pH of Full Volume BIAB as a Function of Res. Alkalinity


Topic author
BrickBrewHaus
Gold
Gold
Posts: 383
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Champaign, IL
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

pH of Full Volume BIAB as a Function of Res. Alkalinity

Post by BrickBrewHaus » 5 years ago

I've been wanting to do a little experiment involving the mash pH of a full volume BIAB for quite some time now. The opportunity finally presented itself today and I was able to do a modified version of the experiment I had planned.

If you've read around the interwebs long enough, you've surely come across threads regarding the mash pH and how it should ideally fall within some range, lets say 5.2-5.5. Most threads you read about water treatments and predicted mash pH's are assuming a relatively low liquor-to-grain ratio. Why is this important? The ions in water acts as buffers (they resist changes in pH). As you increase the amount of water (i.e., a high l:g ratio as is commonly found in BIAB) the buffering capacity also increases. This means that BIABers should have a more difficult time getting their mash pH down to the "acceptable" level. A way to combat this is to reduce the residual alkalinity of your water (for an excellent description of res. alkalinity read this and this.) But what is the appropriate RA that we should aim for using BIAB? That was the goal of my experiment.

When surfing the internet, I'm sure you've also read that darker kilned malts provide added acidity. They act on the pH to pull it lower than that of a base malt only mash. So how can we predict what the mash pH will be for a particular grist? Unfortunately it is an extremely complicated system and any predictions are just that, predictions. But we can start to get a general idea of what is happening as we change our water profile.

In my case, I varied the residual alkalinity of my water by diluting it with distilled water. Distilled water has (ideally zero) almost zero ions and is as close to pure water as we can buy as ordinary people. This means that it has zero buffering capacity and diluting another water sample will correspondingly reduce the RA (i.e., a 1:1 dilution with distilled water will result in 50% reduction in RA). It serves as a perfect source to reduce the RA of our tap water, if in fact we need to do any water adjustments.

So here's what I did. I wanted to look at the mash pH of different grists. Obviously the number of grists compositions is virually infinite, but I thought I would attack this from the SRM side of things. If you take the average SRM value of all styles of beer, you'll come up with a value of 14.96 SRM (at least I did). We'll assume this to be one data point. The other two data points I looked at were very low (~5SRM) and quite high (~30 SRM). Now, some well-respected brewing water people DO NOT advocate beer color as an appropriate indicator of resulting mash pH. However, this serves as a convenient method to test a wide range of grists compositions.

I used 3 different grists (100% base malt (1.8 Lovibond), 90% BM + 10% Crystal 120 L, and 90% bm + 10 Roasted Barley (300 Lovibond)). This represents the range of colors listed above, roughly. I also used four different water compositions, thereby spanning a range of RAs from ~130 (quite high) to zero (very low) by diluting my tap water with different amounts of distilled water. (If you want more info on my water profile and dilution factors just PM me). This gave me 12 different samples to work with. Here's a picture:
IMG_2370.JPG
I created 3 each of 4 different dilutions of tap water with distilled water and brought them to striker temp in side my oven. I then added grain of different compositions, listed above, mashed in and put back in the oven to maintain a normal mash temp. The front row are the samples containing roasted barley, the middle containing C120, and the last row is base malt only. After ~30min I pulled the samples out and measured the pH with a calibrated pH meter.

Here are the results,
Res. Alkalinity.pdf
My water company only gives a range of values for the alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium content. So the solid line is the calculated RA based on the median value of all of these. The dotted lines above and below the solid line represents what the maximum and minimum value should be at any given time.

What does the data show? Well, based on fact that color is such a weak indicator of mash pH, not a whole lot. I think though, it allows us to see that we should be paying some attention to our water profiles when doing lighter colored beers. Surprisingly, the water should be considered for darker beers, as my results show that an acceptable mash pH is only achieved for RA of ~75. If you have soft water that's great news. You can easily get your mash pH into the appropriate range. If you have very alkaline water, then you should consider diluting with distilled water to achieve RA of <50.

