New Water Chemistry Calculator

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larrybrewer

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Hello fellow brewers! Here is the newest online water chemistry calculator:
Brewing Water Chemistry Calculator | Brewer's Friend

One unique thing about this one is it goes into flavor balance and warns of harmful ppm levels (both to the beer and to human health). It also converts grams of brewing salts to teaspoons automatically. I've tried it on Windows in IE7 and FF3, but I have not checked in on Mac or Linux yet.

Later I'm going to add an optional feature so you can save your local water profile in a browser cookie.

Let me know what you think. I'm happy to improve it based on your suggestions.
 

jpc

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Let me know what you think. I'm happy to improve it based on your suggestions.
Well, since you asked... A couple minor things.

1. The "Update Target" on line 3 should probably be a different color to draw attention to the fact that it's a button. It currently looks like a text field.

2. The "Source Minerals" on line 4 obviously doesn't take into account the dilution with distilled water. Would it be possible to add a line that displays the levels of the diluted water?
 
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larrybrewer

larrybrewer

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Well, since you asked... A couple minor things.

1. The "Update Target" on line 3 should probably be a different color to draw attention to the fact that it's a button. It currently looks like a text field.

2. The "Source Minerals" on line 4 obviously doesn't take into account the dilution with distilled water. Would it be possible to add a line that displays the levels of the diluted water?
Will do. I had the line for diluted levels programmed but decided to remove it because I wanted to keep the screen as simple as possible. Plus, my water is practically distilled anyway so I personally wouldn't use it. Thanks for the feedback!
 

jpc

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Thanks, Larry... I just used this to calculate my dilution/mineral content for an ESB. I will admit that I'm jealous of your water, though... my profile is as follows:

Ca++: 67
Mg++: 20
SO4--: 42
Na+: 31
CL-: 39
HCO3-: 211

It's the last one that kills me...

One other thing, now that I think of it (sorry for taking this a little off-topic, but I'll bring it back around). I use Campden (1/4 tablet per 5 gallons), which is sodium metabisulphite, to ensure there is no chloramine in my water. I'm not sure of the chemistry behind how Campden removes the chlorine, but does the amount of sodium and sulfite added here have a measurable effect on Na+ concentration, or does the sulfite somehow convert and/or affect the sulfate concentration? If so, I have NEVER seen a calculator that takes into account.
 

uuurang

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Nice site. Thanks.

What's the target profile for a IIPA? Do I just use "custom target" and enter the ideal water profile for that style?...then compare with water that I'm using?
 

944play

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Very nice! Works perfectly on Mac FF3.

Only thing I'd suggest is adding NaCl to the list of salts.
 

uuurang

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Bah humbug! My water is worthless.

No matter how I jigger with it, it's still crud. Stouts and porters are what I'm stuck with. Alkalinity is off the charts high (~392ppm by HC03)
 
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larrybrewer

larrybrewer

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Thanks, Larry... I just used this to calculate my dilution/mineral content for an ESB. I will admit that I'm jealous of your water, though... my profile is as follows:

Ca++: 67
Mg++: 20
SO4--: 42
Na+: 31
CL-: 39
HCO3-: 211

It's the last one that kills me...

One other thing, now that I think of it (sorry for taking this a little off-topic, but I'll bring it back around). I use Campden (1/4 tablet per 5 gallons), which is sodium metabisulphite, to ensure there is no chloramine in my water. I'm not sure of the chemistry behind how Campden removes the chlorine, but does the amount of sodium and sulfite added here have a measurable effect on Na+ concentration, or does the sulfite somehow convert and/or affect the sulfate concentration? If so, I have NEVER seen a calculator that takes into account.
Yeah, alkaline water is not so fun to work with for lighter beers, but you can make some really great dark beers I bet.

As for the sodium contribution from Campden, I did not look into that. As I understand it, sodium has a brewing range up to 150 ppm. The good news is for your water, adding CaCl2 or Gypsum to re balance levels will not introduce any more sodium.
 
