Brewing liquor question

(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!
timtoos
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by timtoos » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:19 pm

So, I did a beer today. It was a Landlord clone recipe:
The recipe was:
4.25kg Golden promise EBC: 5.0
50g pale wheat EBC: 3.5
30g Black malt EBC: 1300

My water from the tap is:
Ca: 6.25
Mg: 2.35
Na: 6.85
SO4: 19.9
Cl: 9.2
Bicarb: 6.7

I usually use the Brun water calculator but after reading lots about the American vs English ideas of water profiles I opted to go use the profile that Graham Wheelers calculator gives for bitter:
Ca: 150
Mg: 10
Na: 40
SO4: 273.4
Cl: 136.7
Bicarb: 25

As mentioned previously I use a BM20. As the BM uses a massive liquor to malt ratio, lots more than a 3V system, I think that any alkalinity in the water, even at my low alkalinity level is multiplied to a massive degree.

In this case 30L of treated liquor was mashed in with the malt (4.33kg).
For the 30L of liquor I used the following salts: (The salts were measured out on a small set of digital scales. I also have some calibrated weights so I can verify the scales before use which I always use).
Gypsum: 12.2g
Calcium chloride: 5.4g
Epsom salt: 2.1g
Salt: 2g
Baking soda: 0.8g

All salts, apart from the baking soda were added to the liquor. The baking soda was added to the grist.

Mash pH predictions:
Brun water: 5.38
Beersmith: 5.44

My pH meter was calibrated with buffer solutions before any testing was carried out.
I took a mash sample about 15 minutes into the mash. I cooled the sample to 20C, and I got a reading of 5.85
After 60 minutes the pH was 5.73
I sparged with 4.5L liquor (I added the salts to the boiler not the sparge water). The pH after the sparge salts and liquor added was 5.68
After the boil the wort pH was 5.61.

No idea what to make of this water business.

I know some people say to brew with the water with no additions, I have done but it tastes one dimensional, hence me trying to understand water profiling.

I don’t think I am getting anywhere. I seem to be understanding less the more I read, or advice given.

What do you guys think? Any ideas why the pH is so far out?

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Eric
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Eric » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:26 pm

timtoos wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:19 pm

My pH meter was calibrated with buffer solutions before any testing was carried out.
I took a mash sample about 15 minutes into the mash. I cooled the sample to 20C, and I got a reading of 5.85
After 60 minutes the pH was 5.73
I sparged with 4.5L liquor (I added the salts to the boiler not the sparge water). The pH after the sparge salts and liquor added was 5.68
After the boil the wort pH was 5.61.

No idea what to make of this water business.

I know some people say to brew with the water with no additions, I have done but it tastes one dimensional, hence me trying to understand water profiling.

I don’t think I am getting anywhere. I seem to be understanding less the more I read, or advice given.

What do you guys think? Any ideas why the pH is so far out?
Good progress. Could you reduce your mash liquor and increase sparging? If not you will have to consider reducing alkalinity. Did you confirm that alkalinity measurement with a Salifert kit?

Rome wasn't built in a day and good beer took longer.
Without patience, life becomes difficult and the sooner it's finished, the better.

timtoos
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by timtoos » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:05 am

Will give that a shot next brew. I was thinking of reducing by 5L to make a 25L mash-in volume. Or should I reduce the volume even further?

Also, I have always omitted adding alkalinity to the sparge. Usually I treat my sparge liquor with the required salts, minus alkalinity salts, and then sparge but yesterday I sparged with untreated water and then added the salts, including some baking soda (0.1g), to the boiler. Don't know why I did this but should this never be done?

If I was to reduce alkalinity, would I have to change the other salt ratio's to keep the water balanced? If I reduced the bicarbonate from 25 to 20 would the other salts need to be adjusted?

PS, on this occasion I did not test the alkalinity. I have done lots in the past and the results have always tied up with what calculations predict. I will start measuring again though on my next brews.

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Eric
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Eric » Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:09 pm

I've not used a Braumeister and don't know what limitations you might have for hot liquor supply for sparging. However, your soft water supply untreated may be suitable for sparging without treatment to a limited but sufficient volume at this stage. As we know, alkalinity raises mash pH and the lesser the volume of liquor with any given alkalinity, the lesser it will elevate pH. A Braumeister requires a greater volume of liquor than does a separate tun, so mash liquor in a Braumeister should be less alkalinine, or in some cases potentially acidic, compared to that in a traditional mash tun. It's up to you to choose how you might accommodate your recipe's grains in liquor.

After the mash we usually rinse out as much of the retained sugars as practical, but as they reduce their influence on lowering pH does too. Accordingly a high level of alkalinity is undesirable during this stage. This is a rather simplified view, but again is perhaps sufficient at the start of a potentially endless progression. pH is but one measure of progress and there is more to learn beyond any and every pH.

Calcium has the opposite effect as alkalinity, just that of the two, more calcium is needed to balance any given amount of alkalinity. So reducing both will tend to partially cancel out any change. Instead you might think that if you need to decrease one you could also or alternatively increase the other.

