Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

(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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Meatymc
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Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by Meatymc » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:06 pm

Just wanted to put you on notice that I received my water profile results from Wallybrew today. Bunged the basics into Graham's treatment calculator and some interesting results depending on 'style'.

Am going to try and get my head around the reams of info' I've pulled off from various sources and re-visit threads already covering the subject on here but just to say don't anyone take any long holidays for the foreseeable future :?

sonicated
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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by sonicated » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:24 pm

Please keep us updated, it's a minefield for a newbie like me!

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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by jaroporter » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:29 pm

sonicated wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:24 pm
it's a minefield for a newbie like me!
it's really not, there's just a lot of people writing stuff out there that makes it seem that way. basic water treatment (the stuff that will give you the biggest improvement) is really straightforward. then if you wanna make it more complex from there it's up to you.
the water treatment section on this site, or better still Aleman's guide on the craftbrewing forum will tell you what you need to know (and what you don't
:D
dazzled, doused in gin..

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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by MarkA » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:37 pm

I found that a lot of the parts I couldn't get my head around started to become a bit clearer once I got my water report and played with the figures in various calculators. I found Bru'n'Water gives a good idea of what effects various additions have on the water and mash PH (though whether or not the PH is actually correct is another issue as I haven't currently got a PH meter!)

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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by sonicated » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:32 am

I've been playing about with Bru'n'water this evening as water treatment is one of my main fears of going AG. I based it on an American IPA AG kit The Malt Miller sells and according to my (2 year old water report) I've come up with the below.

Would this be a good start for my first AG brew?

Image

Meatymc
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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by Meatymc » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:14 pm

sonicated wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:32 am
Would this be a good start for my first AG brew?
I'd also be interested to hear comments on this.

I was doing some research last night and came across a lot - and I mean a LOT, of negativity re' Bru'n'water. Seems there are a fair number of (I assume) experienced 'craft' brewers in the UK who say to stay well clear of it.

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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by PeeBee » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:16 pm

sonicated wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:32 am
I've been playing about with Bru'n'water this evening ...

Would this be a good start for my first AG brew? ...
I think you are just illustrating the earlier comment about making water treatment appear complex when it's not.

But I use Bru'n Water and am just as guilty at making water treatment appear complex.

Your small addition of gypsum will be fine. You don't need to match up to the "pale ale profile" (that's a UK style pale ale profile). Perhaps boil the water night before to reduce the quite high bicarbonate levels (later you might use acids to reduce bicarbonate, but as I said - "later").

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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by Aleman » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:28 pm

I'm one of those who may be considered to be 'negative' about it. Yet I am a supporter, and have a paid for version.

I know water treatment looks confusing, and Brun'water does little to dispel this, indeed, as a beginner if I was to come across it with it's bright red warnings etc, I'd be worried that I was seriously going to screw up my beer. It's important to remember that those warnings are based on Martins likes and dislikes, they are not actually written in stone, it's a personal opinion nothing more. Unfortunately with the 'Water' book and Gordon Strong's book (Both US Authorites backing it up, or vice versa, and little happening here to counteract it, it's hard to get people to think about the whole water issue.

There are very few water sources in the UK that, with a little bit of simple treatment, will enable a brewer to make a damn fine beer, the water profile after treatment may well fall outside what is recommended by the programs and published profiles, but so what How does the beer taste?. If it tastes good then the profile was 'correct'.

For me it's quite simple. Yeast is responsible for 65 to 70% of the active flavour compounds in beer, the remaining 30-35% come from hops and malt. Water, despite making up over 95% of the end product, actually supplies less than 0.0001% of any flavour. What is does is biases the flavour profile from hoppy and or dry to Malty and or full / sweet. which is determined by the amount of sulphate and chloride ions present.

