Water Treatment

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

Re: Water Treatment

Postby Raptor » Tue Oct 14, 2014 19:48

Ok - i wonder if you could taste lactic if your alkalinity was >220 (ie like mine)
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby pittsy » Tue Oct 14, 2014 20:35

I think for a pilsner you'd need to dilute with distilled water ( or RO water) or just use good bottled water but you'd probably need to add minerals to get it right . I too dilute for a pilsner ( i should of mentioned that earlier )
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby roscoe » Wed Oct 15, 2014 17:33

Update.... so it seems like a red-herring for me !
The hanna pH meter was way out, so pleased I didn't attempt further mash corrections.
Whilst I have no idea of mash pH, I do know my water alkalinity is very low, like 6 mg/L as CaCO3
The lager hot break was great, the ferment is spot on and the final pH is 4.25, still to reach half way to FG.

head was spinning cos' I couldn't buffer/work/read the instrument, garbage in garbage out, or ejit
(but beer looks fine)
It will be interesting to record readings on future lager batches and I have a new suspicion that last wheat batch when off after say 3/4w in bottle, with high pH being a suspect....... maybe once the water knowledge is gleaned all these strange things will vanish


roscoe wrote:So for a soft west coast scottish water with next to no alkalinity if trying to brew a lager using a ratio of 50:50 pilsner malt, extra pale ale malt, <10% munich and <5% caragold, my mash comes to just what John Palmer predicts ~5.8, if I sparge using the same very soft water it increases to 6, the hot break is good, but the final beer pH is too high.

Now I had considered an acid rest, but don't want to use expensive acidulated malt that is fairly hard to source, how should I do the acid adjust ?

> add latic acid or make effort to add 3% acid malt to bring to 5.5
using the acid rest as a good place/step to make the adjustment rather

> add phosphoric acid to strike and sparge water
to some amount, perhaps based on experience of above

I have tried the salifert test, all is vvlow and our kettles never fur up and last forever.

Just trying to keep things simple whilst brewing the very occasional lager for hobby/sport.

Ales seem to work fine, although working to better understand the water treatment subject a bit more.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Wed Oct 15, 2014 18:59

roscoe wrote:Update.... so it seems like a red-herring for me !
The hanna pH meter was way out, so pleased I didn't attempt further mash corrections.
Whilst I have no idea of mash pH, I do know my water alkalinity is very low, like 6 mg/L as CaCO3
roscoe wrote:So for a soft west coast scottish water with next to no alkalinity if trying to brew a lager using a ratio of 50:50 pilsner malt, extra pale ale malt, <10% munich and <5% caragold, my mash comes to just what John Palmer predicts ~5.8, if I sparge using the same very soft water it increases to 6, the hot break is good, but the final beer pH is too high.

You've found what a few of us with low alkalinity water have, even using an all lager malt grist the mash pH is stubbornly high! :doh: Yes the theory tells us that with a low alkalinity water and pale malts the mash pH should be fine. :hmm: . . whereas in reality it ends up too high . . . even messing about with acids (let alone acidulated malt - malt sprayed with lactic acid :roll:) doesn't do a lot to shift the pH . . . seems counter intuitive doesn't it :scratch: The answer here . . .Shhhhhh . . . Calcium ;)

Seriously with water with as low levels of minerals in it as yours you will need to suppliment the calcium levels. For your pale beers I would suggest calcium chloride (Steer clear of anything with sulphate in it - a pilsner with high sulphate will be harshly bitter). 1g of Calcium chloride (as the dihydrate) in 1L will give 273mg/l of calcium and 490mg/l of chloride . . . ideally you want to be looking at a calcium level of 50-100mg/l in your mash liquor.

A pH of 6 for the sparge liquor is not a problem, and indeed 'could' be considered ideal (certainly no higher).

Personally I prefer to use the flavour 'neutral' acids like hydrochloric (for pilsners) and sulphuric (for ales etc) lactic has too much of a flavour presence IMHO, and phosphate just causes calcium to precipitate making it difficult to clean up things like boiler and hlt elements.