Do not add alkalinity to the boil and only rarely can it be advantageous in sparge liquor and in such rare circuumstance would be at a rather low level.
Without patience, life becomes difficult and the sooner it's finished, the better.

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Eric
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Eric » Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:10 pm

Eric wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:09 pm
I've not used a Braumeister and don't know what limitations you might have for hot liquor supply for sparging. However, your soft water supply untreated may be suitable for sparging without treatment to a limited but sufficient volume at this stage. As we know, alkalinity raises mash pH and the lesser the volume of liquor with any given alkalinity, the lesser it will elevate pH. A Braumeister requires a greater volume of liquor than does a separate tun, so mash liquor in a Braumeister should be less alkalinine, or in some cases potentially acidic, compared to that in a traditional mash tun. It's up to you to choose what ratio and how you might accommodate your recipe's grains in liquor.

After the mash we usually rinse out as much of the retained sugars as practical, but as they reduce their influence on lowering pH does too. Accordingly a high level of alkalinity is undesirable during this stage. This is a rather simplified view, but again is perhaps sufficient at the start of a potentially endless progression. pH is but one measure of progress and there is more to learn beyond any and every pH.

Calcium has the opposite effect as alkalinity, just that of the two, more calcium is needed to balance any given amount of alkalinity. So reducing both will tend to partially cancel out any change. Instead you might think that if you need to decrease one you could also or alternatively increase the other.

Do not add alkalinity to the boil and only rarely can it be advantageous in sparge liquor and in such rare circuumstance would be at a rather low level.
Without patience, life becomes difficult and the sooner it's finished, the better.

Silver_Is_Money
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Sat Mar 30, 2019 1:47 pm

My software also predicts 5.38 as the calculated mash pH. To hit a measured actual 5.73 pH at the end of the mash, I calculate that your mash water alkalinity was likely on the order of 130 ppm, and that would place your mash water bicarbonate at about 159 ppm.

Is it possible that your tap water is not always analytically consistent, such as would be the case if your water company taps from multiple sources, or seasonally switches from one source to another? Or that in adding the 0.8 grams of baking soda you accidentally added well more than this amount?

It almost appears as if the calcium chloride and baking soda addition quantities were somehow accidentally reversed, but this presumption would indeed be a wild stretch.

timtoos
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by timtoos » Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:54 pm

I am on a spring and it seems pretty consistent.. Ive had it tested two times by Phoenix, both occasions the results were very similar to one another. I have tested with salifert loads of times and that always shows bicarb as very low (0.98 left in the syringe). I haven't tested yesterdays liquor and it may have changed but looking at past results bicarb is usually around 5-6, so pretty low.

I always have issues when I add any baking soda or slaked lime so shy away from adding these. Yesterdays brew was another direction in terms of additions and trying to understand about water profiling.

I use some very precise scales when measuring salts. I check its calibrations with some calibration weights and can re-calibrate if needed. My pH meter is a decent one and calibrated with new buffer solutions every brew day at the recommended 20C.

Im lost...

london_lhr
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by london_lhr » Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:47 pm

Did you confirm that alkalinity measurement with a Salifert kit?
I also agree with S_I_M that the staring alkalinity could have been higher than what you accepted.
It is good practice to test the alkalinity before every brew because the alkalinity can change. (I also test my calcium levels before every brew.)
After treating the water, test alkalinity again. Only now do you know what your brewing water alkalinity is. :D
I treat the alkalinity of all my water before mashing in and also add all the necessary salts before mashing in.
It is also acceptable to treat your water for alkalinity and add the salts to the grist.
According to your tap water, your alkalinity as calcium carbonate is around 5.49ppm.
Adding 0.78g of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), should bring your alkalinity up to around 21ppm as calcium carbonate which is around 25ppm as bicarbonate.
Also adding 6.33g of calcium chloride and 10.83g of gypsum, your calcium levels should be around 150ppm, chloride around 110ppm and sulphate around 222ppm. This gives a sulphate:chloride ratio of approx 2sulphate:1chloride, which is the ratio Graham recommends. Although the actual sulphate and chloride numbers are lower than he recommends, 222:110ppm is still a 2:1 sulphate forward beer.
I have not found it necessary to add salt or epsom salt to my water.
These figures (0.78g baking soda, 6.33g calcium chloride and 10.83g of gypsum) are derived from my own calculator I use.
According to your additions, you should have been very close the correct numbers.
Possibly very old grain????
The Dengie

timtoos
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Re: Brewing liquor question

Post by timtoos » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:39 pm

Could be old grain as I don't know how long the supplier had it in storage. I got it last week delivered 19/3/19) from MM, generally very good and never had bad malt from them. They do the crush too as I don't have a mill.
One thing I have found is that my efficiency from MM grains is usually 2% less than BUK grains. Probably the mill crush.
The next brew I will test the calcium and alkalinity levels before and after the additions and report back.

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