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Old 05-09-2011, 01:48 PM   #1
BrewThruYou
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Well, I brewed and just bottled my first beer with mineral additions. My water has the following characteristics:

Calcium - 74ppm
Magnesium - 15 ppm
Sodium - 19 ppm
Chloride - 62 ppm
Sulfate - 24 ppm (multiplied Ward's by 3)
Bicarbonate (HCO3) - 188

I used the ez water calculator and added 2 grams of baking soda and 2 grams of chalk. I wanted to try bumping up the mash PH a little and trying a little more calcium. Mineral additions bumped calcium to 100 ppm and sodium to 37. Mash PH is 5.52 at room temp according to calc (don't have a meter).

This is an Irish Red (13.9 SRM). It came out a LOT cloudier than I'm used to. I mashed for 90 minutes and this is usually one of my clearer beers. In the hydrometer jar, I'm usually quite clear and this thing was really cloudy. Taste is also a little off, but not bad tasting. It just tastes different because this is the 4th batch of this beer and I'm very used to the tastes of the other batches.

1. Is there a clear cause of this haze like too much sodium or calcium?

2. I did mash only additions of the minerals? Should I have split the additions between mash and boil?

 
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Old 05-09-2011, 03:50 PM   #2
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The culprit is the chalk. You should never add chalk to brewing water*. If it is to be used at all it should be added to the mash and that only if a reading from a properly calibrated pH meter indicates that it is necessary.

The chalk may be responsible either directly or indirectly. It wouldn't have dissolved completely and so their is the possibility of chalk particles making it into the beer. This is unlikely. The filtering of the sparge and just letting the beer sit usually permits chalk particles to settle out. More likely is that the chalk and baking soda raised the mash pH high enough that either starch conversion was incomplete (so the turbidity is starch particles) or protein digestion incomplete (in which case the turbidity is protein particles) or both. The funny taste can be due to mineral carryover. I have heard people describe beer made as you did as tasting "chalky" or "like alka selzer". But the high pH will also result in considerable modification of flavor and not to its benefit.

*As with everything else in life there is an exception. If you are trying to emulate an actual brewing water ion profile then it is very likely that chalk will be required as most natural waters contain calcium bicarbonate which got into those waters when limestone (chemically the same as chalk) was dissolved by carbonic acid (CO2). For you to duplicate nature's result you must emulate nature's method and dissolve the chalk with CO2. This is an elaborate process, requires a pH meter and is usually not worth the trouble.

Many of the spreadsheets advise the addition of chalk to water or mash in cases like yours. In a lot of them the amount suggested is tied to the color of the beer. These spreadsheets can lead one astray as they have done to you. If you ignore their suggestions about chalk and sodium bicarbonate but follow their advice about everything else you should be OK.

 
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:19 PM   #3
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I really appreciate your response. My head is breaking trying to digest all of the water profile information in a very short time.

The EZ Calc is saying that my estimated mash PH is 5.35, but it seems the only way to raise it is chalk or sodium bicarbonate. Every other mineral addition either has no affect or lowers mash PH.

 
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Old 02-16-2016, 11:34 PM   #4
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If you should generally ignore chalk and baking soda additions- how do you raise the pH(like what would be required for stouts/porters in ph5.5-5.6 range)?

 
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Old 02-17-2016, 12:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fun4stuff View Post
If you should generally ignore chalk and baking soda additions- how do you raise the pH(like what would be required for stouts/porters in ph5.5-5.6 range)?
You can use baking soda. Or lime, or something else to raise the alkalinity if needed in grain bills with a ton of dark roasted malts in water with low alkalinity.

Don't use those in the sparge water, but in the mash is fine.
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Old 02-17-2016, 12:12 AM   #6
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Don't raise your pH that much. There are other factors that go into clear beer but pH is huge. Mash should be around 5.2 area. Spare water around 5.6-5.7 range and final pH just below 5.
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Old 02-17-2016, 12:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fun4stuff View Post
If you should generally ignore chalk and baking soda additions- how do you raise the pH(like what would be required for stouts/porters in ph5.5-5.6 range)?
+1 to yoopers advice.

