AMS(CRS), Mash Water, Gypsum for correct PH

Discussion in 'Grain, Hops, Yeast & Water' started by hamster, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. Sep 24, 2017 #1

    hamster

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    Using water straight from the tap without any treatment leave the generally accepted PH ranged for mash, wort etc WAY out !

    I'm not sure what the generally home brewer though can do to reduce the PH values. AMS is cut with Sulphuric Acid but its a carbon reducing solution, so surely adding in gypsum is counter productive ?

    Also I'm not sure AMS can really be used for dropping PH values alone.

    How to people correct the PH values of mash water etc to get into the accepted ranges ?

    I don't really want to add acid malts as it'll change what I've developed...
     
  2. Sep 24, 2017 #2

    Simonh82

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    AMS (CRS) is specifically designed for reducing the alkalinity of brewing water. It works very well for this purpose. It is a blend of sulphuric and hydrochloric acids which together result in a reduction in alkalinity without significantly changing the sulphite to chloride ratio of your water (just increasing the total amount of both)

    Personally I find CRS a bit pricey as it is quite dilute. I use 75% phosphoric acid for my water adjustments. 80% lactic acid is another good option.

    You really need a water treatment calculator like Bru'n'water or the one on Brewers Friend. To make these work you do need to know the mineral composition of your water. If you are lucky you can get this from your water company's website.
     
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  3. Sep 25, 2017 #3

    strange-steve

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    +1 to what Simon said.
    CRS neutralises alkalinity in the water which allows the mash pH to fall into a more desirable range (somewhere around 5.2-5.4 is good).
    Adding gypsum (calcium sulphate) to the mash also helps lower the pH by the calcium reaction with phosphates in the malt.
     
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  4. Sep 25, 2017 #4

    hamster

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    Ok so best thing is to get some 'proper' acid such as Phosphoric, Lactic or Citric (probably in that order in preference - or depending on what beer you make)

    So I get this right...

    CRS reduces Alkalinity by removing carbonate in the water which is converted to added Chloride and Sulphate ? With then the effect of lowering the PH or is that bit because it's cut with sulphuric acid (I think)...

    CRS has no effect on calcium sulphate (gypsum) added

    The acids above literally just reduce the PH of the water

    I've just done a brew and added some CRS to get my PH down to acceptable mashing levels, which was successful as mash was 5.4 but sounds like I've probably screwed with my water chemistry so who knows how that will turn out

    All I really wanted to do was lower my PH so should ditch the CRS and get some Phosphoric acid
     
  5. Sep 25, 2017 #5

    the baron

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    Hi Hamster
    I had problems with strong astringency which I think was due to PH problems in the mash?sparge (this was only with all grain and no problem with kit brewing). I have solved this without going into the study of water chemistry which I found too complicated as all I wanted to do was brew by doing full mash (you can do it your own way) by using approx 19l of tap water treated overnight with a campden tablet then I add approx 8 l of RO water I also use 5.2 PH additions this has cured my rather bad stringency issues and I then kettle sparge with water approx at 70c just a thought it might work for you or you can go down the road of understanding water chemistry which is the proper way to do it
     
  6. Sep 25, 2017 #6

    strange-steve

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    Phosphoric and lactic acid are fine to use, personally I wouldn't use citric unless in very small amounts, but there's nothing wrong with CRS.
    Not quite, acids neutralise the bicarbonate in the water releasing CO2 and leaving behind water and a different anion, depending on which acid you use. CRS leaves sulphate and chloride, both of which are generally desirable. Lactic acid leaves lactate which will give a slight tangy flavour in high enough quantities. Phosphoric acid leaves phosphate which is found in relatively large quantities in malt, which means it's a fairly flavour neutral acid. Citric acid will give you fruity flavours from citrate.
    The purpose of adding gypsum is to increase sulphate levels or to change the chloride: sulphate ratio. Using CRS will increase the total sulphate but it won't have much effect on the ratio.
    Much more important than reducing the pH of the water is reducing the alkalinity which is the buffering capacity. It's high alkalinity rather than high pH which causes high mash pH.
     
