Help needed to handle Dorsets hard water for Lager

Discussion in 'Grain, Hops, Yeast & Water' started by Marcus Roper, Jul 2, 2019.

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  1. Jul 2, 2019 #1

    Marcus Roper

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    Hi guys,
    I have ph of 7.2 and 272 total water hardness. I want to continue to make all grain lagers, I'm currently using lactic acid 80% to soften.
    Any thought would be greatly appreciated. M
     
  2. Jul 2, 2019 #2

    An Ankoù

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    Whereabouts in Dorset? I used to live in Poole. Used CRS for some beers, but learned my lesson and used rainwater for lagers, Or two thirds rainwater and one third tankwater (I drew from the system header tank, little chlorine).
    Look up CRS, which is mixture of mineral acids or get a bottle of Brewferm phosphoric acid and dilute it to 10 or 5 percent so that it's manageable (and be careful) and use accordingly.
    You could also use rainwater and put some acid malt in the mash or simply brew a Dortmunder.
     
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  3. Jul 2, 2019 #3

    Oneflewover

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    Hmmmm, I think that CRS / AMS will add too much in the way of minerals at the rate we need to use it with our Dorset water. A local brewery told me they use phosphoric acid for lagers as it is flavour neutral even in quite large quantities.
     
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  4. Jul 3, 2019 #4

    foxbat

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    Phosphoric is always choice #1 for alkalinity reduction. Nothing wrong with lactic though as long as you don't use so much that you can taste it. Neither affect your mineral levels.

    If you're getting too much of a mineral flavour in the lager then you'll need a different base water. I use Tesco Ashbeck with a small amount of 80% lactic. RO would be even better and probably cheaper if you have an aquarium shop nearby.
     
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  5. Jul 3, 2019 #5

    Marcus Roper

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    Hi Guys
    Some great advice here, I will try the phosphoric acid idea. I will have a go of some RO water too. The Dortmunder idea is the next up, great ideas guys. I live in Blandford Forum home of Badger beer so I have competition lol. Ps I did the tour, they don't brew lager lol
     
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  6. Jul 4, 2019 #6

    chthon

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    Long term, if you don't plan to leave, buy the smallest reverse osmosis filter that you can get (190 l/day), and start from there making your water. I paid about 50 EUR, amortized over a couple of years that is cheaper than buying RO water, and you can adjust your water as you like.
     
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  7. Jul 4, 2019 #7

    Marcus Roper

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    That sounds a great idea I will look out for one.
     
  8. Jul 5, 2019 #8

    An Ankoù

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    I think you would like Gordon Strong's book "Modern Homebrew Recipes". There are loads of recipes for all kinds of beers including a lot of "lager" styles. But it is also the tale of his struggle against "awful brewing water" very much like Dorset's water. He has hit on the method of using reverse osmosis water all the time and adjusting it with phosphoric acid to get a liquor with pH around 5.5, which when he's added a minimum of appropriate calcium salts for the style, brings his mash pH to 5.1-5.3, which is pretty much spot on.
    I haven't finished reading this fascinating book but he points out that a lot of German recipes are constrained by "beer purity" laws, which are not a constraint on the home brewer so he can, for example, use a flavourless mineral acid instead of acidulated malt and complicated mashing procedures to get the results he wants.
    Two caveats: his batch sizes vary and they are declared in gallons and litres, but he adjusts his water with a quarter of a teaspoon of 10% phosphoric acid in 5 gallons- these are US gallons where 5 glallons is 19 litres; secondly, it's not clear whether he treats all his water this way or just his mash water.

    Phosphoric acid is usually supplied at 75% or 80% strength and will need diluting. Be careful doing this, diluting acids can be tricky- you need to add the acid to the water and not vice-versa.
     
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  9. Jul 5, 2019 #9

    Marcus Roper

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    Thanks so much for a great reply...
     
  10. Jul 5, 2019 #10

    Marcus Roper

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    Hi
    Fighting the water but look at the rewards 20190705_220255.jpg
     
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  11. Jul 5, 2019 #11

    Marcus Roper

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    Many thanks for the great advice M
     
  12. Jul 6, 2019 #12

    evm3

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    I would recommend buying a cheap (£30) reverse osmosis filter from eBay. I have hard water with approx 350 ppm total dissolved solids where I live and was not really able to brew decent lagers. A simple 3stage filter was my saving grace. Starting from basically pure (<10ppm TDS) makes life very easy when adding acid ( I use lactic acid as it's easy to get hold of). It does take a bit of time to collect the water, I usually collect 25-30L in approx 5-6 hrs and there is about 3-4 times as much waste ( very hard) water. I have an aquarium pump and use the waste water for chilling the wort and then cleaning so that doesn't bother me. Hope this helps.
     
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  13. Jul 6, 2019 #13

    GerritT

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    Does a nearby supermarket have still water for sale? Tesco's or Sainsbury's? You could dilute your own water with theirs. 5L for a pound something. Try a bit what hardness and pH you're actually looking for.
    And you get large containers to make hard ciders or other prison-y like stuff.
    https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/258016892
     
  14. Jul 7, 2019 #14

    Marcus Roper

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    Hi There I thought my water was hard but wow 350ppi that a lot. This gives me hope, many thanks for your help. M
     
  15. Jul 7, 2019 #15

    Marcus Roper

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    Hi There
    I did think about buying spring water however. Then you don't have full knowledge of what salts to add as this throws out calculation made on my water report. I'm looking for a mash start of 5.5ph for lager to end of mash about 5.2 or 5.3ph.
    Unfortunately I start with 7.4ph so I have to add a LOT of acid. M
     
  16. Jul 7, 2019 #16

    Marcus Roper

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    Well guys I think I'm going to try phosphoric acid first as you can't taste it over 450ppm unlike latic acid and long term but a RO filter. Any suggestions. Ps. Thanks to everyone you have been great help.
    M
     
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  17. Jul 8, 2019 #17

    An Ankoù

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    In the medium term, you might try what used to do when I lived in Parkstone, and that's drill small hole in one of your gutters and stick a plastic tube in it to collect rainwater. Let it rain for half an hour to clean the air and the roof and use it the next day. A bit of Blu-Tac was enough to bung the hole when not in use. Of course, then, you need to add salts!
     
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  18. Jul 11, 2019 #18

    Marcus Roper

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    Hi Thanks for the idea of the hole in the drain and running off some water. I'm a bit worried about the bird crap though...M
     
  19. Jul 11, 2019 #19

    aamcle

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    Tesco Ashbeck water cheap and easy to get.

    Aamcle
     
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  20. Jul 11, 2019 #20

    Oneflewover

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    Yeah, I often use it to cut my 'Dorset' water up to 50:50. Without wanting to generate yet another pointless state of the planet / global warming debate on this thread the single use plastic involved bothers me though.
     

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