Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

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BenB

Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by BenB » Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:49 pm

So in my attempt to drag myself away from AMS/CRS and DLS I'm going full on with Bru'n water. I've spent an hour or so playing around with it and I'm getting strange results.

My next brew is Greg Hughes Summer Ale and I'm building a water up from Ashbeck to avoid any issues with my rock hard local water. Normally I'd start with rock hard water and have to add shed loads of CRS to get it down to a reasonable alkalinity.

I've got an accurate profile for Ashbeck and entered it, entered the grains, entered the volumes etc, fiddled around with the salts and here's the strange thing- I'm getting a RA of -50 with an alkalinity of -2 yet the estimated pH is 5.3 which sounds about right.

I thought using Ashbeck for a bitter I'd be needing to add alkalinity but if anything using untreated water gives a slightly high pH so a drop of phosphoric acid brings it down to range.

Does this sound in any way likely? I've triple checked the figures and it seems right. The reason I'm worried is the negative RA, even Pilsen has a neutral RA. -50????

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Aleman
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Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by Aleman » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:02 pm

Residual alkalinity is a fictional value derived from the calcium magnesium and 'carbonate' values. It stems from a paper Kolhbach wrote in the late 1950's, given the small range of things it tested I doubt it's value outside of this limited amount of conditions.

The other thing is, that it would appear that no one has actually duplicated his work . . If it is so critical to 'understanding' water treatment, why has it not been done for widely differing water values and grist composition? If it has been why have the results not been shouted from the hill tops??

I too would check my sanity before using Bru'nWater :lol:

sonicated
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Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by sonicated » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:57 pm

I'm new with Bru'n Water as well so I'm not going to attempt to answer your question, but can you tell me why you want to move away from CRS? I bought the paid for Bru'n Water as it had CRS on there and I thought it was the easiest to use.

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Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by WallyBrew » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:21 pm

Aleman wrote: I too would check my sanity before using Bru'nWater :lol:
+1 :D

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Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by Jocky » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:51 pm

Say what you will about Bru n Water, but it really helped me nail my mash pH. I would have got there without it, but it helped me get dead on first mash I did with it.
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BenB

Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by BenB » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:08 pm

My concern re CRS and DLS was that they both contribute sulphate and chloride ions at a fixed ratio whereas I'd like to fine tune the brews. My beers have so far been hoppy but lacking malt character and I wanted to test the impact of adjusting the chloride:sulphate ratio which is tricky when I have to add a good old dose of CRS with my hard water to get down to a reasonable alkalinity level. My sulphate and chloride levels are already naturally quite high in the water (about 50ppm of both) so I wanted to avoid adding much more through CRS. Otherwise (even assuming I ditched the DLS) trying to get a chloride heavy balance would be kind of tricky without going way overboard on the chloride ions.

My plan therefore was to go down the route of using phosphoric acid as an acidifying agent with individual salts to build up the water profile from Ashbeck.

I was just curious how the brown bitter profile shows an alkalinity of 79 yet I was getting an adequate mash pH with an alkalinity level of -27 !!! The other ions were bang on the recommend profile and the grains were pretty standard (3.4kg of pale malt and 0.3kg of crystal 60). My gut is telling me something's wrong but damned if I know what it is. A congress mash using only pale malt with distilled water gives a pH of what 5.6-6.0 so perhaps some calcium, a little phosphoric and a bit of crystal might get it in the right ball park. I just know I was previously shooting for alkalinities of around 75 with bitters and getting a fine mash pH. Perhaps I was also getting the calcium higher which was bringing the pH down, requiring more alkalinity to bring it up.

I guess ultimately I'm not used to using such soft water and have got in a pickle about a negative alkalinity number....

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Aleman
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Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by Aleman » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:40 pm

BenB wrote:I guess ultimately I'm not used to using such soft water and have got in a pickle about a negative alkalinity number....
Don't get confused between alkalinity and residual alkalinity, they are not the same thing.

Alkalinity ions the real measured value of the concentration of the carbonate species ( Carbonate Bicarbonate and to some extent Hydroxide ions) in the water.

