My water treatment journey starts here!

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

Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Gethin79 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 18:04

GrahamT wrote:And I would suggest adding the CRS progressively and retesting, before adding the grains. My CRS appeared about 15% more effective than the calcs would suggest this weekend. In the past, I reckon I may have reduced the alkalinity more than I realised. [Sorry if someone has suggested that already above - to much to reread!]

Thanks for that.

I'm going to wait until I have the results of my full water sample to see what else is in my water. I'm intending on using separate hydrochloric and sulphuric acids depending on what I'm brewing. :thumb:
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby mark1964 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 18:10

you should have a table on the syringe readings

Last edited by mark1964 on Tue Jun 23, 2015 18:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby mark1964 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 18:12

Dennis King wrote:
mark1964 wrote:the kit is just for alkalinity when you depress the small thin syringe and the water in the test vial turns just pink take a reading of the syringe. X that reading by 50 to get the figure you need> Salifert alkililinty testing kit is what we use. It cant be used on mash ph. A ph meter can be used though for testing mash


You need to cross reference the reading on the table they provide in the alkalinity column and multiply that number by 50

Yes sorry forgot to mention the bit of paper with the cross referencing on

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby mark1964 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 18:15

your water alkalinity is nearly the same as ours. It can vary though a lot here depending on rainfall etc. The last brew we did on Sunday it was 268. Yorkshire water have it on their site as 154 don't know when or where they got that reading from

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Raptor » Tue Jun 23, 2015 20:25

GrowlingDog wrote:The challenge with the acids is supply and then testing them.

Murphy's don't sell Sulphuric Acid any more to home brewers, probably as we all complained that it was a lot stronger than advertised. I have found some lab grade sulphuric acid on eBay which should be fine, but you will need to test the strength of it once you get it.




Could you please share the link? I will need some more soon and shame that we can't get the Murphy's stuff
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Eric » Tue Jun 23, 2015 20:54

Don't let this put you off, but concentrated sulphuric acid needs to be handled with care.
Don't test concentrated acid before it has been diluted and don't dilute it until you know how.
See this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg9wmU7Z-6s
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Gethin79 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 21:10

Powerful stuff alright!

Don't worry, I'm under no illusion about how dangerous this stuff can be...once I get hold of some I'll be making sure I get it right...and will be buying some decent gloves!!!
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby GrowlingDog » Tue Jun 23, 2015 22:08

I can't find it now, glad I've got a big bottle, I won't be needing any for a while.
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Gethin79 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 22:31

http://www.amazon.co.uk/1000ml-Sulphuri ... huric+acid

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Hydrochloric- ... 1580207414

Would this stuff do it? So many different variants about...which I'm guessing aren't the same?!
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby mark1964 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 06:40

Is there any info anywhere that relates to alkalinity in different beer styles. Might have a go at reducing our alkalinity using acid. I thought crs/ams was a blend of acids anyway.

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Aleman » Wed Jun 24, 2015 07:22

No Mark there is no definitive list of what the alkalinity should be for any given beer style. It just varies too much. The pH obsessed calculators attempt to define it by calculating what the mash pH might be depending on the grain bill and water treatment but that seems as backwards to me. I prefer the practical approach of using test mashes with known grain bills and known alkalinities. This has shown me that pale beers with low crystal malt needs low alkalinities below 30 as the beer gets darker and the crystal malt increases then the alkalinity needs to be higher, up to say 100 to 125.

CRS is a blend of acids but it gives you a fixed ratio of sulphate to chloride. Which is fine if you want to accept a one size fits all app rachet to making beer . . Like Carling Fosters and the rest, however if you want to take control then you need to use the individual acids and a water analysis.

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby mark1964 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 07:32

Thanks Tony I'll bear that in mind. May order some acid and start doing some test mashes. Then just keep a diary of some sorts

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby AFewTooMany » Wed Jun 24, 2015 08:27

Sorry for hijacking this thread. Trying to get my head round the process myself. You are treating the water before mashing in.... Right? I'm BIAB so expecting there will be less of a change in alkalinity once mashed in than a traditional water: grist ratio. Would I need to compensate for this at all?

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Aleman » Wed Jun 24, 2015 09:22

BIAB is a little bit different, and I haven't had a chance to play with some test mashes myself, but I do suspect that for Full Volume BIAB mashes (Where you have much higher liquor to grist ratios than trad 3V mashes) then you are going to need to reduce the alkalinity further than you would think.

Doing a series of test mashes is very simple Firstly decide what it is you want to test . . .Lets say it's alkalinity

Get hold of half a dozen 500ml pyrex beakers

Make up your grist and for example lets say 90% pale, 5% crystal , 4% Wheat and 1% Roast Barley . . .Remember you are only going to be using 125g at most in each beaker

Make up your water . . . you will need 6 different values lets go for 0, 25, 50 , 75, 100 and 150 . . . . Of course if you have more beakers you can extend the series, say to 200, 250, and 300mg/l . . . depending on your water make up of course you may not want or need to go this high. (While it may make sense to prepare this water using RO or deionised remember that using RO will dilute the calcium content as well so you should add calcium to compensate . . .Keep everything constant apart from the thing you are changing . . . so alter the liquor using acids, or the way you normally do)

Get your water to 'mash temp' and you may want to do this with the grain too, an oven set at 65C is useful for this. . . I use an deep oven tray containing water at 65C to act as a water bath.

