Brewing liquor question

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timtoos
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Brewing liquor question

Post by timtoos » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:40 am

Hi everyone,

I use Brun water to calculate my water profiles. As I use a Braumeister I use much higher liquor to grist than a 3v system.

My water (Im on a spring) is basically pretty much RO water. Its alkalinity (HCO3) is 6.7. Other salts are very low too.

Even though my alkalinity is very low, as the liquor volume is high, compared to a traditional system, I end up using acid adjustment for all of my beers.

If I look at Brun water, most profiles within the calculator have more alkalinity than what I have. In order to have a balanced anion/cation water does this really matter??), I end up increasing the so4/cl content as these are the only other variables I can change to get a balanced water without adding alkalinity. Not sure if I should do this or not. If I don't, and create a profile with more alkalinity than I will need to add a load of acid, which then brun water alarmss at saying that this is not good practice to add acid and alkalinity, but rather reduce or don't use.

Im confused about this. How would I make a English best bitter profile for use on a BM? I was gong to use this (it is a balanced anion/cations water).

Ca: 65
MG: 2.4
Na: 6.8
SO4: 62
Cl: 82
Bicarb (alkalinity): 6.7

What's your thoughts on this profile? Are the mg and na too low for a English bitter?

Even with this I would still need to add a little acid (as previously mentioned) the alkalinity even low is still high due to the liquor volume to grist (I typically use 30L to 4-5kg grist).

Can anyone shed light and please advise? Also there's so many calculators out there. EZ water, Liquor Treatment Calculator (by Graham Wheeler), Beersmith etc. What do people use and trust as most profiles on each calculator seem to compromise each other to some extent and examples of their water per style somewhat vary.

Cheers

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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Dave S » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:54 am

timtoos wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:40 am
Hi everyone,

I use Brun water to calculate my water profiles. As I use a Braumeister I use much higher liquor to grist than a 3v system.

My water (Im on a spring) is basically pretty much RO water. Its alkalinity (HCO3) is 6.7. Other salts are very low too.

Even though my alkalinity is very low, as the liquor volume is high, compared to a traditional system, I end up using acid adjustment for all of my beers.

If I look at Brun water, most profiles within the calculator have more alkalinity than what I have. In order to have a balanced anion/cation water does this really matter??), I end up increasing the so4/cl content as these are the only other variables I can change to get a balanced water without adding alkalinity. Not sure if I should do this or not. If I don't, and create a profile with more alkalinity than I will need to add a load of acid, which then brun water alarmss at saying that this is not good practice to add acid and alkalinity, but rather reduce or don't use.

Im confused about this. How would I make a English best bitter profile for use on a BM? I was gong to use this (it is a balanced anion/cations water).

Ca: 65
MG: 2.4
Na: 6.8
SO4: 62
Cl: 82
Bicarb (alkalinity): 6.7

What's your thoughts on this profile? Are the mg and na too low for a English bitter?

Even with this I would still need to add a little acid (as previously mentioned) the alkalinity even low is still high due to the liquor volume to grist (I typically use 30L to 4-5kg grist).

Can anyone shed light and please advise? Also there's so many calculators out there. EZ water, Liquor Treatment Calculator (by Graham Wheeler), Beersmith etc. What do people use and trust as most profiles on each calculator seem to compromise each other to some extent and examples of their water per style somewhat vary.

Cheers
You definitely don't want to and shouldn't add acid to that water. Remember that the whole point of adjusting alkalinity is to get the mash pH in the right range of about 5.2 to 5.6. with the alkalinity you've got your mash pH for a pale ale is likely to be a bit under. For a dark ale it's likely to be a lot under depending on how much roasted grain you have in it. Your alkalinity in either case should be increased, 20-40 for a pale and anything between about 80 and 150 for a brown ale or stout, (alkalinity as CaCO3). You can increase it with sodium or potassium Bicarbonate, (don't use chalk as it is not very soluable). As for your Sulphate: Chloride ratio, you can use Gypsum and Calcium Chloride and that will also boost you calcium levels. You might get red warnings from Bru 'n Water when both your sulphate and Chloride levels exceed 100. That is the American view. The British view is different.

Your Mg level is fine and the grain has enough in it so that you don't need to add more. Na might benefit from a small increase but if you use Sodium Bicarb to raise Alkalinity that will be taken care of.

EDIT: A small note about Sparge water which I forgot to mention above. That should have low Alkalinity no matter what style is being brewed as high alkaline water is likely to pull harsh tasting tannins and other unwanteds out of the grain. But if you are doing full volume mashes in the BM then it's your Mash water that matters.
Last edited by Dave S on Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Best wishes

Dave

timtoos
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by timtoos » Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:23 am

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your reply.

My base water from the tap is:
Ca: 6.25
Mg: 2.35
Na: 6.85
S04: 19.90
Cl: 9.2
Bicarbonate (HCO3): 6.7

I need to add acid as the volume of liquor is 30l and the amount of malt is say 4.5kg. Plugging the numbers in brun water always requires a bit of acid, even with roasted malts.