Residual Alkalinity is a calculated value, and was defined by Kohlbach as RA = KH - (CH + 0.5 * MH)/3.5 where KH is the alkalinity, CH is the calcium hardness and MH is the magnesium hardness expressed as German Degrees (dH) or milliequivilants.

Braukaiser has a description of residual alkalinity at the bottom of the Wiki Page Here

A negative Residual alkalinity just shows that you have more Hydrogen ions released from the phytin through reaction with calcium and magnesium to completely neutralise the alkalinity in the mash liquor . . . Hence the mash pH will fall lower than a congress mash. This is what John Palmer and Martin use to determine their mash pH the use the formula and the chemical reactions to determine how much hydrogen is liberated from the phytin reaction, and then determine the negative log (base 10) of the hydrogen concentration to give the pH.

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Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by Goulders » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:46 pm

BenB - just going on what you say about your chloride and sulphate values in your water, you'd probably be ok using CRS (which increases both chloride and sulphate - in a higher ratio in the latter) but using calcium chloride to alter the ratio on the chloride side to get a malty beer. DLS just adds a load more sulphate. I'd stay well clear of that.

BenB

Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by BenB » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:41 pm

Ay. I might see if I can buy the donation version and see if I can get close with CRS. It'll save on ashbeck if nothing else. Nice plan.

AnthonyUK

Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by AnthonyUK » Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:06 am

Jocky wrote:Say what you will about Bru n Water, but it really helped me nail my mash pH. I would have got there without it, but it helped me get dead on first mash I did with it.
+1 to this. It is a tool like anything else and in lieu of anything better it works for me in correctly working out the mash pH.
This is science in practice not theory :mrgreen:

A little tip - In the 3. Water Adjustment tab you can add Ashbeck to the dilution profile if you scroll down enough.

Image

This makes it much easier to use Ashbeck as a partial amount of the total volume.
If your water is difficult to treat undiluted like mine then it is worth having options available.

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Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by Goulders » Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:30 am

If you get the alkalinity correct, and have enough calcium, the mash pH will fall in the right place

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Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by sonicated » Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:11 am

When is the correct time to measure the mash pH?

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Aleman
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Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by Aleman » Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:18 am

10 to 15 minutes after the start of the mash, and cool the sample to 20-25C immediately and then take the pH measurement.

BenB

Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by BenB » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:06 am

AnthonyUK wrote:
Jocky wrote:Say what you will about Bru n Water, but it really helped me nail my mash pH. I would have got there without it, but it helped me get dead on first mash I did with it.
+1 to this. It is a tool like anything else and in lieu of anything better it works for me in correctly working out the mash pH.
This is science in practice not theory :mrgreen:

A little tip - In the 3. Water Adjustment tab you can add Ashbeck to the dilution profile if you scroll down enough.

Image

This makes it much easier to use Ashbeck as a partial amount of the total volume.
If your water is difficult to treat undiluted like mine then it is worth having options available.
Excellent news- thanks for pointing that out.

I guess I'm still a bit confused though as to why I can make a mash pH of 5.3 when the water profile is spot on to the brown bitter profile apart from the alkalinity which is massively less (-27 rather than +118). That seems a massive difference. The brown bitter profile would, you imagine, compensate for the grains used and the recipe I'm using is a pretty straight-down-the-middle bitter. If I can get it to 5.3 with the water profile and a little bit of acid you would imagine where my alkalinity 118 I'd need to add a whole load of acid to get the pH back down. Which makes me wonder why the profile gives 118 as an alkalinity level.

BenB

Re: Sanity check- first go with Bru'n Water

Post by BenB » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:55 am

Yup. Officially very confused.
The brown balanced profile shows Calcium levels of 50ppm yet the Brupaks CRS/DLS instructions (which I've been using to this point) show a suggested calcium level of 180-220ppm for bitters. Which is somewhat different!

I think I'm doing something wrong here! I've just done a dummy run using my local water cut 50% with Ashbeck. The profile looks good and balanced with a mash pH of 5.37 yet the calcium is 54.5ppm. Which is what Bru'n water suggests but completely not what Brupaks recommend.

Can't think why they recommend the calcium levels to be so high unless it's just to get the sulphate and chloride amounts up... I'll get there in the end!

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