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Old 03-28-2013, 05:40 PM   #1
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Default When does Phosphoric become noticeable?

We have extremely alkaline water (280 ppm CaCO3) and I've been experimenting w/ different options for reducing the alkalinity. Playing around w/ Bru'n Water, I need to add 1 ml/gal of 80% Phosphoric to get down to ~40 ppm.

Will any flavor difference be noticeable at this level? If not, at what concentrations does it become a problem?

Cheers!

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Old 03-29-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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Phosphoric Acid is pretty flavor neutral, that's why the "Big Boys" use it. I think you should be fine. If you want take to test the flavor contribution you can take 2 glasses of water, treat one and don't treat the other, have a few sips of each. I have added it (I can't remember the quantities off-hand.) to glasses of water as I suggested above and cannot taste it.

I don't know at what concentration it might become an issue.

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Old 03-29-2013, 07:44 PM   #3
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Are you trying to reach a certain pH in your mash or actually remove hardness?

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Old 03-29-2013, 08:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Are you trying to reach a certain pH in your mash or actually remove hardness?
Maybe my understanding is wrong, but do you mean removing alkalinity? If so, yes that's the goal as we're trying to brew some very low SRM beers. I was under the impression hardness wasn't affected much when using acids, but again I could be wrong.

Fortunately, that amount of acid also brought the mash pH down to optimal levels, so it killed two birds with one stone.
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:23 PM   #5
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Phosphoric Acid is pretty flavor neutral, that's why the "Big Boys" use it. I think you should be fine. If you want take to test the flavor contribution you can take 2 glasses of water, treat one and don't treat the other, have a few sips of each. I have added it (I can't remember the quantities off-hand.) to glasses of water as I suggested above and cannot taste it.
Seems like a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:27 PM   #6
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Seems like a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?
I did that with lactic acid! I asked a similar question, and someone responded back "Try it and see"- so I did. I was able to acidify my water with lactic acid, 5 ml for 5 gallons and have no taste so I knew it was ok.

One thing I'd suggest is something I've tried (and we have info on this forum) to reduce the alkalinity of your water. Lime softening.

Just use some pickling lime, and then rack the beer of the precipitate.

It worked really well, but I decided after a couple of times that I didn't like doing it. I had 30 gallons of water in different vessels in my laundry room, and found it inconvenient. If you don't mind doing it, and have some space (and even a big food safe trashcan would work), then here is some info: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...th_slaked_lime
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CharlosCarlies View Post
Maybe my understanding is wrong, but do you mean removing alkalinity? If so, yes that's the goal as we're trying to brew some very low SRM beers. I was under the impression hardness wasn't affected much when using acids, but again I could be wrong.

Fortunately, that amount of acid also brought the mash pH down to optimal levels, so it killed two birds with one stone.
Hmmm...

If your hardness is due to due to high chloride or sulfate, you can't actually "remove" the alkalinity. You can't soften the water by adding acid, that is. All you can do is lower the pH, which is fine for the mash, but still leaves you with a hazy, "harsh" tasting pilsner.

If your water actually has a lot of lime (calcium/magnesium carbonate) in it, you can boil it to remove hardness.

Read this for a good explanation of hardness vs. alkalinity. It was a quick search, but this is pretty comprehensive.

http://www.chem1.com/CQ/hardwater.html
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:33 PM   #8
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Hardness and alkalinity (temporary hardness) are two different things. Hardness typically refers to the levels of Calcium and Magnesium. Alkalinity refers to how much the water resists pH change, typically due to carbonates. Alkalinity can be reduced by a couple methods. Hardness is trickier to reduce (typical water softeners works great, but not for brewing purposes)

As Yopper said, pickling lime (Calcium hydroxide) works great at reducing alkalinity by forming Calcium carbonate which is not very soluble and will precipitate out (it takes a couple hour to settle out). It can also reduce the Calcium a little. If you have high magnesium water (too high), you can add even more of the lime and at higher pH levels you will get a gel-like Mg carbonate to form which is a bit more of a pain to remove ( I think this is what Yopper ran into). I add less. After the material settles, I pump the water over to my mash tun and lauter tun and then bring the pH down to the proper mash range with phosphoric acid. I use less than 5 ml of acid per 10 gal. with no effect on taste


I should also mention, that the problems with high Ca and Mg can lead to taste related problems, while issues with alkalinity can result in a mash pH that is not ideal and lead to reduced efficiency (less directly influence taste)

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Old 04-09-2013, 10:58 PM   #9
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I prob should have included the disclaimer that these are pilot batches for a micro start-up I'm part of, so some options (like boiling specifically) eventually won't be realistic from an efficiency stand point. Lime softening is definitely something we have been looking into, however...so really appreciate the comments there.

Quote:
Hardness and alkalinity (temporary hardness) are two different things. Hardness typically refers to the levels of Calcium and Magnesium. Alkalinity refers to how much the water resists pH change, typically due to carbonates. Alkalinity can be reduced by a couple methods. Hardness is trickier to reduce (typical water softeners works great, but not for brewing purposes)
Right, and from my understanding our water will almost surely be alkaline and not very hard (~50 ppm Ca and ~10 ppm Mg). From a water analysis that should be similar to ours, I've been estimating that we'll be around 200-250 ppm CaCO3. Given this, is lime softening likely going to be our best option? We'll have no issue adding back Ca since our water is also very low in chloride/sulfate.

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If your hardness is due to due to high chloride or sulfate, you can't actually "remove" the alkalinity. You can't soften the water by adding acid, that is. All you can do is lower the pH, which is fine for the mash, but still leaves you with a hazy, "harsh" tasting pilsner.
Our chloride and sulfate will likely both be very low (~20-30 ppm) based off water reports I've seen near us.

As far as adding acid, I was under the impression that the acid reacted w/ the bicarbonate to reduce alkalinity, but also would leave behind sulfate, choride, lactate, etc depending on the particular acid being used. To me this seemed like a potential benefit since our chloride/sulfate levels are so low. Couldn't we just add hydrochloric/sulfuric acid and bump our low sulfate/chloride levels as well?
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:34 PM   #10
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It’s my understanding that Phosphoric is flavor neutral, there is plenty of phosphate in malt.

The lactic is somewhere in the range of 400-700 ppm.

Kai has done a lot of work in this area.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...ash_pH_control
and
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...old_experiment

As for the sulfuric and/or hydrochloric, as long as the ion levels are appropriate you should be fine. Standard disclaimer for strong acids, don't try this at home.

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