Some more details...For all samples I used 100 mL of water (the water was weighed on a scale since I don't have any volumetric flasks, 1mL = 1g) and the total grain weight was 15 g. This gives a l:g ratio of 6.6 kg/L which I think is pretty reasonable, obviously this will change depending the many factors (desired OG, boil time, evap. rate, etc.).

Note, the attached PDF below is the same as the above, just without the axis labels. I don't know how to remove it.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 11 Mar 2012, 16:44, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar

Yeasty
Gold
Gold
Great Britain
Posts: 1363
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Bolton Lancs UK
Region: Europe
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by Yeasty » 5 years ago

Nice experiment Brick..

Timely too as I've been considering mash PH and water treatment recently as my last 2 brews have been very low on the ph front (4.4 according to the strips). I take it all with a pinch of salt though as my beers are well drinkable and I don't think my old pallete is sensitive enough to tell the difference. My water is super soft with alkalinity of 20-50 CaCO3 so Largers should be good! but so have my stouts and bitters so I tend not to mess about to much.

I'm in the middle of brewing at the moment so will have another read tonight and try to think about it :think:

Yeasty
Why is everyone talking about "Cheese"


joshua
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 2663
Joined: 7 years ago
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by joshua » 5 years ago

Good Day, My Mother called me Son, but I'm not that bright....My questions is, should people with very "hard" water use only distilled water and add salts/minerals to get the correct water for the style they are brewing?? or am I missing the entire discussion?
Honest Officer, I swear to Drunk, I am Not God.


stux
Gold
Gold
Posts: 1284
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Lower Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by stux » 5 years ago

So what's your RA?

I haven't quite worked out mine, but I think it's somewhere between Plsen and F%*$ all :-/

(too many brewskis)

Ps: love the scotch glasses
Fermenting: -
Cubed: -
Stirplate: -
On Tap: NS Summer Ale III (WY1272), Landlord III (WY1469), Fighter's 70/- II (WY1272), Roast Porter (WY1028), Cider, Soda
Next: Munich Helles III

5/7/12


joshua
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 2663
Joined: 7 years ago
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by joshua » 5 years ago

Good Day In my part of the world, the alkalinity varies by the time of year and rainfall.
My tap water comes from a river contained by limestone, so if the water level is low, and the flow rate is low, and the alkalinity is near 375ppm and when the river is flowing from high rainfall, the alkalinity can be 125ppm.
Honest Officer, I swear to Drunk, I am Not God.


Topic author
BrickBrewHaus
Gold
Gold
Posts: 383
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Champaign, IL
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by BrickBrewHaus » 5 years ago

Yeasty wrote:Timely too as I've been considering mash PH and water treatment recently as my last 2 brews have been very low on the ph front (4.4 according to the strips). I take it all with a pinch of salt though as my beers are well drinkable and I don't think my old pallete is sensitive enough to tell the difference. My water is super soft with alkalinity of 20-50 CaCO3 so Largers should be good! but so have my stouts and bitters so I tend not to mess about to much.
4.4 seems low, to the point where I don't really believe it. I know there are plenty of people who don't advise pH strips for their inaccuracy, but that's ~0.3 pH units not 1 pH unit. I have very little experience with measuring mash pH (two brews plus this experiment), but that seems too low.
joshua wrote:My questions is, should people with very "hard" water use only distilled water and add salts/minerals to get the correct water for the style they are brewing?? or am I missing the entire discussion?
Nobody HAS to do anything with their water if they don't feel comfortable with the time, expense, or concepts. But diluting your tap water (if your RA is close to acceptable) or starting with distilled or RO water (if your water is so bad that you need a large dilution) and adding back essential minerals (e.g., calcium) and building up the water is what I'm trying to make people aware of. Here's an example. A month ago I did Janet's Brown Ale from Brewing Classic Styles, identical grain bill just scaled for half batch. I used 100% "Schnucks Drinking Water" in the mash (Schnucks is a large grocery store chain here in the states) which I assumed to be RO water along with a little (1/2 tsp and 1 tsp) of CaCl and gypsum. The beer is fairly dark (don't know the estimated SRM off the top of my head) but the mash pH came in at 5.3, perfect. If I were to have used my tap water, I guessing this would've been higher. I believe, though, that if a person is truely concerned with their mash pH then they should invest a little money in a pH METER. The cost isn't bad, calibration is easy, and you can trust the values.
stux wrote:So what's your RA?
Based on the ranges of values for alkalinity, Ca, and Mg given to me by my water company, the RA is somewhere between 121 and 141, as CaCO3.

