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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Need a little help
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:19 AM   #1
jhoyda
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Default Need a little help

I spent the better part of the weekend reading this forum, the stickies, and the notes included with Bru'n Water.

Here are my Ward Lab results:

pH 8.0
Cations/Anions 7.6/7.8
Na 22
K 3
Ca 89
Mg 26
Total Hardness 331 (as CaCO3)
Sulfate 32
Cl 43
CO3 6
HCO3 257
Total Alkalinity 221

From what I can tell, not great water but not horrible. I add this to the spreadsheet and find that if I dilute it 50% with RO, add some gypsum and some CaCl2 as well as knock the bicarbonate out with phosphoric acid I can make it fit the pale ale profile. I'm brewing an IPA next (11# base, 1# crystal).

I want to brew a blonde in the future, but it calls for no bicarbonate. My question: is there a point where the volume of acid needed is detrimental and it would be better to start from RO as a base? For instance after 50% dilution my 4.5 gallons of strike would need 31.5 mL of 10% phosphoric acid to fit the yellow balanced profile.

Thanks for the help.


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Old 01-14-2014, 03:55 AM   #2
ajdelange
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It isn't a question of the volume of the acid but of the concentration of the anions of that acid you leave behind. You have 4.4 mEq of alkalinity and will need a bit more than 4 mEq/L acid to neutralize it down to mash pH. That means a bit over 4 mEq/L phosphate or sulfate or chloride or lactate (depending on the acid or acids you pick) left behind. Is there a point where this becomes too much? Clearly yes and for sulfate or chloride there are guidelines. For lactate it depends on taste but for phosphate, which is pretty flavor neutral, nobody seems to know what that level is.

There are, of course, other advantages to RO water - particularly if the water you have to deal with is as alkaline as this water. With RO water most beers only need a couple of grams of calcium chloride and/or calcium sulfate. Water treatment is a snap, consistent (as any variability in the supply gets largely removed along with most of the minerals).


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Old 01-14-2014, 11:26 AM   #3
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Thanks AJ for confirming my suspicions.
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:41 PM   #4
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As you have found, that water is suited for pale ales due to its mineralization. However, that mineralization (particularly the alkalinity) becomes a detriment to flavor and quality in lighter styles. Including dilution in your brewing regimen would be a wise choice.
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