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Old 02-06-2013, 10:32 PM   #1
nobeerinheaven
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Default Star San for water adjustment

I'm trying to use something readily available to lower the ph of my mash. I could wait to brew in a few weeks when phosphoric acid arrives, but I'd rather try something with what's on hand. What's on hand? Either citric acid from the canning section of a local Wal-Mart or star san.

I hesitate to use citric acid because my water is fairly hard (EZ Water estimates my mash ph to be, for this recipe, 6.15). That means, I think, that I will need to use a relatively high quantity of citric acid, and I'm worried about this hitting the taste threshold when the beer is done (though there is some information about yeast using citric acid at some point in the fermentation process, I've not seen anything about approximately how much they use, and how this affects the final product).

So that leaves me with Star san. I do realize there are surfactants in there, but I'm not worried about it (among other things, because people have added 1 oz of star san to 5 gallons of wort, only to get a slightly sour beer). The question would be: How much Star San is necessary to lower the ph of my mash?

Volume: 11 gallons mash / 4 gallon sparge
EZ Water estimation of mash ph: 6.15

Water profile:

Calcium: (no info)
Magnesium: (no info)
Sodium: 19 ppm
Chloride: 43.4 ppm
Sulfate: 61 ppm
Alkalinity: 360 CaCO3 ppm (though I do not have Ca/Mg in my Lafayette, IN water report, I do have solid numbers for total hardness).

Any ideas?


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Old 02-08-2013, 01:13 AM   #2
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Today I noticed the label has the acid contents listed. It's 50% phosphoric and 15% dodecylbenzensulfonic acid. with 88% lactic acid that I normally use for adjusting mash ph it only takes a couple of milliliters at most for a 5 gallon batch of beer, so with phoshporic I would imagine it would be much less. You might be able to tell the spread sheet that you have 50% phosphoric acid to get an idea.

The 15% acid (the one I can't pronounce) is apparently a main ingredient in laundry soap according to Wikipedia.


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Old 02-08-2013, 01:39 PM   #3
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I think you misread your report. Your Alkaliniy is 240 and your Hardness is 360. I'm using this: http://www.lafayette.in.gov/egov/doc...382_174560.pdf

I took that hardness number and with the assumption that 75% of that hardness is from calcium and 25% is from magnesium I entered it into this calculator and saved the setting for you: http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-ch...or/?id=MTQ3VSB

your report is missing sodium as well. To get that I simply increased the sodium number until the ion balance was close to 0. I came up with 50.

Yes. this is water that needs attention for brewing anything but dark beers. It's actually very close to my well water.

Here are your options:

- using acids: will work for amber to brown beers since you won't need all that much. Lactic acid is good. Phosphoric acid is also good. I don't think you should use StarSan.

- dilute with reverse osmosis water. That will allow you to reduce the mineral levels and also use less acids to brew light colored beers.

- get a reverse osmosis system and build your water from scratch using salts.

- use slaked lime or boiling to precipitate alkalinity. This is a very elegant approach for your water since it is well suited for this. The idea is to form calcium carbonate from the water's calcium and alkalinity and let it precipitate. Then you decant the lower alkalinity water and use it for brewing.

By simply boiling 8 gal of your water with 3 g gypsum and 4 g calcium chloride I predict an alkalinity reduction to about 40 ppm. Your Cl and SO4 go up to 106 and 116 resectively. They end up being that high since they are the major anions left and your water has elevated Mg and Na which are not removed by boiling. Calcium salts should be added when boiling in order to keep the final Ca level above ~40 ppm.

I saved that state ina new record:
http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-ch...or/?id=LX3GN6P

To give more detailed advice on what to do, we need to know what you are trying to brew.

Kai
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:35 PM   #4
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The bottom line is that its not worth screwing up a batch by using StarSan. I know that a StarSan residue has no effect on beer quality, just like Iodophor. But a more substantial dose could have flavor effects. That extra ingredient is a surfactant and it could affect more than flavor.

Kai, you screwed the pooch with your calculations. You used 260 ppm hardness instead of 360. There is no way that a brewer should have to add any additional calcium to decarbonate that Lafayette water by boiling. So the results quoted are incorrect.

The degree to which boiling can reduce alkalinity can vary. A typical range is that it will drop to about 45 to 65 ppm bicarbonate. Using the formula on the Water Knowledge page of the Bru'n Water website, you will see that you might drop the Ca to around 60 ppm from its starting concentration that is more likely around 130 ppm.

If you are in a pinch regarding an acid, the boiling should help out appreciably. It could drop the residual alkalinity into the sub 20 ppm range, which would help lighter beers greatly.

Kai, I like the ability to save info about your water and brewing information on the web. But it still looks like this is going to be a PITA since the user is going to have to log that number and remember it. It still seems that a web-based calculator is not ideal. I know that an Excel based calculator is also far from ideal, but I'm not sold on the experience. I wish I could code this in an executable, but its just not worth it.

For brewers that appreciate having their information on their own computer, Bru'n Water is a good alternative.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:46 PM   #5
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Star-San:

HAZARDOUS INGREDIENTS: % ACGIH TLV OSHA/PEL

Phosphoric Acid (75%) (CAS# 7664-38-2) 50.0 1 mg/ m 1 mg/M3(TWA)
Dodecylbenzene Sulfonic Acid (CAS# 27176-87-0) 15.0 N/A

(Other compositional information is considered a trade secret).

