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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2006 * Archive through September 22, 2006 * Lime treatment and sparge pH < Previous Next >

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Mike G.
Junior Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 43
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 64.68.169.121
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - 02:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello.

I have been brewing pale beers with a 75% RO dilution percentage up to this point. I decided to try lime treatment as an alternative to making a trip to the store every time I brew a pale beer.

My tap water has the following parameters:

alkalinity: 158 mg/l (as CaCO3)
calcium: 52 mg/l
magnesium: 21 mg/l
sulfate: 180 mg/l
sodium: 60 mg/l
chloride: 20 mg/l
pH: about 8.2
I calculate a residual alkalinity of about 108 mg/l, and an ideal SRM of about 20 for my water.

I just treated 10 gallons of water with 0.42grams/gallon of slaked lime. I plan to rack the water off the precipitate, add CaCl2 to raise the calcium to about 75 mg/l, and brew.

I am not concerned about the resulting high pH (from the lime treatment) effecting the mash, since there will be little remaining alkalinity to buffer the mash pH. However, I am a little concerned about the higher pH in the sparge water.

I do batch sparge, so maybe this won't be an issue. I just wondered if anyone has thoughts on this.

PS: I only have "cheapo" pH strips, so I am flying blind with regard to pH
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5814
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.66
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - 03:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't want to be a fuddy-duddy, but my considered opinion is that water treatment is pointless without an accurate means of measuring the mash pH. Borrow or buy a meter or some high quality plastic-coated pH strips.
 

ChriSto
Junior Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 73
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - 03:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You have great water already for pale ales and lagers, IMHO. A real Burton style ale may need some gypsum added to boost Ca and SO4. Other than Na and SO4 being a little high for lagers, it looks great for those too, but I'm assuming you are doing this for pilsners and trying to soften.

If I remember correctly, limits of precipitation softening with lime is about 30 mg/l, so still have pretty high residual. If making a true pilsner, you want non-ionic water and not particularly soft water, so using RO is a good way to go.
 

bierslayer
Junior Member
Username: Bierslayer

Post Number: 57
Registered: 04-2004
Posted From: 128.104.92.246
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - 03:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sounds like you've got a good handle on what you're trying to achieve. If you're batch sparging I wouldn't even worry about adjusting sparge water. If you were fly sparging, you might add a little phoshoric or lactic acid and use your cheapo pH strips to get it close to 6.0 and sparge away.
 

Mike G.
Junior Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 44
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 64.68.169.121
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - 05:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for the responses. I am brewing yet another american style wheat ale, with wheat and pale malts exclusively. I usually try to achieve a "calculated" residual alkalinity of about 0 for my pale brews, using CaCl2 and the RO dilution. For a czech pilsner, I think I will just use RO water and a light touch of mineral additions.

Bill, I think will need to order some "real" pH strips and phosphoric acid for future brews. (Just can't wait to brew this time).

I think my water could be used for a dortmunder with a little modification. So many beers on the to-brew list.....

(Message edited by mikeg on August 23, 2006)
 

Mike G.
Junior Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 45
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 64.68.169.121
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - 05:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

While I am on the subject of brewing water, a nearby town has the following profile:

Alk = 98 ppm as CaCO3
Ca = 184
Mg = 56
SO4 = 363 (can reach 550 in certain seasons)
Na = 214
Cl = 120

As you might guess, this water has "body".
I always thought this water would make a nice bitter, but as I look at it now, the Mg is about twice what it should be, and the Ca is so high relative to the Alkalinity, that I think the mash pH may be too low.

I think if I were to use it for a brew, I would cut it 50% with RO water, due to the Mg levels.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5818
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.66
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - 06:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That's "odd" water indeed. The calculated residual alkalinity is -66 mg/L as CaCO3, which is outside the realm of my believability. I would expect the alkalinity to be much higher. Virtually all of the alkalinity would be buffered by the high calcium and magnesium, and yes, if the data are accurate the resulting mash pH would likely be too low without adjustment.
 