Note, I edited the OP with some details I originally left out.
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 12 Mar 2012, 01:42, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar

Yeasty
Gold
Gold
Great Britain
Posts: 1363
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Bolton Lancs UK
Region: Europe
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by Yeasty » 5 years ago

BrickBrewHaus wrote:Yeasty wrote:
Timely too as I've been considering mash PH and water treatment recently as my last 2 brews have been very low on the ph front (4.4 according to the strips). I take it all with a pinch of salt though as my beers are well drinkable and I don't think my old pallete is sensitive enough to tell the difference. My water is super soft with alkalinity of 20-50 CaCO3 so Largers should be good! but so have my stouts and bitters so I tend not to mess about to much.
4.4 seems low, to the point where I don't really believe it. I know there are plenty of people who don't advise pH strips for their inaccuracy, but that's ~0.3 pH units not 1 pH unit. I have very little experience with measuring mash pH (two brews plus this experiment), but that seems too low.
Yea Me too, I really only use the strips out of curiosity. Its been that low on a couple of brews and the beers still good.
Last edited by Yeasty on 12 Mar 2012, 02:49, edited 3 times in total.
Why is everyone talking about "Cheese"


PistolPatch
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 5284
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by PistolPatch » 5 years ago

Love seeing experiments like this. Good on you BBH :salute:.

Pretty scary thread for someone like me though. I remember walking into chemistry class and seeing the periodic table and thinking, "What? You want me to learn all that?" :argh:

So, this means I am allowed to ask dumb questions I hope - lol!

Wouldn't using the right salts to adjust brewing water be cheaper than buying distilled water? Or do they end up being expensive with some waters?

Nice work BBH :peace:
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!


Topic author
BrickBrewHaus
Gold
Gold
Posts: 383
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Champaign, IL
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by BrickBrewHaus » 5 years ago

When we talk about adjusting "brewing water" there are two things that you could be talking about 1) the mash pH or 2) the mineral profile (e.g., Burton, Pilsen, etc.) There are a growing number of people, A. J. DeLange being one of the more outspoken people, who feel like pH is the more important of these two.

It is true that mash pH can be adjusted by additions of acid, minerals (calcium and magnesium will lower pH, but only small amounts), carbonates, etc. If you subscribe to the school of thought that A.J. preaches, then the aim is achieve the proper pH with a low mineral content.** A lot of water sources in the US are hard (lots of Ca and Mg) and even worse, alkaline. So while it is possible to get your mash pH into the proper range by additions of acid and salt, in the end your water will contain lots of things and might start to get muddled. If you have soft water, or distilled/RO water, then you can add the minimum amount of stuff to get the mash pH proper. People have reported more "crisp" flavors using this approach. As I mentioned, I've only done two brews (still conditioning/fermenting) using this approach so I can't comment with first-hand experience.

If a person wants to concern himself with mash pH then I recommend two things: 1) get a pH meter and 2) know your starting water profile (either get a water report for your tap water or start with RO/distilled water). If get a water report, then you can decide whether or not you want/have to dilute with distilled, then you can check with a pH meter to see what the results are then add things to adjust it.

I typed all of the above, then went back and read your question and realized I hadn't touched it yet :lol:
PistolPatch wrote:Wouldn't using the right salts to adjust brewing water be cheaper than buying distilled water?
Yes. But if your starting water is alkaline and hard, then you'll be adding lots of stuff to get the proper mash pH, maybe leading to muddled flavors. But in the end, it will still be cheaper then buying your water. If you're starting with good water (low alkalinity and low hardness) then you're blessed and can add salts/acid/whatever at very minimal cost and be just as well of if you had bought the water.


