Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

(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!
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Aleman
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Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by Aleman » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:56 am

I've used 2g of sodium bicarb in 13L of liquor to get my alkalinity up to 75ppm for a stout. . . . It doesn't take the sodium sky high either (Forget exact figures, I'll try and remember to check) . .. Stout tastes good . . . Pale ale . . . I still think it would be fine . . . particularly as you only need to treat the mash liquor and will be further diluted during the sparge.

jerry met

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by jerry met » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:15 pm

Thanks for the suggestions.
As it happens, I have just ordered some more yeast from brewlabs (down the road in Sunderland).
I managed to talk to one of the brewers who suggested 2parts gypsum to 1part calcium chloride.
I have just purchased my first 25kg bag of grain so I am going to do a few 10% samples, taking on board everyones suggestions, colating the subsequent ph readings & I'll pick the best.
Once I have the results I'll let you all know.Cheers!

JammyBStard

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by JammyBStard » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:41 pm

Yorkshire water came through! YO1

Thank you for your email to us on 8 October 2010 regarding the figure for the 'total alkalinity' for your water supply expressed in HCO3 or CaCO3.

The alkalinity expressed as CaCO3 coming from the treatment works (Acomb Landing) supplying your property is 115 CaCO3.

weiht

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by weiht » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:21 am

http://www.pub.gov.sg/general/Pages/WaterTreatment.aspx

Any comment on the water profile (1st column) and any advise on necesary water treatment needed for pale ales?

joe37

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by joe37 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:20 pm

Can somebody please post the link to Daabs original post on water treatment. Thanks.

400d

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by 400d » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:14 pm

hi guys,

has anyone of you ever used citric acid to acidify the mash? what is the flavour threshold of citric acid? how much can I use safely if I want 35 litres of beer?


thanks!

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Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by Bobba » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:14 pm

weiht wrote:http://www.pub.gov.sg/general/Pages/WaterTreatment.aspx

Any comment on the water profile (1st column) and any advise on necesary water treatment needed for pale ales?
The alkalinity is nice and low, so that's a good starting point. It doesn't have any of the beer-critical cations listed though, ca, mg, na so difficult to say. For a pale ale, without knowing the calcium value, I would just jump in and have a stab in the dark. Dissolve 1tsp of gypsum in your mash liquor (or add to the grist) and then measure the pH of some cooled wort removed about 5mins into the mash. You're aiming for about 5.3. If it's too low, add less gypsum next time, or if it's too high add more. You should be able to brew some good lagers without any water treatment for that alkalinity.

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branigan

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by branigan » Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:26 am

I have just got of the phone to a lady at Hartlepool Water who told me our water is 480 expressed as CaCO3!

Is this right? if so how would I go about treating it for say a IPA or the like?

crookedeyeboy

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by crookedeyeboy » Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:28 am

Sounds like a total hardness figure expressed as CaCO3 not your alkalinity figure which is the important one.

branigan

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by branigan » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:16 pm

Just Phoned them back & was told;

Alkalinity = 410mg/l hco3

Divided by 1.22 for CaCO3 = 336, which still seem jolly hard.

What would be the best way to get it down?

I am using a purifying filter (the twin pod 10") like the one in the following link;
http://www.koilogic.co.uk/store/go/category/103/116

how much effect (if any) will this have?

Or should I jus buy bottled water :D
Last edited by branigan on Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

crookedeyeboy

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by crookedeyeboy » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:31 pm

Hmm interesting, you had better use some AMS then!! :-)

gnorwebthgimi

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by gnorwebthgimi » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:05 am

I have been brewing for a while and getting steadily better. I don't do any water treatment at present and one thing that has always plagued me is that my light beers are better than my dark beers.

I now suspect that this is to do with the sulphate to cholride ratio. My beers are never malty but the hoppy blonde beer I did was SPECTACULAR!
I could just stick to brewing hoppy beers but I like malty beers too.

My alkalinity according to Anglia Water is 178 mg/l CaCo3 and my mash is a little inefficient 60-65% but I was happy to live with that.
Now that I feel more accomplished I might try water treatment but I was wondering if I can just add Calcium Chloride instead of Gypsum (Calcium Sulphate) so that I make the malt profile more pronounced than the hop flavour profile? Unfortunately I have no idea how much Sulphate is in my water.

I know that Aleman had the reverse problem and added Gypsum to increase Sulphate ratio. Did that work?

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Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by Naich » Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:52 am

My understanding of the situation is that the priority with water treatment should be to get the mash pH correct, which means getting the alkalinity of the water correct for the malt you will be using. Your inefficient mashes might be to do with the mash pH being outside the range for all the enzymatic processes to work at their best. Light beers ideally need an alkalinity of around 25-40 mg/l CaCO3. Using either calcium chloride or calcium sulphate should improve your light beers - which one to use is really just tinkering around the edges.

In theory, with no water treatment, your malty beers should be better than your hoppy ones, as malty beers need more alkalinity to get the correct mash pH. But it depends how malty they are - they still might need water treatment to get it right.

Whatever beer you are brewing, I'd suggest using a water treatment calculator and measuring the pH of your mash. Then once you are confident that you are getting that right, that's the time to start tinkering with the little details.

gnorwebthgimi

Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by gnorwebthgimi » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:59 am

Thanks Naich

I was thinking of getting hold of a Safilert kit and actually measuring the alkalinity then adjusting it and adding a bit more calcium in the form of Gypsum or Calcium Chloride.

However, on the strength of what you have said and some further reading about residual alkalinity and water profiles it would be a better start to measure mash pH first. After all it would be stupid to adjust something if I'm not certain that it needs adjusting.

Personally I think the high calcium of the water is keeping the alkalinity at a sensible level for pale beers and I'm cranking up the acidity with darker malts for the darker beers. I guess pH strips will shed a bit more light on it.

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Re: Treating Water With a High Alkalinity for Brewing

Post by Aleman » Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:59 pm

Don't confuse the level of calcium with the alkalinity, although they are related in that calcium is usually associated with the Carbonate ion (but not always). Also John Palmer is steering away from his stance on residual alkalinity as well as it appears that he based this on some research in the 50's by Kolbach that was not strictly related to brewing liquors.

Do pale beers require a residual alkalinity less than 50ppm (ideally ~30ppm) and darker beers require an alkalinity of up to 125-150ppm depending on the amounts of dark malts in the grist.

ALL beers require a minimum level of calcium of of 60ppm preferably about 100ppm.

Now if you boil your liquor to reduce the alkalinity you will also reduce the level of calcium as boiling precipitates calcium carbonate, so you may need to add calcium as either gypsum and/or calcium sulphate depending on the level of calcium you started with.

If you use acid treatment (like AMS or CRS) you reduce the alkalinity but do not change the level of calcium, so you may not need to supplement calcium at all. However the problem is that with AMS/CRS you also add sulphate and chloride ions in a fixed ratio, and so trying to swing that ratio in another direction is going to be tricky (Grahams calculator takes this into effect ;) ) but still it may very well be, if your water has a high alkalinity in the first place that you end up adding so much sulphate and chloride that adding any more may well not make all that much difference.

The critical thing though is that unless you measure (or have analysed) the actual water you are brewing with you are guessing in the dark. you can't really adjust anything with any degree of 'accuracy' unless you know what there is in the water to start with.

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