Adjusting my water


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Adjusting my water

Post by onkeltuka » 3 years ago

I've gotten quite a good water analysis from a friendly chemist at my local water plant. My water is very soft, and I would like to amend it with a touch of gypsum (calsiumsulfate), to bring up those two ions. I just wanted to check my thought pattern here: I will calculate the addition to the final amount of liquid left in the kettle, yes?

I have been learning to use https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/, and it's quite handy once you understand what's what.
"The rules for making hop additions during the boil are about as well defined as those for a knife fight." -Stan Hieronymus

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Post by Rick » 3 years ago

If I'm understanding you correctly, no you actually pre-treat the total water needed (TWN) prior to mashing (or during mash is fine I guess, but the additions are based on this volume).

In brunwater, it's hard to stuff this up ... because you enter what we refer to as TWN and VAW on the "water adjustment" tab. Then, your additions are calculated as gram/gallon additions relative to TWN.

The TWN is used for additions, and the VAW entered is only for color calculation I believe.


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Post by onkeltuka » 3 years ago

hmmm. If I calculate the amount of gypsum to add according to the TWN, then the ion concentration will be greater in the amount that goes to the fermenter. But that said, I am adjusting the ion balance for the mash, first and foremost, yes? For the mash to work in a certain way.
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Post by Rick » 3 years ago

onkeltuka wrote:hmmm. If I calculate the amount of gypsum to add according to the TWN, then the ion concentration will be greater in the amount that goes to the fermenter. But that said, I am adjusting the ion balance for the mash, first and foremost, yes? For the mash to work in a certain way.

Is there any reason you are focused on the ion concentrations going into the fermenter?

If you choose a proper water profile for a given style/grist, and adjust your water according to the spreadsheet ... the proper considerations are made (mostly for mash pH, yes). If there is some reason you are worried about final concentrations, you might want to provide context as to why that even matters? If you ask me, it's irrelevant ... but maybe I'm missing something?

It sounds like you were given advice by somebody, but it's hard to tell how accurate that advice was without knowing its application relative to brewing.

Every brew is different, and there is no singular water profile that will guarantee a good result with every single type of beer. We need to know the beer style and desired water target before we can start thinking about adjusting.

I suggest reading the "water knowledge" page on brunwater site, as it informs you of everything I mention.
Last edited by Rick on 01 Aug 2014, 22:26, edited 1 time in total.


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Post by onkeltuka » 3 years ago

This water tinkering is just something to kill time with while I wait for my stuff to arrive so I can start brewing in the first place... I just like to read a lot (too much probably) and get side tracked to stuff that doesn't really matter (yet).

I'm just worried that as I saw how really soft my water is, if there's enough of all the good stuff for the malts to do their thing? For example my calsium is just 20ppm and sulfate is 24ppm.
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Post by Rick » 3 years ago

onkeltuka wrote:This water tinkering is just something to kill time with while I wait for my stuff to arrive so I can start brewing in the first place... I just like to read a lot (too much probably) and get side tracked to stuff that doesn't really matter (yet).

I'm just worried that as I saw how really soft my water is, if there's enough of all the good stuff for the malts to do their thing? For example my calsium is just 20ppm and sulfate is 24ppm.

No reason to worry. You have the water information, and you have brunwater. Brunwater will tell you if your water is good enough (or not).

Just enter all of the information and see what it tells you.
Last edited by Rick on 01 Aug 2014, 23:13, edited 1 time in total.


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Post by onkeltuka » 3 years ago

Well, from what I gather from Brunwater and "How to Brew" chapter 15, adding 0.2 grams of gypsum per litre will bring me closer to ball, not so that I wouldn't already be in the right ballpark, but still. And brewing an APA I guess the sulfate level can be a bit higher.
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Post by Rick » 3 years ago

I'm not sure where you are now, but the pale ale profile within brunwater "requires" 300ppm sulfate. I've used that profile, and it makes a good APA.


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Post by onkeltuka » 3 years ago

Ok, I was looking at "Pale bitter" or "Amber bitter". But if I add 0.5grams gypsum per litre, then I'll be at 136 calsium 303 sulfate, which is pretty much perfect for the "Pale ale"! Excellent.
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Post by onkeltuka » 3 years ago

Getting back to this water stuff. One thing I can't get my mind around is this: when calculating mineral additions in BW, I calculate the mineral amounts based on the TWN, but once I'm done boiling I might have only 60% liquid of that left, so won't I end up with hugely concentrated amount of minerals in that smaller volume of wort?
"The rules for making hop additions during the boil are about as well defined as those for a knife fight." -Stan Hieronymus


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Post by PistolPatch » 3 years ago

I only have time to do one answer tonight and was about to jump in here with a 'fast' answer that I thought would be correct but, the above question, when you stop and think about it, well, at least to me, is revolutionary.

