My water profile

(That's water to the rest of us!) Beer is about 95% water, so if you want to discuss water treatment, filtering etc this is the place to do it!
chris2012
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My water profile

Post by chris2012 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:05 pm

Hi,

I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips on my water profile, I've just been having a read over the water pages here too, but would
appreciate some comments :)

Sodium as Na, mg/L 10.4
Potassium as K, mg/L <0.5
Magnesium as Mg, mg/L 1.8
Calcium as Ca, mg/L 16.4
Chloride as Cl, mg/L 13.5
Nitrate as NO3, mg/L 6.9
Phosphate as PO4, mg/L 5.4
Sulphate as SO4, mg/L 17.0
Total alkalinity as CaCO3, mg/L 28
pH 7.27
Conductivity, uScm-1 at 20C 145
Total residual chlorine as Cl2, mg/L 0.01

The first plan of action I think is to take the Calcium up to at least 50ppm.

I just noticed though, Aleman mentions - "A recent experiment here in the UK, has shown that significant amounts (Up to 78%) of calcium are lost during the mash" which sounds like it's not as simple as adding all gypsum to the mash then.

Also I notice BenB mentions "Sulphates bring out hop character whereas chloride brings out malty character. We therefore aim for a certain ratio between these two salts depending on whether we're brewing a hoppy beer (e.g. IPA) or a malty brew (like a brown ale).", which sounds very interesting.

I'm just having a play with Graham's calculator, which is very nifty. One thing i'm wondering though, for the profiles it gives, how come the sulphate, chloride ratio, doesn't seem to change, like it seems to stay the same?

Cheers!

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Jim
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Re: My water profile

Post by Jim » Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:49 am

The figure that stands out to me is the relatively low alkalinity; quite similar to the water where I am. This is a GOOD THING! :) It means you have a relatively blank canvas to work with.

I tend to add roughly equal amounts of gypsum and calcium chloride to bring up the calcium levels (as you will need to as they are quite low), but it depends what you're making.

Have you seen the water treatment section on here? Aleman wrote most of it, so it's pretty good stuff and definitely worth a read if you haven't already.

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/water_treatment.htm
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chris2012
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Re: My water profile

Post by chris2012 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:17 am

Cheers Jim, that's good to hear about the alkalinity :)

Also that's interesting about the equal parts too, I'll do that then.

Yeah I'll have another look over the water treatment section.

Im just wondering though, if 78% of calcium is lost to the mash. Should you also add 78% of the calcium you added to the mash, to the boil?

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HTH1975
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Re: My water profile

Post by HTH1975 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:54 am

As detailed above, that's a good blank canvas and you have some good lager-liquor there.

Depending on the style you're brewing, you will certainly want more calcium, chloride and sulphates. You can achieve that easily with calcium chloride and gypsum (calcium sulphate).

1g calcium chloride gives approx 10ppm calcium and 19ppm chloride (in a 25L batch).

2.5g calcium sulphate (gypsum) gives approx 60ppm calcium and 140ppm sulphate.

Calcium you want between 100-200ppm
Chloride depends on style, but 150ppm is a good starting point.
Sulphates again depends on style, but aim for 100ppm for stouts and lagers, then more like 300ppn for bitters and pale ales/IPAs.

Works for me.

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Eric
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Re: My water profile

Post by Eric » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:05 pm

Well you've taken the most important step, welcome into the minefield and good luck.

Read from another thread you will hold back on the water book, a wise move I think.

Re. Graham's Water Calculator, if you haven't, read carefully his notes, they contained a lot more than I initially appreciated. His treats all water, which can produce a different outcome to using a similar profile with all salts added differently, such as to the mash. Partially this is due to those calcium losses you mentioned, but more processes occur and are influenced by mineral levels than we ever can take into account.

Alkalinity in your water is close to an acceptable level for making pale beers and will act as a buffer to stop mash pH dropping too low. Any remaining after the mash will on boiling sediment out to be unusable. Excluding that in alkalinity, it would seem your water contains about 5ppm calcium and I would think used untreated a mash pH of about 5.9 would be likely. Some calcium will be provided from malt, but as you see, there will be little to participate in the process and either more calcium will be needed or alkalinity reduced to obtain an acceptable mash pH, with the resulting beers being different from each other.

As Jim has said, your waters are very similar. Mine is vastly different, so take Jim's advice first, he's done it already. However, there might be merit if I describe a brief outline of my experience. Nearly 100ppm calcium, nearly 50ppm magnesium and over 250ppm alkalinity with pale beer mash pH in excess of 6.0 rising when sparging giving astringent and cloudy beers making it impossible to judge if my beers had any other faults unless they might develop some massive infection. In retrospect I wonder if it might have been possible to progressively improve my beers without first substantially adjusting my water.

Were I to reduce my alkalinity to the level in your water and brew without any added calcium salts I would expect a mash pH of about 5.4 and when fly sparging find pH of runnings rising as the buffering of the sugars reduce. However, if I add calcium salts to sparge liquor, the rate of pH rise is reduced, suggesting that with less calcium, pH would rise more.