**I'm not saying this is the only route to take, I don't believe that to be true with anything related to homebrewing. In fact, most commercial brewers just use their tap water with minimal treatments (probably charcoal filtered, maybe small CaCl or gypsum additions or maybe bicarbonate additions, but small). But I tend to believe most anything A.J. says. He is always posting enlightening things and taking a lot of time to answer hundreds of questions regarding brewing water chemistry. He answered a PM of mine when I was developing this experiment. This is one post that sums up his thoughts nicely.
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 13 Mar 2012, 01:25, edited 3 times in total.


joshua
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 2663
Joined: 7 years ago
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by joshua » 5 years ago

Good Day,A brew club near me has a link to brew chemistry....It has a section on how roast grains have carbon, and with water form carbonic acid, that reduces RA.

"To give some history, before brewing chemistry was widely understood highly alkaline waters were generally unsuitable for brewing light styles. The water in London was favorable to brewing ESB and Porters, highly alkaline Dublin water was used to brew stouts, and only the very soft water of Pilsen was capable of properly brewing with extremely light kilned malts. The reason dark beers are traditionally brewed with alkaline waters is because roasted grains add acidity to the mash, buffering the alkalinity of water and bringing mash pH down to an acceptable range."

see http://www.antiochsudsuckers.com/tom/brewingwater.htm

Just my Aussie $0.0216
Honest Officer, I swear to Drunk, I am Not God.

User avatar

mankang
Craft
Craft
Posts: 19
Joined: 6 years ago
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by mankang » 5 years ago

pH meter ordered after reading the entire thread BBH links to.


Topic author
BrickBrewHaus
Gold
Gold
Posts: 383
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Champaign, IL
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by BrickBrewHaus » 5 years ago

mankang wrote:pH meter ordered after reading the entire thread BBH links to.
Out of curiosity, which did you get?
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 13 Mar 2012, 06:50, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar

mankang
Craft
Craft
Posts: 19
Joined: 6 years ago
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by mankang » 5 years ago

Search for "Waterproof PH meter Temperature High Accuracy" from the seller gainexpress on ebay.

Edit: I bought my refractometer from the same seller a year ago so I trust them.


PistolPatch
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 5284
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by PistolPatch » 5 years ago

Thanks for the great answer BBH. The first part of the answer wasn't a waste of time at all - makes a lot of sense to me.

Another advantage of using RO filters etc or distilled water would be that you'd know your starting point for each and every brew. For example, here, the tap water comes from a mixture of de-salinated water, bore water and dams. The ratio of the mix used can vary from one day to another. (Despite this, the pH is very consistent and I always seem to be able to use the same amount of acidulated malt in each brew to get the pH right.)

On a side note, I haven't had any problems with pH strips but am still on the same roll I bought years ago. I've avoided a pH meter due to the problem that they can go out of calibration and that the probes wear out. There's possibly a thread on this somewhere here?

:peace:
PP
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!


Topic author
BrickBrewHaus
Gold
Gold
Posts: 383
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Champaign, IL
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by BrickBrewHaus » 5 years ago

mankang wrote:Search for "Waterproof PH meter Temperature High Accuracy" from the seller gainexpress on ebay.

Edit: I bought my refractometer from the same seller a year ago so I trust them.
Nice. I have this one. I chose it over this one because the manual calibration knocked off a fair bit of the cost. And I found that the replacement electrodes were cheaper than some other models' electrodes, even though my meter cost slightly more to begin with.
PistolPatch wrote:Another advantage of using RO filters etc or distilled water would be that you'd know your starting point for each and every brew.
That's a huge advantage in my opinion. Just sucks that it adds more to the cost.
PistolPatch wrote:On a side note, I haven't had any problems with pH strips but am still on the same roll I bought years ago. I've avoided a pH meter due to the problem that they can go out of calibration and that the probes wear out. There's possibly a thread on this somewhere here?
You'll always have to calibrate a meter, every brew day. It really isn't difficult. Mine is manually calibrated and it takes about a minute, literally. I'm sure auto calibration is even faster. After that I don't need to calibrate for the rest of the brew session, no mater how many readings I take. And you do need to replace the electrode. Supposedly they last a fairly long time (~2 years) if you treat them well.
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 13 Mar 2012, 08:51, edited 3 times in total.


