Beginners Guide to Water Treatment

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strange-steve

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In some tests I did going from one end of sulphate to chloride ratio to the other the one with loads of sulphate was horribly dry to the point of being perceived as astringent. It was real sucking a teabag time.
I think some people don't get on with that sulphate dryness, myself included. I don't like a lot of sulphate in any beer, but some people seem to love that flavour in their IPAs.
 

Drunkula

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I think some people don't get on with that sulphate dryness
I think I found the typical boundaries from either Palmer or Jamil and they said 5:1 sulphate to chloride is as far as you should reasonable go, so I went to 7:1 and 9:1 to really get a feel for what differences it makes. Going OTT on sulphate is really evident, on calcium chloride it was the opposite and off the top of my head everything from 1:3 to 1:9 just tasted kinda mellow and fine.

I'm really glad I did the extreme splits as it was only about 8 bottles of each and even the eye-twitchers were ok with pop or in a beef pie (with about 8 pots of redcurrant jelly).

Merry Chrismas, Steve-o.
 

Argentum

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FWIW, I'm tentatively ballparking the pH 5.5 acid strength of typical "Acid Malt" in the vicinity of 0.34 to 0.35 mEq/gram.
Expanding upon the mEq acid strength of nominal (or typical) lots of Acidulated Malt:

~0.31 mEq/gram at pH 5.2
~0.32 mEq/gram at pH 5.3
~0.33 mEq/gram at pH 5.4
~0.34 mEq/gram at pH 5.5
~0.35 mEq/gram at pH 5.6
~0.37 mEq/gram at pH 5.8
~0.38 mEq/gram at pH 6.0
 
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ChrisPDuck

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Am I right in thinking I need more info to populate either Bru N Water or BrewFathers water profile?

I've read until my brain hurts (WTF are so many different compounds expressed as CaCO3?)

Anyway I seem to be missing Calcium and Bicarbonate and have tried to calculate these from what I have and / or adjust the missing value until it balances but I just can't get believable results to balance.

Can anyone shed any light on this for someone trying to take their first steps into water treatment.
 

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strange-steve

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@ChrisPDuck I agree with @Argentum, 44 ppm magnesium would give a hardness of about 180 ppm, and that's before you add the calcium. So something is not right.

You could get yourself a Salifert Ca kit to test the calcium for yourself, then you could estimate the magnesium from that.

Bicarbonate can be worked out by multiplying alkalinity as CaCO3 by 1.22 which in your case (assuming it's correct) is 99 ppm bicarbonate.
 

ChrisPDuck

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@ChrisPDuck I agree with @Argentum, 44 ppm magnesium would give a hardness of about 180 ppm, and that's before you add the calcium. So something is not right.

You could get yourself a Salifert Ca kit to test the calcium for yourself, then you could estimate the magnesium from that.

Bicarbonate can be worked out by multiplying alkalinity as CaCO3 by 1.22 which in your case (assuming it's correct) is 99 ppm bicarbonate.
Got the Salifert kits you recommend @strange-steve, thanks for what (I think) are idiot proof instructions.

However talking of idiot proof... Is a Alkalinity of ~5ppm as CaCO3 believable?
Carried out the test twice and both times it turned colour on the 3rd drop of reagent leaving the plunger at 0.98ml which translates to 0.3dKH or 5.37ppm as CaCO3

Calcium kit turned on the 4th drop leaving 0.96ml in the syringe which I belive means a Calcium concentration of 20ppm?

Perhaps I should start making Pilsners instead of stouts ;)
 
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strange-steve

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@ChrisPDuck sorry for the delay. It sounds like you've got some very soft water there, I thought mine was soft with 30 ppm alkalinity. To be sure, you could take a litre of water and add 0.25g of sodium bicarbonate to it, stir it in well and then retest the alkalinity. This should increase the alkalinity by about 150 ppm.
 

ChrisPDuck

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@ChrisPDuck sorry for the delay. It sounds like you've got some very soft water there, I thought mine was soft with 30 ppm alkalinity. To be sure, you could take a litre of water and add 0.25g of sodium bicarbonate to it, stir it in well and then retest the alkalinity. This should increase the alkalinity by about 150 ppm.
Cheers Steve, will give that a crack but I guess I'm not too far off...
I brewed today with water treatment and aiming for a mash PH of 5.32 I recorded 5.41 which doesn't feel a million miles off for my first attempt.
Will let you know how it turned out when it's done.

Adjustments were made as below with the starting profile based on measurements taken from the Salifert kits this morning and water report for other values

Screenshot_20200124_200621_com.android.chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20200124_200631_com.android.chrome.jpg
 
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BradleyW

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Thanks so much for this overview, really helpful for a newbie like me. I do have a question though regarding adding acids to lower alkalinity. Apologies in advance if this has been covered already, I haven't been through all 900+ messages haha.
I have noticed on the website I buy all my brewing gear off that they sell phosphoric acid as well as lactic. The say it doesn't effect (or affect, never know which) flavour and you don't need as much as you do with lactic acid. So question is, does anyone have any experience using this and would you recommend it?
Thanks
 

strange-steve

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Personally I've never used phosphoric acid and probably never will. My tap water has very little alkalinity and only needs a slight adjustment so lactic acid works perfectly for me.

It's true that phosphoric acid will not impact the flavour as much as lactic acid but there is one potential issue with it in that it causes precipitation of calcium during the mash. Im not exactly sure of the extent of this, some say it's very little, others say it's considerable.
 

jjsh

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Mmmm, that's annoying. I was also going to switch to Phosphoric acid as my water is really hard and I have to use a lot of CRS ~ I haven't noticed any odd tastes or anything but I don't half romp through it.

Other than potentially knackering your element, what is the downside of the PA precipitating out the calcium?
 

BradleyW

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Mmmm, that's annoying. I was also going to switch to Phosphoric acid as my water is really hard and I have to use a lot of CRS ~ I haven't noticed any odd tastes or anything but I don't half romp through it.

Other than potentially knackering your element, what is the downside of the PA precipitating out the calcium?
yeah I was thinking of going straight in on the phosphoric acid as I also have hard water
 

foxy

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I use both but in small quantities if I ever do need to use it, remember to put the strength of the phosphoric acid into your water calculations. it comes in various strengths in the home brew shops.
Most pro brewers use phosphoric, but they are using large quantities of water.
 

BradleyW

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I use both but in small quantities if I ever do need to use it, remember to put the strength of the phosphoric acid into your water calculations. it comes in various strengths in the home brew shops.
Most pro brewers use phosphoric, but they are using large quantities of water.
The one that my brewshop sells is 75%, is that similar to yours?
 

foxy

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The one that my brewshop sells is 75%, is that similar to yours?
No mine is 25% it doesn't matter what it is, as long as in your acid additions be sure to enter the percentage number. Very little acid additions are needed for my water here.
 

BradleyW

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No mine is 25% it doesn't matter what it is, as long as in your acid additions be sure to enter the percentage number. Very little acid additions are needed for my water here.
Thanks! I'm sure I'll balls it up the first few times!! It's all a learning curve though!
 
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