When doing a pale I try for a ph of about 5.3 and other beers 5.35 - 5.45. To achieve these ph values I require adding no further alkalinity but still some acid, maybe 1ml but still some acid.

Am I doing something wrong. I measure my mash ph and it's usually not too far from what brun water calculates.

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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Dave S » Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:26 am

timtoos wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:23 am
Hi Dave,

Thanks for your reply.

My base water from the tap is:
Ca: 6.25
Mg: 2.35
Na: 6.85
S04: 19.90
Cl: 9.2
Bicarbonate (HCO3): 6.7

I need to add acid as the volume of liquor is 30l and the amount of malt is say 4.5kg. Plugging the numbers in brun water always requires a bit of acid, even with roasted malts.

When doing a pale I try for a ph of about 5.3 and other beers 5.35 - 5.45. To achieve these ph values I require adding no further alkalinity but still some acid, maybe 1ml but still some acid.

Am I doing something wrong. I measure my mash ph and it's usually not too far from what brun water calculates.
Well that is plain wrong. It's a long time since I used B'nW so can't comment on what is happening there, but adding acid can only reduce alkalinity further and that is not good for the water profile you have.
Best wishes

Dave

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Eric
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Eric » Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:51 am

It would seem you are advising what B'nW calculates rather than what the actual mash pH might be. Have you a calibrated pH meter and have you used it to confirm what is advised?

You write that you wish to brew an English style. Have you compared the treatment suggested by Graham Wheeler's calculator on this very website? If you have, what might be your thoughts and questions?
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by timtoos » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:21 pm

I have looked at the GW calculator and it's very different to the brun water amber profiles. I'm confused as to what calculator I should use and what's best for me. The GW calculator has a very different set of figures for all its styles.

If I add alkalinity and then add acid to bring the ph back in-line is that ok?

I'm thinking of a landlord clone beer to brew.
Beer recipe:
4.25kg pale
Pale wheat: 50g
Black: 30g
Mash water volume 30L

Water profile:
Ca 50
Mg 10
Na 15
So4 75
Cl 63
Bicarbonate 40

With this amount of liquor (30l) and grain bill I will need to add 5.0ml of 80% lactic to achieve a mash ph of 5.38

What's your thoughts.

I am using a extech ph110 meter and calibrate it in new buffer solutions before each use. The measurement given is usually very close to the brun water estimation.

Ps, I appreciate your help and advice

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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Dennis King » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:44 pm

To me GW's calculate is more leaning towards what the English want from their beers where as brun water is aimed at what Americans expect from their beers.

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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Eric » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:34 pm

It looks like you are brewing a recipe from a Graham Wheeler book. I've tried that recipe several times and am totally unable to replicate that particular beer. TT give a lot of data on their website including video material, but it does vary in content across time. Their water would appear to be moderately soft, taken I assume from the top of a layer of gritstone under limstone, but hard enough for them to choose to boil it with salts, adding more salts to the mash. I don't know if they use acid to reduce alkalinity. While on that you should never have to add alkalinity and then use acid to reduce it.

I can't think TT is made using as low a mineral profile as you have chosen using B'nW, but I truely don't know that for fact. At that level of calcium I doubt their beers would be as clear when served from cask in their timescale, but their process is very different to that for a single vessel. My last attempt at Landlord was with 186ppm calcium, but as said earlier, I'm no expert at reproducing that beer, but would suggest you might wish to try midway betweem B'nW and mine and let us know what pH you found leaving alkalinity as it comes.
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timtoos
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by timtoos » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:01 pm

I am going to try the Graham Wheelers general purpose profile, as below:
Screenshot 2019-03-21 at 17.46.23.png
General purpose profile
I have a few questions though.

1. Is this profile suitable for an English bitter like the one I propose to brew?

2. When I plug the the profile data into Brun water, it shows that the Cations and Anions are not matched, but the GW calculator shows they are. Is one correct and the other incorrect and if so which one do you trust?

3. The carbonate level on the GW profile is 15. With this level of carbonate, with my recipe ingredients and mashing with 30L I will need to add acid to hit a reasonable mash pH. Both beersmith and Brun water highlight this. Should I mash in less liquor and sparge more to use less liquor to grist ratio?

4. Regards sparge salts. Should it be treated or untreated? If treated do I toss any carbonate additions into the kettle or omit completely? If I don't treat do I add them all (including carbonate addiitions into the boil once the sparge is added?

5. Should an English bitter be more of a 0.8 sulphate/chloride ratio? The one above is 2.0. Would this be ok for an English style bitter or would it be too dry?

TIA

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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Eric » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:42 pm

timtoos wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:01 pm
I am going to try the Graham Wheelers general purpose profile, as below:

Screenshot 2019-03-21 at 17.46.23.png

I have a few questions though.

