Understanding my water

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

Understanding my water

Postby Kyle_T » Tue Jan 19, 2016 15:00

This is one for all the chemistry minded people who enjoy tinkering and treating water.

I've had my water analysis for a little while now but have yet to actually treat anything, I have been reading many bits of Tony's scripture about it but there are a lot of long words and I can only pay attention for so long, I brew mainly Mild, Porter and Stout so it it would nice to have a ball park of where I should be aiming. I also noticed recently that very recently my beers are having trouble clearing, the last few have had a permanent haze.

I already have a bottle of Sulphuric Acid and I can obtain Calcium Sulphate and Chloride...if I ask really nicely, he might even let me have some AMS. But what and when should I be using them?

If anyone wants to see the analysis just shout and I'll go dig it up.

Cheers

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
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First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Joe1002 » Tue Jan 19, 2016 15:02

I think you really need to post your water analysis so the people cleverer than me know what your water profile is and can guide accordingly.

A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Kyle_T » Tue Jan 19, 2016 15:09

As advised:

Sodium as Na, mg/L: 46.8
Potassium as K, mg/L: 6.5
Magnesium as Mg, mg/L: 11.5
Calcium as Ca, mg/L: 71.6
Chloride as Cl, mg/L: 70.1
Nitrate as NO3, mg/L: 3.5
Phosphate as PO4, mg/L: 1.9
Sulphate as SO4, mg/L: 60.8
Alkalinity as CaCO3, mg/L: 158 (Last 2 readings were 208 & 205 via Salifert)
pH: 7.34

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby GrowlingDog » Tue Jan 19, 2016 15:33

In summary, in my opinion. I'm sure some experts will be along soon.

Your Calcium looks high enough without any additions, so you don't need the Calcium Chloride or the Calcium Sulphate as they will increase your Calcium but also increase your Chloride and Sulphate as well.

As you don't make hoppy beers, having a 1:1 Chloride to Sulphate ratio is probably fine. You already have a reasonable level of both.

You may want to reduce your alkalinity a bit, depends on your recipe, for a full on Stout you probably don't need to reduce it, but for Milds and Porters you may want to reduce it a bit, down to about 100 maybe.

What you reduce it with is up to you, AMS will reduce it but increase both your Chloride and Sulphate levels, which for the type of beer you are brewing that would probably be fine.

If you want the hops to sing then I would use Sulphuric Acid to reduce Alkalinity as that will just increase the Sulphate levels. Be careful with the Acid, it is strong, 5.08 Molar.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Aleman » Tue Jan 19, 2016 15:38

Wot He Said ^^^^

Well except that I would go for a 1:1 ration and probably go for 150mg/L chloride for your dark beers . . .even as high as 200-225.

I would probably want to drop the alkalinity down to about a maximum of 100-125 for your darkest beers or beers containing lots of crystal, probably no more that 75 for your brown beers

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: Understanding my water

Postby Kyle_T » Tue Jan 19, 2016 15:47

Cheers gentlemen.

As I don't need the Calcium, I'm assuming I would have to find somewhere willing to sell Hydrochloric Acid as I would like to enhance the malt a little more?

Is there a way to convert molar into a percentage for the benefit of using using water calculators?

I brewed with the last 2 as 200+ after looking at the Murphy's recommended amounts but have since read that Murphy's are apparently useless as guidelines. When it's suggest as 100 - 125ppm, I assume it's been tried and tested (Not doubting one's knowledge, just making sure)?

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Aleman » Tue Jan 19, 2016 15:51

That's what I would go with, Tried and tested and works for me . . .if you enjoy the taste then it could be said to work for you as well.

Actually calcium could do with going up to 100-125

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: Understanding my water

Postby Kyle_T » Tue Jan 19, 2016 16:00

Cheers Tony,

What are other ways to reduce the pH as most calculators say I'm only just skimming in on 5.5 or higher for the mash pH?

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Aleman » Tue Jan 19, 2016 16:16

Mash pH is not the be all and end all and 5,5 is more than acceptable for a dark beer.