PistolPatch
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 5284
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by PistolPatch » 5 years ago

I'm feeling like a kit brewer in this thread - lol!

BBH, you always write on the forum and answer questions really well.

What I'd love to see (and I don't think I have ever seen it anywhere before on any forum) is a thread called, "Should you be worrying about your water?"

The answer I give to this is, "If your tap water tastes fine, then you're okay." But, I might be taking things for granted on this international forum that I don't even know about. My advice works in my experience...

I've brewed beer on the east and west coast of Australia and haven't noticed a difference in the beer even when I forget to adjust my pH! I pretty much always get a bronze or above when I bother to throw a beer into a comp so my beers aren't awful. (Even beat a mate of mine who obsesses about water chemistry and often gets gold, last year - lol!)...

But, the above advice/info may well not be helpful in certain circumstances. I really don't know???

So, I'd love to see a thread that told me whether I actually was a brewer who lived in an area where I should definitely be worrying about water chemistry. If I was, what should be my steps to get to me to 'acceptable' brewing water?

Any thread I see on water says, "Get a water sample from your local area." They never mention that such water may vary day to day so, of course, people take a single water report as gospel! It would be much better to hear stuff like, "If you live in London, you really should be looking at this aspect because a heap of brewers have found 'this' problem..."

In other words, I'd like to see an easily followed chain of generalisations leading down to specifics. Obviously, in this thread we are talking specifics. It's in the research forum which implies that new all-grainers shouldn't read it. But, maybe some of them should? Hence the suggested thread, "Should you be worrying about your water?"

Anyway, from your above experiment, I have a suspicion that you will be the man to produce such a thread!

Not too sure how long it will take you to achieve that goal but once you have done so, I have a heap of other experiments I'd love to see given the 'BBH' test.

Good on you :salute:,
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 13 Mar 2012, 21:18, edited 3 times in total.
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!


2trout
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 305
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Glenwood Springs, Colorado. USA
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Boiled Malt Extract (BME)
City:

Post by 2trout » 5 years ago

Thanks for posting your experiment and results BBH.

Lately, I have been worrying about the PH of my water as it is quite alkaline , 7.75-8.5 depending on the time of the year. I don't know my RA though. Ill be getting a water report from my water department soon.

I really like many of the lighter beers, and I think mine taste fine, but could they be better? Prolly. While I realize that my taste is what matters, PP has brought up a consideration that always enters my decision making. Would adjusting my water chemistry/PH be worth the cost? Part of the reason I brew, is that a 6 pack of good beer is $7.99-$9.99 up here. My brewing cost is significantly less(excepting my time of course.)

As a newer all grain brewer, maybe I shouldn't worry about this, but when you see these type of questions they stick in the back of your mind.
"All I know is that the beer is good and people clamor for it. OK, it's free and that has something to do with it."
Bobbrews

User avatar

thughes
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 1206
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Western NY
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Rochester

Post by thughes » 5 years ago

2trout,

Aren't you brewing with that "pure Rocky Mountain spring water" that makes Coors such a wonderful treat? :whistle:

Seriously, as a new AG brewer, if your beer tastes good I wouldn't worry too much about water right now. Get a bunch of brews under your belt and concentrate on refining the basics first (mash temp, efficiency, fermentation).

I've been brewing for a few years now, have made a few hundred gallons of beer, and am only now starting to become interested in PH and water chemistry. Frankly, my beer is good so I likely will not spend too much time messing with water chemistry as it simply adds more complication to my brew day (the exact opposite of why I BIAB in the first place!).

---Todd
Last edited by thughes on 13 Mar 2012, 23:07, edited 3 times in total.
WWBBD?


