Advanced water calculator question

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by RiverStreet, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. RiverStreet

    RiverStreet New Member

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    Hello all new here. I'm having trouble on the advanced calculator. Trying to figure out water for a stout. It seems no mater what I do I end up with RA around 0 or negative. As far as I know this is not right. My question is when I am making adjustments such as adding cacl or acid, am I supposed to be trying to get the pH in the display down to where I want it? Say 5.4? I have water with high alkalinity and it seems I shouldn't have to go to the extremes that I am to get the pH there. One water I have is:
    Ca 50
    Mg 12
    Alkalinity CaCO3 160
    I go as is, to cutting 50/50 with distilled to all distilled and still have the same problem with no RA. What am I doing wrong? The stout I'm trying to do is 44 srm.
     
  2. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    Hello,

    Under the acid additions tab, there is a box which will change the input to your desired ph, and will output the amount of acid needed to reach this. I assume you have copied your grain bill from your recipe into the calculator. For my last 50L batch of stout I used 20ml of 80% lactic acid, 3g gypsum, 3g CaCl, with 53L mash water and around 12 kg grist. The calculator said RA = -12. I don't have water chemistry stuff in my head right now, but I'm curios why you mean a negative or 0 RA is "not right"? what happens if you don't dilute with distilled water?
     
  3. RiverStreet

    RiverStreet New Member

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    Yes I've put the grain bill bill in. Why I say that it doesn't seem right is that I've read dark beers should have an RA above 50. I'm also looking at palmers nomograph which if i put my water into says I should be able to brew a stout as is. Put the same water in Brewers friend and it shows a mash pH of 5.9. Just wondering what the discrepancy is. I guess the real question is: what would be the difference between a stout with RA 100 and one -50? Does it matter as long as the pH is right? Something just seems off to me. And on a side note my beers have been coming out with some astringency even though I've done everything I know to avoid it. Some get a sourness to them too.
     
  4. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    Good question. I peeked at Palmers nomographs and got confused. One has a scale on top with RA against mash ph, the other has RA against a shift in ph due to RA. I suppose the latter is similar to the BF calculator which shows the theoretical ph of the mash with distilled water as a comparison, and the mash ph with true source water. Is it that the first nomograph showing mash ph is the theoretical with distilled water, and the actual ph comes from incorporating the RA's effect? Because the entire color scale corresponds to 5.6 to 6.0 ph. I thought a ph between 5.4 and 5.6 was correct for all beer styles?

    I think I found a drop in sourness by not adding SO4 salts and rather Cl. Can't be sure though...
     
  5. RiverStreet

    RiverStreet New Member

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    I think on the palmers graph if say you end up at 6 pH with the dark color above that means your water and base malt alone will give a pH of 6 and adding grains that gets you in the color range from above with shift you into the correct mash pH range. That's why i wondered maybe the pH on Brewers friend was doing the same thing? It seems strange that supposedly higher alkalinity water is good for dark beer but yet I have to make a ton of adjustments to it in order for the pH to come down to the right range. Theoretically shouldn't most water profiles be good for brewing a certain beer? I thought this water should be good for stout but with all the adjustment Brewers friend has me doing its no better than building from distilled.
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    At an SRM of 44, I don't think there's a need to cut your water with distilled. You NEED alkalinity for that dark of a beer! Your RA should be 440 ppm. In other words, if you add acid, you're working against yourself. You want your mash pH to settle out somewhere between 5.2 and 5.4 so I'm guessing you'll be adding alkalinity. Best way to do this is with baking soda, sodium bicarbonate. Adding calcium or magnesium will reduce the residual alkalinity just as adding acid will so you probably will want to avoid it in a beer this dark. If you need chloride or sulfate, maybe use salt and/or sodium sulfate, you can also use epsom salts because magnesium has less of an effect on RA than calcium. It isn't easy stuff here but given the principle of minimal dorking, I'd use bicarbonate to bring the pH up into the desired range and do nothing else.
     
  7. RiverStreet

    RiverStreet New Member

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    That's the whole problem with this, it's telling me my mash pH is too high with this water and I have to add all kinds of stuff to get it where I want it (5.3-5.4) and by time I do the RA is negative. Makes me think I'm doing something wrong.
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    Have you throughly read the documentation below the calculator, most people ask questions and sometimes the answer is in the docs, good luck
     

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