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.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Ren » Wed Oct 15, 2014 22:07

Aleman wrote:
roscoe wrote:Update.... so it seems like a red-herring for me !
The hanna pH meter was way out, so pleased I didn't attempt further mash corrections.
Whilst I have no idea of mash pH, I do know my water alkalinity is very low, like 6 mg/L as CaCO3
roscoe wrote:So for a soft west coast scottish water with next to no alkalinity if trying to brew a lager using a ratio of 50:50 pilsner malt, extra pale ale malt, <10% munich and <5% caragold, my mash comes to just what John Palmer predicts ~5.8, if I sparge using the same very soft water it increases to 6, the hot break is good, but the final beer pH is too high.

You've found what a few of us with low alkalinity water have, even using an all lager malt grist the mash pH is stubbornly high! :doh: Yes the theory tells us that with a low alkalinity water and pale malts the mash pH should be fine. :hmm: . . whereas in reality it ends up too high . . . even messing about with acids (let alone acidulated malt - malt sprayed with lactic acid :roll:) doesn't do a lot to shift the pH . . . seems counter intuitive doesn't it :scratch: The answer here . . .Shhhhhh . . . Calcium ;)

Seriously with water with as low levels of minerals in it as yours you will need to suppliment the calcium levels. For your pale beers I would suggest calcium chloride (Steer clear of anything with sulphate in it - a pilsner with high sulphate will be harshly bitter). 1g of Calcium chloride (as the dihydrate) in 1L will give 273mg/l of calcium and 490mg/l of chloride . . . ideally you want to be looking at a calcium level of 50-100mg/l in your mash liquor.

A pH of 6 for the sparge liquor is not a problem, and indeed 'could' be considered ideal (certainly no higher).

Personally I prefer to use the flavour 'neutral' acids like hydrochloric (for pilsners) and sulphuric (for ales etc) lactic has too much of a flavour presence IMHO, and phosphate just causes calcium to precipitate making it difficult to clean up things like boiler and hlt elements.

Can you please tell us where do you get hydrochloric and sulphuric acid from, i have been using phosphoric acid and next would like to try these two.
Thanks
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Wed Oct 15, 2014 23:02

I get mine from a convenient source (She is a teacher of chemistry :D)

Sulphuric is available from Murphys . . . However it is not 25% W/W as stated on the label but 25% v/v . . . approx 4.69M and nearly twice as strong as Murphys state. It can also be had from the bay of E

Hydrochloric Acid can be had from ebay The 33% is slightly easier to handle than the 36% which is 'fuming' strength

WARNING these acids are extremely concentrated and will cause severe chemical burns if mishandled. THEY MUST BE DILUTED PRIOR TO USE

For the 33% Hydrochloric listed above, get 5L of deionised/steam distilled water and do the following

WallyBrew wrote:This is the 10N not 12N stuff so it "smokes" less on opening.

Put 2 litres of water in 5L container, add the 33% hydrochloric, cap, shake and dilute to 5L. This is now approx 2N and you can determine its actual strength.

If it is 2N then 1mL will neutralise 100mg of calcium carbonate and add 71mg of chloride.

The prepared 5 litres of acid is equivalent to 2.73 litres of CRS but without adding the sulphate

A standard 5L plastic jerry-can would do but preferably the type without the wadded insert. This could be used for both storage and mixing and can usually be obtained with distilled water in it.

If you have a 2L flask, use that only put about 750mL water in first.

Some heat is generated during the mixing but nowhere near the amount that is given off with sulphuric and water. It might reach about 35C.

Gloves (marigold will be fine) , old clothes, EYE PROTECTION, are all advised. Please do not wear your brewing footwear as shown in some of your photographs :ok

Carry out the procedure outside in the fresh air.

The worst part is the HCl gas that is freely available with acids of this strength so a mask (multi-layer type) or respirator are advisable. The gas will not really harm you unless you draw in swathes of it but it may irritate the nasal passage. Your own reactions will stop you anyway. Alternatively do what I do, take a deep breath and mix the water and acid, swirl and retire to a distance while the fumes disappear.

