is add a bit of calcium chloride (1 tsp per 5 gal) and, if you particularly want the effects of sulfate, approximately an equal amount of that. Unless you are using an inordinate amount of roast grains your pH should fall into just the right range. You should, however, check mash pH and if it is too low that is the time and place to add some chalk. But do it in small amounts, stir it in thoroughly and give it some time to react before checking pH. If using strips (not recommended) any pH of 4.9 and up should be OK.

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Seems like a lot to add!
12.6 grams of chalk in 6 gal of beer? You bet it is!
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:49 PM   #213
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I thought the word was out that the correlation between color and mineral content was too weak to base water chemistry decisions upon. Guess not.
Nope, first I've heard of it. I downloaded the original sheet. modified it to suit my needs, and haven't poked back in here very much. Like I said, listening to Jamil and Palmer and they just went through matching the residual alkalinity to your SRM, and when I saw what I had to do to get to my SRM, I figured I better check in, amounts didn't seem right.
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You are blessed with beautiful water. Don't ruin it.
Not entirely true, it makes an IPA that is just meh. Altbier comes out awesome though!

I'll get the new spreadsheet and play around with that, I see some big differences already.
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:12 PM   #214
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Not entirely true, it makes an IPA that is just meh.
Don't want to hijack the thread but wonder if you would be willing to comment on that. Are the hops just not there enough or do the flavors just seem dull or both or something else?

If I were to do an IPA with your water I'd add calcium chloride to it and use acid in the mash to be sure pH was correct. And if I thought the hops wer blah I'd throw some gypsum in there too. When I said it was beautiful I didn't mean to imply that you could just brew anything with it without some adjustment.
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:28 PM   #215
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Wow, big differences in the spreadsheet. Kudos! Still frustrated trying to balance things out. Everyone says "your water is perfect"...punch in my water, pH is 4.9, Ca, Mg, SO4 are all really low, and chloride to sulfate ratio is "Very Malty". I don't notice any problems with my mashes, I do BIAB and get mid to high 80s for efficiency, but I do notice the flat hop flavor.

Starting Water (ppm):
Ca: 2
Mg: 1.1
Na: 6.5
Cl: 8.4
SO4: 4.1
HCO3: 11 *

Mash / Sparge Vol (gal): 6
RO or distilled %: 0%

Total Grain (lb): 23
Non-Roasted Spec. Grain: 0.5
Roasted Grain: 3.5
Beer Color (SRM): 54

Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:
CaSO4: 2
CaCl2: 0
MgSO4: 2.25
NaHCO3: 12
NaCl: 1
CaCO3: 3
Lactic Acid (ml): 0
Sauermalz (oz): 0

Mash Water / Total water (ppm):
Ca: 75
Mg: 10
Na: 168
Cl: 35
SO4: 92
Cl to SO4 Ratio: 0.38

Alkalinity (CaCO3): 390
RA: 330
Estimated pH: 5.19


*error in the spreadsheet, should be CaC03

RA is still really high! Exactly what I did: I first adjusted with Chalk to 3 grams and got pH of 4.95. Then I raised the pH with 12 grams of baking soda to get pH of 5.21. Then I added gypsum at 2 grams to the mash and 1.1 to the boil to raise calcium to 57 ppm. Then I added epsom salt at 2.25 grams to the mash and 1.2 grams to the boil to raise mg to 10. This gets me to a chloride sulfate ratio of 0.09. I then add salt at 1 gram to the mash and 0.5 grams to the boil to give me a 0.38 for chloride sulfate ratio.

Would those amounts of any of these salts be detrimental to the beer? Also, CL/SO4 at 0.09 before the salt addition, is that too low (should I add the salt to raise it a little like I did)? My mash pH is just out of range with all of these additions. It seems like a lot of stuff to do to what I think is great water to drink.

Thanks for your patience all, I'm an engineer, not a scientist.

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Old 09-25-2010, 08:34 PM   #216
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Don't want to hijack the thread but wonder if you would be willing to comment on that. Are the hops just not there enough or do the flavors just seem dull or both or something else?