The question asks, "What should we end up with?" rather than, "What should we start with?"

Wow!!!

What a great question :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:.

I've got a few beers up my sleeve now so if it is not as revolutionary as I think, let me know, otherwise, any ideas?
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Post by Rick » 3 years ago

John Kimmich's (brewer for The Alchemist) brew sheet for Heady Topper was spotted in a somewhat recent video, and it looks like he considers a final target as well. It's the only sense that I can make of that high alkalinity number coupled with "liquor profile".
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Post by onkeltuka » 3 years ago

:whistle: my chemistry teacher (I'm at school again now at 38-years of age) recently praised me for asking aloud all the idiotic questions that I do :)

But this is where I'm at with my thinking: first and foremost we want to get a certain pH for the mash, yes? We can do that with the malts, with acids like lactic acid or minerals like calcium etc. But the minerals we want also in certain amounts for the flavour, so we want the minerals to be at a certain level in the finished wort? Or is that last one wrong; does the effect that,for example, a high sulfate level gives to the hop aroma "happen" in the boil by affecting the chemical process the hops go through, or is it a certain sulfate level in the finished beer that somehow "makes" them taste like that? Is sulfate here something like salt in food, that it enhances the flavours of the other flavour compounds?

Is it different with a BIAB-mash and a conventional one? Because in a conventional mash you add sparge water, which can help in keeping the mineral levels diluted in the finished wort (although sparge water may also be adjusted with minerals and what not as well, I believe?)

Could we first adjust the water with minerals to a level calculated to fit the projected VAW, and then get the final pH- drop in the mash with acidulated malt or lactic acid or something like that?
"The rules for making hop additions during the boil are about as well defined as those for a knife fight." -Stan Hieronymus


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Post by joshua » 3 years ago

Onkeltuka, there is data that shows Calcium Sulfate enhances Hop Aroma and Flavor, and Chloride content enhances Malt-eness.

1-2 ounces of Black Barley will drop PH up to 2 levels in a 5 gallon mash....Of course it can darken beer 1-2 SRM.

There are many water additions that can help/Hurt the Mash, Be careful to Not Over-do it
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Post by mally » 3 years ago

I always thought (rightly or wrongly) that mineral additions were done purely to affect the mash. If they were meant to affect the fermentation then maybe there should/would be some post boil additions required (that I have never heard of)?
Maybe I am undersimplifying it!

Rick - Have I read that correct? 20 Gallons anticipated cellar loss?
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Post by PistolPatch » 3 years ago

onkeltuka wrote::whistle: my chemistry teacher (I'm at school again now at 38-years of age) recently praised me for asking aloud all the idiotic questions that I do :)

But this is where I'm at with my thinking: first and foremost we want to get a certain pH for the mash, yes? We can do that with the malts, with acids like lactic acid or minerals like calcium etc. But the minerals we want also in certain amounts for the flavour, so we want the minerals to be at a certain level in the finished wort? Or is that last one wrong; does the effect that,for example, a high sulfate level gives to the hop aroma "happen" in the boil by affecting the chemical process the hops go through, or is it a certain sulfate level in the finished beer that somehow "makes" them taste like that? Is sulfate here something like salt in food, that it enhances the flavours of the other flavour compounds?

Is it different with a BIAB-mash and a conventional one? Because in a conventional mash you add sparge water, which can help in keeping the mineral levels diluted in the finished wort (although sparge water may also be adjusted with minerals and what not as well, I believe?)

Could we first adjust the water with minerals to a level calculated to fit the projected VAW, and then get the final pH- drop in the mash with acidulated malt or lactic acid or something like that?
Loving your thinking onke although it is a bit stream of consciousness - lol :). I'm thinking the reverse of your last sentence but am on board with everything else. Get your mash pH correct with acids or whatever but aim your thinking of salts/flavours to work around VAW.

I'm a bit worn out now but consider that, the amount of water used in the mash by traditional brewers is about half of what we full-volume brewers use. I've no time to check it out but perhaps, this is another area where pure BIAB (full volume brewing) might be enlightening.

:smoke:
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Post by onkeltuka » 3 years ago

Well, I now calculated the mineral additions to the APA to fit the 35 liter VAW. It gives an estimated pH of 5.5 for the 55 liter mash. I could add I drop of lactic if I had it, but I'll go with these settings. And all this would make a lot more sense if I owned a pH-meter ;)
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Post by cwier60 » 3 years ago

onkeltuka wrote:I calculate the mineral amounts based on the TWN, but once I'm done boiling I might have only 60% liquid of that left, so won't I end up with hugely concentrated amount of minerals in that smaller volume of wort?
Look here at these Brew Strong episodes for more info on water. The 4-part series from 2009 is a great overall course in water (although there is a small amount of incorrect info); I just finished listening to it. In either part 3 or 4 of that series, JZ specifically says that the water should be adjusted pre-boil. Realize that if you're trying to replicate Pilsen or Dortmund water, that is the water characteristic you start with. If a brewer were using water of a certain mineral characteristic, all of the water (mash and sparge) would have the same mineral content.

