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Brewing Water

 
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jonymac



Joined: 18 Dec 2014
Posts: 54



PostLink    Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:20 am    Post subject: Brewing Water Reply with quote


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Kal,

I am trying to dial in my brewing salts on your system. A few questions...

1. I have seen you are adding some salts to the mash and some to the boil. I have usually added all my salts in the HLT and then used them in the mash and sparge - can you add more info on this?

2. Let's assume we start with 20 gallons of RO water in the HLT and are making your Electric IPA and using the EZWater calculator online - can you go through what you would do - how much salts and where would you add them to get a good IPA profile? (Using RO is a good baseline since all other water depends on where you live...)

Thanks!

JonyMac

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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 5968
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Mexican Lager, ESB, Mild, Belgian Wit, Brown IPA, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Irish Red Ale

Working on: German Pils, Altbier, Belgian Tripel


PostLink    Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:47 am    Post subject: Re: Brewing Water Reply with quote

jonymac wrote:
Kal,

I am trying to dial in my brewing salts on your system. A few questions...

1. I have seen you are adding some salts to the mash and some to the boil. I have usually added all my salts in the HLT and then used them in the mash and sparge - can you add more info on this?

I use EZ Water Calculator as I find it the most intuitive/easiest to understand: http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/
It tells you how much to add to the mash (primarily for pH), how much to the boil (primarily for boil).
Chalk (which I'll admit I don't use often) doesn't dissolve well in water so it's difficult to add to the HLT.

Quote:
2. Let's assume we start with 20 gallons of RO water in the HLT and are making your Electric IPA and using the EZWater calculator online - can you go through what you would do - how much salts and where would you add them to get a good IPA profile? (Using RO is a good baseline since all other water depends on where you live...)


(1) Get the starting numbers for your water . All cities publish these. In Ottawa they are Ca=9, Mg=2, Na=16, Cl=6, S04=27, Alkalinity=32
(2) Plug these numbers into EZ Water Calculator at the top
(3) Play with the salt numbers to get to the targets you want (this is the mystical/magical part with no right/wrong answers. See my recipe for this beer for the targets. Just add them in until they match.
(4) EZ Water tells you how much of which salt to add to the MLT, how much to the boil.

That's it!

Note that I didn't talk about the grain in EZ water at all. That's only about estimating the mash pH which I don't bother doing since I measure the pH and then add lactic acid to the mash to get the pH down (if needed). I find that (with my water) I never have to add any lactic to the mash to bring the pH down unless it's a very light beer without any crystal or higher lovibond malts.

Good luck!

Kal

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HeyK84



Joined: 07 Mar 2015
Posts: 70
Location: United States


PostLink    Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use RO water as well and just had a light bulb moment the other day about how to use EZ water. I just realized as Kal stated, that I don't need to worry about the grain bill because I am handling pH adjustment as I measure it.

As for salts, if you are using 100% RO water, you don't even need to enter your water profile because it doesn't impact the RO profile. This spreadsheet seems to equate RO water to Distilled water. It's probably close enough for brewing purposes. My RO TDS is about 15-30 ppm.

So I always brew w/ 20 gallons in my HLT, so therefore I set the mash volume to 20 gallons and then % that is RO water to 100%. Then I leave the "Adjusting Sparge WAter?" unchecked, and I add gypsum and calcium chloride until my numbers are close to what the recipe calls for. Pretty simple.

The only thing I have not decided how to handle yet is dark beers. Because, and this is where I might need to be fact checked, the pH of the RO water is already low and the roasted grains will lower it further still so we need to bring the pH back up. I purchased some pickling lime but have not tried it yet, and I understand that this stuff needs to be measured in grams to the nearest 100th decimal place because if you are off by a little bit it will have a major impact on your mash pH.

