Baltic Porter: 1640 ppm HCO3 [Calculation Error, Disregard the Thread]

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The Gulper
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Gentlemen, I'm recreating a historical recipe (a 1920s Polish Baltic Porter) which uses Dark Crystal malt as the third of the grist. Which is unusual, still it's documented in the recipe. The grist is Pilsner 62%, Dark Crystal (170L) 33%, Roasted Rye (400L) 5%. Unfortunately, there's no hints on what kind of water they had and how did they treat it.

Starting with my untreated tap water of circa 270 ppm Bicarbonate, I'm getting an extremely low mash pH prediction of 3.50 in Brun Water. Further calculations show that upping the pH to 5.5 first with Baking Soda (stopping at going past 60 ppm Na) and then with Pickling Lime would result in insane Bicarbonate level of circa 1640 ppm.
Even if I substitute the Dark 170L Crystal with the Medium 60L, the HCO3 level is still predicted around 1000.

My question is: is it possible at all to brew a beer with such an immence Bicarbonate level?
Wouldn't the hops (which the recipe sets at circa 30 IBU with 4 charges) get unthinkably harsh at such a HCO?
If so, what other means can be employed to raise the pH?
 

Silver_Is_Money

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I'm going to guess that if you were to BIAB 13 pounds of this grist in 9 gallons of mash water, using your 270 ppm bicarbonate tap water straight up for this, with no mineral additions, your mash pH will settle in at right around 5.44 at the end of a 60 minute mash.
 
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Great! I got it.
Besides adding alcaline substances, I may rise pH also by adding water.
In this particular case, I'll need roughly 5.5 : 1 Water to Grist Ratio.

Probably, that's how they managed such a grist at the original brewery? No that's not. No BIABs in the 1920s' Europe...
They mashed the grist in two kettles:
- first they converted and boiled all dark grains plus a certain part of Pilsner in one kettle (I guess the resulting wort came out very acidic!)
- then gradually added it in parts into the second kettle to reach two consecutive mash steps.
- Then, leaving one half to sit at 63C/145F they mashed another half at 73C/163F then decocted, returned and mashed out.

I have no idea on how such a regimen would affect the mash pH though...
Well, will try it with the 270 ppm water that I have.
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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9 gallons of your water will deliver ~150 mEq's of Alkalinity.

13 pounds of your grist will deliver ~135 mEq's of Acidity.

You have a mild surfeit of about 15 mEq Alkalinity. But the Calcium and magnesium in your water will evolve some additional acidity from your grist, so in the end you should have nigh on an mEq match here.
 

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9 gallons of mash water and 13 pounds of grist yield a water to grist ratio of ~2.77 Qts/Lb. Not 5.5.
 
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I don't have a good grip on Qts/Lb, so I recaculated it to just "parts".
Which gave me roughly 5.5 parts water to 1 part grain.
 
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Not an expert, but I suspect the insane number is the result of taking equations outside of the parameters where they've been calibrated to work. If that's indeed the case, I'd ignore the spreadsheet and do a test mash with a little bit of grain in a saucepan (same grain:water proportions) and take a measurement.

But if you're willing to break out the lime, doesn't this solve your problem without adding bicarbonate at all?
 

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Starting with my untreated tap water of circa 270 ppm Bicarbonate, I'm getting an extremely low mash pH prediction of 3.50 in Brun Water.

Problem numeral uno is using an SRM/bicarbonate conversion based calculator. Try a proton deficit based calculator.

first they converted and boiled all dark grains plus a certain part of Pilsner in one kettle (I guess the resulting wort came out very acidic!)

Depending on their water alkalinity it would not be very acidic.
 
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Depending on their water alkalinity it would not be very acidic.
Now, at the town where the beer was brewed originally they have almost half as alkaline water as I do. Most probably, the brewery used a different source back then (ground well or something), though I doubt it might be significantly more bicarbonate-rich than mine at 250 ppm.

Try a proton deficit based calculator.
Rocket science to me. 🐣🐣
I don't even know wut it is
 
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But if you're willing to break out the lime, doesn't this solve your problem without adding bicarbonate at all?
Nice idea!
I somehow didn't give it a thought. Dark beers are usually the only beers I brew with my water untreated, so didn't even think of breaking out the Lime.

Now I see that swapping my Tap water profile for the Tap Boiled one (and adding just a tiny bit of Soda) I'm getting pretty acceptable numbers: pH 5.4 and HCO3 240, which is highish but still ok, I've brewed with higher than that and had no complaints.

I'm into treating my water for a year already and still don't grasp fully how all this works 😤
When a child, I was The Best Of The School for Languages, History and Geography and one of the worst on Math, Physics and Chemistry 😢
 

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That recipe does have an inordinate percentage of dark crystal and roast grains, but they’re needed to some degree in a good Baltic Porter. I’m not terribly surprised by the predicted bicarbonate need in the mash, but it is a lot! I agree that a combination of baking soda and pickling lime is an appropriate approach in this case, but allowing the sodium level to rise into the 100 to 200 ppm range is still feasible. Sodium isn’t “salty” until it’s level gets to about 250 ppm.

I agree that the original brewers of that recipe may have employed a twin batch approach to help ameliorate the low pH result of all that roast and crystal. That’s a similar approach that Guinness uses for brewing with their Roast Barley dose.
 
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Yes, probably the twin batch method was the key.
Tomorrow I will try to replicate the process, with Boiled Water and Soda, taking measurings with a pH-meter at different stages.
 

