Bicarbonate: issue or not

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Head First, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,253
    Likes Received:
    2,451
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Back in the mountains
    I recently got my Ward Labs report back and all is basically a little low in salts (easily fixed) however my Bicarbonate level is 200ppm. Palmer says boil, electric brewery says ignore and add acid are just 2 examples of what I've seen. I would rather avoid the trouble of mixing ro or distilled water and have read quite a bit on just boiling out the CO2. Anyone here done this? Without boiling it takes quite a bit of acid to balance light beer ph.
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,369
    Likes Received:
    6,600
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Boiling can get you down to alkalinity in the 40-60 ppm range. Mixing is actually considerably easier, using distilled or RO water easier still - I spent quite a bit of time yesterday adjusting mash pH because the water isn't exactly what's in the water report.
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    Ive been told over and over to ignore it too, but Id like to get your differences if you do it and notice any
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,369
    Likes Received:
    6,600
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Remember, folks, the important measurement is residual alkalinity, the amount left in your mash after phytin has done its job. You can have a lot of carbonate and a low RA, depending on how much temporary (carbonate) hardness you have and how much permanent hardness (sulfates, etc.) you have. And hey, if it works, don't fix it.
     
    Gledison likes this.
  5. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,253
    Likes Received:
    2,451
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Back in the mountains
    I have brewed without knowing exactly what was in my water but I did know the hardness so added some gypsum and corrected ph in the mash with acid malt or phosphoric acid. For lighter beers the calculator calls for 4% acid malt and additional acid so I am exploring which way to go to stay balanced ph without so many additions. How do I tag the water calcs so I can share for discussing ozarks?
     
  6. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    when you save a water report for a recipe at the very bottom of the page there is a link to it to share
     
  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
  8. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,253
    Likes Received:
    2,451
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Back in the mountains
  9. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,253
    Likes Received:
    2,451
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Back in the mountains
    That didn't work very good:confused:
     
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    this is my list, you need to save a recipe water report to add to this list first, do you need me to explain more ?
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    2,485
    Likes Received:
    1,562
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Happily retired
    Location:
    Upper Michigan/Florida
    Well, you can definitely preboil and decant off of the precipitate. The thing is, you have to have enough temporary hardness for this to happen. Using slaked lime can solve that problem, and give you low alkalinity brewing water. It's too much to write about here, but this page answers all of the questions and explains the whys and how-to: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Alkalinity_reduction_with_slaked_lime

    The thing with simply adding acid is that with some acids (like lactic acid), using enough to lower the pH to the proper range may have a flavor impact.

    As far as the slaked lime adding, and then racking off of the precipitate, I've done this, and add good results. However, I brew 11 gallon batch so doing this with 17 gallons of water involved a big trashcan, and siphoning and so on. It is cheap, and easy, so it's something to consider if you don't want to buy an RO system or dilute with purchased or distilled RO. (I ended up buying an RO system for $119 since my bicarbonate is 228 and I can only make a stout without neutralizing that alkalinity).

    Ignoring the alkalinity is the worst thing you could do, by the way. It'd be fine for darker beers, but no way could you make a wonderful kolsch or light colored beer with that alkalinity.
     
  12. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    I have low alkalinity so it works for any light colored beer and with salts and acids it can remove it completely in the calculator, I was concerned about this a while back but in reality the beers taste great so i didn't pursue a change, maybe I should look into it further
     
  13. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
  14. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,253
    Likes Received:
    2,451
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Back in the mountains
    #14 Head First, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
    Thanks Yooper. I do 11 or 21 gal batches,2-15gal BKs so volumes to play with at 7 or 11 gallon batches would work easily. Will look that info up after work.

    Thanks OMB my water is public listed as Head First Western Montana now but will do more after work.
     
  15. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    #15 Ozarks Mountain Brew, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
    this is whats getting me, most of my water ends up like this with low RA, I think this should be higher

    screenshot-www.brewersfriend.com-2017-09-25-16-21-12.png
     
  16. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,369
    Likes Received:
    6,600
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Looks about right: Formula for RA is Alkalinity (ppm) - Ca (ppm)/1.4-Mg (ppm)/1.7. Looks like most of the hardness in your water is permanent - very little carbonate hardness. That'll give you the low RA readings (and water that should make an amazing Dortmunder!).
     
  17. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    #17 Ozarks Mountain Brew, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
    all I have to do is play with my Gypsum/Calcium chloride levels to get hoppy or malty,
    this is my hoppy profile

    screenshot-www.brewersfriend.com-2017-09-25-16-18-46.png
     
  18. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,253
    Likes Received:
    2,451
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Back in the mountains
    #18 Head First, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
  19. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    you need to pick your source water
     
  20. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,253
    Likes Received:
    2,451
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Back in the mountains

Share This Page

arrow_white