What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

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andyisavinit
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What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by andyisavinit » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:01 am

Hi. Would appreciate your thoughts on this.

I have hard water. 228 CaCO3

To reduce this alkalinity I prefer to boil my water the night before rather than adding too much lactic acid. I use Bru'n Water as my addition calculator.

So i syphon off the cooled water leaving behind the chalk. I typical reduce the alkalinity to around 119 CaCO3. I then use this formula...
Ending Ca (ppm) = Starting Ca (ppm) - ((starting HCO3 (ppm) - ending HCO3 (ppm))/3.05) to calculate the resulting Calcium. Taken from mabrungard (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/ ... pic=5792.0)

ANYWAY...

When i take the lid off the kettle in the morning, after its cooled, the surface of the water is covered in this...

https://i.imgur.com/OYyteoN.jpg (Someone will have to tell me how to get an image to show on here, I am pretty good with this sort of thing but I CANNOT figure out how to turn BBCode ON. Maybe because it's my first post? Please help, Ive tried for the last half hour, and searched this forum) ](*,) ](*,) ](*,)

And after I've syphoned the water off, the mineral (or whatever it is) from the surface sticks to the side of the kettle - it's not dust from the air as the lid is on all night....

https://i.imgur.com/1EMC3Zs.jpg

You can see where i've wiped it with my finger. What d'you think it is?

I wash it away! And with it maybe some important mineral. I know it's only a small amount in the scale of things but it bothers me. Especially when I go to all the effort of dialling in water reports and tweaking water profiles etc

???

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Re: What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by IPA » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:31 am

Looks like limescale to me. Thats what you are trying to get rid of by boiling
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Re: What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by orlando » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:36 am

It is because you need a minimum number of posts (5?) before images are allowed, anti spammer rules. The most likely result is deposits of carbonate (temporary hardness), which of course is what you are trying to reduce. Problem is it is a very crude method. I have heard that you can only get alkalinity down to circa 40 ppm but controlling it for specific levels is almost impossible. How do you know when to stop at say 100 or 150ppm for a dark beer? It is much better to use acid for reduction of alkalinity and much cheaper than using electricity or gas. Assuming you have a method for ascertaining your alkalinity levels for each brew day I suggest you use CRS to reduce it to the level you are targeting. Far better is to use sulphuric or hydrochloric acid, as that allows you to manipulate your sulphate:chloride ratio at the same time.
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Re: What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by chefgage » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:57 am

My waters the same if i leave it stood. I am in a very hard water area.

Its limescale (im sure theres a technical name for it). If i rinse a stainless vessel with hot water and let it cool/dry i get a white powdery residue left. Unless i rinse with cold and dry with tea towels.

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Re: What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by andyisavinit » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:48 pm

[quote=IPA post_id=838955 time=1542180699 user_id=9129]
Looks like limescale to me. Thats what you are trying to get rid of by boiling
[/quote]

I thought it was chalk. There’s a good layer at the bottom of the kettle. Suppose the limescale doesn’t sink.

[quote=orlando post_id=838957 time=1542180985 user_id=8970]
It is because you need a minimum number of posts (5?) before images are allowed, anti spammer rules. Problem is it is a very crude method. Far better is to use sulphuric or hydrochloric acid, as that allows you to manipulate your sulphate:chloride ratio at the same time.
[/quote]


That’s annoying as I’ve been a member for years. Just haven’t brewed since February. Jim sent me an email about gdpr and I didn’t respond. So he deleted my account. I had to re-register.

Boiling near 40ltrs on my kitchen stove is cheap. I checked my meter and it costs 50p.

I’m interested in changing my technique if you think it’s not the best way though. The reason I boil is I don’t like adding so much acid to my water. With lactic I know there’s a limit on how much you can add before imparting off flavours. I have done it before but added about 15ml or so of lactic (really can’t remember, but a lot). I think the beer was unremarkable.

Ive read that phosphorus acid (is that right?) doesn’t impart off flavours. I would have to still add quite a bit though surely. The same with hydrocloric and sulphuric, no? The reason I boil is to avoid large additions and off flavours. Shouldn’t I worry about this?

I think I added over 15ml of lactic the last time, but can’t remember exactly. It was a long time ago. That was pushing it.

I like my preboil because I’ve been doing it for ages and hit my predicted mash ph very well.

But up for trying something new. So with high alk water like mine would you just whack in a load of acid?

I will read up but keen to hear how you would approach it.

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Re: What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by Jocky » Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:46 pm

CRS/AMS is your friend here. I treat my water down from 260ppm CaCO3 alkalinity with it.

