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Old 01-20-2012, 02:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
Extra calcium will precipitate more calcium carbonate and thus remove more alkalinity. For this reason I always tell people that if you are planning to add calcium chloride or calcium sulfate to make up for the calcium dropped in the decarbonation that you should do it before lime treatment, not after. I also advise adding some chalk to the water being treated to serve as nucleation sites for the precipitating CaCO3.



The pH will continue to drop as the treated water absorbs CO2 from the air. It is very important to get the water off the precipitate ASAP so that the CO2 does not redissolve any of it.

The pH of the water you brew with is not very important. The alkalinity is. The goal of lime treatment is to reduce bicarbonate alkalinity.



Delighted you find the stuff useful.
I went through Kai's writeup very slowly, and I think I get it. I will have to add CaS04 or CaCl2 (as well as the chalk, which I have from winemaking) because my calcium is moderate while my alkalinity is high.

I really appreciate all of your help (and that of Mabrungard as well) in grasping this.

My beer was never not good, and I tend to make darker APAs and IPAs and ambers. My stouts were always by far my best beers and yet I don't love the style that much. My maibocks were always pretty good, while my kolsch and pilsners were a bit harsh.

Once I started diluting with RO water for all by my stouts, and diluting more with the lighter beers, my beer improved greatly.

The funny thing is, now I taste some brewpubs beers and I can "taste" that bad water. Or I can pick out a beer with a yeast in poor that was made. If anything, the better my beers get, the less I enjoy some commercial beers.


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Old 01-20-2012, 03:46 PM   #12
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... the better my beers get, the less I enjoy some commercial beers.
What's the point in home brewing if you can buy better beer?

That's said tongue in cheek, of course. I think the real pleasure comes in being able to brew beer that is better than most you can buy not just in having good beer. I sometimes think this must be the way it is for the extremely wealthy (i.e. the infamous 1%). They take more pleasure in accumulating all that money than in having it. Of course it is very nice to have great beer in the house (and I'm sure it's the same for that first $100 M).



 
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
Extra calcium will precipitate more calcium carbonate and thus remove more alkalinity. For this reason I always tell people that if you are planning to add calcium chloride or calcium sulfate to make up for the calcium dropped in the decarbonation that you should do it before lime treatment, not after. I also advise adding some chalk to the water being treated to serve as nucleation sites for the precipitating CaCO3.



The pH will continue to drop as the treated water absorbs CO2 from the air. It is very important to get the water off the precipitate ASAP so that the CO2 does not redissolve any of it.

The pH of the water you brew with is not very important. The alkalinity is. The goal of lime treatment is to reduce bicarbonate alkalinity.



Delighted you find the stuff useful.
Thank you for the reply, ajdelange! I really appreciate your advice and will look into how much to add before lime treatment. I'll try the technique later tonight.

 
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Old 01-20-2012, 10:31 PM   #14
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so, you do in the BK, which has a diptube, so you can pump it over to the HLT from there and leave the precipitate behind. Then adjust the water, and use it. It sounds simple enough, so that even my little brain can grasp it.
Pretty much. I use a removable filter in my BK so when I treat my water, there is just the bulkhead fitting with short threaded copper adapter sticking into the kettle. The bottom of that is ~1/2 off of the bottom.

When I first started to do this I would transfer the treated water 1 gal at a time to the MT and HLT. Then I had the face palm moment and now just use one of my pumps to move it
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Old 01-21-2012, 03:11 AM   #15
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Thanks for posting the link along with your numbers, Drcast. Really helpful.

 
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Old 01-21-2012, 03:18 AM   #16
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When I first started to do this I would transfer the treated water 1 gal at a time to the MT and HLT. Then I had the face palm moment and now just use one of my pumps to move it
That's what I was thinking. Treat the water the night before. Then, in the morning, transfer via diptube through the pump to the HLT.

I read Kai's tutorial, but since I don't have an aquarium tester for afterwards as he discusses, it'll have to be a guestimate with some assumptions when I add the CaCl2 and the lime.
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Old 01-21-2012, 04:26 AM   #17
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I think it's safe to say that if the inorganic phosphate from malt will precipitate calcium from the water that the inorganic phosphate in 5.2 will do the same thing. But that's really what we want as it results in lowered pH (maybe that's how 5.2 is supposed to reach 5.2). We need to be aware of how much calcium has been lost, though, so that we can make it back up if we are doing a beer that needs that.

To go beyond this simple explanation is difficult. I've done some simulations but they are not of practical value - just too complicated.

 
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:55 PM   #18
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I've been thinking about this more and more over the last two days, since drcast brought up the subject.

First, I "almost" understand Kai's spreadsheet, and that I have to add a bit of calcium to add temporary hardness. I also should add a bit of chalk to provide nucleation points.

After that, can I still estimate my water's residual alkalinity and the amount of calcium? Or should I send a sample to Ward's Labs? What about bicarb?

Also, is there any downside to this procedure? I've been diluting with RO water, but if this works I can avoid purchasing an RO unit and/or buying RO water. I guess I'm asking is since my Mg (26) is low, my chloride *14) is low, my sulfate is 45, and my Na++ is low, but my HCO3 is high.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
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After that, can I still estimate my water's residual alkalinity and the amount of calcium?
If calcium exceeds bicarbonate (which you can insure by doing supplementation before the treatment) then you can expect that alkalinity will be reduced to about 1 mEq/L, 50 ppm as CaCO3 or 61 mg/L bicarbonate provided that you did everything just right. You can also assume that the calcium will be reduced by the same amount as the bicarbonate. Example: Calcium hardness 250; alkalinity 200 ppm as CaCO3. Reducing the alkalinity to 50 lowers it by 150 ppm and so the calcium hardness will go down by the same amount to 100 ppm (40 mg/L).

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Or should I send a sample to Ward's Labs? What about bicarb?
If you don't do things just right you will not get to 50 ppm alkalinity and will remove less calcium than desired. Therefore, it is advisable to make a measurement yourself, which is easy enough to do, or send off to a lab. If you do lime treatment a lot its obviously cheaper to do it yourself and you get the answer instantly.

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Also, is there any downside to this procedure? I've been diluting with RO water, but if this works I can avoid purchasing an RO unit and/or buying RO water.
That depends on whether you have a readily available supply of RO and how hard/alkaline your water is. I've plumbed my brewery for RO and have water that is pretty close to 50 ppm alkalinity so I have to be very precise to get down to 50 and just opening the RO spigot is much, much easier.

The other downsides are that you can't easily get below 50 ppm alkalinity and that calcium is removed. Replacing the lost calcium is almost trivial to the point where I might not even be mentioned aa a down side.

 
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:01 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
If calcium exceeds bicarbonate (which you can insure by doing supplementation before the treatment) then you can expect that alkalinity will be reduced to about 1 mEq/L, 50 ppm as CaCO3 or 61 mg/L bicarbonate provided that you did everything just right. You can also assume that the calcium will be reduced by the same amount as the bicarbonate. Example: Calcium hardness 250; alkalinity 200 ppm as CaCO3. Reducing the alkalinity to 50 lowers it by 150 ppm and so the calcium hardness will go down by the same amount to 100 ppm (40 mg/L).
So, if my water has 57 ppm and bicarb is 228 ppm, I should add enough calcium chloride to get Ca above 228 ppm? Is that what you are saying? And the Ca will drop by the same amount as the HCO3?


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