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Newmanwell

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Yes, I've finnaly reached that point where I want to wrap my head around water chemistry. Using the brewersfriend water chemistry calculator if I want to make a pale beer a 1:1 tap to distilled would get me pretty close to to 50 ppm Alkalinity. Adding 1 tsp of CaCO3 chalk would make up for the diluted levels of Ca. Before I go and screw up what would have been a pretty good beer anyway; I just wanted to see if others here that have been in the water game longer than I agree.

Here is the Jacksonville water report:

Ca Mg Na SO4 Cl HCO3
Jacksonville, FL 70.3 31.0 15.8 152.9 21.7 139.3

Thanks for any help.
 

mabrungard

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Forget the chalk, it does not work at all. Dilution would be a requirement to reduce the somewhat high Mg and SO4 content. The resulting alkalinity drop is an added bonus that is welcome. To restore the calcium level, I would use either gypsum or calcium chloride depending upon the style brewed.
 
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Newmanwell

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I've heard that many times about chalk, thanks! My efficiency has been pretty bad on pale ales. All my ambers are pretty good which agrees with what the calculator says about my water. The addiction continues!
 

ajdelange

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Chalk works just fine if it is used properly (i.e. as nature intended it be used) but few people know how to use it and those who do are seldom willing to make the effort. But this does not address the point that you seldom need chalk or any mash pH raising addition. The usual goal is to lower mash pH - not raise it. Chalk, used properly or not, is a terrible way to try to raise calcium levels as it is 3.5 times more effective at raising mash pH as it is at lowering it. It takes you in the opposite direction from the one you are trying to go in.

A 1:1 dilution with DI water would bring your alkalinity down to about 57. You'd like about half that for most beers so that a 3:1 dilution is more reasonable. This, of course, drops everything else down by the same factor of 4 which still leaves the sulfate at a level to high for some styles (especially pale lagers). Further dilution would be required for those at which point your water chemistry is determined more by what you add than what you started with. See the Primer for some ideas on how to start out treating water like this.
 

watersr

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Chalk works just fine if it is used properly (i.e. as nature intended it be used) but few people know how to use it and those who do are seldom willing to make the effort. But this does not address the point that you seldom need chalk or any mash pH raising addition. The usual goal is to lower mash pH - not raise it. Chalk, used properly or not, is a terrible way to try to raise calcium levels as it is 3.5 times more effective at raising mash pH as it is at lowering it. It takes you in the opposite direction from the one you are trying to go in.

A 1:1 dilution with DI water would bring your alkalinity down to about 57. You'd like about half that for most beers so that a 3:1 dilution is more reasonable. This, of course, drops everything else down by the same factor of 4 which still leaves the sulfate at a level to high for some styles (especially pale lagers). Further dilution would be required for those at which point your water chemistry is determined more by what you add than what you started with. See the Primer for some ideas on how to start out treating water like this.
Calcium can balance bicarbonate and reduce total residual alkalinity. But chalk is
Calcium carbonate so you would be raising RA. You could add gypsum, calcium sulfate but that woud bring up the already much too high sulfate level, creating harsh bitterness. The best choice would be calcium chloride which would help balance the bicarbonate and reduce overall RA as well as adding chloride to balance the sulfate giving better buttering flavor. This would be desirable even if diluting with RO water as the calcium level would be far too low and the chloride sulfate balance would still not be achieved.
 
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