One thing that is important is that of alkalinity (Carbonate/bicarbonate ions) present, A simple test kit (Salifert Total Alkalinity) allows you measure this on the day of the brew, you can adjust it with AMS/CRS from good retailers (usually it requires reducing) down to around 20-25 for pale beers up to 100-125 for 'dark' beers. then you need sufficient calcium, personally I live in an area when calcium is usually very low, so always add a minimum of 75ppm of calcium (as a combination of gypsum and calcium chloride) to my mashing liquor. If you have had to reduce alkalinity with acids, then you may not need to do this.

It's not much more complex than that, other to say I use gypsum for the hoppy/dry beers, and calcium chloride for the malty ones, and have never found an issue when the chloride is more than 100 with high sulphate. Indeed Timmy Taylors Landlord is made with a high chloride high sulphate liquor.

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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by PeeBee » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:45 pm

(EDIT: I was tapping this out before Aleman posted his reply. I should say I'm also learning a lot about water treatment listening to him as well!)
Meatymc wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:14 pm
... I was doing some research last night and came across a lot - and I mean a LOT, of negativity re' Bru'n'water. Seems there are a fair number of (I assume) experienced 'craft' brewers in the UK who say to stay well clear of it.
Bru'n Water does attract a lot of negativity. It is quite a complex tool to wield and certainly OTT for new-comers.

It naturally is geared for the US market and over here in the UK we do seem to prefer more highly mineralised waters. But (after two years of using it) I am beginning to figure that it can be twisted to more highly mineralised UK tastes, a good illustration that it's not a tool for beginners (or some advanced brewers!). I'm learning a lot from using it (still learning, and I'm someone who has brewed beer for 40 years), but I don't really need that knowledge to brew good beer.


(EDIT: Change 45 to 40 years - jeez, I'm not that old! Or am I? I forget now.)
Last edited by PeeBee on Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Meatymc
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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by Meatymc » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:46 pm

Aleman

Ran your water treatment guide off this morning from 2014 and it's already helping me get my head around the issues involved. Not least helping shed light on possibly why I've been dissapointed with the hoppiness of my beers so far despite ramping up the amount and/or changing when they're introduced. I'm at a disadvantage as all my hops are home grown so of an unknown AA level but understanding what impacts various elements could be having on their utilisation can only improve things.

Clarity much appreciated

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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by sonicated » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:08 pm

Thanks for all the comments, they make a very interesting read. But now I am unsure whether to add the acid or not :)

Does the estimated mash pH in Bru'n'water take into account the alkalinity, pH, grain, mineral and acid additions? Would it change if I were to boil the night before and not add any acid?

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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by PeeBee » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:07 pm

sonicated wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:08 pm
Thanks for all the comments, they make a very interesting read. But now I am unsure whether to add the acid or not :)

Does the estimated mash pH in Bru'n'water take into account the alkalinity, pH, grain, mineral and acid additions? Would it change if I were to boil the night before and not add any acid?
Almost. It doesn't take into account the pH of the source water. No water calculator does because it is utterly irrelevant. Boiling water will reduce alkalinity (by causing bicarbonate to bond to calcium as carbonate, which is insoluble and sinks). But you wont know exactly what alkalinity is left without further testing; though it's how everyone dealt with it before, when we weren't so obsessed with it being exactly right.

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Re: Water Treatment Specialists - Warning Notice

Post by Aleman » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:35 pm

sonicated wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:08 pm
Thanks for all the comments, they make a very interesting read. But now I am unsure whether to add the acid or not :)

Does the estimated mash pH in Bru'n'water take into account the alkalinity, pH, grain, mineral and acid additions? Would it change if I were to boil the night before and not add any acid?
If that is your real alkalinity level add the acid. Boiling does reduce it, but it's expensive, and time consuming, plus I've never found it to be all that effective. It also removes calcium.

Bru'n'Water does use the work by Kohlbach in the 50's (using distilled water and pils malt) to make an attempt to predict what the mash pH would be based on grain bill etc,m but unless you have a pH meter and know how to use it how will you know?? What I've found making lots of test mashes and measuring the pH, is as long as the alkalinity is appropriate for the beer style (colour) and there is sufficient calcium the mash pH will fall in the range of 5.3 to 5.7 which is bloody good enough honestly.

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