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Old 10-07-2012, 04:01 PM   #1
zach1288
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This is the report for my local water. Can someone explain this to me? I was told the water is fairly neutral. Thanks.


 
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:33 PM   #2
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That is a pretty starting point for brewing. You could consider the recommendations of the Water Primer to help with adjustments since the mineralization of that water is so low. This water is going to need alkalinity if darker or more acidic grists are mashed. Bru'n Water provides the tools to figure that out.
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:41 AM   #3
zach1288
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
That is a pretty starting point for brewing. You could consider the recommendations of the Water Primer to help with adjustments since the mineralization of that water is so low. This water is going to need alkalinity if darker or more acidic grists are mashed. Bru'n Water provides the tools to figure that out.
How do I add alkalinity?

 
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:15 PM   #4
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Alkalinity is most reliably increased with pickling lime addition. It is a strong chemical and must be handled carefully and accurately. In most cases, only a teeny amount is needed. Many beers that don't have much roast or crystal malts won't need it at all.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:55 PM   #5
zach1288
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So I can't brew dark beers with this water? What will happen? Low efficiency or off flavors?

 
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:41 PM   #6
ajdelange
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Yes, you very well can. If you are reasonable about dark malt content then the pH will fall in the right range and everything will be kosher. If, OTOH, you are heavy handed with dark malts the pH will drop low. I've never had this happen (but I don't brew many dark beers except the occasional bock and Irish stout) but people report that the beer tastes thin and sour. It is an easy matter to add some alkalinity to a mash if you do wish to try a brew with large amounts of dark malt. It is almost essential that you use a pH meter to check on mash pH if you do this.

 
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:52 PM   #7
zach1288
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
Yes, you very well can. If you are reasonable about dark malt content then the pH will fall in the right range and everything will be kosher. If, OTOH, you are heavy handed with dark malts the pH will drop low. I've never had this happen (but I don't brew many dark beers except the occasional bock and Irish stout) but people report that the beer tastes thin and sour. It is an easy matter to add some alkalinity to a mash if you do wish to try a brew with large amounts of dark malt. It is almost essential that you use a pH meter to check on mash pH if you do this.
What water additive would I buy from the local supply store if I wanted to brew an imperial stout for example?

 
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:17 PM   #8
ajdelange
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I can tell you what to add for an Irish stout because I brew that and have mash pH measurements using water that is a little more alkaline than yours. Nothing! The grist is pale ale malt, 10% roast barley and 10% flaked barley. Mash pH comes in at about 5.5. Experimenting in the lab I found that I can go as high as 30% roast barley with 0 alkalinity water before I hit mash pH of 5.2.

Now if you go to an Imperial and start to increase the grist proportion of dark malts and if, in addition, you include dark crystal malts you are adding more acid and there is a chance that your pH will go too low in which case you will need to add alkali. Probably the best choice for this is quicklime (pickling lime available in the canning section of super markets) but you have to be careful with it as a little goes a long way and it is, as I said in #6, essential that you check after each addition with a pH meter.

 
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:22 PM   #9
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The typical gypsum and calcium chloride from the homebrew shop are always useful in brewing to adjust chloride and sulfate levels. But in the case of adding alkalinity, the best option is the use of pickling lime which is sometimes available as a canning supply in grocery stores. It is quite strong and requires very careful dosing. Bru'n Water has the tools to assist with calculating that dose, but as AJ mentions, having access to a pH meter is a good way to assure you don't overdo that dose. The dose should be close with Bru'n Water and the pH meter is the fine tuning. It is actually better to be a little low with the mash pH than to be a little high, so when in doubt, use a little less lime until you have assurance that it works as predicted according to the calculator. I typically tell brewers that have a pH meter, to add 3/4 of the calculated dose and then check pH. If necessary, add the remainder.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:33 PM   #10
zach1288
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So all I need to do is add alkalinity so my PH doesn't drop during the mash? How do I know how much I need to add?

I'm doing a scotch ale tomorrow. Should I worry about adding anything? It only has .25lbs of chocolate malt and some various caramel malts.

 
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