Water Profile Question

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mattbeer

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I need some advise on adjusting the levels of my local water. For example, if my local water has a SODIUM level of 10.3 ppm and i'm aiming for 51 ppm, how do I know how much and which kind of sodium I need to add to a 5 gallon batch of beer? Sorry if this question has been answered before.
 
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Assuming my data entry is correct (and using the Brewers Friend web site), it looks like about 2 grams of canning salt (NaCl) or 2.5 g of baking soda (NaHCO3) will move Na from 10 ppm to ~ 50 ppm.

Water chemistry calculators (the Bru'n Water spreadsheet (link), Brewers Friend's water chemistry calculator (link)) will help do the math across all the various ions.
 

Yesfan

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I've been playing around with my salt additions as well. Say for instance, you see where the Ca2 addition is listed to be between 50-150 ppm in the target profile. Your city water has about 35ppm of Ca2 in it. Do you adjust that addition to be at the low, high, or midway point?

I know the other additions will have a play in the end result levels, but I just listed one to keep the explanation as simple as can be. If the addition amounts are dependent on style (dry stout vs check lager), then which styles would you want to hit the low, high, and midway points when making those additions?
 

day_trippr

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50 to 150 is a hella broad range for any addition to be considered a "recommendation", imo...
 

Silver_Is_Money

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NaCl has a molecular weight of ~58.45
Na has a molecular weight of ~23
Cl has a molecular weight of ~35.45

Thus NaCl is ~39.35% by weight Na+ ion.

51 - 10.3 = 40.7 additional mg/L Na+ ion required

5 gallons = 18.927 Liters

40.7 mg/L x 18.927 L = 770.33 mg. of Na+ ion required

770.33 mg Na ÷ 0.3935 = 1,957.6 mg NaCl

1,957.6 mg ÷ 1,000 mg/gram = 1.9576 grams NaCl

Answer = Add 1.96 grams of Table Salt
 
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Say for instance, you see where the Ca2 addition is listed to be between 50-150 ppm in the target profile. Your city water has about 35ppm of Ca2 in it. Do you adjust that addition to be at the low, high, or midway point?
Can you reference the recommendation? I am assuming it also includes ranges for Mg, Na, Cl, S04 - which should help us understand the recommendation.

Almost all of the target water profiles I am aware of use a single value (rather than a range). The recommendation is typically based on beer style or beer color. Often there's additional information associated with each ion.

Experts often have different opinions (for example: is 50 ppm Ca enough for a good mash? or is 100ppm needed?) - so focusing on a specific target profile recommendation may yield a 'better' discussion.
 
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catalanotte

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Experts often have different opinions (for example: is 50 ppm Ca enough for a good mash? or is 100ppm needed?) - so focusing on a specific target profile recommendation may yield a 'better' discussion.
Seeing target water profiles ranging from 7ppm Ca for a Pilsner to 250ppm for Dortmund it certainly makes you wonder. I have read and followed the general advice of 50ppm min that you mentioned, but made an AG pilsner recently at 12ppm with good mash efficiency that turned out great. What kind of experience do others have producing good mash efficiency and quality beer out side this normal Ca range of 50-100ppm?
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Presumably (albeit that I've never personally attempted it) good mash efficiency (as reported by those who have tried it) can be obtained via mashing with (or in) distilled water. This would imply that added Ca++ ion is not a contributor to mash efficiency.
 
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7 ppm Ca for a Pilsner to 250ppm for Dortmund
If the profile names (Pilsner, Dortmund) are city names, it's likely the the measurement was a "point in time" value for the source water. These profiles can safely be ignored when talking about target water profiles.



Again, and staying with just Ca values, if 1) someone is willing to reference a specific profile (or a set of profiles) from a source, and 2), the source includes an explanation as to why the number is good - then there may be something interesting to discuss further. From the profiles I've read, there's often more to Ca than just mash quality.
 

Yesfan

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50 to 150 is a hella broad range for any addition to be considered a "recommendation", imo...
Can you reference the recommendation? I am assuming it also includes ranges for Mg, Na, Cl, S04 - which should help us understand the recommendation.

Almost all of the target water profiles I am aware of use a single value (rather than a range). The recommendation is typically based on beer style or beer color. Often there's additional information associated with each ion.

Experts often have different opinions (for example: is 50 ppm Ca enough for a good mash? or is 100ppm needed?) - so focusing on a specific target profile recommendation may yield a 'better' discussion.


I was just throwing a random number out for some sort of reference point. Nothing particular. I probably should have been more specific (sorry).

If it it helps though, how about these numbers (from Brewfather)..........

For a hoppy pale ale:

My source water profile:
Ca2- 11, Mg2- 2, Na- 3, Cl-4, SO4- 6, HCO3- 33

Target profile (Hoppy):

Ca2- 110, Mg2- 18, Na-16, Cl-50, SO4-275, HCO3- 33

in Brewfather right below the target profile box, you can select a style (optional), so choosing American Pale Ale shows min/max numbers as:

Ca2- 50-150, Mg2- 0-30, Na- 0-100, Cl-0-100, S04- 100-400, HC03- 40-120.

So, going by the above (and using the Ca numbers for reference), My water profile shows 11ppm of Calcium. Should I add enough calcium chloride to hit the 11 in the target profile, or do I shoot for the min 50, max 150, or the middle of the road point of a 100 in the American Pale Ale guideline?