If I were to do an IPA with your water I'd add calcium chloride to it and use acid in the mash to be sure pH was correct. And if I thought the hops wer blah I'd throw some gypsum in there too. When I said it was beautiful I didn't mean to imply that you could just brew anything with it without some adjustment.
Not entirely scientific, but a pretty good anectodal experience. My homebrew club brewed up a wicked IPA extract large batch at a home that is connected to city water. The boil was 10 gallons and we diluted to 20 gallons total (4 brewers, each got 2.5 gallons and diluted with 2.5 gallons of city water from the tap). We did no adjustments. That beer is amazing, right up there with the craft brewer's beers. We all used different yeasts so each beer is different, but the base was still noticeable, nice malty backbone and bright hops. Then we did the exact same recipe at my house without adjusting water again and all different yeasts. Each beer had this flat hops taste to them. The bitterness was there but was very... muddy (best term I could figure out). I've done a few IPAs and hoppy APAs and get a similar muddy taste to them as well. I've since adjusted my CL/SO4 ratio and matched SRM (neglected all other mineral levels) and have gotten good, bright hops characters.
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:50 PM   #217
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I would suggest that irrational brewers measure pH and ask themselves why they are mashing at pH above 6.

I do think you are rational since you are using a poor model way out in the tail where it performs extremely poorly and questioning the obviously ridiculous results.

Search for AJ Delange's posts here and elsewhere if you want to know quite a bit, or read New Brewing Lager Beer (or almost any book other than Palmer's that discusses water) if you want to know only what you need to know.

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Old 09-25-2010, 08:52 PM   #218
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"Muddy" is a fine way of describing it. As hinted in my last post I think your problems are 2 fold - mash pH too high and no sulfate snap in the hops. The sulfate problem you have apparently solved, presumably by adding gypsum. Now solve the pH problem by adding some lactic acid or sauermalz and you will get "brighter" flavors. Skip the chalk addition. You are trying to decrease mash pH, not increase it. Forget about color - it's not really important and doubtless is what is causing you to conclude that you need to add chalk and bicarb. Both of these work against your goal (they neutralize the sauermalz or lactic acid).

For an IPA, of course, lactic acid or sauermalz are not exactly traditional. A UK brewer would use "CRS" (carbonate reducing solution which is a mix of sulfuric and hydrochloric acids) but AFAIK you can't get that in the US.

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Old 09-25-2010, 09:00 PM   #219
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Where are you seeing high pH? My mash pH is low without adjustments, don't I need to increase it?

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Old 09-25-2010, 09:26 PM   #220
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Search for AJ Delange's posts here and elsewhere if you want to know quite a bit.
Wow, lots to digest.

"A good RA for all beers is 0 or less. You should never increase alkalinity (of RA) unless 1) Your mash pH is way low 2) You want bicarbonate taste in your beer. ..."

I do not have a pH meter. Just going by the EZ spreadsheet my pH is way low. The spreadsheet appears to use SRM in the calcs contrary to some of your statements that SRM shouldn't be used.

If I am reading correctly, you are saying use in the range of 1 tsp per 5 gallons of Calcium Chloride which should bring my Calcium levels to the appropriate level. Then maybe some epsom salt to get some magnesium in there (maybe even ignore this?) Then some gypsum to alter the Cl SO4 ratio. Ignore SRM and pH calculations based on it?

Something like this?
Starting Water (ppm):
Ca: 2
Mg: 1.1
Na: 6.5
Cl: 8.4
SO4: 4.1
HCO3: 11

Mash / Sparge Vol (gal): 6 / 3.15
RO or distilled %: 0% / 0%

Total Grain (lb): 23
Non-Roasted Spec. Grain: 0.5
Roasted Grain: 3.5
Beer Color (SRM): 54

Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:
CaSO4: 5 / 0
CaCl2: 4 / 0
MgSO4: 4 / 0
NaHCO3: 0 / 0
NaCl: 0 / 0
CaCO3: 0 / 0
Lactic Acid (ml): 0
Sauermalz (oz): 0

Mash Water / Total water (ppm):
Ca: 100 / 66
Mg: 18 / 12
Na: 7 / 7
Cl: 93 / 64
SO4: 196 / 130
Cl to SO4 Ratio: 0.48 / 0.49

Alkalinity (CaCO3): 11
RA: -71
Estimated pH: 4.86
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