Another option I've considered is just using 50% RO/50% filtered Tap water. This would give me the alkalinity i need, but then my salts are little more unknown (you would need to enter your tap water profile in this case). My county water report states that Sulfates are anywhere between 14 and 173 ppm in a year. That is a huge swing, and I'm trying to get them to tighten that up for me and give me anecdotal information on when it might higher or lower. So because of this, I'd prefer to use 100% RO water, so maybe I will try pickling lime.

EDIT: also wanted to add that i just add all of my brewing salts to the HLT and stir it well. but all i use are CaCl and Gypsum and they dissolve well provided the water is warm and you stir it for a few seconds. I have read that pickling lime should be added directly to the mash.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 5968
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Mexican Lager, ESB, Mild, Belgian Wit, Brown IPA, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Irish Red Ale

Working on: German Pils, Altbier, Belgian Tripel


PostLink    Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HeyK84 wrote:
I use RO water as well and just had a light bulb moment the other day about how to use EZ water. I just realized as Kal stated, that I don't need to worry about the grain bill because I am handling pH adjustment as I measure it.

Calculating estimated pH (what they do in the spreadsheet) is a pretty wonky. Nothing wrong with the the spreadsheet - it's just pretty much impossible to do. By all means people can enter their grain info and get a rough idea where they might end up if the like, but then you can just sort of eyeball the grist and tell too: If it's all really lightly kilned (2-3 lovibond) stuff I expect to have to add some lactic. If there's any bit of crystal or darker stuff (at least 5-10%) then I know I won't have to. I measure the pH anyway but this is usually what happens. By measuring I can know too if I added enough lactic. Every grain bill / water combo's different but I find with my water and my 10 gallon batch sizes, most of the time if I need to go down 0.1 pH, that means about 1-2 ml of 88% lactic. You get a feel for how the mash behaves the first dozen or so times you brew and measure with a pH meter.

Quote:
As for salts, if you are using 100% RO water, you don't even need to enter your water profile because it doesn't impact the RO profile.

Yup. Enter all zeros for the starting water.

Quote:
This spreadsheet seems to equate RO water to Distilled water. It's probably close enough for brewing purposes. My RO TDS is about 15-30 ppm.

While in practice RO is rarely as pure as distilled (it gets worse as the RO membranes get clogged dirty over time and your TDS goes up), for the purposes of brewing you can assume this (IMHO). 15-30 ppm TDS is low.

Quote:
The only thing I have not decided how to handle yet is dark beers. Because, and this is where I might need to be fact checked, the pH of the RO water is already low and the roasted grains will lower it further still so we need to bring the pH back up.

You shouldn't have to. I remember being worried about this the first time I brewed a dark/roasty beer and it really didn't go too low since the buffering ability of the mash tends to want to hold the pH in the right spot. Think of this buffering as a 'force' that wants to hold your mash pH in line. It's the natural spot it wants to be in and going outside is actually difficult. I used to think I should hold off adding salts to the mash with dark beers until the very end during mashout (or simply add them to the boil) but I found it isn't needed.

Quote:
My county water report states that Sulfates are anywhere between 14 and 173 ppm in a year. That is a huge swing

Wow - yes, that is. My numbers are very low to start with so the seasonal swings are too. I think if my numbers were to swing that much (esp with Sulphates) I'd use RO as well.

Kal

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HeyK84



Joined: 07 Mar 2015
Posts: 70
Location: United States


PostLink    Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
HeyK84 wrote:

The only thing I have not decided how to handle yet is dark beers. Because, and this is where I might need to be fact checked, the pH of the RO water is already low and the roasted grains will lower it further still so we need to bring the pH back up.

You shouldn't have to. I remember being worried about this the first time I brewed a dark/roasty beer and it really didn't go too low since the buffering ability of the mash tends to want to hold the pH in the right spot. Think of this buffering as a 'force' that wants to hold your mash pH in line. It's the natural spot it wants to be in and going outside is actually difficult. I used to think I should hold off adding salts to the mash with dark beers until the very end during mashout (or simply add them to the boil) but I found it isn't needed.


