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Old 03-04-2009, 05:10 PM   #1
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Default More Water questions......

I have been doing kit beers for over a year now and have decided to finally make the jump to AG. I have all of the equipment ready and am just waiting for a nice warm (above 40) day.
In the mean time I have been doing some research on the water here. I got my test results from ward last week and drew out my water on palmers nomograph. Looks to me like I have pretty hard water. I read the section in palmers book a bunch of times, but still am having a hard time grasping the concept of the ph of the mash, the additions, well pretty much everything. I see how If I add calcium I can lower my ph, but I would have to add a ton for a light beer. (like about 5 tablespoons of calciumSulfate). Now the way I read it is that I could split this between CaSO4, and CaCl2. Is that right? Is that all there is to it? I think this should be pretty hard. There is something I am not getting. I don't like to screw up, especially if I can figure it out in the first place. So basically what I am asking is if someone could explain it in laymans terms what I am looking at........

Here is my water test results:

pH 8.0
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 236
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.39
Cations / Anions, me/L 4.1 / 4.2
ppm
Sodium, Na 7
Potassium, K 1
Calcium, Ca 55
Magnesium, Mg 12
Total Hardness, CaCO3 188
Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 2
Chloride, Cl 9
Carbonate, CO3 6
Bicarbonate, HCO3 221
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 191
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit
I can plot all of those on the nomograph, and came out with a base malt mash ph of about 5.94, or 140 ra.
Who wants a challenge??
One last thing, I did seach around for a while, but really did not find anything.

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Old 03-04-2009, 07:28 PM   #2
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kaiser is very knowledgeable on this IIRC. If you don't get any help in the forums, you might try PM'ing him. He can at least point you in the right direction.

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Old 03-04-2009, 07:52 PM   #3
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I'd recommend downloading Palmer's excel spreadsheet and plugging in your numbers. Fiddle around with diluting your source water and see what kind of effects you end up with. I'm no expert, but I suspect you're going to be much better off diluting your source water with distilled water and not just adding a bunch of Ca in order to brew a light colored beer.

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Old 03-04-2009, 08:46 PM   #4
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I would think to brew a lighter beer with that water, you could dilute it with distilled water to reduce the hardness, then add gypsum or calcium chloride to bring the calcium level back up (over 50 ppm is what Fix states is best) while simultaneously reducing the pH. An acid rest may also be helpful.

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Old 03-04-2009, 09:12 PM   #5
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I wouldn't worry to much about your water ph, it's your wort and boil ph that are key.

Pick up "Principles of Brewing Science" by George Fix, Ph. D (late). It has a lot of good info in it on water.

Edit: as for hardness, try 50/50 with distilled or RO for making light srm beers. Leave a is for dark ales/lagers.

Just noticed you were an extract brewer. Kits are already at the right wort PH. I wouldn't worry about your water as far as PH then. Just as above for hardness. Even then, most of that relates to the mash (which is done for you with extract).

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Old 03-04-2009, 11:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny's Evil Concoctions View Post
I wouldn't worry to much about your water ph, it's your wort and boil ph that are key.

Pick up "Principles of Brewing Science" by George Fix, Ph. D (late). It has a lot of good info in it on water.

Edit: as for hardness, try 50/50 with distilled or RO for making light srm beers. Leave a is for dark ales/lagers.

Just noticed you were an extract brewer. Kits are already at the right wort PH. I wouldn't worry about your water as far as PH then. Just as above for hardness. Even then, most of that relates to the mash (which is done for you with extract).

Yeah, all extract, but I have everything ready for AG, that will be my next beer. The book by Dr. Fix, is that pretty easy to understand? I am by no means a chemist.

I will look for that spreadsheet you speak of.
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Old 03-05-2009, 12:02 AM   #7
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Just nose over the teechnical stuff and you should get the gist of what he is saying in that book.

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Old 03-05-2009, 12:13 AM   #8
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I found that spreadsheet, it is play time.
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Old 03-05-2009, 01:51 AM   #9
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All right, played with the spreadsheet. (WOW). What I am looking for is to make that little box at the bottom right Say "balanced" while the boxes to the left fall into the SRA or Residual Alkalinity for the beer style I am looking for??
How 'bout that acid and mash water? Do the same? Pick an acid, add desired amout to accomplish the same as above?
That sure beats doing all of the math on paper with pen.

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Old 03-05-2009, 06:27 AM   #10
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I think you are over complicating things. Why do you need to change the ph of the water? Most water is buffered and can be a bitch to change with chemicals.

Hardness is something you really need to adjust with soft water. (There' also temporary hardness vs hardness etc.)

You really need to see what your wort PH is beofre you start screwing with the water grains will change the PH and you really want to hit around the 5.2 mark. Dark malts have an easier time at this than light. Odds are your wort PH will be just fine. Hardness will make light beers seem a bit harsher, but like I said, some softer (distilled or even RO) water will take care of that.

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