Mike G.
Junior Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 46
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 64.68.169.121
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - 08:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK, I misread the report for the nearby town.

The Calcium and magnesium numbers are "hardness as CaCO3". The correct numbers are: Ca 73.6 ppm, Mg 13.6 ppm. These jive with the total hardness (as CaCO3) of 240 ppm.

I still think it would make a nice bitter, though.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5821
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.66
Posted on Thursday, August 24, 2006 - 12:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That's more reasonable, Mike. Yes, with a residual alkalinity of 37.4 mg/L as CaCO3 and a high sulfate content such water should be very suitable for brewing somewhat bitter amber beers.
 

Mike G.
Junior Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 47
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 64.68.169.121
Posted on Thursday, August 24, 2006 - 03:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks Bill. I appreciate your prompt replies.
 

michael atkins
Intermediate Member
Username: Mga

Post Number: 426
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 63.227.151.124
Posted on Thursday, August 24, 2006 - 04:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mike G - Just read this post - Regarding the following:

"I just treated 10 gallons of water with 0.42grams/gallon of slaked lime. I plan to rack the water off the precipitate, add CaCl2 to raise the calcium to about 75 mg/l, and brew."

If you decide to do this method often, you might consider getting an "after lime treatment" water report from Ward Labs. You may be surprised how much your calcium is really changed by this treatment. In any event it will give you a good baseline for future brews.
Love This Hobby!

http://msnusers.com/micksbrewery
 

Mike G.
Junior Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 48
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 64.68.169.121
Posted on Thursday, August 24, 2006 - 08:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Michael-

I assumed a "leftover" of 10 mg/l Calcium. This number is based on a calculation in the slaked lime spreadsheet I downloaded from some kind soul on this forum, I believe.

I realize the formulas are theoretical, and there are definitely limits to my measuring equipment, so there is some risk here.

As an update on the lime-treated water, I mashed 2 ozs of homemade wheat malt with this water + a smidge of gypsum last night - I extrapolated the extraction to about 27 pts/lb/gallon (there is potential for error in a mash this small, as well).

I agree - a post-treatment water analysis would be very helpful.

I think I'll brew and maybe add a little extra grain for "cushion" to prevent possible tannin extraction.
 

Mike G.
Junior Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 49
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 64.68.174.252
Posted on Friday, August 25, 2006 - 02:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Another thought, since I can't get off the topic of water chemistry......

I haven't brewed all grain for very long - maybe 5-6 batches. My efficiencies have been about 65% for pale beers, and 82% for the one dry stout I brewed. For the stout, I did nothing to my water. For the pales, I blended 75%RO/25%my water. For all the pale beers, I added CaCl2 to reach a (calculated) RA of about zero. As I mentioned before, I really never checked the pH of these mashes, but I bet it was 5.8-5.9 for the pales, and maybe 5.5 or so for the stout.

My thought is that some kind of acid needs to be added to the mash to bring the pH down to the 5.1-5.5 range. Even though a calculated RA may be zero or a negative value, I don't know if the mash can be acidified enough through the calcium and phosphate reactions. I wonder if acid in the form of dark malts or lactic/phosphoric is necessary to reach this pH. Is this a correct assumption?
 

Dave Coppes
New Member
Username: Pale_dave

Post Number: 14
Registered: 07-2006
Posted From: 24.63.80.108
Posted on Friday, August 25, 2006 - 02:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would echo what Bill Pierce said earlier. Measure your mash pH. No telling what you need to add, or how much if you don't know that.
 

Sean Richens
Intermediate Member
Username: Sean

Post Number: 337
Registered: 04-2001
Posted From: 142.161.98.253
Posted on Saturday, September 02, 2006 - 02:16 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In either of your cases I would use phosporic acid, and pH strips. Of course, with all that sodium and sulphate in there, you're going to have to learn to hop with a really deft touch, but once you have a decent recipe for each of the styles you like, you're set for life.