Water adjustment

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Aub, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    My water profile here in Melbourne is pretty good soft water, I only need to add 7 or 8 grams of calcium. If I add baking soda to raise the residual alkalinity for an English Porter is it ok to add it to the boil so as not to raise the mash PH ?
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,389
    Likes Received:
    6,623
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Why not just leave some of the calcium out? Would do about the same thing. The only thing you're interested in residual alkalinity for is its effect on mash pH.
     
  3. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    9,436
    Likes Received:
    9,499
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pest control tech
    Location:
    Palmwoods QLD
    gday Melbournite im heading your way tomorrow arvo wedding drinking ect ect:D! im on sunny coast perty soft water as well about 40ppm bicarbonates. i did a similar thing last brew with an amber lager i upped the bicarbonates with bicarbonate soda not baking powder (im not sure there is a big difference but when cooking dampers it makes a big difference) its still in the chill at -2c but when its carbed and on tap ill be tge first to tell you it was a good/bad idea. :)
    Screenshot_20180313-154943.png
     
  4. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks for that but I was thinking more along the lines of increasing the bicarbonates but don't want the mash PH to rise. My water is low in calcium so I need that to stay. So I thought maybe baking soda in the boil may do that.
    It's doing my head in this water stuff !
     
  5. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hope you enjoy Melbourne. That's close to the profile I'm after but wondered if adding the baking soda to the boil would work and not affect the mash PH, I suppose I can do what you did and add lactic acid. I'll be keen to know how your Amber Lager turns out.......I reckon you'll be right though.
     
    Trialben likes this.
  6. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Just been mucking around with the water profile tool and when I add baking soda to the mash and lactic acid, overall they cancel each other out and you don't end up with more bicarbonates but when I add the baking soda to the boil it increases the bicarbonates overall.
     
  7. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    9,436
    Likes Received:
    9,499
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pest control tech
    Location:
    Palmwoods QLD
    yeah lower it with acid. i dont see why yoy cant add it to the boil only thing is if it drops out of solution from boiling then again itd do the same if added in mash.
    as far as my history goes with brew salt additions i havnt ruined a beer yet from adding calcium chloride gypsum table salt or chalk so why not continue to experiment with it. i keep most my additions to minimum though ivenyet to go too crazy on chloride to sulphate ratio with teaspoons worth of gypsum:).

    keep us posted
     
  8. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    9,436
    Likes Received:
    9,499
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pest control tech
    Location:
    Palmwoods QLD
    yeah looks that way im not no water wizz but ive tried raising hardness through chalk before only to hear it precipitates out in boil so i know not of any other way except as another brewer on here suggested was getting high alkalinity water. or just duck over to Adelaide and use half and half with their water:p.
     
  9. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I'm keeping it to a minimum until I know more about it. Maybe someone will have the definitive answer.
     
  10. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    9,436
    Likes Received:
    9,499
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pest control tech
    Location:
    Palmwoods QLD
  11. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
  12. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
  13. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    2,486
    Likes Received:
    1,566
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Happily retired
    Location:
    Upper Michigan/Florida
    The only reason bicarbonate is helpful in brewing is to raise mash pH. You definitely do NOT want to add it to the kettle to raise the kettle pH if the mash pH is already low.

    The “proper” amount of bicarbonate is 0, in that you only want enough alkalinity to balance the mash pH to 5.3-5.5. If you are making a lighter colored beer with no roasted malt, you want a bicarbonate of 0, plus enough acid to lower the mash pH. If you’re making a porter, a little bicarbonate may be needed to raise the mash pH if you have a ton of dark malt, otherwise, 0 added bicarbonate is what you want.

    Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. If you want to add calcium, you want calcium chloride.
     
    HighVoltageMan! likes this.
  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,389
    Likes Received:
    6,623
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Increasing the bicarbonates will increase the mash pH. It sounds like your problem is a low mash pH rather than a high one. Decreasing calcium will up the pH. I tried this weekend with quicklime - accidentally put too much acidulated malt in a recipe - it worked somewhat but mostly just precipitated out all the salts in the water. I find the biggest problem with adding bicarbonates is that it later results in gushers, as calcium reacts with phosphates and forms micro-crystals of the mineral apatite. Keep your calcium at or above 50 ppm but lower the additions, that'll bring your mash pH up.
     
  15. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2015
    Messages:
    832
    Likes Received:
    808
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Big Lake MN
    I agree. Sodium bicarbonate is really the only effective additive that can raise pH in the mash, but use it only if you have to. The biggest draw back is the sodium, unless you want a little in your beer to round out the malt flavors and risk dulling the hops.

    The best way I have found to raise pH is with a naturally hard water. A good tasting water with 200-300 ppm total hardness can be used to raise pH without adding anything that may change the final flavor of your beer. If you find you pH dropped too low in the mash, you can sparge with a hard water to bring up the pH. This water may be hard to come by for some, so it may not be an option. The most effective way to lower pH is with acids, 88% lactic acid and +80% phosphoric acid can be used sparingly to move the pH down. Calcium is needed in the beer, but the effect on lower the pH is not super effective, you don't need more than 70 ppm of calcium. The grain itself can contains a lot of calcium too, that has to be kept in mind.
     
    Aub and Trialben like this.
  16. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks for that, I think that sorts out my confusion.
     
  17. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Do you know if the water profile tool takes the calcium in the grain into account?
     
  18. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2015
    Messages:
    832
    Likes Received:
    808
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Big Lake MN
    The short answer is no. The calcium in the grain may be enough to react with the phosphates (also in the grain) to lower pH to an acceptable level. But more calcium is added for the yeast health, it helps with flocculation. That's why you don't see a huge reduction in pH when calcium is added, because there is enough already from the grain to work with the phosphates to exchange ions.

    Adding calcium to the mash insures there is enough for good pH and for the overall health of the yeast. The generally accepted amount is between 50-200ppm. I just use the additions from the water and the added salts to come up with the calcium level and ignore the calcium from the grain. If you set towards the low end 50-70ppm, you'll be fine.
     
  19. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Short answer? :p
     
  20. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,389
    Likes Received:
    6,623
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Long answer, yes. By default.
     
    jeffpn likes this.

Share This Page

arrow_white