So, you might consider starting with a little more calcium or slightly reduce your alkalinity, or try that later.

Even with almost 100ppm calcium and nearly 50ppm magnesium, my pale beers will not quickly drop bright without additional calcium salts.
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Re: My water profile

Post by chris2012 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:36 pm

HTH1975 - Thanks, the figures for calcium chloride and sulphate are very helpful.

Eric - yeah I will go over the notes you mention on Graham's calc.

"it would seem your water contains about 5ppm calcium" - I'm a bit confused by that, isn't the calcium 16.4ppm - "Calcium as Ca, mg/L 16.4 "
Or am I misunderstanding something.

" Even with almost 100ppm calcium and nearly 50ppm magnesium, my pale beers will not quickly drop bright without additional calcium salts. " - do higher amounts of magnesium prevent the beer dropping bright?

On the water treatment page it says 'The easiest way to add calcium is to add Gypsum (a.k.a. Calcium Sulphate) to your brewing water (available from home brew suppliers)' - so silly question, does that mean mash?

I batch sparge. So I'm a little confused, do I add all the salts at the beginning of the mash?

I've got a pH meter I need to dig out and calibrate. So what I could do is check the pH for each 'batch' of sparging if that would help me at all, with respect to adding more salts during the sparge?

Do you ever add any salts in the boil, to account for the losses Aleman mentioned?

Edit:

I'm just reading this which has some very interesting info, regarding calcium losses:
http://discussions.probrewer.com/showth ... h-pH/page3

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Eric
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Re: My water profile

Post by Eric » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:58 pm

chris2012 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:36 pm
HTH1975 - Thanks, the figures for calcium chloride and sulphate are very helpful.

Eric - yeah I will go over the notes you mention on Graham's calc.

"it would seem your water contains about 5ppm calcium" - I'm a bit confused by that, isn't the calcium 16.4ppm - "Calcium as Ca, mg/L 16.4 "
Or am I misunderstanding something.
Yes, not as clear as I intended, hope this explains my thinking better.
"Excluding that in alkalinity, it would seem your water contains about 5ppm calcium" ....
Almost all your water's alkalinity will be formed with calcium reacting differently in the mash to that supplied in the form of salts, hence I subtracted an amount I believe to be in an alkaline form.
chris2012 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:36 pm
" Even with almost 100ppm calcium and nearly 50ppm magnesium, my pale beers will not quickly drop bright without additional calcium salts. " - do higher amounts of magnesium prevent the beer dropping bright?
No. While excessive magnesium can cause some problems those are very much exaggerated. Malt will supply many times more magnesium than you will find in almost any water or advised additions. Magnesium reacts in similar ways to calcium, has similar but lesser effect of reducing pH. A major difference between them is that magnesium is more soluble and will pass to the next stage when the equivalent calcium compound would sediment to stay behind. Don't get too wrapped up in magnesium, recognise it as part of the process because it will be there, want it or not.
chris2012 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:36 pm
On the water treatment page it says 'The easiest way to add calcium is to add Gypsum (a.k.a. Calcium Sulphate) to your brewing water (available from home brew suppliers)' - so silly question, does that mean mash?
I can't and don't add gypsum to my water, either it doesn't fully dissolve or it forces some alkalinity (calcium) to deposit. Either way I have problems cleaning my HLT if I do. I read that script as to the brewing liquor. You might find your water will take gypsum although I know Jim has his own method to achieve this as it isn't straight forward for him either.
chris2012 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:36 pm
I batch sparge. So I'm a little confused, do I add all the salts at the beginning of the mash?

Calcium added to the mash will not all reach the next stage while that in the liquor will reach wherever that liquor is added.

chris2012 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:36 pm
I've got a pH meter I need to dig out and calibrate. So what I could do is check the pH for each 'batch' of sparging if that would help me at all, with respect to adding more salts during the sparge?
It's what I've been doing for some time. My system is RIMS which lends itself to taking regular readings and noting the influences of various levels and types of salt additions. It's not necessary if you work within limited parameters, but it is one way to determine what actually happens rather than what some blogger wrote.
chris2012 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:36 pm
Do you ever add any salts in the boil, to account for the losses Aleman mentioned?

Edit:

I'm just reading this which has some very interesting info, regarding calcium losses:
http://discussions.probrewer.com/showth ... h-pH/page3
I currently don't add salts to the boil, it would seem sufficient reach the boiler with my current methods. That doesn't mean it won't happen again, just slowly, step by step, I'm looking for the minimum level of calcium to avoid my beers taking time to clear.
Without patience, life becomes difficult and the sooner it's finished, the better.

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Re: My water profile

Post by chris2012 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:16 pm

Thanks for the in-depth reply!

