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Old 01-18-2012, 02:07 PM   #1
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Default residual alkilinty / mash ph

hello all,

i've been playing around with the ez water calculator and i have a question that has stumped me. listening to the brewstrong episode on water, palmer stresses the importance of RA and even guives guidelines based on the srm of the beer. i can find no way of having an RA in his recomended ranges while having an acceptable mash pH though. As opposed to the ez water calculator, palmer's spreadsheet doesn't even have a field for the estimated mash pH. Am i looking at something wrong here? Any help would be greatly appreciated since i am planning on adjusting my water for the first time this weekend. Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-18-2012, 03:05 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelastdandy View Post
hello all,

i've been playing around with the ez water calculator and i have a question that has stumped me. listening to the brewstrong episode on water, palmer stresses the importance of RA and even guives guidelines based on the srm of the beer. i can find no way of having an RA in his recomended ranges while having an acceptable mash pH though. As opposed to the ez water calculator, palmer's spreadsheet doesn't even have a field for the estimated mash pH. Am i looking at something wrong here? Any help would be greatly appreciated since i am planning on adjusting my water for the first time this weekend. Thanks in advance.

At this point, Palmer's "guidelines" and nomograph are largely dismissed by most expert brewers. The correlation between RA and SRM exists, but Palmer's numbers are way off.

IMHO you shouldn't be attempting to adjust your mash without a PH meter.

There's a water primer you should read before doing anything: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/bre...primer-198460/

Michael
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:40 PM   #3
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I'm kind of in agreement with Michael here. After listening to many podcasts, and reading lots of information on brewing water and chemistry, I pretty much target mash and sparge pH and don't even worry about RA.

After all that learning I found Brunwater spreadsheet, and while more complicated, it's also more full featured and provides the information in a manner that seems to make sense to me.

If you have a reliable source of water, and a good water report, then good calculations will get you close. But if you don't have a decent low-end pH meter to check your numbers, you won't really know.

Then again, if you aren't using a water report and at least TRYING to correct an obvious problem, then you're not really helping yourself either, right?

I'd take a look at Brunwater and play with it. Target a mash pH and depending on your water, a sparge acidification.

Also, it might be helpful to see your water report so we can run some numbers and compare with what you get. Just a little reassurance.

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Old 01-18-2012, 06:31 PM   #4
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so here is the report:

pH- 7.9
Na- 18
Ca- 35
Mg- 20
So4-S- 6
Cl- 35
HCO3-172
Total Alkalinity- 141

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Old 01-18-2012, 06:33 PM   #5
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I've played around with bru'n water and a few others, but was stumped on palmers correlations with srm regarding RA. Thanks for the response.

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Old 01-18-2012, 07:06 PM   #6
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so here is the report:

pH- 7.9
Na- 18
Ca- 35
Mg- 20
So4-S- 6
Cl- 35
HCO3-172
Total Alkalinity- 141
Any Carbonate listed? I'm no expert, but according to the spreadsheet I'm using it says the water is too far out of balance.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:22 PM   #7
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i've got bicarbonate as HCO3 at 172 and what they list as just plain carbonate at <1

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Old 01-18-2012, 07:25 PM   #8
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DO check out the primer referenced above but I would use your water, provided its not chlorinated and add 1tsp of calcium chloride for most of my beers and use 2% acid malt and see what happens, (this would work our really well for malty beers over hoppy beers, if you want hoppy then add .5 tsp of Gypsum along with the Calcium Chloride a little bit of Sulfate goes a long way). The only thing that has me a little worried is the bicarbonates being 172 but acid additions should help with those... Here is a thread that addresses those levels a little bit for you to study up on. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/resi...levels-194698/

I punched your numbers in kaiser's water calculator spreadsheet and this is what I got without adding the acid malt or Calcium Chloride for right now.

Na- 18
Ca- 35
Mg- 20
Sulfate- 11.5
Cl- 35
HCO3-172
Total Alkalinity- 141
Residual Alkalinity - 104.2

Here is what is is with 2 g of calcium chloride:

Na- 18
Ca- 57.1
Mg- 20
Sulfate - 11.5
Cl- 74.2
HCO3-172
Total Alkalinity- 141
Residual Alkalinity - 70

Based on the residual alkalinity of your unmodified water I'd say you'd be ok with darker beers (just remember to leave out the acid malt when brewing darker beers). I'd just start playing around with the spreadsheets and read up on what levels are recommended for the type of beer I'm brewing.

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Old 01-18-2012, 07:36 PM   #9
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Also this is a good video from Bobby on water chemistry if videos help you get your mind wrapped around things (like me).

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Old 01-18-2012, 08:21 PM   #10
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thanks for the input. i definitely learn more by watching someone else, so the videos are really helpful!

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