CSE Chemistry Grade 2

While Beer is 90-97% water, it is a very tricky subject.

CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby jonnymorris » Sun May 22, 2016 11:08

You'll need to be 45+ to know what CSEs were but, in short, if you weren't fit to take an O-level (GCSE) you took a CSE. With only achieving a grade 2, it's fair to say Chemistry wasn't my strong suit. Now that's said, I've been looking at my water and am getting flashbacks to Mr Egan's Chemistry class.

I have a Salifert Kit and have tested my water's alkalinity (or hardness?), 165mg/L as CaCO3. I've also got the following from my water report;

Ca 59
Mg 9.6
Na 31
SO4 57
Cl 28

I have treated my water in the past using Jim's Liquor Treatment Calculator by GW to establish I needed c.30ml of CRS, c.8g of gypsum and a dash of calcium chloride in 35L of liquor for a bitter. I've been going through it again and have realised I'm way out of my depth. I had a look at Bru'n Water which is even more in depth and BeerSmith2 which seems a bit too simplistic.

I'm happy to give Murphy's water testing service a go (if it's any good and they're still doing it) or can someone give us a few pointers based on my water profile above? My default brew is a malty English bitter, fairly low on bitterness and not too hoppy.

Thanks.
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby mark1964 » Sun May 22, 2016 11:29

ive been using Jims treatment calc for years its not 100% but ive certainly made some good beers from using it. Now i dont add salts just treat with acids

ITS TIME 4 ANOTHER BEER
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby StevieDS » Sun May 22, 2016 12:57

I recommend you have another look at Bru'n water. While it can seem a little daunting at first it's fairly straightforward once you've played about with it. Have a look at the water knowledge page, it explains things fairly simply.

Your low mineral content water profile is a great starting point! Put very simply, I would increase the Ca to 100ppm or so using calcium chloride for malty beers or gypsum for hoppy beers. Remove chlorine with campden tab. Adjust the bicarbonate level to bring the mash ph into the right area (enter your grain bill in Bru'n water and it'll tell you the expected ph). Bingo, job done. It doesn't need to be complicated :thumb:

"The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."

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Conditioning: AG51 Brett Saison, AG48 Biere de Garde, AG42 Westvleteren XII Clone, AG29 Lambic v1.0
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby Dennis King » Sun May 22, 2016 14:08

Murphy's have gained a bad reputation in the last few years. I strongly recommend using wallybrews service. I have also read that Bru'n water is too American orientated and not to good for British profiles.
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby StevieDS » Sun May 22, 2016 15:03

Dennis King wrote:I have also read that Bru'n water is too American orientated and not to good for British profiles.

I'm not sure what that means, you put your own water profile in.

"The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."

Planning: Brett Amarillo Smash
Fermenting: AG52 Brett Saison v2, AG41 Lambic v2.0
Conditioning: AG51 Brett Saison, AG48 Biere de Garde, AG42 Westvleteren XII Clone, AG29 Lambic v1.0
Drinking: AG51 Brett Saison v1, AG53 Standard Bitter
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby Dennis King » Sun May 22, 2016 15:13

StevieDS wrote:
Dennis King wrote:I have also read that Bru'n water is too American orientated and not to good for British profiles.

I'm not sure what that means, you put your own water profile in.


Just seem to remember, I think it was on Jim's, they would not allow for the higher mineral levels we tend to use compared with America. As I've never used it I might be totally wrong but I thought some who know a lot more than me were questioning some of their science.
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby jonnymorris » Sun May 22, 2016 20:01

Thanks all. Great forum.

StevieDS wrote:I recommend you have another look at Bru'n water.
I have done so and remember why I gave up (apart from the chemistry)... a pretty drastic ion imbalance (c.3) bringing into question the water report... OK, after writing that I've been back in and realised that bicarbonate HCO3 is alkalinity, or at least one of the seemingly many ways of expressing it, and having added the figure my ion imbalance is back within tolerance. There is, however, still much to do with this spreadsheet :scratch:. If I can get it to even half way agree with GW's calculator I'd be happy.

StevieDS wrote:I would increase the Ca to 100ppm or so using calcium chloride for malty beers or gypsum for hoppy beers. Remove chlorine with campden tab.
Great tips. Campden is the only chemistry I actually do practice.

Will keep wallybrews in my back pocket, thanks Dennis.
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby Good Ed » Sun May 22, 2016 22:36

jonnymorris wrote:Will keep wallybrews in my back pocket, thanks Dennis.


It's a guaranteed way of knowing what comes out of your tap, it's money well spent and if you do it a few times a year you will have a very good idea of your water.

Bru'n Water has a reputation here for giving you a low mineral content of your liquor, which does not bring out the true flavour of British ales.

Here's to the man who drinks strong ale,
and goes to bed quite mellow.
Lives as he ought to live,
and dies a jolly good fellow.
- Old English folk song
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby StevieDS » Mon May 23, 2016 00:14

Bru'n Water has a reputation here for giving you a low mineral content of your liquor, which does not bring out the true flavour of British ales.

