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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Understanding Palmer's Spreadsheet
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:06 PM   #1
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Default Understanding Palmer's Spreadsheet

So the way it was described to me make sense right now, but I read so many posts on forums that say differently.

What I was told was to enter just the initial mash strike water volume on the spreadsheet and adjust the salts/minerals to correct my source water to the appropriate water profile I would like to achieve.
I would then appropriately split those additions between the Mash and the boil kettle.
So if I'm using 3gallons in the mash with 6.25gallons in the kettle. The first addition into the mash would be 48% of the minerals and the kettle addition would be 52%.

But, reading other people's take on it they say you should put it all the salts/minerals into the mash and then do another calculation for the difference of water in the kettle and calculate a different addition of salts/minerals for the boil.

Can anyone help clarify Palmer's Spreadsheet?

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Old 08-17-2012, 01:53 AM   #2
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Listening to Brew Strong, Palmer states that you put only the initial 3 gallons for mash and then you have to calculate an additional salt/mineral addition for the other 4 gallons that would top off your kettle for say a 7 gallon pre boil volume. So thinking it over, was what my friend trying to tell me when he said split it into two additions, he didn't literally mean split it in half, but to do two separate additions of the equal value, since your mash & sparge volumes are almost equal?

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Old 08-17-2012, 10:56 PM   #3
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Yeah, I tend to calculate separately for my mash and sparge water, but your way sounds like it would work just as well. Either way, the same amounts of salts are making their way into the water. For instance if I've got 3 gal of mash water and 5 of sparge, I'll calculate both separately, but that's just the way I started doing it. No problem going back and calculating for 8 gal then splitting it, Beersmith just doesn't do that part for me!

Just to clarify, I'm assuming when you say adding to the boil kettle you mean adding to sparge water? If you're not using that water for sparging but just using it to fill up to a full boil, then whether or not you treat it depends on what you're adding to it. If you're not running it through the mash, there's no need to worry about pH. But if you're adding minerals for flavor (Na, Cl, SO4) or to get high enough Ca for the yeast, you'd want to add those to the BK even if you're not using it to sparge.

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Old 10-03-2012, 05:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikpete18 View Post
Yeah, I tend to calculate separately for my mash and sparge water, but your way sounds like it would work just as well. Either way, the same amounts of salts are making their way into the water. For instance if I've got 3 gal of mash water and 5 of sparge, I'll calculate both separately, but that's just the way I started doing it. No problem going back and calculating for 8 gal then splitting it, Beersmith just doesn't do that part for me!

Just to clarify, I'm assuming when you say adding to the boil kettle you mean adding to sparge water? If you're not using that water for sparging but just using it to fill up to a full boil, then whether or not you treat it depends on what you're adding to it. If you're not running it through the mash, there's no need to worry about pH. But if you're adding minerals for flavor (Na, Cl, SO4) or to get high enough Ca for the yeast, you'd want to add those to the BK even if you're not using it to sparge.
I'm trying to figure this out myself. You are correct, I believe. After listening to the podcasts twice, Palmer says you can sparge with distilled water and add salts to the bk. For flavor. What I don't get is the mash pH. Estimated mash pH isn't even in the spreadsheet. Seems like the Ca, RA and grist bill are the most important factors.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:38 PM   #5
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Ha, I hadn't even noticed that he never lists mash pH. It would be a nice value to have estimated, just so you could compare a measured value if you've got a pH meter. The Ca and RA values will both help to determine the mash pH, so there's probably some mathematical formula to get you back to an estimated pH. You could also probably find a quick conversion to use between his estimated SRM values and what pH those would correspond to if you were interested. Not sure why he decided to list it as SRM rather than pH, maybe its got something to do with either the changes in pH in response to temp, or that different dark malts have different acidity. More than likely he was just trying to keep things simpler.

So, I just looked up his updated nomograph, and there is a rough conversion at the top for SRM to pH. No idea if you can actually take his estimated SRM values and use that to estimate a pH backwards, but it might give you something to work with going forward.

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