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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2009 * Archive through March 01, 2009 * The importance of water chemistry < Previous Next >

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mark taylor
Member
Username: Marktaylo

Post Number: 239
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 201.148.44.172
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 03:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

An area of brewing that I am sorely in need of study is water chemistry. It is the final frontier for me in terms of homebrewing knowledge. Is there a painless approach to what seems like a daunting undertaking.
mark
www.backyardbrewer.blogspot.com
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 10017
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.192.193
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 04:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

No, the approach is not quite painless. It involves at least a high school level knowledge of chemistry. If you skipped or slept through chemistry class, you have some boning up to do. But the good news is that it's not rocket science, and this time you have the incentive that an understanding of the subject could improve your beer.

As I often recommend, the first place to look for this understanding is the chapters on brewing water and mash pH in John Palmer's How to Brew. The later version in print is more complete, but the basics are there in the online version. Also on the website is a link to John's excellent (and updated) spreadsheet for water calculations.

Start with Palmer's discussion. If you're not of a scientific mind, find a time when you are clear-headed, and read carefully. Then if you have questions, come back here and ask. Several of us are capable of answering them.
 

Steve Pierson
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevepierson

Post Number: 426
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 66.162.131.35
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 05:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mark - don't get discouraged if it doesn't make sense at first. I have reread the water chapter in How to Brew numerous times. Bill Pierce and others on this forum have been a great help, as well. I still don't completely understand it, but I am able to adjust my water as needed to get the desired results.
 

mark taylor
Member
Username: Marktaylo

Post Number: 240
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 201.148.44.172
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 05:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, I'll check out John Palmer on-line and see where that takes me.
mark
www.backyardbrewer.blogspot.com
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 10019
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.192.193
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 06:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Take some cash (it's not that expensive) and spring for the print version of How to Brew. It belongs in the library of every homebrewer who has brewed more than 10 batches, as well as those who aspire to.
 

mark taylor
Member
Username: Marktaylo

Post Number: 241
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 201.148.44.172
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 06:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

thanks bill,
i'll take your advise and buy it.
mark
www.backyardbrewer.blogspot.com
 

ChriSto
Advanced Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 520
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 06:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I had 2 years of chemistry at Ga Tech and I still don't understand it!
 

Steve Jones
Advanced Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 615
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 76.7.101.212
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 07:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have tried to implement a 'less complex' version of John's spreadsheet in Javascript for those who don't have Excel. I did not include the calcuations for acid additions as they are extremely complex equations and I simply didn't want to undertake those. I also didn't include the bicarbonate/alkalinity option.

I used both versions side by side for several different target & source profiles, and the results in the javascript version matched the spreadsheet. I also didn't check (and don't currently have the knowledge to do so) for 'balance' in the resulting profiles, so the results in some cases may only be theoretically possible. But all the source profiles that are in it are the results of real water tests by Ward Labs.

This is version 1, and I would appreciate if anyone finds a problem to email me ... use the feedback link on the page.

RA Calculator

I would especially value feedback from you, Bill.

[edited to correct grammar & spelling]

(Message edited by stevej on February 27, 2009)
 

Jim DeShields
Member
Username: Niquejim

Post Number: 151
Registered: 07-2006
Posted From: 76.5.198.132
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 10:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My FIL was the president of a MAJOR tech company and when I start talking water chemistry he's telling me to stop. I have just started messing with the water and Bill is right it is not painless(30 years from HS chemistry)
 

Jim Williams
Junior Member
Username: Jim_williams

Post Number: 94
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 72.221.65.41
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2009 - 12:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I went to California public schools, and never took a chemistry class, so there

My thread further down the list goes to show how little I understand about water chemistry, but, I'm learning. The best bitter in the fermenter right now tastes great, with more hop character than I've had in awhile, and, my efficiency went up! According to Beer Alchemy, I hit 87% from my normal 75%!