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Old 01-07-2013, 05:27 PM   #1
scruff311
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Default Confusion With Altering Water Chemistry

I live in an area with very soft water (54.6 ppm Total Hardness), however the pH appears to be rather high at 9.7. The overall mineral content is low so I am not sure where this high pH is coming from. Here is the annual water chart for my local supply.

I am trying to figure out what salts I should be adding to my mash to get the pH and hardness just right. In particular, I will be brewing a sweet stout (~40 SRM) this Sunday so my understanding is that I need water with a high alkalinity and pH.

Jim Palmer suggests using either Calcium Carbonate or Sodium Bicarbonate when brewing a dark beer with soft water. However, I just started working with Vermont Pub & Brewery's spreadsheet available on byo.com and the suggestion is to use a combination of gypsum and lactic acid.

Based on my water chemistry, what should I be adding when brewing a dark stout? Should I add anything if brewing something like an IPA (I've read gypsum helps hoppy beers)? Where can I buy gypsum and food-grade lactic acid?

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Old 01-07-2013, 07:37 PM   #2
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Download this excel spreadsheet, https://sites.google.com/site/brunwa...attredirects=0.

It's called Bru'n water. It'll have all the info you need, including a dark stout profile.

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Old 01-08-2013, 03:21 AM   #3
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Yeah, water chemistry can take some work to get the grasp on, and there is actually a lot of individual opinion and belief on how to approach it and solve it.

I know you are saying your 54.6ppm is "very soft" water, which I'm sure it is, but get ready for this... straight from my local published water report:

Total Hardness ppm 11.6


So as you can imagine I've been working hard on figuring out how to adjust my nearly empty tap water for brewing. The Bru'n water calculator linked in the prev post is very comprehensive but doesn't do a lot of hand holding so you might want to check out something a little more simple to get the hang of adjustments and target numbers. A good simple one is http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/

The most common additives I've seen in all areas discussing the topic are gypsum, chalk (calcium carbonate), epsom salt, baking soda, and calcium chloride. I was able to get all of these items locally except for the calcium chloride which looks like I'll have to order it online, but based on my results with the calculators, I have a lot of control with the others.

Seeing that theveganbrewer is in Beaverton (probably has extremely similar water to me) and has a lot more experience than me, I'd trust in the completeness of the Bru'n water calculator and its profiles. Might just looks a little overwhelming at first.

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Old 01-08-2013, 03:30 AM   #4
WestCoastBrewmonkey
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Does anyone have any experience with the product "5.2 Stabilizer" to adjust their ph level to always be 5.2? It seems like a very simple solution to adjusting ph......almost too simple.

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Old 01-08-2013, 03:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestCoastBrewmonkey View Post
Does anyone have any experience with the product "5.2 Stabilizer" to adjust their ph level to always be 5.2? It seems like a very simple solution to adjusting ph......almost too simple.
Its no good
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:33 AM   #6
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Nuff said! Thanks!

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Old 01-12-2013, 09:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theveganbrewer View Post
Download this excel spreadsheet, https://sites.google.com/site/brunwa...attredirects=0.

It's called Bru'n water. It'll have all the info you need, including a dark stout profile.
Thanks. It's definitely complex, but thorough. I spent 1.5 - 2 hours with it and now I feel quite confident about my water adjustment. Cheers!
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