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Old 09-10-2013, 03:03 PM   #1
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Default Mash Chemistry / Water profile

This is my first time adjusting my water profile for brewing. I'm brewing a Russian Imperial Stout.

Do I add the gypsum and calcium chloride to the mash and i'm good to go? Or do I spread it out for the mash / sparge
http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-ch...ection_Boiling

Thanks!


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Old 09-10-2013, 04:47 PM   #2
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Generally, most mineral addition go into the mash, some into the kettle.

May be a silly question, but have you had an analysis of your water quality?


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Old 09-10-2013, 06:16 PM   #3
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Salts are not, in general, added to the mash unless there is a mash pH problem which the brewer wants to try to correct with salt additions (which is not the best way to go - use acid). There is debate as to whether the entire volume of water should be treated or whether the mash water and sparge water should be treated separately. It is clearly easier to treat the whole volume of water at once and then draw the water you need for whatever purpose. This is sometimes impractical because the brewer does not have a vessel large enough to hold the entire volume of water required for the brew.

In this case OP should not be adding salts because his main problem is high alkalinity (340 ppm as CaCO3). This water has a high proton deficit with respect to mash pH. It will tale almost 7 mEq acid to get 1 L of this water to say 5.4: almost 7 mEq/L. I don't see enough dark malt in the grain bill to do this but then I haven't measured the particular dark malts OP is proposing to use.

The general idea behind a dark beer is that it is dark because the dark malts have the acid to conquer the alkalinity of a carbonaceous water but most waters are not that carbonaceous. Even the highest alkalinity report I have for Dublin shows only 250.

The point to all this is that you will probably want to remove much of the bicarbonate. You can get rid of probably half of it and perhaps a bit more by simply boiling the water. It will turn milky and a white precipitate will form. Let this settle and decant the clear water from it. This will result in a reduction of the calcium as well and you might want to supplement that by adding 3/4 tsp total of gypsum and/or calcium chloride to the water. Do this before you boil (as the extra calcium will remove extra bicarbonate).

A much simpler and sure approach is to just cut the existing water 1:1 or more with RO water. This reduces all mineral content to 1/2 its original value. 2:1 reduces it to 1/3 etc. If you go even further then you can follow the guidelines in the Primer in the Stickies but then you have effectively thrown your water away and replaced it with RO water.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:25 PM   #4
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I add it to the grist directly when mashing in, and directly before batch sparging. I don't know if that's the ideal way or not, but that's what I do. If I need to add acid, I add it to the HLT before it gets hot. Not sure why, but I read somewhere not to add it to preheated sparge water since it creates stability issues with the acid. Maybe AJ can chime in again....
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoHox View Post
May be a silly question, but have you had an analysis of your water quality?
I got the numbers from the city water department.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
A much simpler and sure approach is to just cut the existing water 1:1 or more with RO water. This reduces all mineral content to 1/2 its original value. 2:1 reduces it to 1/3 etc. If you go even further then you can follow the guidelines in the Primer in the Stickies but then you have effectively thrown your water away and replaced it with RO water.
I'll check out the stickies thanks!
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaysurfer View Post
I add it to the grist directly when mashing in, and directly before batch sparging. I don't know if that's the ideal way or not, but that's what I do.
There's really nothing wrong with that. The only advantage to adding it to the water is that it is already dissolved and ready to go to work the instant the water hits the grain and it should be obvious that it will mix faster and more uniformly with the grain than powder added to the mash will especially if the mash is stiff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaysurfer View Post
fIf I need to add acid, I add it to the HLT before it gets hot. Not sure why, but I read somewhere not to add it to preheated sparge water since it creates stability issues with the acid. Maybe AJ can chime in again....
Clearly this is not a problem for any of the mineral acids we use. One might be tempted to worry about lactic acid but I don't think it's a problem for lactic either. Sauermalz and sauergut, both of which are based on lactic acid, are commonly used in Europe without any difficulty of which I am aware.
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaysurfer View Post
I add it to the grist directly when mashing in, and directly before batch sparging. I don't know if that's the ideal way or not, but that's what I do. If I need to add acid, I add it to the HLT before it gets hot. Not sure why, but I read somewhere not to add it to preheated sparge water since it creates stability issues with the acid. Maybe AJ can chime in again....
AJ, as usual you provide a plethora of useful and specific information. Although in general, if a brewer were to add minerals, not in an attempt to affect mash pH but to achieve a particular target water profile, would they not go into the mash?

Baysurfer, I have always added my salts directly to the mash, in a similar fashon, as was the technique I had assumed. Also, acid additions to acidify sparge water are based on pH at a particular temperature, as the pH measure can vary based on temp.
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:06 PM   #8
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I think I'll add in the RO water to make it much simpler! Thanks for the info ajdelange!
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
There's really nothing wrong with that. The only advantage to adding it to the water is that it is already dissolved and ready to go to work the instant the water hits the grain and it should be obvious that it will mix faster and more uniformly with the grain than powder added to the mash will especially if the mash is stiff.



Clearly this is not a problem for any of the mineral acids we use. One might be tempted to worry about lactic acid but I don't think it's a problem for lactic either. Sauermalz and sauergut, both of which are based on lactic acid, are commonly used in Europe without any difficulty of which I am aware.
Thanks for the reply AJ. I stir and recirculate like it's going out of style, and I only add it directly to the grist when the mash will be thin enough for me to get a really solid mixing in. When it's super thick (high gravity brews) I do add it to the HLT, but I've found that the Calcium Chloride takes quite a bit of stirring in the HLT to dissolve anyway....

Also thanks Colohox for the acid temperature tidbit. I just read "stability" somewhere, but it's sounds like it may not be much to worry about at any rate (if I'm reading AJ correctly). One thing I didn't mention though, which may be pertinent is that I use liquid lactic acid, not solid acid.
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:42 PM   #10
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Sure you don't mean that gypsum requires a lot of stirring? It is less soluble that calcium chloride by a couple of orders of magnitude and is less soluble in hot water than cold.

The response of pH meters varies directly with temperature. This is what ATC is for - to compensate for that shift. But true pH also shifts somewhat too. For lactic acid the pK (the number that determines how acid the acid is) shifts a little bit with temperature but since the we operate at a pH almost 2 units higher than than the pK it makes little difference - less, probably, that the errors you would make in measuring it out with typical home brewers measuring gear.


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