Topic author
BrickBrewHaus
Gold
Gold
Posts: 383
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Champaign, IL
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by BrickBrewHaus » 5 years ago

PistolPatch wrote:So, I'd love to see a thread that told me whether I actually was a brewer who lived in an area where I should definitely be worrying about water chemistry. If I was, what should be my steps to get to me to 'acceptable' brewing water?
PP, not a bad idea. I'll give it some thought and see what I come up with.
2trout wrote:Lately, I have been worrying about the PH of my water as it is quite alkaline , 7.75-8.5 depending on the time of the year. I don't know my RA though. Ill be getting a water report from my water department soon.
Brewer's, a lot of the time, are worrying too much about the pH of their water. It's the pH of the MASH that matter most. Most think that a high water pH means high mash pH, when in fact that is not the case at all. Try to think of it this way...If you start with a volume of distilled water (only trace amount of ions and "things" that resist a change in pH) then only a drop or two of an acid will have a noticeable effect on the pH. But you could add the same amount of the acid to a sample of alkaline tap water (contains a lot of ions that resist pH change) and notice only a very small change in pH, if any at all. So the pH of the water isn't important without any information about its alkalinity. As you mention, RA is more important and should be the focus if you're concerned with mash pH.
2trout wrote:I really like many of the lighter beers, and I think mine taste fine, but could they be better? Prolly. While I realize that my taste is what matters, PP has brought up a consideration that always enters my decision making. Would adjusting my water chemistry/PH be worth the cost? Part of the reason I brew, is that a 6 pack of good beer is $7.99-$9.99 up here. My brewing cost is significantly less(excepting my time of course.
I think that's the question every brewer needs to ask. For me, I enjoy the sciency part of the hobby, so its worth the extra time, money, etc. But with that in mind, I still think I'll tinker with it to see the minimum work I need to do to make beer at the quality level I'm happy with.
thughes wrote:Frankly, my beer is good so I likely will not spend too much time messing with water chemistry as it simply adds more complication to my brew day (the exact opposite of why I BIAB in the first place!)
I agree 100% with you: If you don't want to do water treatments or don't feel like they're necessary, then stay far far away. But regarding complication...I don't think it has to be NEARLY as complicated as some people make it out to be. Sure, understanding the chemistry behind it can be daunting, but that isn't really necessary for basic water manipulation. It can be as simple as buying RO water, adding a small amount of salts (CaCl or gypsum), then checking the mash pH to see if any additional adjustments need to be made. The thread I linked to in the OP makes this claim and describes in a very straightforward fashion how to accomplish this, even though he is one the authorities, IMHO, on water chemistry and could geek out on it until we all become numb and huddle in the corner crying like scared children. Again, if you don't want to do it, then don't. But the fear of being "complicated" shouldn't deter someone who genuinely thinks they want to mess with water adjustments.
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 14 Mar 2012, 00:06, edited 3 times in total.


PistolPatch
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 5284
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by PistolPatch » 5 years ago

[The following was posted straight after the above post. Have to go so apologies if any of the below is now redundant.]

I think trout's post above is an excellent example of what I am hoping a great thread for all of us brewers will provide.

Here we see that trout is worried about his water being 7.75-8.5. That's a pretty normal pH range of brewing water. Nearly all brewing water is actually in that range. (I'm pretty sure of this but am not well-studied on the subject?)

But unless I had studied this subject, my first thought as a new all-grainer would be, my pH is way too high!!!!! It's meant to be 5.1!!!!

...

So, trout's water has the same pH as mine. How does he know though whether he should be reading this thread or whether he should ignore it?

Answering such a question I don't think would be easy and would require a lot of thought and effort. Explaining to people what to do in a normal situation is a hell of a lot easier than telling people what to avoid in every situation!

Trout's beers taste fine to him. He likes lagers (as do I) but after reading this thread, he is starting to worry. So, threads like this carry a lot of responsibility.

BrickBrewHaus is one of the best posters here so he'll keep posting and working out a way of making a very hard subject simple.

:thumbs:
PP
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!


