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Old 04-19-2013, 12:14 PM   #1
BackAlley
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Default Water Adjustment Sanity Check

I received my water report recently. For most of the mainly base malt beers I've been brewing I've only made some slight tweaks. I'm planning a Belgian Stout though and Bru'n Water is telling me to make what seem like big league additions and I'm not sure I've got this figured out. Here's the water report:

pH 8.4
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 95
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.16
Cations / Anions, me/L 1.4 / 1.5
ppm
Sodium, Na 5
Potassium, K 15
Calcium, Ca 13
Magnesium, Mg 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 37
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.7 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 4
Chloride, Cl 8
Carbonate, CO3 6
Bicarbonate, HCO3 47
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 49
Total Phosphorus, P 0.29
Total Iron, Fe 0.18

My Grain Bill (3.5 gallon batch, 3.25 gallon mash water volume) is:
7.5lb Pilsner
12oz Torrified wheat
8.5oz Flaked Oats
14oz Chocolate Malt
5.5oz Black Patent
5.5oz Roaster Barley

I tried the following additions to the mash water:
0.4 g/gallon Gypsum
1.25 g/gallon Baking Soda
0.25 g/gallon Calcium Chloride
1.25 g/gallon Chalk

Which gets me to an estimated mash pH of 5.3 but my Alkalinity is off the chart (579).

Does this sound OK? Also, do you usually throw in the additives as per the spreadsheet or do you use that as a rough guide and adjust until the pH is right?

Thanks for any help


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Old 04-19-2013, 01:04 PM   #2
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It looks like you seriously screwed up some entries somewhere. There is no way that those adjustments will produce a mash pH estimate of 5.3. I show an estimated pH of 6.8 and the alkalinity is far too high. In fact, it appears that you could come close to getting by with only the gypsum and calcium chloride additions with a pH estimate of 5.3 for that grist. By the way, that is a very roasty grist.

Sorry for your troubles, but you need to look more closely at your entries.


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Old 04-19-2013, 01:36 PM   #3
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Sanity check..... if you start off with water ph of 8.4, it is pretty unlikely you would ever need to add baking soda or chalk.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:20 PM   #4
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Thanks for the inputs, I will go back and look again. That's why I asked!
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billl View Post
Sanity check..... if you start off with water ph of 8.4, it is pretty unlikely you would ever need to add baking soda or chalk.
Sorry, but water pH has nothing to do with how the mash pH will respond. I could easily have a water with almost zero alkalinity and a pH of greater than 10 and the mash pH for an acidic grist would still drop the same as if the water had the same alkalinity with a pH of 7.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:06 PM   #6
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Found the error! I forgot to select Roast Malt from the mash drop downs. They were still base malt. All looks good. Glad I checked!
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:27 PM   #7
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"Sorry, but water pH has nothing to do with how the mash pH will respond. I could easily have a water with almost zero alkalinity and a pH of greater than 10 and the mash pH for an acidic grist would still drop the same as if the water had the same alkalinity with a pH of 7."

I think you are missing the point. It is pretty unlikely you would be adding a bunch of baking soda and chalk if your PH started at 7 either. You've got to have a whole lot of roasted grain to get down to that low were you would be having to make major upward corrections. Not impossible, but unlikely. If anyone is using water software and it tells them to dramatically raise PH in multiple ways, that should be a red flag for them to go over the numbers again.
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billl View Post
"Sorry, but water pH has nothing to do with how the mash pH will respond. I could easily have a water with almost zero alkalinity and a pH of greater than 10 and the mash pH for an acidic grist would still drop the same as if the water had the same alkalinity with a pH of 7."

I think you are missing the point. It is pretty unlikely you would be adding a bunch of baking soda and chalk if your PH started at 7 either. You've got to have a whole lot of roasted grain to get down to that low were you would be having to make major upward corrections. Not impossible, but unlikely. If anyone is using water software and it tells them to dramatically raise PH in multiple ways, that should be a red flag for them to go over the numbers again.
I take it that you may not understand pH and alkalinity. You can still have a significant amount of alkalinity in a particular water, even though its pH is 7. The only thing that pH affects is the species of the carbonate ion present in the water.

As I mention, alkalinity is the only thing that matters in brewing. Water pH is almost meaningless. I suggest that anyone that is interested in this subject read AJ's papers on alkalinity. http://hbd.org/ajdelange/Brewing_art...alkalinity.pdf
Another resource is the Water Knowledge page of the Bru'n Water website.


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