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Monmouth00

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Hello All,
I'm just switching over to BIAB after being an extract guy for many, many years. I always used distilled water because I'm not in love with my tap water. I'd like to continue using distilled in my BIAB, and this thread was great for helping me get a baseline for mineral additions: A Brewing Water Chemistry Primer
My first BIAB batch will be a Fat Tire clone, which I thought would be easy. I keep seeing everyone on HBT recommend Bru 'N Water, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Right from the start, it looks like an awesome tool. But, I'm obviously missing something and I can't figure out what.
I've left the Water Report Input zero'd out, as I'm using distilled water. Is this correct?
I've entered my grain bill, including the 2% acidulated mlt, and selected the "Adjusted Water" option.
1611693344060.png


On the Water Adjustment tab, I've added in what I think are the proper amounts of Calcium Chloride and Gypsum based on the "Brewing Water Chemistry Primer" thread I referenced above. Basically, one tsp of Gypsum and 2 tsp of Calcium Chloride:
1611693582342.png


So, why in the world would my mash pH be so low?
I can hit what the recommended pH should be by removing the Calcium Chloride and Gypsum additions, but then I'd just be brewing with plain distilled water, which I;ve repeatedly read is a no-go.

What exactly am I missing in using this spreadsheet? Or is the Water Chemistry post off?

Thanks for your help,

Monmouth00
 

McKnuckle

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The reasons are - one; the Primer is a high level guideline to drastically simplify and generalize, and this is an actual recipe. Two; you should measure in tenths of a gram, not teaspoons. Three; get rid of the acid malt, because it serves only to lower pH. Add some back later, but only if you need it because the pH is not low enough after matching your target profile.

Your Actual Finished water profile is far from your Target Finished. Just look at those two rows on the sheet. You have no sodium in your water despite a 15 ppm target, for example. You would need to add baking soda for that. The Ca and SO4 levels are more than twice as high as the target profile.

Simply play with the gypsum and calcium chloride additions individually, and watch the numbers change. You'll see it for yourself and that's the best way to learn.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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What exactly am I missing in using this spreadsheet? Or is the Water Chemistry post off?
I'll suggest choosing one (Bru 'N Water or "... Chemistry Primer"), ignoring the others, and moving forward. Don't try to compare/contrast the two when starting out.

FWIW, I'm currently brewing enjoyable beer using "... Chemistry Primer".
 
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Monmouth00

Monmouth00

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The reasons are - one; the Primer is a high level guideline to drastically simplify and generalize, and this is an actual recipe. Two; you should measure in tenths of a gram, not teaspoons. Three; get rid of the acid malt, because it serves only to lower pH. Add some back later, but only if you need it because the pH is not low enough after matching your target profile.

Your Actual Finished water profile is far from your Target Finished. Just look at those two rows on the sheet. You have no sodium in your water despite a 15 ppm target, for example. You would need to add baking soda for that. The Ca and SO4 levels are more than twice as high as the target profile.

Simply play with the gypsum and calcium chloride additions individually, and watch the numbers change. You'll see it for yourself and that's the best way to learn.
That's very helpful, thanks.

I've futzed around with the numbers, adjusting the gypsum, calcium chloride and baking soda amounts, and gotten the numbers in the Target and Actual Water Adjustment rows to match pretty well. I'm assuming it's a horseshoes and hand grenades thing, and I shouldn't stress about hitting numbers on the nose? A few ppm in either direction (less than 10ppm) wouldn't drastically alter the flavor, right?

Looking better now?
1611697664856.png


Is there anything else I'm missing? Any other tips and tricks, or is the spreadsheet pretty straightforward?

Thanks,

Monmouth00
 

McKnuckle

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You've got it, dude. :) It's not a precise thing. Get as close to the desired target as practical, but don't obsess over the exact number. There's a fairly wide margin around the values you can be comfortable with, at least in the concentrations we're looking at in this recipe.

If you still have acid malt in there, try removing it and see if the pH moves up a bit more into the 5.4 range. It would be redundant in this situation. If you have already removed it, try a bit more baking soda and see how much you need to reach 5.4.
 
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Monmouth00

Monmouth00

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So, if I’ve got it right, I should be looking to match those numbers as closely as possible, getting the pH to about 5.2-5.4, and I should be good?
I don’t want to over simplify this beautiful spreadsheet, but is that the gist?
What about the grain bill- anything I should be looking for there? I had some trouble determining base versus other malts. How much attention should I be paying to the color and other factors?
 

mabrungard

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There are two reasons why the prediction is low. You are adding a lot of calcium salts and you’re adding acid malt. The solution is to reduce or remove either of those causes.
 

McKnuckle

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It's even easier than this, in that you don't have to match anybody's numbers. Most of the software, including Bru'n, makes matching a water profile an optional part of the process. It's fine to do that. But in reality, a profile is just like someone's recipe. You can match it, approximate it, or blow it up.

Move your pH range from 5.3-5.5, with the high end for deep dark roasty beers and the low end for very pale, crisp ones. 5.4 is a great "no brainer" general target.

The grain bill... look up malts on the internet if you don't know their type. Biscuit and Victory are both lightly roasted malts, not base malt. The others are fine.
 
