bicarbonate levels

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

bicarbonate levels

Postby mark1964 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 15:49

How would i find out the bicarbonate levels in my water. Im using bru n water and need to calculate it for the recipe im doing

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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby PeeBee » Mon Aug 08, 2016 16:44

You probably don't!

This is the most confusing part of water analysis. Bru'n Water has bits for giving the required figures from one of a variety of figures you may have been given (on the "water report input" page). Even then you may not extract the figure you want from the Water Authority reports and may have to get an "Alkalinity Tester" (Salifert is a popular one). And to make matters more confusing "hardness" and "alkalinity" might both be expressed "as" CaCO3 and the figures will be different ("as CaCO3" which is not the same as "is").

So it isn't "bicarbonate" level you want, it's "hardness" and "alkalinity" in whatever measure you happen to have them in: Bru'n Water will then get what it wants from those figures.
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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby mark1964 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 18:41

i already test with a salifert kit i already input alkilinity etc its just that im leaving the bicarb input as zero and just wondered if there was a workable figure i could enter

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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby Eric » Mon Aug 08, 2016 20:02

mark1964 wrote:i already test with a salifert kit i already input alkilinity etc its just that im leaving the bicarb input as zero and just wondered if there was a workable figure i could enter


The quantity of alkalinity can be expressed in any of several measurements, one of which is as bicarbonate. It is also frequently expressed in terms of calcium carbonate or milliequivalents. As you already enter a value found with a Salifert kit test, you would be duplicating the entry if you also entered it's measurement in terms of bicarbonate.
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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby mark1964 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 20:11

best to leave it alone then

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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby AltonAnt » Tue Aug 09, 2016 08:19

In the version I have (from 2013) you enter the measured alkalinity and pH and it calculates the bicarbonate.
You then enter this figure in a field above it.
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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby mark1964 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 14:04

same with mine

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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby Eric » Tue Aug 09, 2016 15:14

AltonAnt wrote:In the version I have (from 2013) you enter the measured alkalinity and pH and it calculates the bicarbonate.
You then enter this figure in a field above it.


Alkalinity as bicarbonate = alkalinity as calcium carbonate multiplied by 1.22 or alkalinity in milliequivalents multiplied by 61. There is no relationship between alkalinity in natural water and pH.

I doubt calculators for water treatment solve as many problems as they cause.
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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby AltonAnt » Tue Aug 09, 2016 18:39

I'm guessing it is not definitive Eric but for me the results from that spreadsheet have matched recorded figures such as mash pH so I'm happy.
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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby PeeBee » Wed Aug 10, 2016 06:08

AltonAnt wrote:I'm guessing it is not definitive Eric but for me the results from that spreadsheet have matched recorded figures such as mash pH so I'm happy.

I think Eric was missing a word out: "There is no direct relationship...". "Bru'n Water" makes a good stab at the results from whatever is available, I'm sure if you want to be pedantic you can poke lots of holes in "Bru'n Water". My biggest gripe with it is that it has me determined to weigh stuff out to the nearest hundredth of a gram.

Poor "Mark1964", I did reply to is original question that this was a confusing subject, and see what's happened? We've all ganged up on him to try and fry his mind (and each others, and anyone else's that has come too close).
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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby mark1964 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 07:18

I trust the program. I need some scales that weigh 0.1 of a gram now

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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby PeeBee » Wed Aug 10, 2016 09:38

mark1964 wrote:I trust the program. I need some scales that weigh 0.1 of a gram now

These are what I've just started trying out: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01 ... UTF8&psc=1.

The old ones corroded in all those salts and packed up: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Digital-Pocke ... 19f4b79d7e.

They both weigh to 0.01g so you probably have no choice but to sink into the manic chasing of hundredths of a gram.
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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby PeeBee » Wed Aug 10, 2016 09:58

Oh, and just in case we haven't done a good job of frying your brain...

Bru'n Water does allow additions of bicarbonate (baking powder) to alter alkalinity, and also "pickling lime" ("slaked lime" in UK). Heck of a lot better than chalk which doesn't dissolve so you are left wondering what it did for you.

And if manic chasing of 1/100s of a gram isn't enough, you can start sourcing all the weird and wonderful salts like magnesium chloride and calcium hydroxide (the slaked lime), and phosphoric acid while about it. Ebay is a good hunting ground.
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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby mark1964 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:32

I have all the salts already just need the scales. I generally play with the additions part to get the right pH in the mash/sparge etc

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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby Aleman » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:34

Hundredths of grams :rofl: a gram of two either way makes B All difference!!!!

All the love for Brun' Water (And I am a paid supporter BTW, despite the fact that Martin no longer sends me any updates :( . . . I'm not feeling the love) reminds me of a song a friend wrote while at school

"Don't worry, we'll all be American Someday!"

Why the dislike for Brun'Water? It's overly complex, it's laid out in a confusing manner, it attempts to predict something, that naturally falls where you need it to be with simple treatment, it over emphasises Martins beliefs that over mineralisation is 'bad', we've noted several errors in the spreadsheet over time, it tends to go down the route that there is an 'ideal' water profile for a beer style.Martin suggests using phosphoric acid for alkalinity reduction, and yet his method now is to use RO water, having told me that he disagreed with Gordon Strong using that approach. phosphoric acid has issues, it does cause precipitation of 'calcium phosphates', in the HLT, Mash Tun and Kettle, these are difficult to remove which can lead to element failure.

Having said all that, it's results broadly agree with the values I've determined experimentally for a limited set of styles. . . but at extremes of water types and beer styles it varies significantly.

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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby AltonAnt » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:39

Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.

I only ever use the 'style' profiles and then only for rough guidance and am far too slapdash to worry about whole grams let alone tenths or hundredths :)
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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby PeeBee » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:47

Aleman wrote:Hundredths of grams :rofl: a gram of two either way makes B All difference!!!! ...

Ahhh don't. As if water treatment, cheap scales that weigh 1/100th gram, and the Bru'n Water spreadsheet isn't having a severe enough impact on my state of anxiety, you have to rub it in?



I have noticed the lack of support (limited or no replies to emails) and some errors in Bru'n Water. Like if you use slaked lime or chalk there is an option to calculate extra gypsum and CaCl2 additions in the sparge water (mustn't add chalk or alkaline salts to sparge water) keeping calcium and the sulphate-chloride ratio the same; but it doesn't work, in fact the results can be 4 or 5 times what would be needed.
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Re: bicarbonate levels

Postby PeeBee » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:54

AltonAnt wrote:Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools. ...

<<< Fools? Well you only have to look at my avatar to see I don't try to hide that fact.
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