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Old 13-11-2015, 12:14 PM   #11
mirsultankhan
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Yes HCO3 is the measurement for the bicarbonates (hardness) and CaCO3 the measurement for alkalinity (buffering capacity)

Hardness
Chemically, hardness is often defined as the sum of polyvalent cation concentrations dissolved in the water. The most common polyvalent cations in fresh water are calcium and magnesium.

Alkalinity
Alkalinity is a measure of the acid-neutralizing capacity of water. Alkalinity is usually reported as equivalents of calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

What is the long suffering home-brewer to make of this? It appears to me and please correct me if I am wrong that hardness represents the total dissolved salts in water and that alkalinity is how much our water can resist change (normally acidic change). Naturally there is a symbiotic relationship between the two. As far as I can tell hardness is not really a problem, its the carbonates that are dissolved in the water that reduces our waters ability to resist change thats the problem. (spit ding!) Neutralize or get rid of them! That is why we can boil the water to get rid of some of the carbonates or we can treat our water with an acidic solution (like CRS) to weaken or neutralize the waters ability to resist change.


Rather interestingly I was reading yesterday that Guinness used to add some sour beer to their famous brew to give it that 'Guinness twang' now they use lactic acid. German brewers add lactic acid to Munich malt and add that to reduce the alkalinity of the mash (acid malt) I think this would be an excellent addition because you typically only need about 1-2 percent (20-100g) to really effect the Mash and bring it down to an acceptable level.


If anyone is interested I can put your water data and your target profile data into various software and we can compare the results. I really like the old forum calculator, its simple and gives instant results treating the mash and sparge separately. It has its limitations though in that it does not take the grain bill into consideration and some of the additions are a little excessive in comparison to other estimates. If it works for you though, do it!


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Old 13-11-2015, 01:32 PM   #12
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good point on impact of grain bill. Roasted malts are acid, so I guess that's the reason you need to add less CRS (basis the calculator) for a generic stout/porter because the assumed roast malts in the recipe will be helping neutralize some of the alkalinity.


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Old 13-11-2015, 02:54 PM   #13
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good point on impact of grain bill. Roasted malts are acid, so I guess that's the reason you need to add less CRS (basis the calculator) for a generic stout/porter because the assumed roast malts in the recipe will be helping neutralize some of the alkalinity.
Yes, taking for example GW's Guinness Extra stout recipe on page 226, adding 445g of roasted barley adds 1.7 Meq/l of acidity to the mash. From what I can tell this equates to about .3 Ph which is quite considerable if we are aiming for a fairly narrow range between 5.2 and 5.6. so for example if I leave out the roasted barley my Ph gets pushed out of range from 5.6 to 5.9, gulp! 'Ol Arty Guinness certainly knew what he was doing!
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Old 13-11-2015, 06:39 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mirsultankhan View Post
Yes HCO3 is the measurement for the bicarbonates (hardness) and CaCO3 the measurement for alkalinity (buffering capacity)

Hardness
Chemically, hardness is often defined as the sum of polyvalent cation concentrations dissolved in the water. The most common polyvalent cations in fresh water are calcium and magnesium.

Alkalinity
Alkalinity is a measure of the acid-neutralizing capacity of water. Alkalinity is usually reported as equivalents of calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

What is the long suffering home-brewer to make of this? It appears to me and please correct me if I am wrong that hardness represents the total dissolved salts in water and that alkalinity is how much our water can resist change (normally acidic change). Naturally there is a symbiotic relationship between the two. As far as I can tell hardness is not really a problem, its the carbonates that are dissolved in the water that reduces our waters ability to resist change thats the problem. (spit ding!) Neutralize or get rid of them! That is why we can boil the water to get rid of some of the carbonates or we can treat our water with an acidic solution (like CRS) to weaken or neutralize the waters ability to resist change.


Rather interestingly I was reading yesterday that Guinness used to add some sour beer to their famous brew to give it that 'Guinness twang' now they use lactic acid. German brewers add lactic acid to Munich malt and add that to reduce the alkalinity of the mash (acid malt) I think this would be an excellent addition because you typically only need about 1-2 percent (20-100g) to really effect the Mash and bring it down to an acceptable level.


