Water treatment primer

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

Water treatment primer

Postby HTH1975 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:27

Very good water treatment primer here... https://www.brewuk.co.uk/blog/brewing-w ... 378680bdac

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby Aleman » Tue Apr 04, 2017 13:39

Hmmm! I would like to comment, but then I would have to ban myself!

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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: Water treatment primer

Postby xCamel xSlayer » Tue Apr 04, 2017 14:19

Aleman wrote:Hmmm! I would like to comment, but then I would have to ban myself!



How so?
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby NickW » Tue Apr 04, 2017 14:25

Aleman wrote:Hmmm! I would like to comment, but then I would have to ban myself!


Do comment!
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby Saccharomyces » Tue Apr 04, 2017 14:34

Was that really written by Greg Hughes, the guy who wrote the DK book? With no proof reading or technical correction evident, can it really be an extract from a published author?

A bit of a shocker!
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby HTH1975 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 19:17

If there are any inaccuracies then speak up - we're all here to learn.

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby Eric » Tue Apr 04, 2017 20:51

HTH1975 wrote:If there are any inaccuracies then speak up - we're all here to learn.


It's badly written and misleading at best. It would take at least four time as many words to correct the errors which would lead to even greater confusion.

"To lower pH you need to add acidify the mash." A Mash will inevitably be acidic regardless. To lower mash pH you need to reduce alkalinity or increase calcium.

If you have a high level of alkalinity in your water you should never consider using lactic acid or acid malt to neutralise it, while in correct circumstances you can use either.

It goes on in the same vein and it's stuff like this that makes a relatively straightforward subject so hard to grasp.
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby HTH1975 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 21:36

I thought that if you want to reduce mash pH you'd use an acid of some kind to achieve this?

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby NickW » Tue Apr 04, 2017 21:44

"
If you have a high level of alkalinity in your water you should never consider using lactic acid or acid malt to neutralise it, while in correct circumstances you can use either."

Could you elaborate? I am a little confused!
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby Eric » Tue Apr 04, 2017 22:16

HTH1975 wrote:I thought that if you want to reduce mash pH you'd use an acid of some kind to achieve this?


You might, most American experts will advise you to do so, yet you may have water with no alkalinity, then what does the acid do? Just think about that.

Nick, you know fine well why. For others, lactic is an organic acid which don't have as much effect as mineral acids of the same normality. They create a buffer which will reduce the natural rate of fall in pH in subsequent processes to the detriment of the finished product. Lactic also influence flavour, frequently for the better in small amounts but larger quantities will not appeal to most.
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby HTH1975 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 23:18

If the water is low alkalinity, then the buffering capability is reduced. So by adding acid to lower pH, would we be reducing the buffering ability of the liquor to fall within the desired pH range?

I've found that almost regardless of my grain bill, the mash pH falls into the desired 5.2-5.5 range by itself. I've got fairly high alkalinity at approx 140ppm.

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby NickW » Wed Apr 05, 2017 06:56

Cheers for the clear up Eric. I use CRS normally myself, but wasn't aware of that fact regarding lactic acid and acid malt.
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby HTH1975 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 07:49

I use CRS too. Afaik it adds chloride and sulphate in addition to reducing alkalinity.

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby Eric » Wed Apr 05, 2017 09:48

HTH1975 wrote:I use CRS too. Afaik it adds chloride and sulphate in addition to reducing alkalinity.


CRS is a mix of sulphuric and hydrochloric acids. You might care to search youtube to see a reaction between sulphuric acid and sugar before repeating the above again.

CRS is very useful in brewing when used correctly. It might be suitable for use in Thirsk and many other places but anyone in Glagow with water from Loch Katrine, Manchester and areas to its North with water from Thirlmere or Haweswater and most living in Cornwall and Devon might not be helped if using it to lower pH.

There a lot of good information to read and learn from, but it is necessary to be selective and avoid the poor and frequently badly written information that abounds.
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby HTH1975 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:14

I've watched a video on sulphuric acid and sugar - good to be aware of this, but at the concentrations we use this stuff I doubt this has any real bearing.

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby Aleman » Wed Apr 05, 2017 16:10

HTH1975 wrote:If the water is low alkalinity, then the buffering capability is reduced. So by adding acid to lower pH, would we be reducing the buffering ability of the liquor to fall within the desired pH range?

Sort of, my water has an alkalinity of between 24-34mg/l so you would think an all pale (or pilsner) malt beer would have a mash pH of around 5.2 to 5.4, and yet without water treatment the mash pH is around 5.8 to 5.9. Reducing the alkalinity even to zero or below does not have a dramatic effect on the mash pH, until you ad a significant amount of acid, and then the mash pH crashes. The answer to this conundrum is not to add acid, but to increase calcium, alkalinity of 25, adding 75mg/l calcium, all pils grist, mash pH 5.4.

(*) and for those of you that haven't heard it before as little as 6ml of lactic acid in 75L of liquor is above the taste threshold in some individuals . . . me being one.

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: Water treatment primer

Postby HTH1975 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 19:35

Aleman wrote:
HTH1975 wrote:If the water is low alkalinity, then the buffering capability is reduced. So by adding acid to lower pH, would we be reducing the buffering ability of the liquor to fall within the desired pH range?

Sort of, my water has an alkalinity of between 24-34mg/l so you would think an all pale (or pilsner) malt beer would have a mash pH of around 5.2 to 5.4, and yet without water treatment the mash pH is around 5.8 to 5.9. Reducing the alkalinity even to zero or below does not have a dramatic effect on the mash pH, until you ad a significant amount of acid, and then the mash pH crashes. The answer to this conundrum is not to add acid, but to increase calcium, alkalinity of 25, adding 75mg/l calcium, all pils grist, mash pH 5.4.