Topic author
BrickBrewHaus
Gold
Gold
Posts: 383
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Champaign, IL
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by BrickBrewHaus » 5 years ago

PistolPatch wrote:...so he'll keep posting and working out a way of making a very hard subject simple
Making water chemistry simple :lol: :shock: :sneak:
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 14 Mar 2012, 01:01, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar

thughes
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 1206
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Western NY
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Rochester

Post by thughes » 5 years ago

BBH,

My apologies if you were offended by an implied "water chemistry is not worth the effort" message in my post. I certainly did not mean to come across like that. I do believe it is an important component of good brewing and am indebted to (and amazed by) your contribution to the subject. I just wanted to assure a new brewer that if he was making good beer that are basic things that he should concern himself with first before turning his attention to advanced topics such as water/mash chemistry.

---Todd
WWBBD?


nik
Gold
Gold
Greece
Posts: 151
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Greece
Region: Europe
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Athens

Post by nik » 5 years ago

Some tips for reducing RA

If you are not able to find distilled water or RO and you have to use your tap water is to boil it for 30 minutes after that you need to transfer it to a clean vessel and clean your pot from the residues and after that you transfer again and continue your brewing routine.
The drawbacks are ...
More time (solved if you do it overnight)
More energy (electricity or gas)
Loss of a quite Ca ion amount which probably need adjustment to proper levels
The advantages are ...
No need to have specific type of water to buy
If you do it the same day you have hot water close enough to mashing temperature.

You can measure your RA with a cheap aquarium test if you can't find water reports with good accuracy and then decide if you need adjustments.

You can use Acidulated malt (1-2% max of grain bill) or Lactic acid 1-1.5 ml max to reduce RA

Here you can find some excel sheet to calculate more precisely your water treatment
http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/


Topic author
BrickBrewHaus
Gold
Gold
Posts: 383
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Champaign, IL
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by BrickBrewHaus » 5 years ago

thughes wrote:BBH,

My apologies if you were offended by an implied "water chemistry is not worth the effort" message in my post. I certainly did not mean to come across like that. I do believe it is an important component of good brewing and am indebted to (and amazed by) your contribution to the subject. I just wanted to assure a new brewer that if he was making good beer that are basic things that he should concern himself with first before turning his attention to advanced topics such as water/mash chemistry.

---Todd
No apologies necessary, not offended at all. If anything, I didn't agree completely with the term "complication", as it sounds more dramatic and scary to noobs than what (I think) is necessary. Although you are correct; a brew day with water treatments requires more work (read complicated) than one without. I was just trying to make the point that the amount of extra work can be very minimal.
nik wrote:Some tips for reducing RA
Good point nik. More stuff to consider... :P
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 14 Mar 2012, 04:54, edited 3 times in total.


deebo
Draft
Draft
Posts: 104
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: WA
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by deebo » 5 years ago

Some great info in this thread.

A few quick questions I hope are relevant:
1. What does a carbon water filter change in your water exactly? (I know they reduce chlorine, but was wondering what, if any, adjustments would need to be made from the local water report)
2. Does anyone know if the grays distilled water in the supermarket is suitable for brewing?
3. I read someplace that temperature effects ph? How much of a difference does this make, should I be taking mash ph of the cooled liquid or at mash temp?

Random rambling:
Not so much ph related but I used to put a campden tablet into my brewing water the night before and let it sit overnight with the lid off as I heard this reduces chlorine? Recently scored a free undersink style sediment/carbon water filter so have been using this for my brewing water (seems to make the tap water taste better, though I wouldn't call my tap water especially bad).

I did get a water report when I started AG brewing and plugged all the figures into beersmith and ez water calculator spreadsheet (problem is the report had some pretty large ranges as I understand the water gets sources from different places throughout the year) so might be worth me finding one of the aquarium kits suggested in the thread.

The other day I ordered some ph strips and an el-cheapo ph meter just for my own curiosity to see what the ph is in tap water / filtered water / mash etc (also to check my starsan mix). So I will probably have a bunch of

Post Reply

Return to “Brewing Water”

Brewers Online

Brewers browsing this forum: No members and 2 guests