If anyone is interested I can put your water data and your target profile data into various software and we can compare the results. I really like the old forum calculator, its simple and gives instant results treating the mash and sparge separately. It has its limitations though in that it does not take the grain bill into consideration and some of the additions are a little excessive in comparison to other estimates. If it works for you though, do it!
Nice post MSK, especially the explantion between hardness and Alkalinity as that is definately a big elephant trap waiting to ensnare the novice water treament -er (that not even a word is it )

No matter how hard you try and deny it, YOU are a definately the forum expert on water treatment
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Old 13-11-2015, 08:55 PM   #15
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Nice post MSK, especially the explantion between hardness and Alkalinity as that is definately a big elephant trap waiting to ensnare the novice water treament -er (that not even a word is it )

No matter how hard you try and deny it, YOU are a definately the forum expert on water treatment
Haha you are very kind however the real experts are those guys like Martin Brungard that actually know and understand the chemistry.

I have today purchased a set of scales for measuring salts to 0.1g, some lactic acid in liquid form for the sparge as required, some acid malt for the mash as required, lets see if it makes any difference.
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Old 14-11-2015, 09:04 PM   #16
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Just tried this calculator and to be honest not really impressed. It tells me to use both Gypsum and epsom salts a practice I stopped doing about 15 years ago after having my water analysed by a specialized lab and showing my results to my late father in law a chemist working in the brewing industry. One comment he made was after working 30 years in brewing he has never found any water in the UK that needed add magnesium. Only CRS! what about sulpuric and hydrochloric.
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Old 14-11-2015, 09:32 PM   #17
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Just tried this calculator and to be honest not really impressed. It tells me to use both Gypsum and epsom salts a practice I stopped doing about 15 years ago after having my water analysed by a specialized lab and showing my results to my late father in law a chemist working in the brewing industry. One comment he made was after working 30 years in brewing he has never found any water in the UK that needed add magnesium. Only CRS! what about sulpuric and hydrochloric.
The calculator is what it is. The primary concern for any home brewer is to reduce carbonate if you need to and increase calcium again if you need to. The calculator does that. Personally I don't need any CRS because my water is ultra soft at 25ppm.

Magnesium is for the sake of yeast but your late father in law is correct, its not critical.

Gypsum and Epsom will help reduce the alkalinity of the water critical for ensuring a good mash Ph. If you do not think that it is suitable for you there are of course other calculators that you could try. If you post your water analysis and your target profile we could compare results.

As a home brewer do we really want to be handling sulphuric and hydrochloric acid? I don't think so, lactic acid is available and so is acid malt.
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Old 15-11-2015, 02:13 PM   #18
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Handling acids is not hard, all you need is common sense. CRS and AMS are both blends of the 2 acids but will alter other minerals. Using sulphuric for pale beers and hydrochloric for dark beers is a much better option. AMS is made by Murhpy's, my FIL was very wary of that company. He said their testing was poor and some of the acids they sold were calculated wrong so I would be cautious with their products.
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Old 15-11-2015, 05:55 PM   #19
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Handling acids is not hard, all you need is common sense. CRS and AMS are both blends of the 2 acids but will alter other minerals. Using sulphuric for pale beers and hydrochloric for dark beers is a much better option. AMS is made by Murhpy's, my FIL was very wary of that company. He said their testing was poor and some of the acids they sold were calculated wrong so I would be cautious with their products.
Aha! as I suspected, CRS/AMS does not actually remove carbonates it simply neutralizes them, is it not the case? One must note the difference between boiling and using CRS. Boiling will remove carbonates AND calcium whereas using CRS simply neutralise's the carbonates by adding an acidic solution and leaves the calcium. I don't use any CRS/AMS. All i need is 0.7ml of lactic acid to bring my sparge water to a PH of 6 and 20-50g of acid malt to bring the Mash to between 5.3 and 5.6 ph Problem solved, panic over.
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Old 15-11-2015, 07:50 PM   #20
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I think the CRS/AMS does remove the carbonates since the acid neutralisation process converts bi-carbonate to water and CO2. I double checked Murphy's data sheet: Time should be allowed to release the carbon dioxide
produced by the neutralisation of excess carbonate


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