Water treatment

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Water treatment

Post by cristian.n » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:48 pm

hi guys, I am just starting the water chemistry adventure and I am already hitting walls :roll:
I have the water report available from Pheonix analytical but I'm struggling to understand how to adjust the water and Ph into the water calculators.
I used 3 water calculators so far (beersmith, Graham Wheeler, brewfather) and each of them added a new layer of confusion :)

first some info:

- my water profile: Ca= 56; Mg=12,7; Na=2,1; SO4=23,5; Cl=4,9 HCO3=198; Total Alkalinity as Caco3= 162
- I mostly brew session IPAs, NEIPA, Pale Ales
- mash water volume 30L

1. Beersmith is recommending salts additions to bring Ca, Mg, Na, SO4, Cl close to target profile but does not touch the levels of HCO3 considering it's in the safe range. The other values are also in the safe range but adjusted to be closer to the target profile.
2. Brewfather, on the other hand, has some very nice recipe integration taking into account the grain bill and another layer of target water by style. Ca, Mg, Na, Cl values are adjusted to match target profile but SO4 is half the target and HCO3 unchanged. (6ml of Lactic Acid is used to lower the Ph to 5.46)
3. Graham Wheeler looks to match the target profile as desired by adding CRS (AMS). I suppose that CO3-HCO3-CaCo3 are somehow connected :idea:

my questions:
- are grains influencing the levels of Ca, Mg, Na, SO4, Cl, HCO3/CO3 after added to treated water? (i know Ph is changing)
- why SO4 value is not increased in the brewfather calculator? due to SO4/Cl ratio?
- Graham Wheeler is adding this new to me CO3 (calculated automatically after Alkalinity is added) and is pointing out that "Carbonate levels are too high" and adjustment is needed. Adding requested CRS(AMS), all looks great. Understanding that HCO3 and CO3 are somehow connected, why Beersmith considers normal such a big value and why brewfather does not offer a "cure" for it.
- as Lactic acid addition is recommended not to exceed 5%, should I consider any maximum values for AMS?
- is it important to have grains, salts and ph adjustment working together on the same calculator?

thank you for your patience :D
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Graham Wheeler
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Re: Water treatment

Post by Eric » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:43 pm

Welcome to the confusing world of water treatment. Master it and your beers should be greatly improved.

No two water calculators will give you the same result as there is no unique water profile to make a perfect beer that satisfies all tastes.

The most common way of reporting alkalinity is is mg/l of CaCO3. This mutiplied by 1.22 give the same quantity in terms of HCO3 or by 0.6 as CO3. The latter is used in Graham's calculator in part to demonstrate how an ion balance is calculated and is explained to some degree in the notes which are a very worthwhile read.

There will be no upper limit to the amount of AMS/CRS with your water when producing all styles of ales as there is when using lactic for reasons of taste or the potential problems of calcium losses when using phosphoric acid. For pale ales it will be essential to substantially reduce alkalinity and as seen in Graham's calculator by using CRS for this purpose sulphate and chloride are both increased while all else remains unchanged.

Water treatment does need to be tailored to suit the grains used and the flavours required. Pale beers require little alkalinity while darker ones tolerate more. Sulphate will produce a drier beer while chloride produces a fuller drink. Graham's notes provide a good starting point.
Without patience, life becomes difficult and the sooner it's finished, the better.

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Re: Water treatment

Post by cristian.n » Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:09 pm

Thank you Eric!

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Re: Water treatment

Post by RobP » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:51 pm

Here are some links to articles on how salts in the water affect mash pH and flavour perception. These are links I bookmarked for myself, I haven't tested them so may be broken. I like the Bru'n Water calculator, it's a little complicated but comprehensive.


http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... ter_report

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... view_of_pH
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... ts_brewing
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... pH_control

http://beersmith.com/blog/2016/02/11/th ... itterness/

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