I'm just wondering I'm now just looking at:

Calcium as Ca, mg/L 16.4
Total alkalinity as CaCO3, mg/L 28

Just so I understand correctly, with 16.4ppm, can that be including calcium part of calcium chloride and calcium sulphate molecules and CaCO3?

I didn't realise gypsum might be difficult to dissolve, would adding it to the HLT prior to the mash help, as my strike temp is roughly around 71C last time, that might help it dissolve a bit better than adding to the mash itself?

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Re: My water profile

Post by HTH1975 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:59 pm

You add all of your salts to the mash with the idea that you will have enough buffering capacity to see you through the mash and sparge without the pH raising too high to start extracting tannins.

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Re: My water profile

Post by Eric » Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:13 pm

chris2012 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:16 pm
Thanks for the in-depth reply!

I'm just wondering I'm now just looking at:

Calcium as Ca, mg/L 16.4
Total alkalinity as CaCO3, mg/L 28

Just so I understand correctly, with 16.4ppm, can that be including calcium part of calcium chloride and calcium sulphate molecules and CaCO3?

I didn't realise gypsum might be difficult to dissolve, would adding it to the HLT prior to the mash help, as my strike temp is roughly around 71C last time, that might help it dissolve a bit better than adding to the mash itself?
Yes, well, almost, it can get very confusing.
Your water was analysed to measure the quantities of all the major ions in solids it has dissolved and are expressed as totals in mg/l regardless of whatever form they exist. Some calcium might come from some natural gypsum and some in other ways.
Its alkalinity will almost certainly be of several components, but is expressed as the quantity of calcium carbonate that would produce an equivalent amount of alkalinity that was measured. Indeed, any calcium carbonate in your water will be very small indeed because does not simply dissolve in water. (It will be mostly as calcium bicarbonate which does not exist as a solid.) However, it is plain to see that there is little else there to produce the level of alkalinity found, so most of the calcium in your water is in an alkalinity form and that was all I wished to show but in so doing might have managed to complicate matters.

Gypsum might perfectly well dissolve in your water, there is a very easy way to find how much using a pair of scales with your water and a spoon to stir. It dissolves better at lower temperatures which is one of it's complications and despite lots of evidence it is quite soluble, I've learned I'm alone in finding the stuff doesn't always do what it is told or what it says on the tin. Like so much in brewing, if it works for one, it takes a lot more work before it even might be said it will work for all.
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Re: My water profile

Post by chris2012 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:29 pm

"Its alkalinity will almost certainly be of several components, but is expressed as the quantity of calcium carbonate that would produce an equivalent amount of alkalinity that was measured." - I hadn't realised that, thanks.

That's very interesting about it dissolving better at lower temps!

I'll definitely be ordering some calcium chloride + sulphate soon to play with.

Would it be possible to add sulphate + chloride to a pint of beer out of interest. So I've got the bitter I made with untreated water, which I now know the profile of, so could I add salts in a pint glass of it, to see approximately how the taste might change if I treat my water.

Although I understand adding the salts on the brew day itself would definitely alter the pH, which I assume effects fermentation etc., so adding the salts after fermentation isn't going to give a true feel.

Also out of curiosity how is Ca normally measured.

I was just browsing google for 'calcium meters', and noticed there's a photometer type approach -
http://hannainst.com/hi96752-calcium-an ... meter.html

but there also seems to be an approach using ions -
http://www.horiba.com/application/mater ... ter-17175/

(I assume that's working in a similar way maybe to a pH electrode, but with a different electrolyte?)

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Jim
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Re: My water profile

Post by Jim » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:44 pm

I don't have much bother getting my salts dissolved; this is what I do.

The day before brewing, I measure out the salts and divide them between two 2 litre plastic bottles (the type that come with carbonated soft drinks in them). I fill the bottles 2/3 full with filtered water (I use a water gem filter for brewing water), then leave them handy and give them a good shaking every time I pass them. By the evening (when it's time to fill the HLT and the 'spare water bucket' - I don't think that has a standard TLA) the salts are well enough dissolved to add the contents of each bottle to the HTL and SWB respectively.

I used to use a liquidiser to help dissolve the salts, but found it isn't really necessary if you have plenty of time.
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Re: My water profile

Post by chris2012 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:55 pm

Cheers Jim, that's very useful to know and makes sense to add salts to the water a while before brewing.

What's the spare water bucket for, is that for water that would be added to the HLT for sparging?

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Re: My water profile

Post by HTH1975 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:01 pm

That pro-brewer link was a very good read and backs up my use of calcium chloride in the boil as well as in the mash.

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Re: My water profile

Post by Jim » Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:15 pm

chris2012 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:55 pm
Cheers Jim, that's very useful to know and makes sense to add salts to the water a while before brewing.

What's the spare water bucket for, is that for water that would be added to the HLT for sparging?
I fill the mash tun with a mix of water from the hlt and the swb to get the right strike temperature. Then I add most of what's left in the swb to the hlt and heat it all up for the sparge.
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