Water adjustments

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by okoncentrerad, Nov 23, 2017.

  1. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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    I have got my water analysed and been sent the result today, and now I'm curious how to work with water adjustment to make the water better suited for the beers I'm brewing. So a few newbie questions here...

    (I have marked my water profile as shared, but I'm not sure how others might access it though. Hopefully you can see it, somehow!)

    I understand different water targets may be used depending on what kind of beer is being brewed, some works better for this and some others works better for that.

    So, for my next brew I'm thinking of making this English Brown Ale. How will I start thinking here...first of all, what kind of target water profile would be good for this? Next, how do I work with the "Mash Chemistry and Brewing Water Calculator"? I select my water profile, I select a target water profile...then should I adjust the salt values to get close to reasonable values? Or is it some kind of magic button somewhere that make a suggestion?

    When I got the numbers right, when do I add the salts (if any)? Prior heating the mash water? In the mash?

    Regarding pH of water, I know about the preferred level when mashing and in boiling, but I don't really understand how to get there. I purchased a pH meter for use with my next brew, so I really have no idea what my pH have been in the previous ones. Any hints and suggestions on how to do on brewday? What preparations do I need to do before brewing, and what should I do if pH gets too low or too high when I measure pH during mash or boil?

    Oh and finally, any comments on my water profile? Anything out of the ordinary?

    Thanks for any advice on this!
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  3. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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    Thanks. I have been trying to read about adjustments on a couple of sites, including this one, but it's a lot to take in and also trying to apply it to my own situation...

    I will take a look at your links and hopefully something will be clearer afterwards!
     
  4. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Find an all grain brewer in your area who knows about treating water. He’s dealing with the same water supply you are. I’m sure he could get you started in understanding water treatment. I’m still in the camp of if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it when it comes to water. Luckily, my 2 stage carbon filter produces adequate water for brewing. I get good conversion, and I like the way the beer tastes. I’ve never had my water analyzed. I’m sure it could be improved, but it’s a road I choose not to travel.
     
  5. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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    Yes of course you are absolutely right, I usually live by that rule too, don't mess with the things that's working. And to make things worse, I still haven't tasted the beer I have been brewing it's soon time though, tomorrow will be the day.

    However, for different reasons I suspect the water here isn't optimal for brewing beer. I've been reading a lot of forums and blogs and almost all let you know that adjusting the water is necessary (I'm in Sweden btw... so I'm talking about the water here).
     
  6. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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    I've been fiddling a bit with the "Mash chemistry/brewing water calculator" and come up with a water calculation. I used the "Balanced profile" as target profile, right or wrong? I got "green stars" in the overall water summary and a pH that seems pretty OK, but what else should I look for? I think the alkalinity/residual alkalinity got a bit too low than whats recommended...is it? and if so, does it matter?

    And something that confused me: when I created my water profile I could choose register alkalinity as HCO3 or CaCO3, and since I got the report in HCO3 i choosed that. But in the water calculation, after loading my water profile, there is a choice of enter the alkalinity as Bicarbonate (mg/L, just as in the profile) or as Alkalinity, with a set of choices, one of them "dH" which i guess is german degrees of hardness? My report from the lab also included a value of hardness in dH (1.6), but if I enter that value in this field, the outcome is completly different. Am I missing something?
     
  7. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I just entered in the values given by my local water suppliers water report and left it at that within 95th percentile. Im pretty sure alkalinity is the same as water hardness its my understanding the bicarbonate levels in water determine how hard/soft it is high levels is hard low soft. My reports lists as bicarbonate at 35 soft.

    You know how hard your water is by calcium build up around taps.

    Good luck on your water quest:).
     
  8. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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    Thanks, yes I don't think the water is particullary hard...I haven't had any problems with calcium build ups. It's just a bit confusing, my report states the Alcalinity as HCO3, to 240 mg/L. But it also states the hardness as 1.6 dH, and if it should have been a correlation between those two I wouldn't have got such a difference in the resulting water calculation between entering those values respectively.
    I know I shouldn't bother, just stick with the HCO3, but it would be nice to know what I'm missing here! :)
     
  9. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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    And a bonus question, if you guys don't mind. Using my newly reported water analysis on my previous recepie, without any adjustment to the water, the calculator calculates my mashing pH to have been 6.1 (I didn't have a pH meter by that time, don't know the actual value). I think my effiency has been rather low, less than 65%, would such a relatively high pH explain this?
     
  10. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    You really need to understand more about how water effects brewing to make changes to your water. John Palmer has a free online book, How To Brew that is a good place to start.
     
  11. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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    Thanks, I do have read quite a few articles and and forum threads about water and what it means to brewing. However I'm still the newbie and I have no problem asking questions I almost know the answer to...better safe than sorry! Don't mean to come out like a jerk now, just trying to explain :)
    Regarding pH, I've read somewhere between 5.2 and 5.5 is where you usually want to be when mashing, and that being outside those values will affect your result in one way or another. I guess one of my questions, "would the pH explain my bad effiency", should have been put "how much does it affects...a lot, or not so much". As I have read, mashing on a low pH makes you having less efficency, and a mashing on higher pH may result in tannins.
     
  12. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Best extraction mash PH is 5.6.ph

    But more than just mash ph will effect efficiency. Mash temp. Mash length. Sparge. Type of sparge. Grain crush size. Ect ect.;)

    Read www.Braukaiser.com for more on mash ph experiment.
     
  13. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    A couple of things I would check out is your sodium is a little high, do you use a water softener? Also in the recipe I see the Crystal 100 shows a lovibond of 38? That should be 100. Your Calcium and Chloride are low so your on the right track there. Your bicarbonate is pretty high but should be ok with this darker grain bill.
     
  14. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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    Thanks! Yes I'm going to read that Braukaiser article, seems like a lot of info...there too :eek:

    I have a water softener installed, I take water from my own water well and the lab report I got is from after softener and filtering.
    Not sure about the "38" for Crystal 100, it updates to that value automatically when I press the "Update grist info from recepie"-button...
     
  15. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Must be the way it's entered in your recipe for the C 100.
    Water softeners don't make good brewing water. To use your own water you need to access it before the softener. And yes, read up. If you don't have much of a background in chemistry you will need to read read read and teach yourself enough to understand what is going on. The calculator is super handy cuz it does all the math for you but you definitely have to have an idea of what's going on.
     
  16. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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    Right or wrong, according to this it's the value given for that malt.

    Well I don't have a background in chemistry, I'm a keen learner though ;)
     
  17. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Crystal malt is usually named for its lovibond. Either they name it differently in Finland, or you discovered an error.
     
  18. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    ...which would be about 50 SRM.
     
  20. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    There are a lot of things about learning to brew that are more important than perfect water. It just needs to be close. Usually if it tastes good to drink and has the chlorine removed you can brew with it. As was pointed out earlier there's lots of other items in the process with more influence on the outcome of the beer.
    The sodium level recommended by "Bru n Water" is below 60mg/L. There is a possibility of a mineral taste above that. So that softener could be a problem.
     

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