Water Profile - use of Campden Tablet

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by New to Brew, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. New to Brew

    New to Brew New Member

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    This is my first post - 2 years into brewing. Loving it!!

    I've read much about water treatment and want to give this a shot. So this is my understanding - with a question at the end.

    My Source water is:
    Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl- SO4-2 Alkalinity pH
    8 1 6 1 8 1 0 (CaCO3) 7.36

    My target (for a Amber EPA) is:
    Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl- SO4-2 HCO3-
    100 20 20 30 150 50


    I'm looking at getting:
    Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl- SO4-2 HCO3-
    83 13 24 24 31 57

    This is with the following additions:
    Baking Soda NaHCO 3 grams add 0.45 tsp
    Gypsum CaSO 4 grams add 2.00 tsp
    Calcium Chloride CaCl 2 grams add 0.59 tsp
    Epsom Salt MgSO 4 grams add 0.89 tsp

    I'd prefer to have more Calcium (Ca+2)- but this increases either the Sulphate (SO4-2) if I add Gypsum.

    I could add Calcium Chloride (CaCl2), but this increases the Choline (Cl) in the water.

    So, my question is....

    Could I add the above - with an addition of Calcium Chloride - to the water, followed by a 1/4 tab of a Campden tablet to get rid of the Chlorine?

    Hoping above is correct!!

    Thanks,
    Richard
     
  2. New to Brew

    New to Brew New Member

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    Looked at the above - the formatting is awful! Redone here - hopefully a little better??

    My Source water is:
    Ca+2 = 8
    Mg+2 = 1
    SO4-2 = 8
    Na+ = 6
    Cl- = 1
    HCO3- = 12

    My target (for a Amber EPA) is:
    Ca+2 = 100
    Mg+2 = 20
    Na+ = 20
    Cl- = 30
    SO4-2 = 150
    HCO3- = 50

    I'm looking at getting:
    Ca+2 = 83
    Mg+2 = 13
    Na+ = 24
    Cl- = 24
    SO4-2 = 31
    HCO3- = 57


    This is with the following additions:
    Baking Soda NaHCO 3 grams add 0.45 tsp
    Gypsum CaSO 4 grams add 2.00 tsp
    Calcium Chloride CaCl 2 grams add 0.59 tsp
    Epsom Salt MgSO 4 grams add 0.89 tsp

    I'd prefer to have more Calcium (Ca+2)- but this increases either the Sulphate (SO4-2) if I add Gypsum.

    I could add Calcium Chloride (CaCl2), but this increases the Choline (Cl) in the water.

    So, my question is....

    Could I add the above - with an addition of Calcium Chloride - to the water, followed by a 1/4 tab of a Campden tablet to get rid of the Chlorine?
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Chlorine and chloride are not the same thing! Chlorine is Cl2, a molecule of two chlorine atoms. Chloramine is chlorine chemically bound to an amine group. Both are used as disinfectants in public water supplies. These two can combine with phenols in beer to create chlorophenols. I recently tasted a chlorophenolic beer and it literally felt like putting Chloraseptic sore throat spray in my mouth, same taste, same smell. This is what Campden tablets take care of. Activated charcoal filtration does it, too. Chloride is the chlorine ion with a charge of -1. You want this in beer. It "mellows" the bitterness from the hops. So much so that I practically never use gypsum in my water. Which brings me to another kind of touchy subject, water adjustment. Your source water is extremely soft, meaning extremely easy to brew with. So, beyond bringing calcium up to the recommended 50 ppm, why are you so concerned with it? You may actually need a little alkalinity for an amber beer so I'll quit dorking around and ask the most important question:

    Do you understand why you're making the adjustments you're making to your water?

    If not, add 2 tsp of calcium chloride to your water (I'm assuming approximately 40 quarts total), brew your beer and read John Palmer's "How to Brew" or the Brewing Elements series book "Water." Both are good, approachable references on brewing water chemistry and both explain why the adjustments are needed and how little you actually need to know to adjust your water effectively.
     
  4. New to Brew

    New to Brew New Member

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    Thanks NosyBear.

    This is the first use of a Water Treatment Calculator for me - so very much experimental stage.
    I read about water chemistry, target ranges and the affects the additions have on your beer and set my targets accordingly - I used the calculator to figure out what I needed to add to my source water. It was looking at these figures go up and down that begged my question.

    I'm totally new to water treatment (is this a touchy subject?). I'll take your advice and go for the 2 tsp of calcium chloride as a starter. I'll read and understand more before going for the other additions - probably with a view to some helpful advice on BF!!

