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Old 01-01-2012, 07:40 PM   #11
Jan 2011
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Thanks Martin, I've been using your Bru'n Water sparge acidifications for brewing. This discussion has helped me better understand why I've been doing what the spreadsheet has had me doing.

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Old 01-02-2012, 05:20 AM   #12
Aug 2010
McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 9,661
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Originally Posted by HawkATP View Post
My tap water has a pH of 9.4, with a total alkalinity (CACO3) of 43, does that affect whether I acidify the sparge?
You are probably OK at that level without acidification but you are getting close to the edge. In such cases it is a good idea to check runoff pH to see that it does not rise above 6 before the end of collection.

OTOH if you want to be on the safe side you could add a bit of acid - enough to get the pH below 6. It's pretty clear that if the goal is to keep runoff pH below 6 that it is sufficient to acidify the sparge water to pH 6. There is no way (that I can think of offhand) that you can rinse mash at pH 5.4 with water at pH 6 and obtain runoff at a pH higher than 6 irrespective of the original water's pH. Of course the acidification reduces the alkalinity of the water. If you were to acidify your water to pH 6 with phosphoric acid the treated water would have alkalinity of 15 and if you went to pH 5.5 the alkalinity would be 7.4

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Old 02-01-2013, 07:43 AM   #13
Sep 2012
Posts: 12


Reason: I answered my own question...

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Old 02-01-2013, 09:02 PM   #14
Kaiser's Avatar
Nov 2005
Pepperell, MA
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I don't think that there is any need to acidify the sparge water when you have an alkalinity of only 43.

For 4 gal of sparge water it takes only 1 ml 88% lactic acid to get the pH to 5.4

If I add that 1 ml lactic acid to a mash with the mash the pH shifts by a mere 0.03 pH units. A sparged grain bed has less buffer capacity than a full mash but I doubt that your sparge pH is going to rise by more than 0.15 units. With a starting mash pH below 5.6 you'll be fine.


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Old 02-02-2013, 01:15 AM   #15
mabrungard's Avatar
Feb 2011
Carmel, IN
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I agree with Kai. With an alkalinity of 43 ppm as CaCO3, the need to acidify is questionable. I recommend acidifying water down to about 25 ppm alkalinity, just because it should be sufficient for most cases. The need for acidification increases markedly as the water alkalinity exceeds 50 ppm. But even in the case above, the consequences of acidification are negligible while the consequences of not doing it are slightly more impactful. Your choice.
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:34 PM   #16
Aug 2009
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I have a good example of why you would want to treat the strike and the sparge separately.

My tapwater has alkalinity of 100 and calcium at 40ppm. When I make pales at SRM 8-10 I treat the strike with CaCl and thatís it. Mash pH is around 5.3. The 3 gallons of sparge gets 1.0mL of 88% lactic acid which puts it in the 5.6-5.8 range.

If I donít acidify the sparge I get astringency. I could probably get away without acidification if I batch sparged. If I acidify the strike it puts my mash down around 5.1.

I canít imagine that my circumstances are all that unusual, except maybe having a pH meter.

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Old 10-27-2016, 08:50 PM   #17
Oct 2016
Posts: 2

[QUOTE=ajdelange;3615669]Most breweries do not treat the sparge and mash water separately. Why would they go to extra effort (costing more money) if they didn't have to? If they treat the water at all they treat the whole volume and just brew with it. Similarly most don't make kettle additions if they don't have to.

Using the Bru'n Water spreadsheet, where it gives you seperate amounts of acid and minerals to put in to the sparge and mash how can you account for both amounts when they both are coming from the same treated HLT?

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