What matters is do you prefer the taste of the end result more or less than the last time you made it with no treatment.

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: Understanding my water

Postby Kyle_T » Tue Jan 19, 2016 16:31

It seems to be anywhere between 5.5 and 5.8 for the mash pH but that's just going by software, however, my efficiency has been bouncing all over the place and went as low as 66% at the weekend, before now it was a steady 78 - 80%, Could a high pH be a culprit?

As for the other part, I've never treated my water except Campden, time will tell!

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby pittsy » Tue Jan 19, 2016 17:11

I know Tony ain't a fan but lactic acid will reduce the alkalinity without adding sulphate or chloride , as you may find getting the hydrochloric acid ain't easy but lactic is . I personally can't detect any lactic taste in the beer but others may disagree :D
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Kyle_T » Tue Jan 19, 2016 17:15

Cheers Pittsy, I had seen mention of Lactic Acid but paid little heed to it, I shall have a read up on, I only want to reduce to an acceptable tolerance instead of being at 5.8

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Eric » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:39

This is some you might consider.

It's easier to do the calculations by hand or with the aid of an electronic calculator for the effect of using acid than using most computer based water calculators. It also enables you to select a profile to suit your own taste.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Goulders » Wed Jan 20, 2016 18:01

Useful link Eric, and at a concentration that I would be happy storing. How much would this need diluting? I understand that 1ml of 2M concentration would reduce CaCO3 by 200ppm.

Do you have a link to how to do the calculations?
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby wallybrew » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:20

Goulders wrote:Useful link Eric, and at a concentration that I would be happy storing. How much would this need diluting? I understand that 1ml of 2M concentration would reduce CaCO3 by 200ppm.

Do you have a link to how to do the calculations?

Given the range of 35 to 36.6% and the sg range given for this %range the molarity range is 11.12 to 11.83.

This strength of acid fumes so make sure when you dilute it you go out into the garden and use a fan to blow the fumes away from your working area.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Goulders » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:21

Mmm. Maybe I will stick with CRS
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Kyle_T » Thu Jan 21, 2016 13:34

What's the % on a 5.08 molar acid?

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Eric » Thu Jan 21, 2016 21:15

1 litre of 5.08 molar will contain 5.08 X 35.46 g = 180g HCl, about 17%.
1ml of such acid would neutralise 256mg of alkalinity measured as CaCO3.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Eric » Thu Jan 21, 2016 21:42

wallybrew wrote:
Goulders wrote:Useful link Eric, and at a concentration that I would be happy storing. How much would this need diluting? I understand that 1ml of 2M concentration would reduce CaCO3 by 200ppm.

Do you have a link to how to do the calculations?

Given the range of 35 to 36.6% and the sg range given for this %range the molarity range is 11.12 to 11.83.

This strength of acid fumes so make sure when you dilute it you go out into the garden and use a fan to blow the fumes away from your working area.


HCl is awful stuff at that concentration and as already advised, dilute it while out of doors and when there is a breeze such that you can organise to be upwind.
Make sure you don't wear your best clothing, but there is no reason to expect any spillage if you make yourself comfortable and have adequate time.
I bought 2.5 litres and diluted some which is kept accessible, the rest is stored in a safer location.
Mine is diluted with just tapwater to a level where 1ml will neutralise 300mg of calcium carbonate, roughly half the supplied strength.
It is important to add the acid to the water, do it slowly as heat can be generated, although hydrochloric is not like sulphuric in this respect.
Fill your container to 90% and test the strength of 1ml with a suitable quantity of alkaline water using your Salifert kit. It might not be perfectly accurate but as it is what you use it will give you consistent results.
If the diluted acid is weaker than you desire, add more acid and retest. If it is stronger, add some water into another container then add your diluted acid to that then back into your storage bottle.
At that sort of level it won't catch your breath unless your get closer than is necessary, but there is no reason not to dilute it further if that suits you, just that it will take more space.

