Water, water every where ...

Post #1 made 7 years ago

I have scoured the internet for details on water and calculators on what I need to add to get a reasonable (for brewing) water profile.

I have 'moderate' hard water with a ph of 7.25 (analysis here .. Derby Centre but all calculations seen to ask for ppm values of minerals etc. not found in my water report - so all calculations fail ... :think:

So my question is basically given wha\t info I can get from severn trent water what do I need to add for my tap water to become the 5.2ph recommended 'sweet' liquour?

I note that a few sites and software 'prize' Burton-on-Trent water for brewing which is not too far off my own profile...

Martin aka Niimus
Last edited by Niimus on 23 Mar 2014, 19:06, edited 1 time in total.

Post #2 made 7 years ago
Have you brewed with your water yet? Taken a pH sample of your mash? If you have an evenly remotely decent profile to begin with, the grain will tend to nominalize your mash pH to @ 5.2. Readings taken during the mash with an accurate pH meter can then be adjusted with gypsum or acid malt as needed. Honestly....unless you have really screwed up water or are trying to perfectly emulate a particular style, I would not worry about water until you have every single other aspect of your process nailed down perfectly.

There are those here that do work with water profiles and they will eventually chime in. I believe most folks that are concerned with water profiles "build" their own water, starting with an RO (reverse osmosis) base which has no mineral content at all and adding from that baseline to gain the desired profile. Me? I don't worry about it so much....I come from the K.I.S.S. school of brewing.

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Post #3 made 7 years ago
Thanks Fonz !

I am KISS personified ... just thought the great beers I am brewing might taste a little better but then (hic, hic) would I really (hic) notice?

Post #4 made 7 years ago
I found my local water report on the net very easily but if not youd have to get it tested. Mg/l and ppm are the same. If it doesn't have bicarbonate levels you can work it out from the alkalinity and vise versa. I can't remember the math but its easy.

Once you have the figures you can put them into beersmith or other to work out what salts to put into your mash.
Other wise I found a spreadsheet called EZ water calculator. It looks bit simpler than using beersmith for what to use plus you can suit it to your taste ie maltier or hoppier.

I plan on using EZ water and some cheap scienetific scale's off the net.

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Post #5 made 7 years ago
Let me start off by saying I am no expert but have been working on water for the last 5 brews. What I have gathered is that the pH of your starting water isn't important, it is the mash pH that you are shooting for. This has a lot to do with the alkalinity of your starting water and your grain bill. The darker the grain the more it contributes to the acidity of the mash up to a point then it starts to drop off. I brewed the NRB Amarillo Ale recipe on this site today (first time using Amarillo hops, man did they ever smell amazing!!). I started with RO water from the store (3.19 gallons) and added 6.1 grams of Gypsum and 1.3 grams of CaCl2. I entered all this info in 3 different spreadsheets with Bru'nwater predicting 5.35 mash pH at ambient temp (75 F), Brewer's Friend predicted 5.33 and EZ water predicted 5.49. I ended up with ( took only one sample, 47 minutes into the mash, cooled it down to 75degrees F) a mash pH of 5.34. Bru'n water and Brewer's friend have been pretty close and EZ water has come in a bit high for me.

Post #6 made 7 years ago
The only way you are going to know for certain what is happening in your mash is with a pH meter. Software is excellent but it relies on accurate data supplied by you. My water supply is an average and the variation can be high. English water for the most part seems to be moderate to high in Carbonates which can cause the mash pH to be too high for pale beers. Just adding Calcium Chloride and Gypsum may not be enough to overcome the buffer in the mash. If the addition of salts is excessive to hit a suitable mash pH the beer may taste like sucking on a stone.
Do a search on the net and you will find conversion utilities to make sense of your water report. Mash and sparge pH are very important to traditional brewing but the mash/full volume with BIAB is I believe even more critical to getting good beer. Don't add CRS or acids until you have a detailed water report that makes sense and a pH meter.
Despite the oft repeated mantra - Water and its make up is very important.

Post #7 made 7 years ago
Hold on guys, we are forgetting the beauty of pure BIAB!!!

Remember in pure BIAB, you add all water needed in the beginning. This makes things really simple. The addition of grains doesn't make that much difference. And, there is a lot of misinformation in this area. Crystal grains affect the pH more than dark grains for example.

As for pH measuring instruments, you will need a pH meter (and know how to use it) or the correct type of pH strips.

Only worry about water when you know why you should be worrying about it. If you died, drinking the water you intended using for brewing, this means you should not use it for brewing again. Hold on! You are dead now, so ignore that last sentence. Maybe what I am trying to say is that if your beer is off but your brewing water tasted good, then its possible that the last thing you should blame is your brewing water.

Last edited by PistolPatch on 21 Apr 2014, 19:15, edited 1 time in total.
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