Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Water Questions: (Maxes for) Residual Alkalinity, Bicarbonate, Calcium

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 03-01-2010, 03:58 AM   #1
Hop
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Laguna Hills, CA
Posts: 63
Liked 3 Times on 1 Posts

Default Water Questions: (Maxes for) Residual Alkalinity, Bicarbonate, Calcium

Most of the literature I read talks about maximum ppm for various ions.

Bicarbonate tends to be suggested up to 250 ppm, with an absolute max of 300. However, the famous Dortmund water has 550.

Calcium tends to be recommended up to 150 ppm. However, Burton on Trent has 295, Dortmund has 250, and Vienna has 200.

Residual Alkalinity starts getting red and angry at me in Palmer's calculator as soon as it hits 300.

The problem I routinely run into when trying to build water profiles for very dark beers (anything above ~35) is that I have to break the Bicarbonate and/or Residual Alkalinity "caps" to build the proper theoretical water profile.

For example, for a beer with an SRM of 39, I get a min RA of 353 and a max RA of 412 listed. To hit the minimum Residual Alkalinity, I have to use at least 475 ppm of Bicarbonate.

What have I always done? Used caution. I've always refrained from breaking the theoretical upper limits on RA and HCO3.

Does anyone have any better data on how to create an appropriate water profile for very dark beers?

I'll throw these questions I've always wondered about as well:

When I'm calculating ppm for Calcium, should I go for a minimum of 50 for the actual volume of the wort, or just the mash volume? My assumption has always been that I'll need to hit 50 ppm of Calcium for the 5-7 gallons of wort rather than just the mash volume.

If I am using an infusion in my mash, should I split my salts? For example, if 60% of my mash water is in during a protein rest, then 40% gets added 20 minutes later, should I use 60% of my salts in the first batch of water, then the remaining 40% in the second? My assumption has always been that I should split the salts up, so I've done so.

Thanks!

__________________

Hop the Mad Alchemist

Hop is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-02-2010, 10:48 AM   #2
Amiaji
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Denver, NC
Posts: 292
Liked 4 Times on 3 Posts

Default

I dont try to match a particular water profile. You need enough calcium for the yeast and to help the beer drop clear. I dont know that going over 150 ppm calcium will hurt anything but it isn't needed.

The Cl to SO4 ratio is more important than the actual ppm of the two salts. I look at the water profile and read the guidelines to determine what ratio I want for a particular style.

According to Palmer on the BrewStrong water podcasts a residual alkalinity of 250 is good enough for most dark beers with only the very dark needing to get to about 300.

I haven't done a step mash since starting water treatment but I would add the salts to the mash with each infusion based on the amount of water.

I would recommend listening to the BrewStrong water podcasts. They are very informative and will answer a lot of questions.

__________________
A Keezer is Born

Beer is for drinking,
Homebrew is for sharing.
Amiaji is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-02-2010, 12:11 PM   #3
Bobby_M
Vendor and Brewer
HBT_SPONSOR.png
Vendor Ads 
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
 
Bobby_M's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Whitehouse Station, NJ
Posts: 21,890
Liked 934 Times on 621 Posts
Likes Given: 28

Default

I understand the concern. I've noticed that the RA's affect on actual mash pH doesn't seem to be as linear as the spreadsheets infer. I've done a 40 SRM RIS with an RA around 205 and the pH never dropped below 5.1 at least according to my colorpHast strips.

For now I've just decided to trust it until I get to a max RA of 200 and then call it good. You'll want to at least grab the colorphast strips, if not a decent pH meter and if you find the pH creeping to the 4s, a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda may correct it.

__________________
BrewHardware.com
Sightglass, Refractometer, Ball Valve, Weldless bulkhead, Thermometer, Decals, Stainless Steel Fittings, Compression Fittings, Camlock Quick Disconnects, Scale, RIMS tube, Plate Chiller, Chugger Pump, Super Clear Silicone Tubing, and more!

New Stuff?
Bobby_M is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-02-2010, 12:29 PM   #4
dfohio
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 237
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Both Amiaji and Bobby M have the idea here. Palmer never intended that his water sheet be used as the law. Once you start moving towards the end, things are no longer linear. Kaiser has done some initial research showing this. Don't think of dark malt as acidic but as acting more like a buffer.

__________________
"If you do it right, brewing is about ideas. A big impression can be made with brute force, but sometimes a whisper speaks louder than a shout." - Randy Mosher

Primary: Citrus Wheat Experiment/WLP029 & WYEAST 1056
Secondary: Oktoberfest
Bottle: Empty
dfohio is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-02-2010, 01:38 PM   #5
Hop
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Laguna Hills, CA
Posts: 63
Liked 3 Times on 1 Posts

Default

Thanks much. I've actually listened to the BrewStrong water podcasts twice through. These were the main questions I had after listening, because I've decided to focus a lot more on my water as the next place to improve my brewing.

__________________

Hop the Mad Alchemist

Hop is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
IPA water recipe - adjusting high bicarbonate water conpewter Brew Science 19 10-01-2010 05:29 PM
Chicago Water Alkalinity? chirs All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 2 09-18-2009 06:44 PM
CaCO3 vs NaHCO3 to increase residual alkalinity - tradeoffs? greenbirds Brew Science 5 09-04-2009 04:30 PM
My Water: Too much bicarbonate & sodium brundage Brew Science 6 05-19-2009 03:56 PM
Water Chemistry - Hardness, Alkalinity, and Additions thomcat333 General Techniques 9 10-28-2007 02:34 AM