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Monmouth00

Monmouth00

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The grain bill... look up malts on the internet if you don't know their type. Biscuit and Victory are both lightly roasted malts, not base malt. The others are fine.
That's where my question lay, McKnuckle, so thank you for addressing it. I was going back and forth about those. The problem is, by switching those two very lightly roasted malts into the "roasted malt" category, as opposed to "base", it throws my pH in the toilet. I've entered the correct Lovibond colors to indicate it's a light roast, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.

The only way to bring the pH back up, as far as I can tell, is to add baking soda (which already says is not recommended), thereby throwing off my Sodium and Bicarbonate numbers dramatically.
 

McKnuckle

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First, don't worry about the bicarbonate number at all. Ignore it. The pH is what matters. The bicarb is not a flavor component, it just represents the amount of alkaline buffer for reference.

Second, there is nothing wrong with sodium in the beer, especially with dark malts like the C80 you have in there. It's the easiest way to raise a low pH. Amounts up to 30 ppm are inconsequential (some would say higher, but I am conservative).

Did you remove the acid malt? That's essential to do. And what constitutes being in the toilet :) w.r.t. pH?
 
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Monmouth00

Monmouth00

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Really? Even with the C80 being such a low percentage of the grain bill?

The total sodium (according to the table) is 36ppm, more than twice the stated target. But I'll definitely defer to your advice. I just didn't want a "salty" beer.

I did remove the acid malt. Without the 4grams of baking soda addition, the estimated pH was close to 4.9 - which I would consider toilet territory.

Last question - maybe - and I'll take this opportunity to thank you again for your patience (thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!)

With regard to colors, should I be looking for cells to change color based on the SRM of the beer? It's going to be an amber (Fat Tire Clone), but I don't have any of my cells changing to the color of the "Amber 7 to 17 SRM"

1611762153682.png
 

McKnuckle

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I'm going to play with this a bit in some other water software and see where it goes. That 4.9 pH is surprisingly low.

Did you mean to enter 20L for your 5 lb of Munich? Most Munich is in the 6-10L range.

I'm not a Bru'n Water expert, but does "Total Batch Volume" just help determine the final color? Because it's 5 gallons even though you're doing a full volume mash with 8 gallons. If it's the ending kettle volume for color, then it makes sense and has nothing to do with the mash/sparge concentrations.

[Edit]
I put this into Mash Made Easy. It came up with 5.44 as the mash pH with just distilled water, no additions. I added the 3g each of CaCl and gypsum, which took it down to 5.32. Then I added 1.2g baking soda to hit 5.4. This put the sodium at only 10.8 ppm. Ca is at 50.1, SO4 is at 55.3, and Cl is at 47.8.

The Cl is different because MME uses some advanced math based on the CaCl's water absorption qualities, so ignore the difference for this exercise.

It shows color at 15.5, for reference.
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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The problem here seems to be a lack of sufficient malt categories whereby to more properly account for the various of malt acidities. This forces the choice of selecting either a malt category which is too high in acidity, or one that is too low in acidity for certain of the malts in the grist.

Munich, Victory (a biscuit malt), and Biscuit are generally more acidic than base malts, but also less acidic than deep roasted malts. Likely the best solution would be to branch them into their own malt selection categories. But as it stands, placing them into the Crystal/Caramel malt category at a color of 'perhaps' 5L as a kludge might work better, but would still not be more ideally (or adequately) correct.
 
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Monmouth00

Monmouth00

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I'm going to play with this a bit in some other water software and see where it goes. That 4.9 pH is surprisingly low.

Did you mean to enter 20L for your 5 lb of Munich? Most Munich is in the 6-10L range.

I'm not a Bru'n Water expert, but does "Total Batch Volume" just help determine the final color? Because it's 5 gallons even though you're doing a full volume mash with 8 gallons. If it's the ending kettle volume for color, then it makes sense and has nothing to do with the mash/sparge concentrations.
Okay - maybe this was the problem. I went and got more accurate Lovibond numbers from the website where I actually ordered the grains. This obviously adjusted my mash pH, which resulted in a minor baking soda decrease to bring it close to 5.4. It also definitely changed the color:
1611764908805.png


1611764673270.png


I dare say I might have gotten the hang of it?

Until next time, of course. There's just a lot of little things here that through stuff off big time on the back end.

Again, all the help is greatly appreciated!!!!

Sincerely,

Monmouth00
 

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jdauria

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Not that this has anything to do with your additions or pH, but the Total Batch Volume box, should be your estimated volume post boil, not your targeted fermenter volume. If you hover over the box, (where title is) it will say that. That field is really only for the SRM color estimate on the grain bill tab though.
 
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Monmouth00

Monmouth00

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Not that this has anything to do with your additions or pH, but the Total Batch Volume box, should be your estimated volume post boil, not your targeted fermenter volume. If you hover over the box, (where title is) it will say that. That field is really only for the SRM color estimate on the grain bill tab though.
Thanks, I'm aiming for a post-boil volume of about 5.5G to account for trub loss, but will have to see what it actually ends up being. It's my first batch on the new equipment, and I don't know exactly what to expect.

Upping that number drops my SRM to just over 12, when I'm aiming for about 14. Hoping it's not too noticeable.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Are you sure your Biscuit malt is actually as dark as 50L? You might be seeing it as 50 EBC, which would only be ~19.3L.
 
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