Quickly mash in each of the mashes, and note the time you did so . . . Slap it in the water bath, remember to use the liquor to grist ratio that you use when you are mashing at your full volume. You may want to stir the mashes every minute or so.

After 10 minutes has elapsed for each mash, take a sample of the liquor, and cool it rapidly to 20C. ( I take the sample with a shot glass that has been in the freezer . . .instantly cools to 20C) and take a pH reading with an accurate, calibrated pH meter (Strips are a complete waste of time don't waste your time using them).

You can then plot the results of pH vs Alkalinity, and it will show you the best alkalinity to use for the grist you are planning.

Of course the next step is to go one further, and keep the grist and alkalinity constant (You determined the optimum one above ;) ) and then vary the calcium content.

It's an interesting way to while away the hours of a rainy sunday waiting for the mash to complete, or the boil to finish or the wort to cool.

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Eric » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:36

AFewTooMany wrote:Sorry for hijacking this thread. Trying to get my head round the process myself. You are treating the water before mashing in.... Right? I'm BIAB so expecting there will be less of a change in alkalinity once mashed in than a traditional water: grist ratio. Would I need to compensate for this at all?


Living in Glasgow your water will most probably have very low alkalinity. If that is so, any problems in your mashes are more likely to be due to a lack of calcium rather than an excess of alkalinity, BIAB or traditional mash ratio.
You are correct to think there will be different water requirements for different mashing techniques.
Any acid treatment should be done to liquor before the mash.
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby AFewTooMany » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:42

Cheers for the in-depth answers. Tbh now thinking of leaving water treatment until I've more time and money. Sounds like an expensive addition to the hobby.

Unless there is a cheap way to measure and add calcium ;) similar to CRS for alkalinity

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Eric » Wed Jun 24, 2015 13:43

Do you know, or can you learn, if your water supply comes from here? If it does, then for all practical purposes, it is little different to partially evaporated rainwater, containing only small amounts of calcium, magnesium, chloride and some other elements as well as a touch of alkalinity. A Salifert kit for £6 would confirm this as would a TDS meter for about £5.
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby AFewTooMany » Wed Jun 24, 2015 13:48

Eric wrote:Do you know, or can you learn, if your water supply comes from here? If it does, then for all practical purposes, it is little different to partially evaporated rainwater, containing only small amounts of calcium, magnesium, chloride and some other elements as well as a touch of alkalinity. A Salifert kit for £6 would confirm this as would a TDS meter for about £5.

Did find a water report for my area (which is milngavie source)

Image

Mucking about with bru n water and seems pretty simple unless I'm missing something

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Eric » Wed Jun 24, 2015 14:21

You are there. Not a fan of that calculator, it does serve to show how simplistic water treatment can be. Don't get into thinking the prime objective of treatment is to restrict liquors to those that fit Kohlbach's residual alkalinity hypothesis to then predict mash pH, there's plenty more scope than that. There are more ways to score a goal than kicking the ball straight between the goalkeeper's legs.
You can reasonably assume those figures can be used as the starting point for your liquor. Try entering twice those amounts then half and you will see there will be no significant difference to the additions. If you were to get a Salifert kit you might find it easier as well as being more accurate to measure the result than by weighing very small amounts required of the likes of sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate (washing soda) to increase alkalinity for styles like milds and stouts.

Good luck. No acid required.
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby AltonAnt » Thu Jun 25, 2015 08:41

I've found BruNWater to be pretty much spot on with working out the mash pH for me. I agree with Eric that you shouldn't chase the figures for some 'ideal' water profile or try to match geographical profiles without understanding how they were used.

I added the Tesco Ashbeck profile for dilution which makes life easier :thumb:
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby AFewTooMany » Thu Jun 25, 2015 08:49

Sounds good, just trying to get into the rough "ballpark". Not been hugely happy with some of my beers as of late so trying new things to work out what I'm missing. Will look into salifert kit next time I buy ingredients

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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Gethin79 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 20:21

Water sample has been sent to Wallybrew now, so will have a better idea of my water fairly soon!

Still trying to figure out which acids to buy though. Want to get them before next weekend brew day!!

I've found 98% sulphuric and 36% (I think) hydrochloric...got to figure out which to buy....
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby GrowlingDog » Thu Jun 25, 2015 20:29

I would wait until you know what's in your water. For me a bottle of hydrochloric would be a complete waste as I would never use it.
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby Gethin79 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 20:37

That's a good point. Didn't think about that.

Must be patient!! :D
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Re: My water treatment journey starts here!

Postby NickW » Fri Jun 26, 2015 07:28

Gethin could you provide links to the acids you found?
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