  7. Sep 25, 2017 #7

    strange-steve

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    Have a look at my beginners guide to water treatment here which shows a basic approach and skips the chemistry.
     
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  8. Sep 25, 2017 #8

    hamster

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    Awesome thanks very much !
     
  9. Sep 25, 2017 #9

    trueblue

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    From my own research I would not bother with the water company as they tend to give a mean average taken over a period of time and possibly a large area. I get mine tested once a year from Phoenix analyticalr for £25. I have no complaints with CRS/AMS but since swapping to sulphuric for pale beers and hydrochloric for dark beers there has been a big improvement in my beers.
     
  10. Sep 25, 2017 #10

    Sadfield

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    Interesting. I would have thought a mean average from a regularly recorded set of data would be more reliable than one yearly measurement, especially if your supply is variable. Unless you are lucky and your sample is taken when your supply is most consistent. ;)


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  11. Sep 25, 2017 #11

    trueblue

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    My yearly tests only slightly vary. I test my alkalinity with a salifert kit before every brew and again there is only a slight variation. My research was with a fellow brewer who lives about seven miles away and we both sent off to Phoenix at the same time and asked a water company report as well. Over a few beers a few weeks later we compared results. Our water company reports were exactly the same but the phoenix ones were both different and some areas a lot different from the water company. I seem to remember, this was several years back, my calcium was 120, his was 140 but the water report stated between 110 and 172 which as useful as a paper condom.
     
  12. Sep 26, 2017 #12

    Sadfield

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    The mean average of 110 and 172 is 142, so in the same area as the two tests. I guess you know that, and why you presented the two end points and not the mean average.

    Your research had also proven that composition is highly unlikely to be such that it deviates from water suitable to Pale ales to that of stouts, and given that most homebrewers don't replicate exactly the same recipe brew after brew, any deviation in mineral content isn't going to be noticed.

    I agree with your evidence that a one off measurement cannot be relied upon, and further salifert tests are a good, cheap solution. Advisable, however a brewer arrives at their water profile.

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  13. Sep 26, 2017 #13

    trueblue

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    To me the big problem was they gave no indication over how big a period the samples were taken. I have also recently started testing my calcium levels on a brew by brew basis as well and after 6 brews had found no variation.
     
  14. Sep 26, 2017 #14

    Sadfield

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    Even from the selective information provided, it looks that your mean average and the water company's mean average are close enough to not cause any major issues. For most people, infrastructure, geography and geology of their location is a stabilising factor in water composition, and thus mean averages are useful and reliable.

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  15. Sep 26, 2017 #15

    trueblue

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    I disagree. If I had gone with a mean average that would be a difference of 22 from the true reading. Unfortunately the calcium is the only one I can remember as it is something I take as important. I do remember some of the other values were wildly different from my own tailored report. I do accept some water boards will be better than others but I do think if you are going to take water treatment seriously the first thing you need to know is what you are starting with.
     
  16. Sep 26, 2017 #16

    Sadfield

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    Yeah, I suppose. The mean average of daily, multi-sample tests that have to be monitored and reported to the requirements of EU and Government legislation, can be a bit spurious.

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  17. Sep 26, 2017 #17

    Honk

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    I was planning on getting a report done on my water for brewing but I think this thread has decided me to go with the water boards reports (along with what I can test myself using a salifert kit)
     
  18. Sep 26, 2017 #18

    hamster

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    After this thread and reading others I've asked the guy, Neil, on the below link for a water report... £26 is pretty cheap and gives you what you need

    http://www.phoenix-analytical.co.uk/

    This guy is highly recommended throughout the forums...
     
  19. Sep 26, 2017 #19

    trueblue

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    Neil is a wise move. He has worked in the brewing industry for years and is reliable. All my tests have been done by him.
     
  20. Sep 26, 2017 #20

    trueblue

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    That is why I believe the general water authority report is not suitable for our needs. We need to know what is in our water not the parameters it falls into.
     

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