If you mean that the recommended upper limits for certain minerals are quite low you may be right, but Bru'n water is simply a way of calculating how much of certain minerals to add to get the water profile you want.

If you want to ignore those recommendations and go higher for certain beer styles you can, I often do myself. I've used it to great effect for crisp clean pilsners, jet black imperial stouts, bitter hop-bursted DIPAs and everything in between.

"The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."

Planning: Brett Amarillo Smash
Fermenting: AG52 Brett Saison v2, AG41 Lambic v2.0
Conditioning: AG51 Brett Saison, AG48 Biere de Garde, AG42 Westvleteren XII Clone, AG29 Lambic v1.0
Drinking: AG51 Brett Saison v1, AG53 Standard Bitter
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby jonnymorris » Mon May 23, 2016 13:09

Good Ed wrote:It's {wallybrew} a guaranteed way of knowing what comes out of your tap...
Yes but that's only half the story, what to do with the information being the other. I believe Murphy's water report used also to recommend the treatment based on the results. If I can't figure out GW's calculator or Bru'n Water that's what I'm after.
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby Aleman » Mon May 23, 2016 14:06

jonnymorris wrote:
Good Ed wrote:It's {wallybrew} a guaranteed way of knowing what comes out of your tap...
Yes but that's only half the story, what to do with the information being the other. I believe Murphy's water report used also to recommend the treatment based on the results. If I can't figure out GW's calculator or Bru'n Water that's what I'm after.

It depends on what you want as results. Using 'others' recommended treatment leads you down the route of brewing beer to what they believe the beer style you are brewing should taste like.

Murphys guidelines for the styles are pretty wide ranging giving you a huge opportunity for various treatments.
Brun Water has very specific guidelines, and these tend to err on the 'Avoid Over Mineralisation At All Costs' approach

The other factor is that we actually all perceive taste differently and what we expect a beer to taste like will be influenced greatly by the beers we used to drink in our youth. Trying to adapt to a 'One Perfect Profile' may well lead to disappointment.

For your traditional bitter, using readily available water treatments, I would probably go with something along these lines.

25L Brew length, 30L of liquor, 18L in the Mash 12L in the sparge.

For 18L of Mash Liquor treat with 11.5ml of CRS, and add 2g of gypsum and 0.7g of calcium chloride.
For 12L of Sparge Liquor treat with 9.5ml of CRS, and add 0.7g of gypsum and 0.2g of calcium chloride.

In the Mash this will give you Calcium of 96, Sulphate 177 and Chloride of 87, having reduced the alkalinity to 50 (Assuming you have a reasonable/moderate amount of crystal or roast malts in the grist). In the sparge the Alkalinity will be reduced to 25 (You always need low alkalinity liquor for sparging) Calcium will be around 59, with sulphate of 125 and chloride of 78.

So the idea is that for the mash liquor you adjust alkalinity to that for your grist, and then aim for a 2:1 sulphate to chloride ratio. The sparge liquor doesn't really need that much treatment, apart from alkalinity adjustment.

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby jonnymorris » Mon May 23, 2016 14:22

Tony, you are the man. Thanks. It's interesting and encouraging that you have agreed with the additions GW's calculator gave me when I last tried it; CRS, gypsum and calcium chloride.

I'm currently reading through the water chemistry info on Bru'n Water (slow work day) and will go back to that spreadsheet with renewed vigor.

Thanks all again.
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby jonnymorris » Fri May 27, 2016 18:17

Brief update on my chemistry lesson for the record;

I've donated to Mr Bru'n Water and now have a more up-to-date version of the spreadsheet with CRS as an option and have also contacted wallybrew with a view to getting my water tested.

Playing around with Bru'n Water I can get my alkalinity down to c.40 with CRS but then my RA is low. I don't want any more sulphate so gypsum is out and if I add calcium chloride to reduce the sulphate/chrloride ratio (aiming to reduce from 1.7 to nearer 1.0 to reduce bitterness and bring out the malt) my calcium goes up (naturally) which then reduces RA even further. In short, whilst I have a much better idea of what's going on its bloody complicated!

I brewed today with just CRS to reduce the alkalinity - keeping it simple - and feel much better about having control over at least one* of the variables.

Mr Egan (chemistry teacher) would be impressed.

*make that three; bicarbonate, chloride and sulphate
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby Aleman » Fri May 27, 2016 18:26

And this is when you need someone to say

"Ignore all that guff about Residual Alkalinity, and any warnings that come up"

Just a hint, a Burton profile treated to reduce alkalinity (bicarbonate) has a low residual alkalinity . . . Negative in fact, it's not a problem, if you treat your water properly it is actually desired. Another example the 'Pilsen Profile' has low residual alkalinity, in fact you have to lower it further with a calcium salt to help the mash pH fall in the 5.3-5.6 range ;) . . .Two massively different profiles but with a low residual alkalinity

Residual alkalinity is a calculated value from a theoretical concept, and never one I actually worry about, or look at. I worry about three things

Alkalinity
Calcium
sulphate : chloride ratio.

