treating water

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by oliver, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    we are BRAND NEW to water treatment... and for the first time today tried using 100% distilled water, with some gypsum, epsom, CaCl-, and my LHBS recommended seasalt, which we didn't have, so we used table salt...

    LHBS also provided us a sheet with Randy Mosher's IPA profile for a 5 gallon batch. Since our batch is 2.25gal, we took his numbers ÷5, multiplied by 2.25....

    (3.46g Gypsum, 1.03g Epsom, .36g table salt, .67g CaCl-) all added at 140º a couple minutes before doughing in 4.5# Maris Otter, .5 flaked wheat, and .25 Acid malt.

    145º, nailed it. 10 minutes into the mash, popped a pH strip in to test our pH level, still bright yellow. So, did we not add enough minerals, or did we add too many?? And, if were too low, is there a way to raise the pH??

    on the bright side, hit 73% efficiency today, up from our usually minuscule 60%.
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    first you have to stir the water vigorously after adding any salts and before you add the mash, it has to mix well with the water and the mash will not do it for you but yes there is a way to raise ph if thats the case look it up on google
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    First issue I see: What were you trying to achieve by treating your water? If you can answer that question, it's time to think about treatment, which is very complex but can be simplified to one variable, residual alkalinity. Residual alkalinity is predictive of mash pH. RA and calcium content are the only two water variables I worry about since our water is a bit deficient in calcium. I acidify or add salts for light-colored brews and have to add alkalinity for dark ones. I add salts to the brewing liquor before I even start to heat it. The water calculator on this site works well, once you understand why and how you're modifying water.

    pH test strips: You can get a decent pH meter, even a waterproof one, for about $50. Much more accuracy....

    Table salt: Contains iodine which inhibits yeast. You don't need to use sea salt, sodium chloride is sodium chloride regardless of the source, but make sure your salt is not iodized.

    Congrats on the increased conversion efficiency! Monitor to see if it stays higher.
     
  4. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    we're trying to achieve just an overall better tasting beer i guess? I've been told by some brewmasters/owers around New Orleans to use distilled water and treat it, rather than use our tap water.

    as for the table salt, we used Morton salt, a little white cardboard tube of it. not sure if this is iodized or not, but my batch from yesterday hasn't taken off yet looking at it in the chamber.. probably need to run out and get some non iodized salt. Brewing again today, same water, same treatments.
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    if your unsure you might try 50/50 and test the ph test, it should do well for most beers accept very lite
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Yep, New Orleans water is pretty bad.... If you can provide the recipe, particularly the grain bill, it would help. Distilled water has nothing in it so it should be good for most beers with addition of 50 ppm of calcium. I just did back-of-the envelope calc's using the site's water calculator. Distilled water with 6g Calcium Chloride added will deliver a residual alkalinity of -35 ppm in 10 pounds of SRM 3.5 grist. Geek speak for you can brew a pretty light beer with just those parameters. Add 10 grams and you should be able to brew a Pilsner at SRM 2.0. You'd need 12g of gypsum but you still can do it. You're not going for mineral flavors so minimal water dorking (hat-tip Gern B) is recommended....

    What's your recipe?
     
  7. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    Striking 2.5gal distilled water right now. Profile shooting for is the one i posted initially.

    2.25 batch, 2.5 mash, 3.0 boil
    grain:
    4# 2-row
    .25# German munich
    .25# honey malt
    .5# flaked wheat
    Galaxy and Citra hops
    US-05

    3.85g Gypsum
    1.15g Epsom
    0.40g Seasalt
    0.75g CaCl-

    does it matter what temp i add them in? we're waiting for 140º, salts (stir well), bag, grains.
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    All the salts are fairly soluble so I just add them to my filtered tap water and stir. You can add them any time until you dough in, even afterward, but I like to have the ions available to the mash from the start.

    That's a pretty light colored batch and my calcs were scaled to 5 gallons. You'll want to scale the salt additions down. I don't know the purpose of the sea salt but hey, at that concentration it won't hurt. You can always leave it out and taste test at bottling.
     
  9. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    i'm using numbers from Randy Moshers IPA profile, which for 5 gallons distilled water lists:
    7.7g Gypsum
    2.3g Epsom
    0.8g Table Salt
    1.5g CaCl-

    residual Alkalinity -90.38
    Mash pH 5.6

    i've scaled it down to 2.5 gallons water, (our mash volume), half of his numbers.

    edit: so, tested mash pH and we've hit about 4.8 about?
     
  10. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    Update: 65% efficient today. Again, as said before, we believe our water was slightly under the given standard of 5.2. We think we're at 4.8 or so for this batch. We were nearly identical today, except for not using Acid malt in this batch.
     
  11. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    4.8 is an under-shoot - the best range is 5.2-5.5. But it's hard to tell with test strips and extract efficiency depends on way too many variables to blame it on water at this point.

    I use the Oakton waterproof pH meter - tired of frying electronics through dropping them into my mash tun. Here's the link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Oakton-EcoTestr-W ... n+ph+meter

    It's served me well.
     
  13. wolfie7873

    wolfie7873 Member

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    Nearly all "table salt" is iodized. Part of a government effort a long time ago to fight thyroid disease, goitre and low intelligence.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/iodization-effect-on-iq-2013-7

    Kosher salt is easier to find than sea salt, comes non-iodized, and tastes a hell of a lot better than Morton Table Salt.
     

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