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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steve_flack

Post by steve_flack » Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:41 am

If you happen to have Anglian Water as your supplier you can get a water report from here. Of the options you want the 'Water Quality Results'. At various points in the report it gives sodium, alkalinity, calcium magnesium, chloride and sulfate.

Here's mine - Link

OK, so it's an average but better than a poke in the eye with something pointy.

stevezx7r

Post by stevezx7r » Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:48 pm

Cheers DaaB, that's a whole lot of very usefull information. I've never bothered adding anything to my water (not even Campden tablets) as my beer always tastes fine.

Maybe I can make it even better if I start looking into my water chemistry.

Should probably sticky this thread as it gives some good pointers. :)

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Aleman
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Post by Aleman » Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:01 pm

Just a minor edit required
Daab wrote:CRS is a very strong acid and 1ml will (effectively) remove 180mg of calcium carbionate.

If you have 30 litres of water and you want to remove 175 mg/l of calcium carbonate that's a total of 30 x 175 = 5250 mg of calcium carbonate you want to get rid of. As 1 ml of CRS removes 180 mg then you need to add 5250/180 = 29mg of CRS.
Should read add 5250/180 = 29ml of CRS. as 29mg of CRS is not the same as 29ml :D

Just to echo Steve though, this is an excellent post, and really does describe the fundamental treatment the majority of brewers should be doing to the brewing liquor as a matter of course. =D> =D> =D>
Last edited by Aleman on Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BarnsleyBrewer
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Post by BarnsleyBrewer » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:21 pm

Thanks for the water info DaaB, just phoned Yorkshire water and was told they don't have total alkalinity.

http://www.yorkshirewater.com/web/WQZ.n ... %20WSZ.pdf
BB
"Brewing Fine Ales in Barnsley Since 1984"
- - - - - - - 30 years (1984 - 2014)- - - - - - -
Pints Brewed in 2019......... 416
Pints brewed in 2018.. 416
Pints brewed in 2017.. 416 - Pints brewed in 2016.. 208
Pints brewed in 2015.. 624 - Pints brewed in 2014.. 832

Buzz

Post by Buzz » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:27 pm

Excellent post DaaB. I've added CRS and DLS to my last 2 brews, the first should be ready to drink in a couple of weeks so I'm looking forward to seeing if there's much noticeable difference.

Just one thing - does anyone know whether CRS needs to be added to cold water (room temp) or, can it be added at mash temp :?: The first brew I added it to the water before doing anything, the second time I forgot until I was half way through heating up the mash water. Just interested to know if it's effective either way.

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Post by BarnsleyBrewer » Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:24 pm

Hi
What is DLS?
John
"Brewing Fine Ales in Barnsley Since 1984"
- - - - - - - 30 years (1984 - 2014)- - - - - - -
Pints Brewed in 2019......... 416
Pints brewed in 2018.. 416
Pints brewed in 2017.. 416 - Pints brewed in 2016.. 208
Pints brewed in 2015.. 624 - Pints brewed in 2014.. 832

Buzz

Post by Buzz » Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:41 pm

BarnsleyBrewer wrote:Hi
What is DLS?
John
Dry Liquor Salts. It corrects the calcium content. Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned this as I think DaaB's intention was to keep this as simple as possible.

lordnoise

Post by lordnoise » Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:28 pm

Now I'm beginning to understand why when I added 35mls of CRS to 22 litres of Brixton water it went down to 2.3 on my PH meter. I was using 275 mgl Ca Co3 hardness as my guide not alkalinity.
I was worried about putting my finger in it to be honest :lol:
Still the beer mashed well at around 4.7 (Golden Ale so very lttle crystal) and tastes okay.
Like BarnsleyBrewers authority Thames Water dont seem to 'do' total alkalinity.
The rest of the figures they give out under hardness on their website are :
19.3 deg Clark/15.4 deg German!/27.5 deg French!.
Any of these help determining my total alkalinity ?
Thinking about it :shock: is there a PH figure your water should be once treated with CRS before mashing different styles of beer ?
That way you could drip feed your water with CRS no matter the total alkalinity until you hit the magic PH number for the style.

Frisp

Post by Frisp » Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:40 pm

On DaaB's prompt I emailed Bristol Water and they sent this back. Is this what I need

"Total Hardness Calcium Carbonate in milligrammes per litre 232"

Frisp

Post by Frisp » Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:57 pm

Thanks Daab Im back on to them.
I picked up at the start of the thread that they must provide this info. Is there a piece of legislation I can beat them up with when they give me the run around?

Frisp

Post by Frisp » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:12 am

Nice..... Like your style.... :lol:

lordnoise

Post by lordnoise » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:14 am

Thanks - I'll have a go at the maths Daab. My PH meter cost around £30 and came with calibration solutions so I'm fairly happy that its a decent enough one. Its made by Hanna and is called appropriately a "Checker".
Anyone else able to recommend a relatively inexpensive PH meter ?
Accurate PH measurement does seem to be key to moving your brewing on to something at least approaching a professional level.

steve_flack

Post by steve_flack » Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:22 am

DaaB wrote: Ph strips are good enough for checking your mash ph is in the right ball park.
IMO pH meters are a pain in the arse. You need to calibrate them nearly everytime you use one and the probes need changing a lot more regularly than you'd think. pH papers can be just as accurate (at least compared with a poorly calibrated, 'cheap' meter) and are a lot quicker to use.

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Post by Aleman » Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:01 am

lordnoise wrote:Thanks - I'll have a go at the maths Daab. My PH meter cost around £30 and came with calibration solutions so I'm fairly happy that its a decent enough one. Its made by Hanna and is called appropriately a "Checker".
Anyone else able to recommend a relatively inexpensive PH meter ?
Accurate PH measurement does seem to be key to moving your brewing on to something at least approaching a professional level.
Accurate pH measurement is totally not required for brewing, I don't give a stuff as to what the pH of the liquor is . . . and from experience I know that the mash pH is going to be in an appropriate ballpark. so my somewhat expensive pH meter sits in the loft unused (As a clue the probes cost 80 quid, and needed replacing every 9 months :shock:)

The important figure is alkalinity, and you are adding acid to reduce the alkalinity NOT reduce the pH.

Daab is being rather modest, and not pushing the fact that he has come up with a Alkalinity test kit, which means that you don't need to deal with the numpties at the water board . . . and you can measure and adjust the alkalinity each time you brew rather than relying on an average from teh water board. . . . which can change without warning

Graham

Post by Graham » Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:57 am

DaaB wrote: I wouldn't say ph measurement was that important to be honest, as long as you have an accurate total alkalinity figure.

Ph strips are good enough for checking your mash ph is in the right ball park.

(edit, unless you want to acid wash your yeast that is)
If your mash pH is in the right ballpark, then your water is in the right ballpark. Surely that is what it is all about?

pH meters are useful for some things, but mash pH is not one of them. So the hassle of maintaining a pH meter is probably not worth it for the once in a blue moon when one could do with one. The electrodes have a limited shelf life whether they are used or not.

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