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Old 12-17-2013, 10:41 PM   #11
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I've read that sparging with just RO is okay (don't want sparge water to be too acidic - which the Ca+ does, right? - to minimize tannins/astringency in the lower gravity second/sparge runnings?)
I've been reading through your water knowledge page, Martin, and it appears I have this part about sparge water backwards...

"Minor increases in wort or beer pH can create problems in the finished beer. Increased wort and beer pH makes the beer’s bittering perception more ‘coarse’ and less favorable. The isomerization of alpha acids during the boil is increased slightly as wort pH increases, which may add to the coarseness. Increased pH in wort and the finished beer slows the reduction and removal of diacetyl from beer during maturation. During mashing, a pH greater than 6.0 can leach harsh-tasting silicates, tannins, and polyphenols from the grain into the wort (Briggs et. al., 1981). Adjusting sparge water pH to between 5.5 and 6.0 helps avoid raising the mash pH above 6.0 during sparging."

So I guess I DO want it to be more acidic... So I should be treating it as well, I guess? Thanks...
So much to learn... At least I'm trying!
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:35 PM   #12
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Fats,

If your water is very alkaline, then acidifying the sparge water to at least 6.0 will prevent the sparge pH from rising and creating the potential for astringency and tannin extraction. Bru'n does split mineral additions into mash (to assist in mash pH) as well as sparge - so you will want to carefully review that tab. If you play with the settings there, you will find that the initial sparge pH is not all that important, rather the alkalinity to overcome with acid.

If you are adjusting with acids, both in the mash and the sparge, then I would also pay particular attention to boil pH and make sure it falls somewhere between 5.4 and 5.6 for good hops utilization and break formation. I think I got that number correct - happy to be corrected.

To be clear, your adjustments will likely be very different between the IPA and the Stout... Martin provides some guidance on the stout and keeping the kettle pH low. I believe he also discusses it in his article on Ireland Brewing waters...

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Old 12-19-2013, 01:49 AM   #13
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Fats, If your water is very alkaline, then acidifying the sparge water to at least 6.0 will prevent the sparge pH from rising and creating the potential for astringency and tannin extraction. Bru'n does split mineral additions into mash (to assist in mash pH) as well as sparge - so you will want to carefully review that tab. If you play with the settings there, you will find that the initial sparge pH is not all that important, rather the alkalinity to overcome with acid. If you are adjusting with acids, both in the mash and the sparge, then I would also pay particular attention to boil pH and make sure it falls somewhere between 5.4 and 5.6 for good hops utilization and break formation. I think I got that number correct - happy to be corrected. To be clear, your adjustments will likely be very different between the IPA and the Stout... Martin provides some guidance on the stout and keeping the kettle pH low. I believe he also discusses it in his article on Ireland Brewing waters...
Thanks. I'm using RO water, so not alkaline at all. From what I understand, it has pretty much nil buffering capacity, and therefore absorbs some carbon from the air and creates carbonic acid, which lowers the pH below 7 somewhat. Does that sound right? Which is why I was thinking it didn't need to be adjusted at all for sparging. I honestly don't know, though... The more I read, the more I seem to confuse myself!

I think I'll just take AJ's advice above (and from the primer), and just add a bit of gypsum and a bit of CaCl. If I add one gram of each to my 1.75 gal of mash water, brewers friend shows a mash pH of 5.4, and Bru'n Water shows 5.3. Martin mentioned above to shoot for 5.3-5.4, so I feel like that'll work. And it keeps the water relatively soft, which he also recommended. I don't plan to adjust with any acids at this time.

Well, tonight is brew night... So off I go! Thanks again to all for the feedback!
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:28 AM   #14
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Best of luck! I also use RO and have not needed yet to acidify my sparge.

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Old 12-19-2013, 03:42 AM   #15
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Good to hear! Thanks...
This is only my third batch doing all-grain, and therefore water adjustments... The first is bottle conditioning still, so haven't tasted any final products yet, so the "proof is in the pudding", as they say... But samples from first two have tasted good so far, so I'm optimistic. Just more worried about this stout, with the roasted grains... Just read the ColorpHast strip, taken at 20 min into the boil and cooled to room temp, and it appears closest to the 5.0 color. So if Kai's testing is correct about the -0.3 shift with those strips, that should be about 5.3, which is just about right, I hope! Cheers...

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Old 12-19-2013, 01:49 PM   #16
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Just got home, looked here and saw that you are in Austin. I am in Bastrop... maybe catch you at a Zealots meeting! or ping if you roll over to Bastrop - the Brewhouse here has some pretty tasty brew!

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Old 12-20-2013, 06:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mchrispen
Just got home, looked here and saw that you are in Austin. I am in Bastrop... maybe catch you at a Zealots meeting! or ping if you roll over to Bastrop - the Brewhouse here has some pretty tasty brew!
I've heard that about the Brewhouse there before... Haven't has the chance to try it myself yet, unfortunately! Would be cool to meet up if I ever do.
How do the club meetings work? I've only been brewing almost a year now, and haven't had the free time to think about joining something like that (travel for work, two little kids at home, and wife that works nights = no free time for me - Well, just enough time to brew at night while the kids are asleep!). I've heard good things about the Zealots - good people and great beer!
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:20 PM   #18
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The Zealots if anything is completely informal, and meets monthly, with weekly meet and greets at various brewpubs around town. Hit www.austinzealots.com and read up. No dues or anything. Join the yahoo group where most of the announcements go out. Helpful to get some input from attendees, and the occasional pro-brewer.

I don't get to many of the events, but enjoy them when I can and can talk my wife into driving.

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Old 12-20-2013, 06:35 PM   #19
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Cool, thanks for the info. Will try to make it out sometime if I can! Cheers...

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