Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

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

Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby AndyBWood » Thu Nov 05, 2015 19:33

Evening All :hat:

Water treatment..... a subject I've wrestled with for a while now.......

Living in sunny Manchester ( where we don't get enough natural rainfall :whistle: ) those clever Victorians decided to build an aqueduct all the way from Thirlmere Reservoir in the Lake District. As such, I'm 'blessed' with soft water - no lime scale, nothing firs up and a bar of soap seems to frighten hard water people (such as my brother from Nottingham ) in view of the glorious never ending lather.


Anyway, my local water company have a really zippy website that provides all the wonderful data a home brewer could possibly need......
with just one exception......

Carbonate


My water report goes something like this :

Calcium ( Ca ) 8.41
Magnesium ( Mg ) 1.12
Sodium ( Na ) 6.41
Sulphate ( SO4 ) 8.70
Chloride ( Cl ) 7.31

These are average figures but they don't seem to fluctuate very much and are very similar today to when I first looked into this a few years ago.

So what about Carbonate ? What about Hardness ?

The report does give some information :

Hardness level : Very Soft

Hardness Clarke : 1.750

Total Hardness : 10
( expressed as mg Ca/l --- not sure why this is different to the Calcium figure reported elsewhere in the report above :scratch: )

So, Plan A - a quick call to the water company to sort things out...


Hello, can you tell me the Bicarbonate figure for my water supply please expressed as HCO3 ?
Why do you want to know ?
So I can review my water profile and make good beer.
In that case, no; we don't have to tell you because we supply drinking water not water to make beer - goodbye.......


Plan B - follow Aleman's advice and wait for the postman..

Image

Follow the instructions and add 4 drops of indicator to 4ml of sample water

Image

Fill the syringe to 1ml and add tiny drops of reagent until it goes pink

Image

Scores on the doors

Image

Did two tests just to be sure and got the same result. Used 0.1ml of reagent, leaving the syringe plunger at the 0.9ml mark on both occasions.

Now then.... the scale provided states

0.90ml mark equals

1.2 KH value in dKH
or
0.45 Alkalinity in meq/l

Image

The $64,000 question(s)........

Have I now got enough information to satisfy a water profile calculator ?

How do I arrive at a figure of Bicarbonate HCO3 ? ( for Brewsmith or other calculators )

Is it 0.45 meq/l multiplied by 50 = 22.5 HCO3 ?

Help to make sure I'm on the right track would be very much appreciated.

A

ps - the test kit is really, really simple to use if anyone is thinking about buying one.

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Re: Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby Aleman » Thu Nov 05, 2015 20:25

Times by 50 gives you the alkalinity as CaCO3 . . . Much more use than as HCO3 :)

Multiply the as CaCO3 value by 1.22 to get it as Bicarbonate. I can never remember if it's multiply or divide actually as the calculator I use uses as CaCO3

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: Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby NickW » Thu Nov 05, 2015 20:29

You've got a great base water there to easily adjust for many styles. I'm jealous !
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Re: Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby Aleman » Thu Nov 05, 2015 21:20

It isn't great for dark beers or bitters come to that anything with crystal in it.

It is wrong to assume that just because there is nothing in it its easy to magically create an ideal water profile just by adding minerals . . Far from it. ;)

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: Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby NickW » Thu Nov 05, 2015 21:24

I would somewhat disagree there aleman. I find it better to adjust from nothing and add minerals than try to acidify water at the other end of the scale. Just my personal opinion. I do not have your extensive knowledge though! So I will refrain from disagreeing so strongly
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Re: Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby AndyBWood » Thu Nov 05, 2015 23:24

Aleman / Nick

Thanks for the responses and discussion; appreciated.

Looks like I've got 22.5 CaCO3 / 27.45 HCO3 then.

Think I need to have a play around now with a few different calculators and see where I get to.

Cheers

A

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Re: Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby AltonAnt » Fri Nov 06, 2015 09:12

NickW wrote:I would somewhat disagree there aleman. I find it better to adjust from nothing and add minerals than try to acidify water at the other end of the scale. Just my personal opinion. I do not have your extensive knowledge though! So I will refrain from disagreeing so strongly


Some things are not that easy to add ;)
Easy to dilute though.
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Re: Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby Aleman » Fri Nov 06, 2015 09:48

With high mineral content liquors adjustment is fairly simple, as you really don't need to add a lot.

As AA suggests dilution is one possibility and then treating from there, my personal preference though is not to dilute. . . I do however think that CRS/AMS and DLS/DWB are not appropriate at high mineral levels for adjustment, and you must use the individual acids, and salts to really produce good results. I also accept that for certain styles with high mineral content using acids for all of the alkalinity adjustment is not appropriate, and here I jump in with slaked lime, yes it's a more complicated process and requires preparation 48 hours in advanced, but it does a great job at reducing alkalinity to the point where acids can then be used to finish the job and adjust the sulphate : chloride ratio as appropriate for the beer being brewed.

Water contains a lot of trace elements needed for good yeast growth and while these may be supplied by the malt, they may not leading to poor fermentation, hence starting with a low mineral content liquor and just adding calcium / chloride and sulphate, may not be adding everything required. Also how do you add alkalinity . . . sodium / potassium bicarbonate is one quick and dirty solution, but not IMO ideal as the sodium levels are pushed high(er) . . this is not so much of an issue with potassium, as the malt provides loads of this anyway so an additional 100-150 ppm is not necessarily an issue. . . . Acidified calcium carbonate solution works well, but is a complete PITA to prepare.

Having started brewing on the Herts/Essex border where our water was drawn from the Lea Navigation and underground chalk aquifers, then in North Wales where the water comes off Granite and Slate mountains, and now in Lancashire where it could come from the Lake District (Granite and Slate) or the West Lancs Pennines/ trough of Bowland (Limestone). I can quite happily say that it is easier to produce great beer using high mineral content liquors and removing 'stuff' than it is to use water with bugger all in it and adding what you (or an authority) thinks you should be adding.

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: Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby NickW » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:05

I stand corrected :)
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Re: Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby vacant » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:32

AndyBWood wrote:Looks like I've got 22.5 CaCO3


Short cut to that Original alkalinity in ppm x 0.4 = Calcium in ppm

AndyBWood wrote:Calcium ( Ca ) 8.41


8.41 / 0.4 = 21 (near enough)

Worth doing a Salifert test each brew in case it varies. When brewing with my tap water I always do a Salifert test and get a result in the range 245-275 Carbonate.

But if I'm using Reverse Osmosis water plus around (e.g.) 10% of tap water to get to a target of 26, I just assume tap carbonate is 260 as it won't be making that much contribution. Hopefully the tap water is still providing enough trace elements.

My future plans include not much
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Re: Salifert Test - converting result to match Brewsmith

Postby AndyBWood » Sun Nov 08, 2015 16:24

Thanks Vacant

Another dotted line between two figures solved.

Now I've got the alkalinity kit I plan to do a test each and every brew day just to see what the swings are like. Given this was easy to use I suspect that the calcium test kit is probably the same and may well invest in that too ( just in the interests of science..... )

Had a look over the water addition calculators out there and being drawn to Graham Wheeler's on Jims' - mainly because it has some 'built in' suggested profiles to aim for which I like the idea of as a good starting point for me. I also like the logic that these are beer and not location profile suggestions.

Anyway, armed with my results next brew day I will have a play with the water; possibly going to be my first hefeweizen attempt so will do some research as to reasonable numbers to shoot for.

Cheers

A

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