Results of water analysis before and after Lime treatment

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pjj2ba

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I thought folks might be interested in seeing what lime treatment does in terms of reducing alkalinity. I've been doing this for a number of years now (after reading AJ's paper) and finally got around to having the results properly analyzed. I had been brewing too many beers where the bitterness was a bit harsh and took a long time to mellow. Treating my water fixed that problem and my beers have been much better since then.

My normal routine is to add ~3 gms of pickling lime to 10 gal of water. I also add a pinch of sodium metabisulfite for chloramine removal. I then let the precipitate settle out overnight. The next day I transfer the water to my mash tun and HLT. I then adjust the pH of these down to ~5.5 with phosphoric acid.

I don't measure my mash pH, just the water beforehand, figuring I was reducing alkalinity enough for the grains to set the proper pH (for dark beers I wait until the end of the mash to add the dark grains).

This is the water I use for just about everything. I brew a lot of lagers (kolsch too) and a variety of pale ales, saisons, IPAs and the occasional dark beer.

I occasionally add some CaCl2, thinking it might help reduce the carbonates even more. It looks like it isn't needed for that.

All in all I would same I'm pleased with the results. I find it cheap, easy and convenient to do. I probably would recommend the purchase of a pH meter, so I guess that does jack up the cost.

Now I need to think a bit more about tailoring my Cl and S04 levels

_______________PRE___POST
pH.....................7.2.......5.8
TDS Est..............272......318
EC................... 0.45......0.53
Cations...............4.4......5.8
Anions................4.5......3.3
Sodium..................6......29
Calcium................49......58
Magnesium ..........20......19
Potassium..............2......1
Total Hardness.....206......224
Nitrate..................3......3
Sulfur ..................5......34
CO3 ................< 1......< 1
HCO3................221......32
Chloride...............14......14
Total Alkalinity........181......27

I just sampled a Czech pils I kegged last night that I brewed with the POST water as is. Normally I would cut this by almost 50% with distilled water. The sample, arguably young and not lagered, didn't seem as smooth - compared to other hydrometer samples of the same recipe at kegging time. We'll see how it is in a month after it has been properly lagered
 

Kaiser

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Thanks for posting that and it couldn't come at a better time. I just released a water calculator that supports lime treatment (http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-chemistry-and-brewing-water-calculator/)

But looking at your water difference, you are adding more than just pickling lime. I see an increase in sodium and sulfate.

I also have to add about 6 g of pickling lime for 10 gal of that water (but that could be a bug)

Kai
 

mabrungard

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That is a bit of an odd result. Do I understand correctly that the Pre results are your tap water prior to lime softening and the Post results are the water following lime softening and acidification?

With that assumption, the low anion total for the Post water is reasonable since they didn't include the phosphate ions (from the phosphoric acid addition) in that total. So that is OK.

I agree with Kai that clearly there has been an addition of calcium and sulfate to that Post water. The sulfate should not be increased by the lime softening and the calcium should have been between about 10 and 20 ppm after softening. Due to the sulfate content, I am not surprised with your observation that the Pils was not smooth. Did you mix up the containers when adding the 'CaCl' ? The Na increase is a surprise too.
 
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pjj2ba

pjj2ba

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Those both I suspect are from the Sodium metabisulfite I add to remove chloramines!

I'll have to weigh out how much I add to see if that accounts for it
 

Kaiser

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If Camden tablets add that much I'll have to add this to the calculator.


Kai
 

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