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The Brewing Forum • View topic - Understanding my water

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
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 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.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
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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
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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.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
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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
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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.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
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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.
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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.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Eric » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:39

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

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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.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
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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

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Re: Understanding my water

Postby wallybrew » Thu Jan 21, 2016 22:01

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Re: Understanding my water

Postby Kyle_T » Sat Jan 23, 2016 13:38


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

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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?

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: 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.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
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Re: Understanding my water

Postby 5hats » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:11

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