VikeMan

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Starting with my untreated tap water of circa 270 ppm Bicarbonate, I'm getting an extremely low mash pH prediction of 3.50 in Brun Water.

What are your Ca and Mg levels?
 

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Mash Made Easy - Distilled Water - Estimated Mash pH = 5.2
Bru N Water - Distilled Water - Estimated Mash pH = 5.7

You claim to be using tap water with high alkalinity and are getting a really low mash pH estimate. Maybe post your water profile and a screen shot of your Bru N Water 'Grain Bill', 'Sparge Water' and 'Mash Adjustment' tabs.

1669474512203.png


1669474466028.png


1669474338498.png
 
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Restarted my computer and recalculated everything.
My tap water is Ca 120, Mg 15, SO4 60, Cl 50, HCO3 270.
Entering my grist with it, I'm getting pH 5.32 in Brun NOW. With the Distilled Water, it shows 4.63 NOW. No additions.
For the tomorrow brewday, I'm set on using boiled water, which with the addition of 0.25g/1L of Baking Soda will give me pH 5.51 and HCO3 about 240.

:oops::oops::oops:
I have no idea what a unique natural phenomenon made my previous calculations to soar into thousands.
Perhaps an unnoticed number had been erroneously entered into a certain inappropriate cell.
Or rather an error with the itinerative circular calculation happened again in the sh*tty WPS Office soft, where it happens not for the first time.

Please disregard the thread.
It's probably been an error in the previous calculations that alarmed me.
Anyway, got a lot of useful information, thanks to everyone!
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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@CleanEmUpIves, you are misrepresenting Mash Made Easy in this case by not properly setting the Malt Classification drop down column to "Caramel/Crystal" for the 170L Dark Crystal Malt.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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@CleanEmUpIves, If a program is dealing internally with mEq's, and it accounts for Ka or pKa related dissociation, how might that be in any way different from calling it (or more likely, not calling it) a so called "proton deficit" based math model. All chemical reactions occur on strictly an mEq to mEq basis, with due consideration for dissociation related equilibriums. Please enlighten us.
 

CleanEmUpIves

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With the Distilled Water, it shows 4.63 NOW. No additions.

Distilled water is a blank slate. All else being equal, you should have gotten the same result as I got.

@CleanEmUpIves, you are misrepresenting Mash Made Easy in this case by not properly setting the Malt Classification drop down column to "Caramel/Crystal" for the 170L Dark Crystal Malt.

You do need to fix that such that the default "Not Categorized" is visible "by default". Selecting the Malt Class Crystal - Mash Made Easy predicts 5.01 with distilled. Though this doesn't help the OP or tell us where his data entry error is.

1669477663212.png
 

CleanEmUpIves

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@CleanEmUpIves, If a program is dealing internally with mEq's, and it accounts for Ka or pKa related dissociation, how might that be in any way different from calling it (or more likely, not calling it) a so called "proton deficit" based math model. All chemical reactions occur on strictly an mEq to mEq basis, with due consideration for dissociation related equilibriums. Please enlighten us.

"proton surfeit/deficit" are definitive calculations based on measured data (DI pH / titratable acidity) which is apparently not available from the maltsters.

Regression models based on SRM or sets of measurements taken from different malt types/classification simply cannot be accurate in all but a small subset of circumstances.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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"proton surfeit/deficit" are definitive calculations based on measured data (DI pH / titratable acidity) which is apparently not available from the maltsters.

Regression models based on SRM or sets of measurements taken from different malt types/classification simply cannot be accurate in all but a small subset of circumstances.
Since I've emphasized again and again just what you are claiming, via stating that such "hard" (or actual) valuations are rarely if ever provided via the maltsters, and that real data only exists for a small percentage of the myriads of malts and grains and adjuncts available to us, separate log based (log generated) curves for the determination of "nominals" for both BC and pHDI are fully acceptable. Such that even the Breiss chemists have generated and utilize precisely such log based curve models. You are completely free to override such a predictive model and enter firm BC (malt acidity) and pHDI data for every malt or unmalted grain or adjunct for which you know the actual valuations for your specific lots.
 

CleanEmUpIves

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Since I've emphasized again and again just what you are claiming, via stating that such "hard" (or actual) valuations are rarely if ever provided via the maltsters, and that real data only exists for a small percentage of the myriads of malts and grains and adjuncts available to us, separate log based (log generated) curves for the determination of "nominals" for both BC and pHDI are fully acceptable. Such that even the Breiss chemists have generated and utilize precisely such log based curve models. You are completely free to override such a predictive model and enter firm BC (malt acidity) and pHDI data for every malt or unmalted grain or adjunct for which you know the actual valuations for your specific lots.

True, which is why I recommend your MME calculator.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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A minor clarification. Back in post #4 above I should more properly have stated:

13 pounds of your aggregate grist will deliver ~135 mEq's of Acidity with respect to a desired mash pH of 5.40, but this mEq valuation will vary with respect to your actual mill gap crush.
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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If you were to mash 13 Lbs. of this grist in 5.4 gallons of your water (instead of mashing it in 9 gallons as I previously suggested), and then sparge with 3.6 gallons, then for this case your mash will settle in after 60 minutes at about 5.28 pH, and bringing this to about 5.40 pH will require that you add 2.85 grams of Baking Soda to your mash water in advance of doughing in.

Your 3.6 gallons of sparge water will require the addition of 50 mL of 10% Phosphoric Acid.
 

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