1. Is this profile suitable for an English bitter like the one I propose to brew?

2. When I plug the the profile data into Brun water, it shows that the Cations and Anions are not matched, but the GW calculator shows they are. Is one correct and the other incorrect and if so which one do you trust?

3. The carbonate level on the GW profile is 15. With this level of carbonate, with my recipe ingredients and mashing with 30L I will need to add acid to hit a reasonable mash pH. Both beersmith and Brun water highlight this. Should I mash in less liquor and sparge more to use less liquor to grist ratio?

4. Regards sparge salts. Should it be treated or untreated? If treated do I toss any carbonate additions into the kettle or omit completely? If I don't treat do I add them all (including carbonate addiitions into the boil once the sparge is added?

5. Should an English bitter be more of a 0.8 sulphate/chloride ratio? The one above is 2.0. Would this be ok for an English style bitter or would it be too dry?

TIA
You don't pull any punches, do you?

1. It depends how traditional you want to be and what tradition was, is and might become. I'm not the one to give an answer to that.

2. Graham's ion calculation is spot on and I believe Martin's is too. What is different is what they use as a measurement of alkalinity. Graham shows the carbonate portion of alkalinity expressed and calcium carbonate while, Martin prefers to use bicarbonate as his measure. Graham's 15ppm is 60% of the amount of calcium carbonate, while to be expressed as bicarbonate, calcium carbonate has to be multiplied by 1.22. So that 15 in Grahams will be 25 as calcium carbonate or 30.5 as bicarbonate into Martin's.

3. As said at the end of my previous post, I suggest you don't alter your water's alkalinity, which is about 5.5 ppm as CaCO3 and brew as you would normally do with your system. If however you believe you can make improvements by adjusting liquor ratios, then do it.

4. There should be no reason to add any carbonates when making paler beer types. With your water I would advise adding 2/3rds of salts to the mash and 1/3rd to the boiler. Carbonate won't help in the boil where pH should fall.

5. I'm currently finishing a beer (50 litre brew) made with 411ppm sulphate and 104ppm chloride. It was brewed on October 24th and is now beautifully dry. Don't rule anything out, for had I finished this beer in November I would not have enjoyed it at its best. This is not a chemistry exercise, it's brewing. I don't use any calcuator other than a solar powered scientific one in the house and a 4 function battery one in the brewery. That way, brewing is easier and calculations take less time.
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by WallyBrew » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:57 pm

timtoos wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:01 pm

3. The carbonate level on the GW profile is 15. With this level of carbonate, with my recipe ingredients and mashing with 30L I will need to add acid to hit a reasonable mash pH. Both beersmith and Brun water highlight this. Should I mash in less liquor and sparge more to use less liquor to grist ratio?
You do not need to add acid. It is exceedingly unlikely that TT add acid and especially lactic acid.

From a calculation, and based on TT ions, add 9.3g of calcium chloride and 2.7g of gypsum. This is based on 30L final beer volume.
As it is in a Braumeister then add all of it to the mash. The calcium will drop your pH but do net get obsessed by hitting a specific pH as given in a calculator.

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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Jocky » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:09 am

To add to the other voices here - you don't need to treat your water as it is. I would brew with it as is and just measure the pH 15 minutes into the mash.

Wallybrew's suggested additions of calcium chloride and gypsum will give it some extra mouthfeel, but I'd brew the beer without first time and then add them next time round to see the difference.
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by timtoos » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:58 pm

The thing is my standard spring water (with no additions) is:

Ca: 6.8
Mg: 2.3
Na: 7.1
SO4: 20.3
Cl: 9.6
Bicarb: 6.1

Not sure this is a good water to brew with as is.

I need to add additions to boost Ca if nothing else

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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by orlando » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:35 am

timtoos wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:58 pm
Not sure this is a good water to brew with as is.
So try it and let the result in your glass advise you further. At the moment you are buying a new car and changing the engine without driving it. :D
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:58 am

The Graham Wheeler calculator often suggests the addition of calcium carbonate to hit a target water profile. Since calcium carbonate is highly insoluble in water, how does one add it and then actually get it to go fully into solution, whereby it will do what you think it is doing, as opposed to merely dropping out and doing very little due to its relatively high insolubility?

The GW instructions say to add calcium carbonate directly to the mash due to the insolubility problem, but I seem to recall research by Kai Troester (Braukaiser) which indicates that even via this method he was never capable of getting more than half of the calcium carbonate to enter into solution.

Is this a potential flaw in the methodology of the Graham Wheeler calculator? Should you add a bit more than twice GW's suggested amount of calcium carbonate to the mash, with the Braukaiser knowledge that a bit more than half will more than likely just drop out and not contribute?

Alternatively, some have suggested that if you add calcium carbonate to brewing liquor and then bubble CO2 into it while stirring, via this method you can eventually get the calcium carbonate to fully dissolve into solution. This is the only method that I'm aware of whereby you can get all of it to go to work for you as intended.

EDIT: Here is the link to Braukaiser's calcium carbonate research.
http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.ph ... lved_chalk

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