Water Chemistry

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Grey Ghost, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. Grey Ghost

    Grey Ghost New Member

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    What dose HCO3 stand for..How do I bring that number up in my brewing salts?
     
  2. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    HCO3 is bicarbonate. It's generally not desirable in brewing water.

    It does counteract acidity in a mash, so a little in that case is fine. But it's not something you want to add in general.

    If you need to add alkalinity to a mash to raise the pH due to using a high percentage of roasted grains (not very often, unless you're using something like RO water and making a stout), a good choice is is NaHC03. That's sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda. That can bring up the bicarbonate when necessary, but I've been brewing for a very long time and in more than 12 years, I've never needed to raise the pH by adding bicarbonate.
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I've used it. Resulting beer was not good. I'm with Yooper on this: It is rarely necessary to add alkalinity and next time I have to try, I think I'll try a very small amount of sodium hydroxide. It will be a tiny addition, very little sodium and hydroxide is naturally present in all water.
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Also, calculators tend to overstate acidity of roasted malts. So if you're basing RA calculation on roasted malts, your acidity will be too high (the pH too low) and you'll overcorrect. Baking soda has a mineral taste you may not want. I'd try to avoid it.
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Is this the same as calcium bicarbonate i popped 4g of this in a malty lager awhile ago to bring up the bicarbonates to 100ppm and it was a treat. Im a new to water though.
     
  6. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Calcium Carbonate, CaC03 is similar- the thing is, it didn't do anything for you most likely. It's chalk, and it does work well, IF you make sure to bubble c02 through the water so that it dissolves. Few brewers do that, and so it's often removed as an option in brewing water calculators.

    If you used 4 grams of it, you probably didn't really "use" it after all.
     
  7. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Just checked the recipe it was 3 g each of chalk,calcium sulfate, and calcium chloride to achieve balanced profile. My bicarbonate in my water are 33ppm so on that brew I added some chalk to hit 100ppm but as you said it probably didn't disolve. I thought that the boil disolved it? The strike water was definitely cloudier than normal but tasted nice and soft.

    So you recon don't bother with the chalk just get the sulphate/ chloride right and add acid for ph?
    Added a pick of adjustments.:)
     

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  8. ACBEV

    ACBEV Active Member

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    I don't much bother with water chemistry! Except PH. My water is about 7 which I think is a bit high for brewing. I like to bring my water PH down to 5.8 with phosphoric acid then test again when mashing. It goes down a bit more, normally.
     
  9. Grey Ghost

    Grey Ghost New Member

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    Thank you for the reply's I needed to lower it. I'm trying figure out this water chem.
     
  10. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    My ph of my brewing water out the filter is ph 7 neutral on the scale. I think it's a perfect range my past brew was golden promise base with some Carapils and maybe a bit on Munich malt no dark malt and my mash ph 5 minutes into the mash was 5.5 not bad for an ale but definitely within the sweet spot for mash conversion. I brewed a saison by the time the yeast did its thing it was down to 4.5ph range nice and tart. You don't need to add much acid to the mash to get it in the right range your malt will,naturally do this for you I've found. Now for a light larger or Pilsner type brew 5.2 is the aim and this is where I think you need your acid to get you into that low ph range. Also sparging water should be adjusted down into the low 5.4 ish range to reduce tannin extraction in the sparge. I've even used vinegar before as I've no phosphoric or lactic acid to do this ATM :eek:
     
  11. ACBEV

    ACBEV Active Member

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    Trialben, your right of course! I should think before posting...

    Let me start again just so you don't think I made my statement up. o_O

    I have two kettles, initially one is used to heat strike water, the other to heat boiling water for mash out, while the fist one then is use to heat sparge water. Few :cool:

    I store my water in a butt for at least a week, just so the chlorine has time to dissipate. Our water is good tasting (Thames area) but the PH can vary seasonally, Winter it.s around 5.8 lowest, summer around 7.

    In the summer when my water PH is higher, then tend to bring the mash out and sparge water down to 5.8. now this does depend on type of beer as you stated.

    Today my tap water is at 5.8, so probably wouldn't brew a stout. But I might brew a light pale ale with lager malts.

    Think that makes sense, at least to me. Perhaps should have more control over PH. I have thought of using.potassium hydroxide to bring the PH up when needed...:confused:
     

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