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    It's not so much a touchy subject as a misunderstood one. People will go to great lengths to reproduce a certain area's water, completely unaware of how insignificant a variable they are attempting to manipulate. At our homebrewers' nights, I've heard brewers pontificate at great lengths about their water treatment while serving beer that tasted of rancid butter due to infection. And most of their pontification is based on something they read in the Internets, not sound chemistry. The bottom line on water is you can try all day, any combination of salts and never reproduce Burton on Trent's water supply. The values you are attempting to reproduce are averages, anyway, and just as the average of 9 and 11 is 10, the average of 1 and 19 is also 10.

    Water, as long as it's drinkable and not excessively hard, is a minor contributor to the beer flavor overall. Your concern is the mash pH (got a pH meter?). That's controlled using a single variable, residual alkalinity. That's what Palmer describes so well in both books I mentioned.
     
  6. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    yes water is an always will be a tricky thing to master but the only way to get it right is try and retry and learn what doesn't taste right, starting with your ward water report ,I personally try to keep it simple and just adjust the ph and lower the alkalinity because mine is very high and I guess it really only matters if your a perfectionist or a tournament brewer. the book on water is very confusing at first but after reading it the third time I started getting the point, they cover 2 different ways of viewing things from the 2 authors and their points are well thought out, good luck
     
  7. New to Brew

    New to Brew New Member

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    OMB and NosyBear - thanks for that.

    With little to no chemical background - I feel like I muddle through a lot of the text I read. With a "drip drip drip" approach, I'm hoping to grasp a better understanding and will persist with reading.

    Palmer has been the guide for me - I started by wanting to make a cheap and easy lager, but now lager is SO boring and ale is where it's at. That said, I've seen Palmer talk about the importance of water and has produced a book purely about water for brewing. http://www.brewerspublications.com/book ... r-brewers/

    I feel though as if I'm trying to run before I can walk and will take your advice - again, thanks for that.

    Alkanity is a tricky one to get my head around (no science background!!)

    Given the soft water I have as a great starting point, is there any advice on how to get this right?

    Cheers
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Given the water analysis you've mentioned my original advice stands: Add 10g (about 2 tsp) of calcium chloride to your mash and sparge water and brew with it. The only reason you need the CaCl2 is to up the calcium in your water to the amount the yeast needs. The only place you'll run into problems is if you have a recipe with a lot, I mean a lot, of dark grains, that could push your mash pH below acceptable levels (around 5.1 to 5.2 if you have a pH meter).
     
  9. GernBlanston

    GernBlanston New Member

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    I may be a simpleton, but here is my view on water treatment.

    When you have produced the best possible beer, with attention to recipe, sanitation, process, FERMENTATION, packaging, proper aging, and concerns to the serving temp, carb levels and the proper glass. Then, maybe.

    If you have done all these things, and can repeat it over and over again with consistent results, and still are not happy with your beer, then perhaps "dorking" around with the water might have a slight difference.

    Slight.

    Especially if your water is well within the "normal" range. Of course if you got some jacked up water, the you may need to "dork" a bit. Easier, though, to start with some RO or distilled and build up. But be sure its necessary. Ive brewed for over 20 years, and have a few medals on the wall, and have yet to see the need to "dork". If the beer is tasty, then you are good. If there is room for improvement, first be certain of all the above variables, before commencing the "dorking" procedure.

    On the other hand, I am a zen brewer, and if you feel that "dorking" makes better beer, and you like it, then "dork"away.
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Gern, thanks for the treatise on minimal dorking. It's what I'm advocating here. As you said, when you have everything else dialed in, worry about water. And then, minimally.
     
  11. New to Brew

    New to Brew New Member

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    I've had free time this week and a chance to read up.

    Seems, as I'm preferring light to amber beers, that my water is pretty good for brewing (as NosyBear said). But got to watch the pH levels of the wort (as NosyBear said)- which I can balance with crystal or roasted malt. Got my pH strips (as NosyBear said).

    I'm going to throw in some Calcium (as NosyBear said) - with some gypsum too. It's an American Pale Ale, with fruity hops.

    Also - the "dork" in me now kind of gets it. But because my water's good, I'm really not going to get hung up on it (as GernBlanston said - quite subtly!).

    Got loads of pH strips for the mash though!!
     
  12. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    What's a pH strip?
     
  13. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  14. GernBlanston

    GernBlanston New Member

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    I am preparing an extensive manifesto for the United Nations Security Council on the procedures of Minimal Dorking, and the benefits thereof.
     
  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Dork minimally. I like it!
     
  16. New to Brew

    New to Brew New Member

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    Just to let you all know - because I know you can't wait - I ended up adding 2 tsp of Gypsum and 2 tsp of Calcium Chloride and achieved a pH of 5.3 on my wort!

    Happy days! :mrgreen:
     

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