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larrybrewer

larrybrewer

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Nice site. Thanks.

What's the target profile for a IIPA? Do I just use "custom target" and enter the ideal water profile for that style?...then compare with water that I'm using?
Interesting question, for an IIPA you are shooting for more maltiness than a standard IPA. I'd look at Burton on Trent for hop accent, or the Munich for a malty accent perhaps?
 
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larrybrewer

larrybrewer

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Very nice! Works perfectly on Mac FF3.

Only thing I'd suggest is adding NaCl to the list of salts.
Great, glad it works on Mac.

It would be simple to add to the tool, but brewers need to use kosher salt (non-iodized). I'm not sure how wide spread its use is. For example, I noticed that Palmer left NaCl as a brewing salt out of his book.

I'll make a note of this and see what I find.
 

steve_flack

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Do you take account of water of crystallisation. Several of the salts used as additives in brewing contain water if they are not in their anhydrous form. This water would affect any concentration calculations.
 

fifelee

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There is an old water calculator I use called BreWater 3.0 and it lists canning salt. I wonder if that is non-ionized. You can find canning salts in most grocery stores. It also does the calculations for you, but you have to keep clicking the button to refine the numbers until they get close. Love what you have done. You have one stop shopping for all ones beer calculations.
 
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larrybrewer

larrybrewer

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Do you take account of water of crystallisation. Several of the salts used as additives in brewing contain water if they are not in their anhydrous form. This water would affect any concentration calculations.
True, some solids when kept in humid climates will cyrstallize with H20 they absorb from the atmosphere. This can actually get pretty bad in some cases and throw off certain types of reactions (recalling from my days as a chemistry major). This calculator does not take this into account.

The best solution here is to use fresh brewing salts. I keep my brewing salts in sealed plastic bags. I only buy an ounce or two a year (for $0.80), so I have not noticed crystallization. I use baking soda from SWMBO's baking supplies :)

This calculator is not exact by any means, it is a guideline. The conversion of grams to teaspoons is also an estimate. I think the main value it gives is alerting brewers before they overshooting a brewing salt level and harm the beer. The chloride sulfate balance I have also found helpful in my own brewing thus far.
 
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larrybrewer

larrybrewer

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Larry:

One other request... would it be possible to set a cookie that contains my water profile so I don't have to enter it every time?

-John
Very insightful John, that was on the list from the original prototype! I wanted to get it launched, then go back and round out some of the functionality after feedback. Give me a couple weeks and it will be there.

As requested earlier I just republished the tool with line 4a to show the diluted water's mineral concentration. I also fixed a bug that was allowing users to input negative source alkalinity (doh!).
 
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larrybrewer

larrybrewer

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There is an old water calculator I use called BreWater 3.0 and it lists canning salt. I wonder if that is non-ionized. You can find canning salts in most grocery stores. It also does the calculations for you, but you have to keep clicking the button to refine the numbers until they get close. Love what you have done. You have one stop shopping for all ones beer calculations.
Kosher salt is what I have been seeing in terms of adding to the mash tun. I need to get the numbers on ppm concentrations and tsp per gram. Too bad I sold back most of my chemistry books after I got out of college... :drunk:

Thanks for the compliment on the calculators! They have been a blast to build. It rewired my brain to understand brewing a lot better. I'm happy to share them with the whole world for free. (No warranties though ;)).

PROST! :rockin:
 

Beer:30

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This calculator is great, thanks!
One question, potentially very stupid: the water volume (pre-boil field): is everyone calculating your mash and sparge water salt adjustments separately, or do you add your mash and sparge volumes together, calculate your required salt additions, and then just split your salt additions between mash and sparge?
 
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larrybrewer

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Hello WormBoy,
Thanks for the feedback.

I don't see where 'Cr' is appearing on the page.

As for the question on water volume, the calculator is setup to account for minerals going into the kettle before the boil. That is how it would be done if source water needed no alteration (like burton on trent water). So, yes, add your mash and sparge volumes together. For a 5.5 gallon batch, it might be somewhere around 7.5 gallons to account for boil off, dead space in the mash tun, and other equipment losses.

