Phosphoric and ascorbic acid for alkalinity reduction.

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orlando
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Re: Phosphoric and ascorbic acid for alkalinity reduction.

Post by orlando » Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:11 am

Silver_Is_Money wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:14 am
No need to fault phosphoric acid.
So how is it that with no changes in my process is it only when I use phosphoric I get noticeable precipitate, like the pictures Jocky showed?
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Re: Phosphoric and ascorbic acid for alkalinity reduction.

Post by WallyBrew » Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:26 am

orlando wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:11 am
Silver_Is_Money wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:14 am
No need to fault phosphoric acid.
So how is it that with no changes in my process is it only when I use phosphoric I get noticeable precipitate, like the pictures Jocky showed?
Thats because SIM is talking about calcium carbonate precipitation and adding phosphoric to water will not precipitate calcium carbonate.

It can however, as you have found, cause a precipitate of some type of calcium phosphate.

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Re: Phosphoric and ascorbic acid for alkalinity reduction.

Post by orlando » Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:39 am

WallyBrew wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:26 am
orlando wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:11 am
Silver_Is_Money wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:14 am
No need to fault phosphoric acid.
So how is it that with no changes in my process is it only when I use phosphoric I get noticeable precipitate, like the pictures Jocky showed?
Thats because SIM is talking about calcium carbonate precipitation and adding phosphoric to water will not precipitate calcium carbonate.

It can however, as you have found, cause a precipitate of some type of calcium phosphate.
OK, thanks.
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

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Re: Phosphoric and ascorbic acid for alkalinity reduction.

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:42 pm

Calcium Apatite is what precipitates. Brewing Researcher, Consultant, and Scientist A.J. deLange said this of it on another forum:
It isn't phosphoric acid that bids calcium but phosphate ion and there is only a tiny bit of phosphate present at mash ph. There are circumstances where calcium will precipitate but the water has to be very hard and quite alkaline. There are some curves in the Palmer Water book.
PS: I believe he intended to type "binds" where you see "bids". From this it appears that only those with both really hard and highly alkaline water may find issue with the use of phosphoric acid.

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Re: Phosphoric and ascorbic acid for alkalinity reduction.

Post by orlando » Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:54 pm

Silver_Is_Money wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:42 pm
Calcium Apatite is what precipitates. Brewing Researcher, Consultant, and Scientist A.J. deLange said this of it on another forum:
It isn't phosphoric acid that bids calcium but phosphate ion and there is only a tiny bit of phosphate present at mash ph. There are circumstances where calcium will precipitate but the water has to be very hard and quite alkaline. There are some curves in the Palmer Water book.
PS: I believe he intended to type "binds" where you see "bids". From this it appears that only those with both really hard and highly alkaline water may find issue with the use of phosphoric acid.

Would 250 do it? :D
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Re: Phosphoric and ascorbic acid for alkalinity reduction.

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:27 pm

orlando wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:54 pm
Would 250 do it? :D
The precipitation charts found at nearly the very back of Palmer's 'Water' book only go as high as 200 mg/L alkalinity, so although I'm no authority here the case is likely that it is enough.

It may be that Regional Water Authority supplied domestic water in the USA is generally much softer than the same for the UK, but of that I'm again in no position to make a meaningful assessment. Very hard and alkaline water in the USA is generally found in well water. My well water is through the roof hard and alkaline. 712 mg/L Total Hardness, and 377 mg/L Alkalinity (both as CaCO3) per a sample I sent to Ward Laboratory. When I use it (which is now seldom, mainly because my Mg++ ion is at 55 mg/L), I use it at 25% Well and 75% RO or distilled. But then I'm forced to add more calcium. The hassle has led me to using RO water with added minerals.

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Re: Phosphoric and ascorbic acid for alkalinity reduction.

Post by Eric » Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:14 pm

Silver_Is_Money wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:27 pm
It may be that Regional Water Authority supplied domestic water in the USA is generally much softer than the same for the UK, but of that I'm again in no position to make a meaningful assessment. Very hard and alkaline water in the USA is generally found in well water. My well water is through the roof hard and alkaline. 712 mg/L Total Hardness, and 377 mg/L Alkalinity (both as CaCO3) per a sample I sent to Ward Laboratory. When I use it (which is now seldom, mainly because my Mg++ ion is at 55 mg/L), I use it at 25% Well and 75% RO or distilled.
Maybe USA has a greater proportion of soft water domestic supplies than UK, but many parts of Britain do have soft water. Virtually all of the far South West, much of Wales, the northwestern corner of England and the majority of Scotland are on impermeable rocks, so have soft water. Many other areas are supplied with surface water that is classified as soft while others have a mix of surface and ground water dependent upon rainfall variation. However, the majority of the UK population live in the south and east where the ground is mostly limestone or chalk and surface water is supplied to a minority of homes in those parts.

