Adjusting water

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Josh Hughes, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Alright time to start adjusting water. I use Kroger purified drinking water, I’m sure that means it’s not RO since it doesn’t say so on the package. I was able to find reports and it’s pretty much striped of everything. I am reading everything I can get my eyes on. PH I know is first to worry about. In many recipes it has certain thing to add to water. Can I assume (without fulfilling the joke) that following those recommendations with my bottled water will keep PH in check? What are the basic additives I need? I plan to order a few things and hopefully get before I brew this weekend. I have read a few threads On here and will continue. I also found @Nosybear ’s article in BYO. I’ll keep reading Everything I can but it’s a little overwhelming....
     
  2. Under Deck Brewing

    Under Deck Brewing New Member

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    pH in your water, from what I've read, and experienced, is (relatively) meaningless: pH is a balance between acidity & alkalinity, not an amount. So, If you have two (equal weight) elephants on either side of the teeter-totter, and another one with two gerbils :They'd both have the same pH, but very different results on your brewing. It seems generally accepted that the pH of your strike water (the gerbils) can be (relatively speaking) ignored. The only real way to know 'for sure' is to get a water report. I get one from Ward labs on my tap water every year, technically you could get it on bottled water too, but it sounds like you found a report, so I'd enter than to the BF water profile, and get calculating: Can't tell you what to add, since that's entirely based on your grist, and what the calculator is setup to help you figure out. I did get a pH meter (which I calibrate before every brew) as a bit of a sanity check on this whole thing: Has been reassuring to see how close it gets in the mash.
     
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  3. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Calcium Chloride, Gypsum, Epsom salt (not really necessary), canning/pickling salt. To bring mash pH into range you can use 88% lactic acid, or acidulated malt. Once you have your profile set, and your grain bill set you can determine how much acid it acid malt you need. I personally use acidulated malt. Play around with the calculator with a test recipe to learn which addition does what.
     
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  4. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Yes!
    Don't be concerned about the pH of the water, mash pH is all that matters. You will find that darker grains are more acidic.
     
  5. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Ordered those. Tomorrow during “virtual school” I’ll be playing with the calculator;)
     
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  6. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    You don't have to be a chemist to understand brewing water but the best thing you can do is what you are doing! You need to understand how water effects the mash ph. Will knowing all about water make you an excellent brewer, no but it will make you a much better more informed brewer. Dive in! What I have noticed is knowing more about water folds the knowledge into all of brewing. As an example you will understand why darker malts change ph, why ph is important in the mash. As you learn you will understand why finished beer ph matters.

    Sorry I get carried away, read on.
     
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  7. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    For me there's two sides, providing a good environment for the mash and the other is flavouring your beer. On the good environment for the mash side it's pH, a small amount of calcium (50ppm) to help some of the enzymes and removing any chlorine/chloramine.

    On the flavouring side there's a heap of options and it's often better to think of the salts as using herbs and spices in cooking. Also if you're going to try and hit some of the levels traditional in English brewing you may be better keeping these additions until after mashing and just do enough to control the pH and the small amount of calcium for the mash.

    Personally a big chunk of the beers I brew (sours/saisons/stouts) don't get any flavour additions, just some calcium to support the mash with equal amounts of calcium chloride and gypsum and a bit of acid. Then it's down to the yeast or malt to bring the flavour. But when I'm doing hoppy beers I'll use more calcium chloride or gypsum to emphasise either the bitterness (gypsum) or malt/mouthfeel (calcium chloride).
     
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  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    It is RO water. You'll need calcium chloride, calcium sulfate and 88% lactic acid solution. Baking soda if you need to raise pH. Your first task is ensuring you have 50 ppm calcium. Your second, add acid per the calculator. Don't worry about much more for starters. Oh, make sure you have a half-gram scale.
     
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  9. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed with Nosy, you just need CaCl2, gypsum, and an acid (or acidulated malt).

    Read and do this:
    https://www.homebrewtalk.com/threads/a-brewing-water-chemistry-primer.198460/

    I remember reading somewhere the order that people learn about water chemistry is like: mash pH -> yeast nutrients -> flavor profiles.

    So I would learn them in that order. Why does pH of the mash matter and why does CaCl2, gypsum, and an acid help? Then, which minerals are assisting the yeast and why, and where do those minerals come from? And finally, once all that is clear, learning why historic water profiles even exist, for instance, why London water makes good porters but not great light beers.

    I also find residual alkalinity to be useful when creating recipes, which is also linked to water chemistry and pH.

    Good luck, Josh! There's the usual educuational resources like How to Brew, Joy of Homebrewing, Braukaiser, and the BF blog has a great series of articles on water :)

    Also, lots of brewers get hung up on matching water profiles for styles of beer, but I'm hearing/reading more and more that it's unnecessary. And people really get tied into the chloride:sulfate ratios, which again, I've heard is not as necessary as once thought.

    Just like anything else, find what works for you and your brewery and go from there :)
     
  10. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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  11. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    I have a scale that will go a fraction of a gram so I’m good there. I ordered gypsum, lactic acid, and calcium chloride. I have baking soda and Epsom salts. I also ordered ph strips
     
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  12. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    Eh, most people will tell you the pH strips won't work, but it won't hurt anything to try them :)
     
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  13. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Been reading and looking at the calculator. Gotta go an online lecture. I’ll get back at it this afternoon.
     
  14. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't find links to these articles here on the forum, but I copied them for my own reference when I was learning about water.
    In the beginning I bought a pH meter, and was checking mash pH and fretting over it.
    Now I just rely on the recipe editor and the pH prediction.
    Enjoy!!!
     

    Attached Files:

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  15. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Those were good to read. Thanks. I glanced over those last night. I’ll dig in better on those today
     
  16. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    The pH strips aren't accurate enough. I should have mentioned you need a pH meter accurate to two decimal places.
     
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  17. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    I’ll grab one of those as well.
     
  18. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    This is fun stuff even though my head hurts. :) Obviously tons left to read but I messed with the calculator for my next planned brew. Adding a gram of gypsum and calcium chloride gets the calcium to about 50 ppm. Quarter of a gram of baking soda gets the PH to 5.4. This is using the calculator with recipe added.
    Is that a good start? I also messed around with the different profiles. That’s pretty neat too. Like I said I’m still going to be reading a lot. I have different books, some listed in the thread and the magazine subscriptions to look through.
     
  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If you need to add the baking soda to adjust the pH, do so. Normally it's only a factor if you have a lot of dark, roasted malts in the grain bill. A gram seems a lot for a gallon batch. You are not adding acid and bicarbonate at the same time, are you?

    Also, I forgot to mention, for the pH meter, you will need some reference solutions for calibration, pH 7.1 and 4.1 are the ones you need for beer. They're available on Amazon. Don't get the ones for fish tanks, though. Here are the ones I use:

    https://smile.amazon.com/Biopharm-C...c5d6a&pd_rd_wg=Xn5pr&pd_rd_i=B01F7OXRG2&psc=1

    I use 20 ml per calibration so they last a while.
     
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  20. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    This is what I had in there. Only Munich malt
    49959AEE-74BB-4700-8ED6-A7DE736656E4.png
     

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