Right now I am batch sparging. I don't bother to add salts to the sparge water. I add all the salts into the mash (by adding to my HLT while it is warming up). I suppose a more perfect method would be do split up the salts accordingly. I think it would end up being a very minute difference, at least for levels of ions I am dealing with. It can't hurt!

In other methods, such as fly sparging, brewers do need to pay closer attention to the pH when draining to the kettle as the mash is continually dilted. In that case, I would definitely split it up.
 
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larrybrewer

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Really excellent in every way, but could you add acids to the amendments?:)
Thanks for the kind words and feedback. Its been a joy putting this site together and getting such comments.

Being from an area with ion levels practically nil in the source water, I have no experience using acid adjustments for brewing.

As I understand it, acids are not involved with flavor ion balances. Instead they are used to adjust the pH of the mash, and influence mash efficiency. The tool can handle this expansion without a problem. It could even recommend an acid addition if the pH is too high.

What water profile are you working with? What kind of acid and how much of it do you add?
 

KevinW

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Hello to all, I am new to the forum and new to brewing so I am always reading and asking questions.
I ran across Larry's calculator and I really like it and am looking forward to using it.
My question is about the calculator's lines 8 and 9.
While trying to "match" Burton on Trent water I recieved a harmful symbol at just 258 for calcium.
Burton's profile states 270 for calcium! I know the numbers are guidelines but I am a little confused. I am obsessed with perfection so I may be reading too much into this so please forgive me.
Anyway, just throwing this out there.
You guys are all awesome and I am grateful to be a part of this community!
 
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larrybrewer

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Hi KevinW,
Welcome to the forums!

Indeed according to various sources, including John Palmer 'How To Brew', Calcium levels above 250ppm can be harmful to beer. I am not sure what the level is that makes it harmful to human health. 270 is close to the 250, so its a boarder line case. Try drinking a true English Ale imported from the Burton on Trent region, you'll note the mineral taste. It could be considered a 'defect' in some circles. For this style of beer it can also be seen as a regional signature. I got a nice bottle of ESB from the local European market (Edelweiss in PDX) for around $4 and my ESB is darn close. It was close enough to have a friend of mine from the UK say it tasted like home.

By the way I love the 0.5L size of bottles from Europe. I end up saving those for bottling my home brew.

Here is a page that gives more information about ion concentrations in brewing:
http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/03/14/all-grain-water-chemistry-brewing-information/

In terms of brewing English style beers, make sure to shoot for grains, hops, and yeast from those regions (Marris Otter malt, Kent Goldings or Northern Brewer Hops, and of course British Ale Yeast or some such strain). Water chemistry does play a role, but clean water, good brewing techniques, and the right ingredients will get you most of the way there. Expect to slowly perfect this over your lifetime.

PROST!
 

KevinW

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Larry, thank you!
I agree with the idea of using "local" grains and hops. I just makes sense if you're creating the water profile you would also need to match the other ingredients.
Thank as well for the Edelweiss reference. I will be visiting them soon(not just for the beers either)!
 

Mirilis

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I want to use this sheet, and I contacted my water supplier for current mineral composition, however I have a question. I run my water through a 0.5 micron carbon filter before I use it as brewing water. What does that do to my minerals? (ie does it only filter out the chlorine?)
 
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larrybrewer

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That is a great question. I know carbon filters capture some of the undesirable mineral content (like lead). The manufacturer of the filter would probably have specific information about what minerals pass through.
 

BioBeing

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This is my first foray into water chemistry, and your site looks very nice. I had a question about the target profile.

For London water (I am looking to make a mild) the targets are 90:6:24:22:10:82.

Beersmith's water profile tool shows London water as 52:16:77:99:60:156

[Changed to your order... Ca+2:Mg+2:SO4-2:Na+:Cl-:HCO3-]

So who should I trust? Where did you get your London profile info from?

For Burton-on-Trent, you and BeerSmth are very close.
 
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