I know each addition isn't going to be cut/dry because each mineral can be in at least two additions (ex Gypsum and Calcium Chloride both have calcium in it). Maybe I'm overthinking this and I apologize if I am. If the recipe is important to know, it's just a variation of Bell's Two Hearted with a lower gravity and Cascade hops vs Centennial.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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In my opinion, Mineral additions are a lot like hops additions. Whereby the average person can not blindly distinguish hop IBU levels which vary by roughly about +/- 30 percent. And minerals should be seen within the light of this ballpark rule of thumb guidance. Only with the caveat that the minerals +/- is rather highly likely to be greater than 30%.
 
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Yesfan

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In my opinion, Mineral additions are a lot like hops additions. Whereby the average person can not blindly distinguish hop IBU levels which vary by roughly about +/- 30 percent. And minerals should be seen within the light of this ballpark rule of thumb guidance.


I guess, by your opinion, it's safe to say the max amounts for the minerals I listed should be ruled out?

That's where I have been leaning, but I like to ask first.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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I'm not the one to ask regarding the intricate specifics of mineral profiles, as I generally see them as I would voodoo. Or mysticism in general. My guess would be that the +/- bars of indistingushability for minerals approach 50%.
 
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in Brewfather right below the target profile box, you can select a style (optional), so choosing American Pale Ale shows min/max numbers as:
Thanks for this. I wasn't aware of the (relatively wide) range that Brewfather displays.

If the recipe is important to know, it's just a variation of Bell's Two Hearted with a lower gravity and Cascade hops vs Centennial.

It helps - as it can be used as an example for a more precise (but not exact) target profile.

My source water profile:
Ca2- 11, Mg2- 2, Na- 3, Cl-4, SO4- 6, HCO3- 33

Nice! Definitely low mineral water.

Target profile (Hoppy):

Ca2- 110, Mg2- 18, Na-16, Cl-50, SO4-275, HCO3- 33

Using Brewfather, add Gypsum and Calcium Chloride to get close to the S04 and Cl values. You should find that Ca is above 50 ppm (minimum recommended value), but below 200 ppm (where some issues can start to appear).

Personally, I don't like bottled mineral water. After brewing Janet's Brown Ale with the suggested profile (250+ ppm S04) I decided I don't like S04 in the 250+ range. Individual tastes will vary.

I'll leave Epsom salt (MgS04) and table salt (CaCl) for a future reply - but will note that they can be useful to reduce the amount of added Ca.
 

DuncB

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Have you tried the auto button on brewfather? It will come up with some numbers / quantities of salts to get you " in range " .

Will also show what it has calculated towards then you can tweak the salts to adjust a bit more if you wanted say more calcium than Auto has given you.
 

VikeMan

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Seeing target water profiles ranging from 7ppm Ca for a Pilsner to 250ppm for Dortmund it certainly makes you wonder. I have read and followed the general advice of 50ppm min that you mentioned, but made an AG pilsner recently at 12ppm with good mash efficiency that turned out great. What kind of experience do others have producing good mash efficiency and quality beer out side this normal Ca range of 50-100ppm?

The oft quoted 50ppm minumum for calcium is in regard to yeast flocculation, not the mash. Calcium is a cofactor for alpha amylase, but you can get by with a lot less than 50 ppm. And even for yeast flocculation, you can get by with less.
 

Yesfan

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Thanks for this. I wasn't aware of the (relatively wide) range that Brewfather displays.



It helps - as it can be used as an example for a more precise (but not exact) target profile.



Nice! Definitely low mineral water.



Using Brewfather, add Gypsum and Calcium Chloride to get close to the S04 and Cl values. You should find that Ca is above 50 ppm (minimum recommended value), but below 200 ppm (where some issues can start to appear).

Personally, I don't like bottled mineral water. After brewing Janet's Brown Ale with the suggested profile (250+ ppm S04) I decided I don't like S04 in the 250+ range. Individual tastes will vary.

I'll leave Epsom salt (MgS04) and table salt (CaCl) for a future reply - but will note that they can be useful to reduce the amount of added Ca.

So as a rule of the thumb for water additions, is it good practice to go with the minimum amount?

Have you tried the auto button on brewfather? It will come up with some numbers / quantities of salts to get you " in range " .

Will also show what it has calculated towards then you can tweak the salts to adjust a bit more if you wanted say more calcium than Auto has given you.

That's usually what I do. I let Brewfather calculate then I round up/down to the nearest gram in each addition. Seems like 12g of something would be easier to measure out verses 11.8 or 12.3.

Do the water additions go into the mash, or could you put them in after the boil (but before cooling and pitching the yeast)? The reason why I ask was I thought maybe I could do a smash beer with a simple hop addition, but do a split batch where there is a control with water additions, one with the minimum amount, and one with the maximum amount to see if there is a perceivable difference.
 
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So as a rule of the thumb for water additions, is it good practice to go with the minimum amount?
Probably not.

For a Pale Ale, with low / no mineral water, if you focus on adjustments for Cl and S04 using just Gypsum and Calcium Chloride, the ppm for Ca generally ends up at a reasonable value. Adding some Mg (using Epson Salts) and Na (using table salt) will reduce the ppm for Ca.
 

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