Do not be frightened of this acid it will do less damage than caustic, sulphuric or hydrofluoric acid on contact with skin, it is just the vapour that is irritating.

You should be able to mix all the acid and water within 20 seconds or so.

You could also set up a fan blowing the air away from you.

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.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Ren » Thu Oct 16, 2014 01:09

Aleman wrote:I get mine from a convenient source (She is a of chemistry :D)

Sulphuric is available from Murphys . . . However it is not 25% W/W as stated on the label but 25% v/v . . .approx 4.69M and nearly twice as strong as Murphys state. It can also be had from the bay of E

Hydrochloric Acid can be had from ebay The 33% is slightly easier to handle than the 36% which is 'fuming' strength

WARNING these acids are extremely concentrated and will cause severe chemical burns if mishandled. THEY MUST BE DILUTED PRIOR TO USE

Thanks

Last edited by Aleman on Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:58, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Removing teh Dilution information, so that it was in one place only
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Raptor » Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:13

In terms of dilution of sulphuric acid for alkalinity reduction, you mean the dilution is necessary via the mash water?

Interesting info on the Murphys sulphuric acid %. I was going to test the alkalinity reduction strength using 5 litres of my tap water based on the 25% stated strength and Brunwater calcs.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:54

Raptor wrote:In terms of dilution of sulphuric acid for alkalinity reduction, you mean the dilution is necessary via the mash water?

:scratch:
No, you don't want to be playing with 96% Sulphuric acid as a matter of course (or even 33/36% hydrochloric for that matter) and it makes sense to dilute it down to 'bench' strength (1Molar Sulphuric and 2Molar hydrochloric, sulphuric being diprotic and hydrochloric being monoprotic). As well as being MUCH safer, it makes for easier measurements of the volume of acid to use . . . of course if you are treating 10's of hectalitres then using the 'concentrated' acid makes more sense.

Raptor wrote:Interesting info on the Murphys sulphuric acid %. I was going to test the alkalinity reduction strength using 5 litres of my tap water based on the 25% stated strength and Brunwater calcs.

It's always worth doing, that way you know the strength of the acid you are using and do not over treat. . . I was at a commercial brewery in September, and we 'proved' that the Alkalinity Reducing solution they were using was actually twice the strength stated. According to the suppliers calculations we should have been adding 1200ml of acid . . . when we checked it we actually needed to add 550ml. . . . This explained why when the brewer was adding the amount of acid recommended his liquor pH fell to around 3.

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.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Raptor » Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:09

Thanks Aleman. Just for clarification - I meant dilution in terms of Murphy's sulphuric - not the 95% bomb making stuff. :) Sorry I should have been more specific.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby mark1964 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 07:11

After having a read of this I do understand a little better here is a link to our local water supplier you will notice on the bottom right of the page they offer a calculator to convert the hardness into calcium carbonate

http://www.yorkshirewater.com/extra-ser ... x?loc=HU13 0BJ&lat=53.7187987&lng=-0.4394389000000274

Ill get an alkalinity testing kit after the holidays
Forgot to say I have been talking via twitter to a brewery in hull and did ask them how they treated their water and they said the only thing they use is ams/crs that's it

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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:58

Take a look on JBK about the issues with Murphy's . . Then ask if you can trust thier recommendations. I did some work for a brewery in the summer that were following murphy's guidance and were wondering why the pH of the mash liquor was falling to 3. . . Turns out that they should have been using 550ml of ams not the 1200 recommended! !! Then you have to decide if what a brewer in your region is doing is appropriate for your water . . .They could well have a different supply to you.

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.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby mark1964 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:11

yes your right ive been doing a lot of reading this morning. Ill be testing for alkalinity every brew from now on and just use the figures on jims calc.
Thanks for the advice :thumb:

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Re: Water Treatment

Postby LeeH » Sat Dec 27, 2014 09:02

There is also Bru n water that you can enter your Murphy results in.