No link for calculations on the effects of acids, they are too simple to warrant that.
Measure your alkalinity before and after treatment, it's the only way to be certain.
From this find the reduction in alkalinity in terms of mg/l CaCO3.
Divide that reduction by 100 and if you use hydrochloric acid, multiply that by 71 to get the increase in chloride in mg/l or by 96 if using sulphuric acid to get the increase in sulphate. Only those mentioned here change, all the other mineral contents remain unchanged after treatment.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby wallybrew » Thu Jan 21, 2016 22:01

Eric wrote:1 litre of 5.08 molar will contain 5.08 X 35.46 g = 180g HCl, about 17%.
1ml of such acid would neutralise 256mg of alkalinity measured as CaCO3.


This is 17% m/V.

Unless a certain well "pushed" spreadsheet has changed its input then do not use this value because it will be in the incorrect % form.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Kyle_T » Sat Jan 23, 2016 13:38

Eric wrote:No link for calculations on the effects of acids, they are too simple to warrant that.
Measure your alkalinity before and after treatment, it's the only way to be certain.
From this find the reduction in alkalinity in terms of mg/l CaCO3.
Divide that reduction by 100 and if you use hydrochloric acid, multiply that by 71 to get the increase in chloride in mg/l or by 96 if using sulphuric acid to get the increase in sulphate. Only those mentioned here change, all the other mineral contents remain unchanged after treatment.


Would any of that apply for using CRS and Gypsum/Calcium Chloride?

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Eric » Sat Jan 23, 2016 23:56

Kyle_T wrote:
Eric wrote:No link for calculations on the effects of acids, they are too simple to warrant that.
Measure your alkalinity before and after treatment, it's the only way to be certain.
From this find the reduction in alkalinity in terms of mg/l CaCO3.
Divide that reduction by 100 and if you use hydrochloric acid, multiply that by 71 to get the increase in chloride in mg/l or by 96 if using sulphuric acid to get the increase in sulphate. Only those mentioned here change, all the other mineral contents remain unchanged after treatment.


Would any of that apply for using CRS and Gypsum/Calcium Chloride?


The effect of each acid or salt can be similarly computed, just by using the appropriate factors.
CRS is a blend of sulphuric and hydrochloric acids. I don't know the actual proportions and Murphy's data has varied over time compounded by varying unit conversion factors from the original dosage specification of pints per barrel to ml/l and also possibly grains per gallon to mg/l. I have always assumed 1ml of CRS will neutralise 183mg of CaCO3 and that half of the alkalinity is converted to chloride and the other to sulphate. That means dividing the reduction in alkalinity in terms of mg/l CaCO3 by 100 and mutiplying that by 35.5 will give the increase in chloride and by 48 for the increase in sulphate in mg/l.

Both gypsum and calcium chloride are partially composed of water. The chloride especially should be kept dry and if in doubt heated in a domestic oven.
Rounding figures, I assume that gypsum contains 23% calcium and 56% sulphate, calcium chloride has 27% calcium and 48% chloride, common salt 39% sodium and 61% chloride, Epsom salts 10% magnesium and 39% sulphate. From these numbers it is simply a matter of sharing any given salt addition by the volume of liquor into which it is dissolved and multiplying by those given percentages to arrive at the quantities of additions per litre. I find this just as simple as trying to use many calculators and lets me see the actual ion levels added at each stage. Of course many of the ions are also supplied by the malts, while some, particularly calcium are deposited to never reach the following stage.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby HTH1975 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 09:35

What about using phosphoric acid to reduce water pH? That approach seems popular on the US forum I'd previously looked at. Is Hydrochloric acid a better approach, or just a different one?

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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Kyle_T » Mon Feb 08, 2016 09:52

Hydrochloric Acid reduces Alkalinity and increases Chlorides.

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby 5hats » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:11

HTH1975 wrote:What about using phosphoric acid to reduce water pH? That approach seems popular on the US forum I'd previously looked at. Is Hydrochloric acid a better approach, or just a different one?


I use phosphoric acid, mostly because that is what I can get hold of. It works fine, but I'd prefer HCl and H2SO4 if I could get them because it would be easier to reach the target Cl and SO4.
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