water chemistry book by Palmer and Kaminski

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by monkeyman, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. monkeyman

    monkeyman New Member

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    Hello, new guy on here. I was wondering if someone could help me with some questions I had about the new water chemistry book. It is a great read and very informative and well worth the money by the way.
    1) The Buffering Capacity graphs created by deLange- The two graphs show the buffering capacity from -20 to -100 mEq/pHkg and -25 to -150 mEq/pHkg. Is the buffering capacity more at -100 and -150 or on the other end of -25 and -20.
    2) Palmer gives some great examples to work thru in chapter 7. Earlier in the book he introduces the concept of Z Alk and Z RA but from what I can tell in the examples, Kolbach's RA is used. When we are figuring out our own water would it be better to use the Z Alk and Z RA?
    3) With regards to checking mash pH deLange shows that time is definitely a factor. When should the mash pH be checked ( 30 minutes after adding the grains for example) and is their enough time to make an adjustment at that point? Or do you make changes to the next time you brew the same recipe and try to dial it in over successive attempts?
    Thanks in advance for the help and again, this is really a book that should be in every brewer's library.
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I have that book and so far it's greatest function seems to be to confuse new brewers. Unless you want to study mash and water chemistry, forget about it and make beer. Most of what's in there is either academic or germane to large brewers who have to brew exactly the same beer every time. At homebrew scales, pH largely takes care of itself if you control your temperatures well. As does mostly everything else.
     
  3. monkeyman

    monkeyman New Member

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    Thanks for the reply nosy bear. That was the advice I followed over the past year or so but I am looking to make some improvements and feel like water is a logical next step. I feel my cleaning and sanitation are good and I feel I have my mash and fermentation temp control as good as I can get it with what I have. I feel the book is approachable and at the least can give me a great place to start with my water report.
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Then by all means go for it! I hear a lot of discussion about water in homebrew circles, taste the brew and pretty soon realize sanitation, not water, is the problem. Or oxidation. Or just about anything other than mash pH. If I taste astringency, the first thing I'll ask is sparge temp, not liquor pH. Thing about homebrewing is if you think it improves your beer, at least for you, it does. About all I'd worry about with water as a starter is hardness and calcium. My tap water is at 7.8 - not alkaline enough to worry about - and our calcium is at about 40 ppm - enough to brew with. So the only water treatment I do is to add calcium, either chloride or sulfate, depending on the style or the effect - chloride/sulfate ratio affects perception of bitterness.
     

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