(*) and for those of you that haven't heard it before as little as 6ml of lactic acid in 75L of liquor is above the taste threshold in some individuals . . . me being one.


To quote 'The Dude'... "that's feckin interesting man".

I know that calcium is important for a healthy fermentation and also head retention. However, it also appears to interact with alkalinity, and the ability to lower pH.

It all seems very interactive with crossover between various elements. Definitely not a simple subject, but I'm learning all the time. I definitely think that understanding and adapting your water is key to making great beer.

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby Eric » Wed Apr 05, 2017 20:07

HTH1975 wrote:I've watched a video on sulphuric acid and sugar - good to be aware of this, but at the concentrations we use this stuff I doubt this has any real bearing.


You are quite right that it won't be anything like that, but without alkalinity the acid will not be neutralised so might instead just take the nickel off the heating element in your HLT.

However, you should be congratulated on getting mash pH consistently between 5.2 and 5.5. I find most base malts have reasonably predictable influence on mash mash pH, but crystal and darker malts together with raw and treated unmalted grains vary by supplier and harvest, sometimes even batch to batch to put a spanner in the works.

Calcium is the most influential ion in water for brewing. Its importance for healthy fermentation is relatively insignificant in comparison to its value and purpose in all other stages, magnesium plays a bigger role in fermentation. Calcium protects enzymes in the mash, deposits oxalates and phosphates, the latter process reducing pH. It can reduce or eliminate extraction of unwanted such as tannins and polyphenols. In the boil it also lowers pH, enable hot break to form and copper finings to be effective. it's value shouldnever be underestimated.

I'm interested in your water, it sounds quite similar to mine. Who did your analysis and how consistent is it? I know Thirsk reasonably well, we'll often stop there for fish and chips on the way home when coming from the South. It's on Cod Beck but I'll presume the water won't be from Cod Back Reservoir. I know that too although I've never investigated its water it would surprise me if it had alkalinity as high as 140ppm. I presume yours must be groundwater, do you know where it comes from?
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby HTH1975 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 20:49

I've had my water analysed by Murphys twice - early 2016 and early 2017. It's pretty consistent with the Yorkshire water report... http://www.ywonline.co.uk/web/WQZ.nsf/0 ... %20WSZ.pdf

Mind, when I spoke to Yorkshire water, they said that there are two water sources for my area (one being Cod Beck at Osmotherley). Not sure if the other source, but it's much less alkaline, which makes for wide values in certain measurements on the Yorkshire Water report. For instance, alkalinity between 60-119ppm.

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby Eric » Wed Apr 05, 2017 21:55

Many thanks for this and must admit to being somewhat surprised by the data and information.

"The water supplied to the zone is classified as being hard water, which is spring/borehole/river/reservoir derived. As we have a grid system in
place whereby we can move water around the Yorkshire region as required, occasionally the hardness of your water may vary."


I don't know, but from observation it seems to me the water in Cod Back Reservoir would not be as hard as those figures suggest, particularly with respect to the given amount of magnesium (a mean of 16ppm) being significantly higher that I would think to be in surface water running off heather covered Ravenscar Sandstone moorland. At my last visit the reservoir was exceptionally and at the next visit I must bring home a sample.

I think from what you say your water is mostly borehole water with supply from Cod Beck only when circumstances demanded for I suspect the two waters will be very different. What level did Murphy's give for magnesium and did you agree with their reported alkalinity?
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby HTH1975 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 23:16

14.89ppm magnesium from Murphys water sample.

I would agree that my water is highly alkaline as it suits porter/stouts perfectly without much treatment other than a bit calcium chloride to bring up the malt balance.

If I don't soften the water and balance out the high sulphates, paler beers tend to be too sharp.

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby Eric » Thu Apr 06, 2017 00:12

I suspect your water comes from boreholes into the rocks beneath your feet and only as an emergency measure from Cod Beck. There some data here should it interest you.

Your water's fine for both pale and darker beers when suitably treated. CRS is probably ideal for making pale beers, but I'd be inclined to reduce alkalinity for darker beers too, using hydrochloric acid as the sulphate level is already high. I now tend to brew darker beers with less calcium than pales and find that 75ppm alkalinity is enough for the mash and sparge with less alkalinity.

Our waters are not altogether dissimilar in their make ups. I too have hard water, alkalinity was 255ppm as CaCO3 when I brewed on Saturday. I find reducing alkalinity is much less of a task than adding large amounts salts.
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby HTH1975 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:05

Eric wrote:I suspect your water comes from boreholes into the rocks beneath your feet and only as an emergency measure from Cod Beck. There some data here should it interest you.

Your water's fine for both pale and darker beers when suitably treated. CRS is probably ideal for making pale beers, but I'd be inclined to reduce alkalinity for darker beers too, using hydrochloric acid as the sulphate level is already high. I now tend to brew darker beers with less calcium than pales and find that 75ppm alkalinity is enough for the mash and sparge with less alkalinity.

Our waters are not altogether dissimilar in their make ups. I too have hard water, alkalinity was 255ppm as CaCO3 when I brewed on Saturday. I find reducing alkalinity is much less of a task than adding large amounts salts.


Most of that report went right over my head.

How are you measuring alkalinity on your brewday?

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby xCamel xSlayer » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:20

THIS IS THE MOST FASCINATING SUBJECT I THINK I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED! :geek: :geek:

P.S. I'm not even being sarcastic!
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Re: Water treatment primer

Postby jaroporter » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:25

HTH1975 wrote:Very good water treatment primer here...
viewtopic.php?t=907


Fixed that for you ;)
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