I haven't fully understood it yet myself yet, need to sit down with it and work it out.

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Re: Water Treatment

Postby mark1964 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 13:40

I tried that bru n water understood so much but gave up in the end. Its atom beers in Sutton Hull :thumb:

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Re: Water Treatment

Postby geddy » Thu Jan 14, 2016 19:13

A quick question. What do I put in the Mash, and what goes into the boil? As my water is very soft, I will be wanting to achieve 50-100ppm of Calcium in the mash as a general rule to help lower the pH for a Bitter (read in a previous post). Do I add enough calcium into the mash to achieve the correct ion concentration, and then do I also calculate how much gypsum/calcium chloride to put into the boil and split it like that?

Alkalinity as Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) =11.98 mg/L
Total Hardness as CaCO3/Calcium Carbonate = 40.75 mg/L
Sulphate = 26.3 mg/L
Chloride = 13.6 mg/L
Calcium = 16.3ppm

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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Thu Jan 14, 2016 19:22

With my old 3V plant I would reduce the alkalinity (if needed, mine is similar to yours, but goes higher sometimes) to about 25, then treat the mash liquor to 100-125mg/l . . .I would then add an additional 50-75mg/L to the boil keeping the sulphate to chloride ratios the same as the mash.

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.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby DaveGillespie » Wed Feb 15, 2017 14:43

I've had my water analysis done by Phoenix Analytical and the alkalinity from that has matched what I've found from the Salifert kit - 92mg/L. This is significantly higher than last time I tested but that was in the summer, so I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I think I have a decent handle on lowering alkalinity, adding calcium etc. However, Aleman mentions increasing alkalinity for dark beers up to around 125ppm using Sodium Bicarbonate. At what rate does Sodium Bicarbonate contribute to Alkalinity? Presumably it is contributing Carbonates/Bicarbonates and the alkalinity is a function of this?
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Eric » Wed Feb 15, 2017 22:17

Sodium bicarbonate will increase alkalinity with insignificant flavour influence in your particular case. I'm not convinced you need to increase alkalinity above 92mmg/l as CaCO3 for all dark beers. Required only for mash liquor, you might instead consider a modest increase in its quantity above the standard 2.5 to 3 litres per kg of grain or witholding some of any calcium salt additions until after the mash to have the desired effect of raising pH.

Adding 1g of sodium bicarbonate per litre of liquor will produce alkalinity equivalent to almost 600mg/l if measured as calcium carbonate, so little more than a twentieth of a gm per litre would increase alkalinity from 92 to 125mg/l as CaCO3.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby BarnsleyBrewer » Wed Feb 07, 2018 22:00

Great thread, forgot all about this what Aleman did... :clap:

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Re: Water Treatment

Postby rlemkin » Wed Feb 07, 2018 22:27

Aleman wrote:Take a look on JBK about the issues with Murphy's . . Then ask if you can trust thier recommendations. I did some work for a brewery in the summer that were following murphy's guidance and were wondering why the pH of the mash liquor was falling to 3. . . Turns out that they should have been using 550ml of ams not the 1200 recommended! !! Then you have to decide if what a brewer in your region is doing is appropriate for your water . . .They could well have a different supply to you.


I know this is an old post, but ^^^^^ this.

I've recently started working at a brewery and found their suggestions to be pretty atrocious. Not quite as bad as mention above, but enough to cause issues.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby orlando » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:55

rlemkin wrote:
Aleman wrote:Take a look on JBK about the issues with Murphy's . . Then ask if you can trust thier recommendations. I did some work for a brewery in the summer that were following murphy's guidance and were wondering why the pH of the mash liquor was falling to 3. . . Turns out that they should have been using 550ml of ams not the 1200 recommended! !! Then you have to decide if what a brewer in your region is doing is appropriate for your water . . .They could well have a different supply to you.


I know this is an old post, but ^^^^^ this.

I've recently started working at a brewery and found their suggestions to be pretty atrocious. Not quite as bad as mention above, but enough to cause issues.



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