Building an unbalanced water profile

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aeviaanah

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I understand the use of ion balance to check against inputs of source water. If using 100 percent RO water and one creates an imbalanced profile of anions and cations in the target water, what is actually happening here both in the software calculations and reality? Poor pH calculations, precipitation of minerals in the mash water?

Why would one choose to target a balanced water profile when starting with 100 percent RO?
 

VikeMan

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If using 100 percent RO water and one creates an imbalanced profile of anions and cations in the target water, what is actually happening here both in the software calculations and reality?

If you create a cation to anion charge imbalance in a brewing water tool, there's a problem with the tool. You can't create an ion imbalance (i.e. cation to anion charges) in reality.
 
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aeviaanah

aeviaanah

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If you create a cation to anion charge imbalance in a brewing water tool, there's a problem with the tool. You can't create an ion imbalance (i.e. cation to anion charges) in reality.
I see that with the brewing software I use (Brufather), the estimated water profile after clicking auto is close to the target but not exact and I assume that is due to the balancing.

It seems the software is guiding the user to add additions to maintain the balance. Is this simply put- a balanced water profile is needed to accurately predict pH?

Take software out of the discussion, one could always add more or less salts disregarding ionic balance and I'm curious the repercussions when doing this. What happens to the minerals in a solution that is intentionally mixed imbalanced? Is this terminology strictly for software calculations or does it have real life implications/observations?
 

VikeMan

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It seems the software is guiding the user to add additions to maintain the balance. Is this simply put- a balanced water profile is needed to accurately predict pH?

The only things software needs to predict mash pH are the grain bill, the concentrations of Calcium/Magnesium, the Total Alkalinity, and any acid additions. There are other ions that have nothing to do with pH. It's the total anion and cation charges that have to balance in real life.

Take software out of the discussion, one could always add more or less salts disregarding ionic balance and I'm curious the repercussions when doing this.

Every time you add any salt, in any amount, you are adding equal positive and negative ionic charges. There are no repercussions from adding unbalanced charges, beause it's impossible.

Perhaps you could describe what you mean by "balanced."
 

Bobby_M

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Software like BrewFather uses the term "balanced" in water profiles to describe the relative ratio of Chloride and Sulfate. An "unbalanced" profile would use higher chloride to round the flavors and enhance mouthfeel while higher Sulfate would sharpen flavors and accentuate hop bitterness.

I'm reading a little between the lines and the question about why you'd add to RO water is that all of the salts are flavor enhancers at bare minimum.

It's typical that the reason people use RO water is that their tap/well has too much alkalinity, even if the other salts are in appropriate ranges.
 
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I understand the use of ion balance to check against inputs of source water. If using 100 percent RO water and one creates an imbalanced profile of anions and cations in the target water, what is actually happening here both in the software calculations and reality? Poor pH calculations, precipitation of minerals in the mash water?

Why would one choose to target a balanced water profile when starting with 100 percent RO?
You need to add the "Salts" to RO water to get the profile you want. RO water is neutral. Here’s some examples of balanced profiles.
Cheers
 

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aeviaanah

aeviaanah

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The only things software needs to predict mash pH are the grain bill, the concentrations of Calcium/Magnesium, the Total Alkalinity, and any acid additions. There are other ions that have nothing to do with pH. It's the total anion and cation charges that have to balance in real life.



Every time you add any salt, in any amount, you are adding equal positive and negative ionic charges. There are no repercussions from adding unbalanced charges, beause it's impossible.

Perhaps you could describe what yo
@VikeMan Balanced being ionic balance NOT the name of "balanced" water profile etc... your responses are in alignment with what I'm asking about.

When you mentioned it is impossible to have an unbalanced water, that's when I had the aha moment. Calcium chloride is ionically balanced, calcium sulfate is ionically balanced and therefore when added to water, the water is ionically balanced. When ions are reported unbalanced, the software is simply informing that the inputs (desired ppm) are not ionically balanced and upon hitting auto, it solves as close as possible to the inputs based on the available salts in the database. The outputs (dose rate) of this calculation are ionically balanced themselves.

On a side note, it's interesting to hear that calcium and magnesium are the only minerals that affect pH. Am I getting this correct? Sulfate, chloride and sodium do not impact pH?

Software like BrewFather uses the term "balanced" in water profiles to describe the relative ratio of Chloride and Sulfate. An "unbalanced" profile would use higher chloride to round the flavors and enhance mouthfeel while higher Sulfate would sharpen flavors and accentuate hop bitterness.

I'm reading a little between the lines and the question about why you'd add to RO water is that all of the salts are flavor enhancers at bare minimum.

It's typical that the reason people use RO water is that their tap/well has too much alkalinity, even if the other salts are in appropriate ranges.

You need to add the "Salts" to RO water to get the profile you want. RO water is neutral. Here’s some examples of balanced profiles.
Cheers
. R
@Bobby_M @Bayou Fatma Brewer I think you misunderstood my OP. I'm asking about ion balances not necessarily water profiles named "balanced" or balance between sulfate and chloride. I appreciate the reply
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Any merely guessed at (or dreamed of, hoped for, wished for...) "ideal" mineral profile stands an extremely great percentage chance of being out of cation/anion mEq/L balance (ionic charge balance), and therefore of being an impossible dream. And a rather shockingly dangerous one at that (if the impossible dream was somehow to become possible while being out of charge balance). In the "real world" water is charge neutral unless an electric current is passed through it. Anyone unaware of this is quite likely to dream the impossible dream. You can't always get what you want... (Rolling Stones).
 

VikeMan

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@VikeMan When you mentioned it is impossible to have an unbalanced water, that's when I had the aha moment. Calcium chloride is ionically balanced, calcium sulfate is ionically balanced and therefore when added to water, the water is ionically balanced.
You have it surrounded.

@VikeMan
On a side note, it's interesting to hear that calcium and magnesium are the only minerals that affect pH. Am I getting this correct? Sulfate, chloride and sodium do not impact pH?

Calcium and magnesium don't affect water pH, but they do affect mash pH, because they react with phosphates from the malt, releasing protons (H+ ions). Sulfate, chlorides and sodium don't affect pH. Also, carbonates/bicarbonates, either from the source water or added as sodium bicarbonate (for example) affect pH in the other direction.
 
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aeviaanah

aeviaanah

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You have it surrounded.



Calcium and magnesium don't affect water pH, but they do affect mash pH, because they react with phosphates from the malt, releasing protons (H+ ions). Sulfate, chlorides and sodium don't affect pH. Also, carbonates/bicarbonates, either from the source water or added as sodium bicarbonate (for example) affect pH in the other direction.
Gotcha, I appreciate the help. If your ever near central valley California, stop by for a beer on me!

Edit: at my brewery not my house lol, Five Eye Brewing
 
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