Obviously, evaporation is the big variable, since higher levels of evaporation will result in higher mineral concentrations in the finished beer. You may just have to learn to make those adjustments based on experience. Then report back here with your findings. :thumbs: Bru'n Water identifies the same mineral adjustments for both mash and sparge (for the non-BIAB traditionalists who have both). I expect that experienced brewers may adjust their sparge additions or they may just back off on both the mash and sparge additions as you have.

I personally set my TWN as the mash volume in BW, 0 as sparge, and treat the whole TWN. For something like an IPA with high sulfate/chloride ratio, you can always back off on the total ppm while maintaining an approximate target ratio. The only thing that scares me about BIAB is that we are treating so much more water for the mash, so the total amount of minerals is pretty high.

I brewed 29L VIF of Tasty McDole's Janet's Brown Ale yesterday. He posted on the BN forum "FWIW, I raise RO water to Ca-110ppm, Mg-18ppm, Na-17ppm, SO4-350ppm, Cl-50ppm when I make JBA."

According to BW, my adjustments should have resulted in the following: Ca-66ppm, Mg-15ppm, Na-12ppm, SO4-153ppm, Cl-51ppm. I had to add 8g of gypsum, 6.6g of epsom salt & 4.5g of CaCl2 to 13.2 gallons (50L). This was a lot of additions, so I'd rather come up short rather than over-doing it, not to mention that Tasty is a bit more of a hop-head than I am. This is already a very hoppy beer, so I'm scared of overdoing the sulfate and over-accentuating. In essence, you and I are achieving the same result, whether by reducing the minerals based on volume or reducing the target ppm. I'd say that personal experience and perhaps info from other forums (and then sharing here) may be the key to learning more.
Last edited by cwier60 on 14 Sep 2014, 22:28, edited 1 time in total.


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Post by joshua » 3 years ago

I wish I had the testing equipment to know how many parts per Million is in my water.
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Post by cwier60 » 3 years ago

joshua wrote:I wish I had the testing equipment to know how many parts per Million is in my water.
I certainly don't. If your water comes from a consistent supply, you can either have it tested by Ward Labs, or check to see if your municipal water supply (assuming that's where you get your water) supplies this info. The municipal reports often only report on bacteria and things they are legally required to certify as being safe for drinking, not mineral content that's important to brewers. Also look at brewersfriend. Many people post the latest results from their water reports; maybe there is one from your area. Finally Google "water report joshua town" to see if anyone has posted anything. You could at least learn basic info about water for your south TN location.
Last edited by cwier60 on 14 Sep 2014, 23:06, edited 1 time in total.


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Post by joshua » 3 years ago

Exactly, My Water department Guarantees the water is Safe......and All Minerals but Calcium are less than 100 PPM.

Not Very much detail.

Knowing That, tells me to Remove the Chloramine with either Ascorbic acid, or Campden tablets, and add a few grams of table salt, to balance the Carbonate, and bring out the Malt.
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Post by cwier60 » 3 years ago

cwier60 wrote:
onkeltuka wrote:I calculate the mineral amounts based on the TWN, but once I'm done boiling I might have only 60% liquid of that left, so won't I end up with hugely concentrated amount of minerals in that smaller volume of wort?
Look here at these Brew Strong episodes for more info on water. The 4-part series from 2009 is a great overall course in water (although there is a small amount of incorrect info); I just finished listening to it. In either part 3 or 4 of that series, JZ specifically says that the water should be adjusted pre-boil. Realize that if you're trying to replicate Pilsen or Dortmund water, that is the water characteristic you start with. If a brewer were using water of a certain mineral characteristic, all of the water (mash and sparge) would have the same mineral content.
I just listened to this again. Listen to Water Part IV starting at 58:00 for JP & JZ's explanation about volume of water to treat.
Last edited by cwier60 on 15 Sep 2014, 21:01, edited 1 time in total.


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Post by joshua » 3 years ago

I am Curious,

If I want to add 1 Part Per million of some mineral and My scale reads down to 1 gram.....

Won't I need 1,000,000 grams of water to add 1 gram of a mineral??????

Isn't 1,000,000 grams of water equal to 1000 Liters???

I am Confused about this water adjustment idea.
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Post by mally » 3 years ago

Joshua - That sounds about right to me.
cwier60 wrote:I just listened to this again. Listen to Water Part IV starting at 58:00 for JP & JZ's explanation about volume of water to treat.
Kind of confirms what I thought/wrote previously.
For us BIABers that is the TWN in the mash treated, 3V is mash plus sparge treated.
Last edited by mally on 15 Sep 2014, 21:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Rick » 3 years ago

ppm is basically equal to mg/L.

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