That leaves 35% of "other stuff".

D...-sulfonic acid is a sulfactant, FYI.

MC
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
Kai, you screwed the pooch with your calculations. You used 260 ppm hardness instead of 360. There is no way that a brewer should have to add any additional calcium to decarbonate that Lafayette water by boiling. So the results quoted are incorrect.
Thanks for pointing this out. I updated the records behind the links. I still think some added calcium helps when boiling this water.

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Old 02-08-2013, 03:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiser View Post
I think you misread your report. Your Alkaliniy is 240 and your Hardness is 360. I'm using this: http://www.lafayette.in.gov/egov/doc...382_174560.pdf

I took that hardness number and with the assumption that 75% of that hardness is from calcium and 25% is from magnesium I entered it into this calculator and saved the setting for you: http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-ch...or/?id=MTQ3VSB

your report is missing sodium as well. To get that I simply increased the sodium number until the ion balance was close to 0. I came up with 50.
Thanks very much Kai! The sodium numbers I previously included are accurate, to wit 19ppm, and found here: (See page 4, detected range 18-20ppm, highest measured 20ppm).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiser View Post
To give more detailed advice on what to do, we need to know what you are trying to brew.
I'll be brewing an APA, which has been postponed to next weekend, during which time I've already got phosphoric acid on order from dudadiesel. I'd like the process to be as streamlined as possible, so if it's necessary to boil my mash water beforehand, I will, but only if. And if I can get rid of some of the problematic elements by acid, I'd prefer that -- even if that acid were starsan, which I don't think would have a noticeable affect on the beer, excepting perhaps a decent, and very long-lasting, head. (I've made beer with no adjustments and it turns out good, but I'd obviously like it better and I'd like to see my efficiency improve from the low 60s. I'm also in an apt., so RO is out of the question, and as I brew 11 gallon batches, I'd prefer not to have to purchase jugs of water to dilute).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard
The degree to which boiling can reduce alkalinity can vary. A typical range is that it will drop to about 45 to 65 ppm bicarbonate. Using the formula on the Water Knowledge page of the Bru'n Water website, you will see that you might drop the Ca to around 60 ppm from its starting concentration that is more likely around 130 ppm.

If you are in a pinch regarding an acid, the boiling should help out appreciably. It could drop the residual alkalinity into the sub 20 ppm range, which would help lighter beers greatly.
So if the acid arrives before next Sat., will it be necessary to pre-boil my mash water? (Also, I'm a little confused as to how much phosphoric acid is necessary to step down my mash ph to 5.5 or so, perhaps one of you could give me some advice on that front, for my APA next Sat. I'm looking at 17lbs two-row, 1lb 20L, 1lb oats, 2lbs lightly home kilned malt -- for that last one, probably a ph similar to Vienna or Munich).
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobeerinheaven View Post
I'll be brewing an APA, which has been postponed to next weekend, during which time I've already got phosphoric acid on order from dudadiesel. I'd like the process to be as streamlined as possible, so if it's necessary to boil my mash water beforehand, I will, but only if. And if I can get rid of some of the problematic elements by acid, I'd prefer that -- even if that acid were starsan, which I don't think would have a noticeable affect on the beer, excepting perhaps a decent, and very long-lasting, head. (I've made beer with no adjustments and it turns out good, but I'd obviously like it better and I'd like to see my efficiency improve from the low 60s. I'm also in an apt., so RO is out of the question, and as I brew 11 gallon batches, I'd prefer not to have to purchase jugs of water to dilute).
I think it makes sense to preboil your water for that APA. How much can you boil? It also helps to have phosphoric or lactic acid. With 10 % phosphoric acid I would add about 40 ml to all water.

I played with your water and recipe here: http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-ch...or/?id=XVVBW1F

The mash pH prediction is about 5.5. I'm hesitant to add more acid w/o knowing the actual mash pH.

Do you know what kind of base malt it is? Is it Rahr?

11 gal batches in an appartment? Were do you brew?

Kai
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
Kai, I like the ability to save info about your water and brewing information on the web. But it still looks like this is going to be a PITA since the user is going to have to log that number and remember it. It still seems that a web-based calculator is not ideal. I know that an Excel based calculator is also far from ideal, but I'm not sold on the experience. I wish I could code this in an executable, but its just not worth it.
The current link based/save restore model is largely intended to share water information between brewers. I wanted Brewer's Friend to implement this so I can use it in forum discussions just like this one. In the past I made updated versions of my spreadsheet available for download.

As we integrate this into the recipe editor the experience for users of Brewer's Friend as their recipe editor will be better than having to bookmark a number of links. But for those who want to use different recipe calculators the stand alone version will provide all the features with the drawback of having to keep track of your links.

There are distinct pros and cons for using a web based vs. a spreadsheet/desktop tool based approach for water treatment or any recipe calculator for that matter. I suggest that brewers take a look at both and decide what works best for them.

Kai
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:33 PM   #10
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Great, thanks again Kai. I'll be getting 85% phosphoric acid from dudadiesel, not the 10% solution found in many brew shops. The ph that EZ water suggests for my mash is 6.15. I'll be using Briess brewer's two row as the base, and I'll be mashing in with 11 gallons, using about 4.5 for batch sparging. My kettle is 15 gallons, so I can certainly get the 11 gallons boiling, if necessary.

Also, I brew on my porch. (The good folks at Blichmann gave me that burner for free, BTW.)


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