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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Sparge Ph Question
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:29 PM   #1
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Default Sparge Ph Question

I have not been adjusting my ph for sparging and have been getting about 70% efficiencies on my first 2 all grain batches. I see that some people acidify their sparge water, but I wasn't sure how to do it. I also read that John Palmer said somewhere that if your total alkalinity is less than 100 ppm you should be ok without treating sparge water at all. My water is fairly soft. Ca 25 , Mg 6, Total alkalinity 107, Na 25, Cl 19, Sulfate 11, ph 7.5. So I'm not quite sure if I should do anything or not. I am making a barleywine on Sunday with SRM 18, and small amounts of special B, caramel and chocolate malts. Any ideas one what water additions I should make and sparge additions as well?

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Old 02-11-2011, 04:13 PM   #2
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The best advice I ever got on water treatment is, Don't futz with it if you don't understand it. Check out the stickies in the science forum for more information or the water chapter in Palmer's book, but until you have a pretty good grip on this stuff my hunch is that any interventions you try to make will yield disappointing results.

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Old 02-11-2011, 04:27 PM   #3
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+1 It's not that hard to understand once you wrap your mind around it, but if you don't understand it, you are probably doing more harm than good.

you water chemistry is going to depend a lot on the SRM of the beer you are trying to make. Acidity is modified by the dark grains used to brew darker beers. Very alkaline water is assisted by the acids contained within the roasted malts, but lightly alkaline water is ruined by those malts, so lighter grains are more successful.

Unless you are brewing very pale, or very dark beers, most water is "fine" for most brewing. There are plenty of other factors that can influence your beer more. But if you have reached the point where you feel you are ready to play with water and maybe take your beer to that next small step above "just really pretty good", then study up. Try out the EZ-Calcuator spreadsheet and see how adjusting different amounts of water and minerals and acids can affect the mash and the final flavor of a beer.'

And for what it's worth, I generally don't treat my sparge water. I treat my mash water only and call it good. But I think my alkalinity is like 186 off the top of my head.

But just to restate for clarity, your water additions will depend on your water AND the beer style you are shooting for. Also note that Palmer and JZ recommend paying attention to the Chloride/Sulfite RATIO depending on the level of bitterness you are looking for too.

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Old 02-11-2011, 06:28 PM   #4
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The best advice I ever got on water treatment is, Don't futz with it if you don't understand it. Check out the stickies in the science forum for more information or the water chapter in Palmer's book, but until you have a pretty good grip on this stuff my hunch is that any interventions you try to make will yield disappointing results.
+1 Just like all-grain, water chemistry is a topic that you have to read over and over and then eventually it will click for you.

Also, I like it when MalFet gives advice because his avatar makes him seem smarter and more "official."
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:35 PM   #5
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Also, I like it when MalFet gives advice because his avatar makes him seem smarter and more "official."


For what it's worth, that's C.S. Peirce, who was a well known coke addict, perpetually unemployed, and probably mentally ill.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:36 PM   #6
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For what it's worth, that's C.S. Peirce, who was a well known coke addict.
You are a terrible man and I will not listen to you anymore.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:57 PM   #7
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For what it's worth, that's C.S. Peirce, who was a well known coke addict, perpetually unemployed, and probably mentally ill.
And brilliant, and his beard is really cool....
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:00 PM   #8
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And brilliant, and his beard is really cool....
...also true
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