Aj wasn't saying not to use baking soda, if necessary. It's just very rare to actually need to raise the pH and there's no reason to add chalk or baking soda to raise the amount bicarbonate ions UNLESS you need the pH boost.

For example, if you are trying to copy Dublin water, which is high in bicarbonate, you're better off ignoring the bicarbonate and only adding the other ions, (NaCl, CaCl, SO4, etc) and THEN adding any baking soda or lime you need in order to get the pH into the correct range (which is likely none. Acidifying mash is far more common). If you're really intent on emulating the exact water profile, then you'll have to bubble CO2 through a chalk/water suspension which is a major pain and not worth the effort.

The bicarbonate doesn't serve a flavor function like these other ions do, and only serves to raise the pH and affect color.
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Old 02-17-2016, 01:50 AM   #8
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Something is not right with your inputs. I don't believe that EZ is going to be that far off. A red ale with that tap water is still going to need some external acid in my experience.

The great thing about EZ is that the first time user thinks that its simple to use. Little do they know that just because you put in numbers and got some other numbers out, its not necessarily correct. Sorry folks, but brewing water chemistry is not EZ. It turns out that a program that allows the user to input garbage is more likely to leave you with garbage beer. All those damned warnings and red cells in Bru'n Water are there to help you avoid making a mistake. Even that is not perfect, but its a step in the right direction.

Pick your poison.
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:43 AM   #9
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thanks for the replies.

 
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Old 02-17-2016, 02:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fun4stuff View Post
If you should generally ignore chalk and baking soda additions- how do you raise the pH(like what would be required for stouts/porters in ph5.5-5.6 range)?
Usually you don't because with even a modestly alkaline water the pH is going to fall in that region anyway unless you use inordinate amounts of high kilned malt in which case the beer is going to taste acrid/burnt sharp but people will tell you that this is because the pH is too low and the proper response is to add alkali to get the pH up to 5.6. The proper response is to use less burnt stuff unless that is what you really want in which case you still want to keep the pH from going below say 5.4 and alkali is the only way to get there. The alkali can come from a more alkaline base malt, from less calcium in the water or from an added base such as sodium bicarbonate or calcium hydroxide both of which are readily available to the home brewer in food grade. Of course sodium or potassium hydroxide would work equally well but are not so easy to obtain in food grade by home brewers and are somewhat dangerous relative to lime (slaked) and baking soda. Lime has the advantage of producing 1 mEq of alkalinity for each mEq of calcium added. With baking soda each mEq of alkalinity requires the addition of 1.13 mmol of sodium (mash pH 5.5). With sodium or potassium hydroxide you get 1 mEq alkalinity for each mmol of sodium (23 mg) or potassium (39.1 mg) added.

There are other salts which can be used. If we are willing to use phosphoric acid when necessary to decrease pH why should we not be willing to accept phosphate ion when we need to increase it? Perhaps the answer is that the easy to use form, trisodium phosphate (http://www.amazon.com/TriSodium-Phos...dium+phosphate) adds 1.5 mmol sodium for each mEq of alkalinity it supplies (also a little dangerous: 2 on health compared to 3 for NaOH).

Another possibility is trisodium citrate (http://www.amazon.com/Sodium-Citrate...sodium+citrate). It adds 2.8 mmol Na+ for each mEq acid absorbed (alkalinity again at pH 5.5).

As we don't generally like sodium we should consider calcium salts such as dibasic calcium phosphate (CaHPO4 - http://www.amazon.com/Freeda-Kosher-...cium+phosphate). This yields 1 mEq of acid absorption for each 2 mEq (1 mmol = 40 mg) of calcium added (as always to pH 5.5).

Another interesting possibility is apatite ( Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2 ) which absorbs (to pH 5.5) 1 mEq acid for each 1.44 mEq of calcium added. It is insoluble in water and may, therefore, have associated all the difficulties of CaCO3 but if finely enough divided it does dissolve readily in weak acids (like vinegar).

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