This is very eloquently put. I think I have read something along these lines before, but the way you explain it makes sense. And I have read of other respected brewers who use 100% RO water who don't worry about boosting mash pH on darker grain bills either. This helps explain why. I'm going to brew a RIS pretty soon, so I'm going to have the pickling line on the sidelines just in case, but I will measure it along the way, and hopefully what you are saying proves out! Thanks!
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 5968
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Mexican Lager, ESB, Mild, Belgian Wit, Brown IPA, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Irish Red Ale

Working on: German Pils, Altbier, Belgian Tripel


PostLink    Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HeyK84 wrote:
kal wrote:
HeyK84 wrote:

The only thing I have not decided how to handle yet is dark beers. Because, and this is where I might need to be fact checked, the pH of the RO water is already low and the roasted grains will lower it further still so we need to bring the pH back up.

You shouldn't have to. I remember being worried about this the first time I brewed a dark/roasty beer and it really didn't go too low since the buffering ability of the mash tends to want to hold the pH in the right spot. Think of this buffering as a 'force' that wants to hold your mash pH in line. It's the natural spot it wants to be in and going outside is actually difficult. I used to think I should hold off adding salts to the mash with dark beers until the very end during mashout (or simply add them to the boil) but I found it isn't needed.


This is very eloquently put. I think I have read something along these lines before, but the way you explain it makes sense. And I have read of other respected brewers who use 100% RO water who don't worry about boosting mash pH on darker grain bills either. This helps explain why. I'm going to brew a RIS pretty soon, so I'm going to have the pickling line on the sidelines just in case, but I will measure it along the way, and hopefully what you are saying proves out! Thanks!

Let us know how it goes!

If you want to be absolutely sure and test for yourself (always recommended - trust others but verify!), I would measure the mash pH first before you add any salts at all and adjust down with acid if needed (probably not required much or at all given the dark beer). Then go through the mash as usual.

Then before you mash out, add the salts, give it a good stir, and measure pH. You'll see that it's probably not dropped appreciably. Then ramp out to mash out and hold a good 10 mins or so. The ramp up time on that giant beer plus the extra 10 min hold will be enough time to make the wort run clear again before you start sparging.

Kal

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HeyK84



Joined: 07 Mar 2015
Posts: 70
Location: United States


PostLink    Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
HeyK84 wrote:
kal wrote:
HeyK84 wrote:

The only thing I have not decided how to handle yet is dark beers. Because, and this is where I might need to be fact checked, the pH of the RO water is already low and the roasted grains will lower it further still so we need to bring the pH back up.

You shouldn't have to. I remember being worried about this the first time I brewed a dark/roasty beer and it really didn't go too low since the buffering ability of the mash tends to want to hold the pH in the right spot. Think of this buffering as a 'force' that wants to hold your mash pH in line. It's the natural spot it wants to be in and going outside is actually difficult. I used to think I should hold off adding salts to the mash with dark beers until the very end during mashout (or simply add them to the boil) but I found it isn't needed.


This is very eloquently put. I think I have read something along these lines before, but the way you explain it makes sense. And I have read of other respected brewers who use 100% RO water who don't worry about boosting mash pH on darker grain bills either. This helps explain why. I'm going to brew a RIS pretty soon, so I'm going to have the pickling line on the sidelines just in case, but I will measure it along the way, and hopefully what you are saying proves out! Thanks!

Let us know how it goes!

If you want to be absolutely sure and test for yourself (always recommended - trust others but verify!), I would measure the mash pH first before you add any salts at all and adjust down with acid if needed (probably not required much or at all given the dark beer). Then go through the mash as usual.

Then before you mash out, add the salts, give it a good stir, and measure pH. You'll see that it's probably not dropped appreciably. Then ramp out to mash out and hold a good 10 mins or so. The ramp up time on that giant beer plus the extra 10 min hold will be enough time to make the wort run clear again before you start sparging.

Kal


I will follow this procedure and report back. Probably won't be for a couple weeks.
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