Fewer in UK rely on well water and a greater proportion have a commercial supply, good to drink without extra treatment. A UK domestic water supply, unlike in USA, cannot legally be cut-off simply because the bill was not paid on time. UK is more northerly than the overwhelming majority of USA with a different climate and no part classified as arid. I think your only State with common latitudes to UK is Alaska, itself seven times larger than the whole of UK. Surely differences between our waters are greater than might be first thought. UK is a much smaller country with a diverse geology, but has little climate variation and accordingly has waters with less variation in mineral content. The overwhelming majority of hard and alkaline UK waters can potentially be treated with readily available ingredients more easily than such waters in USA.

I do wonder how probable it might be to find brewers in UK with water similar to, or worse than, yours? Very few, if any, I would guess. How many hopeful brewers in USA are faced with water even less suitable than yours? Possibly many and maybe from this many budding brewers in UK read American publications to believe that their water has an equally high chance of being unsuitable for brewing.

CRS has been available for many years at UK home brew shops and before that to commercial breweries to reduce alkalinity. Phosphoric acid has also been sold here for years to brewers for general cleaning purposes and at higher concentration to control bacterial contamination of yeast, but there is now demand from those following American advice for reducing alkalinity. A recent comparison between phosphoric and hydrochloric acids reducing alkalinity in my water was inconclusive, but I strongly advise anyone to avoid using phosphoric acid for this purpose until they are fully conversant with brewing using CRS, hydrochloric or sulphuric acids. What phosphoric does is dependent upon the water concerned and the amount of alkalinity reduction and the outcome will likely vary by location. This is not the case with those acids used in UK for well over a century. Not every water treated with phosphoric acid will sediment calcium, but some, or even possibly most calcium involved in that reaction may not be available to play vital roles in the brewing process. The use of phosphoric to reduce alkalinity and their unpredictable outcomes might be in some part the reason why RO is popular in USA, as well as some terrible water profiles.
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Re: Phosphoric and ascorbic acid for alkalinity reduction.

Post by orlando » Thu Jun 18, 2020 10:19 pm

Interesting stuff Eric and a useful reminder that US experiences of water and their solutions to brew with it is not necessarily transferable here. Looking at SIM's water profile RO looks absolutely essential and explains the interest in using systems like that unsurprising. Unfortunately I am losing count of the number of British brewers who are equipping themselves with this largely unecessary piece of equipment because of what they read in articles and forum posts over there.
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Re: Phosphoric and ascorbic acid for alkalinity reduction.

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:57 pm

I revisited the Palmer/Kaminski "Water" book's charts for acidification with Phosphoric Acid with respect to how many mg/L Ca++ ion you can keep in solution before your waters Calcium will precipitate out.

For the specific case of source water with an initial pH of 8.0 and a targeted pH of 5.5 via acidification with Phophoric Acid, and presuming that I'm reading the charts correctly, here is how much Ca++ you can maintain in solution for various initial mg/L Alkalinities (as CaCO3):

1) For water with 50 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Ca++ precipitates out at and above ~420 mg/L, leaving 420 mg/L as the upper limit for calcium in solution
2) For water with 100 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Ca++ precipitates out at and above ~180 mg/L, leaving 180 mg/L as the upper limit for calcium in solution
3) For water with 150 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Ca++ precipitates out at and above ~110 mg/L, leaving 110 mg/L as the upper limit for calcium in solution
4) For water with 200 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Ca++ precipitates out at and above ~78 mg/L, leaving 78 mg/L as the upper limit for calcium in solution

Water with an initial pH lower than 8.0 will hold a bit more calcium in solution, and water with an initial pH above 8.0 will hold somewhat less in solution. But not significantly.

If you target a lower pH than 5.5 the calcium you can keep in solution when acidifying with Phosphoric Acid increases dramatically. The flip side is that if you target a pH above 5.5 things get way worse in a hurry. But by 5.2 pH as the target the values improve dramatically, and look like this:

1) For water with 50 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Ca++ precipitates out at and above ~1,260 mg/L, leaving 1,260 mg/L as the upper limit for Ca in solution
2) For water with 100 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Ca++ precipitates out at and above ~1,100 mg/L, leaving 1,100 mg/L as the upper limit for Ca in solution
3) For water with 150 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Ca++ precipitates out at and above ~780 mg/L, leaving 780 mg/L as the upper limit for Ca in solution
4) For water with 200 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Ca++ precipitates out at and above ~500 mg/L, leaving 500 mg/L as the upper limit for Ca in solution

Moral of the story: If you are going to acidify your water with Phosphoric Acid, target a water pH of 5.2 or lower and you should be fine.

Everything rests upon my having interpreted the charts correctly. Please verify if I have done so. Don't shoot the messenger.

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