Get the first two right the mash pH falls where I want it, use the ratio to balance dry/hoppy : full/malty flavours.

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby Good Ed » Fri May 27, 2016 21:48

Aleman wrote:I actually worry about, or look at. I worry about three things

Alkalinity
Calcium
sulphate : chloride ratio.

Get the first two right the mash pH falls where I want it, use the ratio to balance dry/hoppy : full/malty flavours.


I took this advice some years ago and suggest you do the same

Here's to the man who drinks strong ale,
and goes to bed quite mellow.
Lives as he ought to live,
and dies a jolly good fellow.
- Old English folk song
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby jonnymorris » Fri Jun 10, 2016 20:14

Regarding the sulphate : chloride ratio;

Would you have any concerns driving the chloride concentration up to 175ppm or even 200ppm with the aim of achieving a ratio of 1:2 (my sulphate concentration is 100ppm)?

Bru'n Water suggests a recommended chloride limit of 100ppm and that this should actually be reduced further with a high sulphate concentration. If this is true then I'd need to reduce sulphate rather than increase chloride to get anywhere near 1:2 and promote a malty profile which sounds like it might be tricky.

Last edited by jonnymorris on Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby Good Ed » Fri Jun 10, 2016 23:48

jonnymorris wrote:Regarding the sulphate : chloride ratio;

Would you have any concerns driving the chloride concentration up to 175ppm or even 200ppm with the aim of achieving a ratio of 0.75/0.5 (my sulphate concentration is 100ppm)?

Bru'n Water suggests a recommended chloride limit of 100ppm and that this should actually be reduced further with a high sulphate concentration. If this is true then I'd need to reduce sulphate rather than increase chloride to get anywhere near 0.5 and promote a malty profile which sounds like it might be tricky.


You have hit on one of the nubs of the issue. And not knowing all the chemistry behind it, British ales have been brewed with higher levels of salts, which is of course different to our cousins over the pond.

SO4:Cl ratio is fairly simple, using CaSO4 (gypsum) and CaCl, use more SO4 for dryer hoppy beers and more Cl for malty beers. So for example for a typical pale ale use a ratio of 2:1 and for a mild use a ratio of 1:3. In addition get your alkalinity right and also your calcium right you'll be fine, regardless if these fit into a profile from a bit of software from over there.

My last mild was brewed with liquor of mash alkalinity of 100ppm and sparge of 25ppm, calcium to 200ppm, SO4 80ppm and Cl to 280ppm. It tastes good, so don't worry too much about it, you'll soon know if something doesn't taste right.

Here's to the man who drinks strong ale,
and goes to bed quite mellow.
Lives as he ought to live,
and dies a jolly good fellow.
- Old English folk song
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Re: CSE Chemistry Grade 2

Postby Eric » Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:29

Good Ed wrote:
jonnymorris wrote:Regarding the sulphate : chloride ratio;

Would you have any concerns driving the chloride concentration up to 175ppm or even 200ppm with the aim of achieving a ratio of 0.75/0.5 (my sulphate concentration is 100ppm)?

Bru'n Water suggests a recommended chloride limit of 100ppm and that this should actually be reduced further with a high sulphate concentration. If this is true then I'd need to reduce sulphate rather than increase chloride to get anywhere near 0.5 and promote a malty profile which sounds like it might be tricky.


You have hit on one of the nubs of the issue. And not knowing all the chemistry behind it, British ales have been brewed with higher levels of salts, which is of course different to our cousins over the pond.

SO4:Cl ratio is fairly simple, using CaSO4 (gypsum) and CaCl, use more SO4 for dryer hoppy beers and more Cl for malty beers. So for example for a typical pale ale use a ratio of 2:1 and for a mild use a ratio of 1:3. In addition get your alkalinity right and also your calcium right you'll be fine, regardless if these fit into a profile from a bit of software from over there.

My last mild was brewed with liquor of mash alkalinity of 100ppm and sparge of 25ppm, calcium to 200ppm, SO4 80ppm and Cl to 280ppm. It tastes good, so don't worry too much about it, you'll soon know if something doesn't taste right.


Totally agree.

My untreated tapwater is short of calcium and too alkaline for most brewing purposes. Treated it will make a vast range of good beers, the overwhelming majority having more than 100ppm chloride. Chloride's major influence in beer is to provide palate fullness and to enhance malt flavours which is probably not desirable in American style hoppy beers. Dark beers brewed with more sulphate than chloride are too frequently dry with bitterness and astringency extracted from dark grains. The accepted taste threshold of chloride in water is 200ppm. If 50 years ago there had been a rule to keep chloride below 100ppm I would almost certainly have given up on this great hobby.
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