Alternatively I do have a brewing friend with many many awards that treats his high alkalinity (200ppm) London water with lactic and it seems he does OK.
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Re: What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by orlando » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:19 am

If you're happy with boiling who am I to dissuade you. If you want to experiment with acid sulphuric and hydrochlic gives you greater control of the sulphate chloride ratio than any other alternative. CRS is a fixed ratio but is simple to use and safer to handle. Avoid phosphoric acid, I know it is popular in the States because of its "flavour" neutrality but it precipitates calcium, something UK brewers like to have a lot more in their Beer than the Americans. Everything I read on UK forums when it comes to water treatment reflects the approach the Americans take to it. Unsurprisingly given the dominance of their contribution to home brewing but it does not reflect the hundreds of years of UK brewing tradition. I know which Beer I prefer to drink but love their innovation and experimental approach that pushes boundaries, even though it sometimes falls over those boundaries. Black IPA anyone? :lol:
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Re: What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by guypettigrew » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:34 am

A quick check of Graham's water treatment calculator on here tells me you'd need 45.2ml of AMS/CRS to bring your 40 litres of water from 228ppm down to 20ppm.

For some reason I occasionally find the amount calculated is a bit too much, reducing the alkalinity too far. In your case I'd add 40ml AMS, stir well, leave it for 10-15 minutes then use a Salifert kit to check the alkalinity and add more AMS if neccessary.

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Re: What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by Aleman » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:14 am

I've found that it is pretty much impossible to reduce alkalinity effectively by boiling, especially for a pale beer, and as Orlando says it's not controllable. Even when you add an excess of calcium and then boil I've never been able to get the alkalinity to drop below 80-85mg/l (from 320mg/l!) so you could say that was a considerable reduction, but for pale beers you would need it below 50, and 25 or even lower for certain brewing methods. (I use a Braumeister currently and for my pale grists I aim for an alkalinity of 14-15mg/l!) Boiling is not cheap, even 50p for gas is a lot considering that the acids I use work out at around 0.05p per 20L batch. End the time saving is even more considerable ... I treat the water as I fill the Braumeister, by the time it's at strike heat the job is done.

As for what acids avoid organic acids like the plague, they have distinct flavour profiles Lactic - Sour, Citric - Oranges etc. Phosphoric is popular because it's easily obtainable, but it is the major ingredient in cola, and I get a distinct soda pop taste in my beers when I use it. hydrochloric / sulphuric (and for me at a push CRS / AMS) are my acids of choice as, while not strictly flavour neutral, what they do add, we generally want in the way of sulphate (sulphuric) and or chloride (hydrochloric) ions (calcium sulphate adds calcium and sulphate, calcium chloride adds calcium and chloride)

Guy makes a very good point about adding acids, measure the alkalinity, calculate the acid required for the level of reduction desired, add 2/3rds of that volume, wait and retest alkalinity,fine tune the final acid addition.

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Re: What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by Carnot » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:46 pm

I am pretty sure that as per the other posters your scum on the surface is limescale a.k.a. calcium carbonate.Your water is hard but far from ultra hard. When you boil the water the bi-carbonate (soluble) will decompose and precipitate as calcium carbonate. I suspect that the vigorous boil is not allowing all of the limescale to agglomerate into larger flocs that will sink. The steam bubbles will lift the limescale to the surface where is will float. Where the heat flux is very high- electric element for instance there will be localised scale build up. The limit of limescale solubility is about 40 - 50 ppm under the right conditions. Maybe you are not getting complete separation of the limescale from the liquor, ie the scum. To do this you may have to filter the water because small precipitates of limescale say 0.01 mm might not be visible to the eye but will affect the alkalinity and calcium determinations.Filtering 40 ltrs sounds easy but it is not. A wine filter might do the job but you will need a fine filter -say 0.001 mm and a large surface area.I would agree with the comments on acid. A small amount of phosphoric is acceptable but larger corrections are best done by hydrochloric and sulphuric acids, both of which are getting much harder to obtain, especially the latter. I hope that this helps.

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Re: What do you think this is, floating on boiled water?

Post by Northern Brewer » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:29 pm

It's worth noting that another advantage of pre-boiling is that you expel any oxygen in your water before mashing which the LODO mob would approve of, particularly if you're BIABing. At least as long as you mash in reasonably soon afterwards - I set my water to boil and go off and mow the lawn or something, let it boil 5-10 minutes, then start fussing over getting all my "brewing stuff" sorted and it's down to mash temperature by the time I'm ready. Does extend the brewing day but the "contact time" isn't much greater.

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