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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2011 * Archive through March 01, 2011 * German Pilsner - Water Treatment < Previous Next >

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Ric Heinz
Intermediate Member
Username: Rheinz

Post Number: 486
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 34.254.119.222
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010 - 02:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm doing my best to wade through and understand the various water treatment spread sheets...

I want to give the German Pilsner (from December - Brew Your Own) a try. The Wyeast 2124 is already propagating.

Starting with all distilled water, with various minor salt additions and following the advise given in the article, I'm looking at an adjusted mash chemistry of:
(From John Palmer's Spreadsheet)

Calcium - 26 ppm
Magnesium - 3 ppm
Alkalinity as CaCO3 - 0
Sodium - 0
Chloride - 34 ppm
Sulfate - 27 ppm

Efective Hardness - 20
Residual Alkalinity as CaCO3 - -20

Since I am retarded with regard to water chemistry, I would appreciate anyone's comments.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2610
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 173.25.24.227
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010 - 02:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

First off, I wouldn't use pure distilled water because it is lacking the various micronutrients that the yeast need. They can get some of those from the malt, but unless your water is totally unsuitable for brewing as is, I would simply dilute it with distilled water until whatever is out of whack is brought into a reasonable range.

That said, if you want to go that route, you need more calcium. Aim for 50 ppm at least.

(Message edited by t2driver on December 27, 2010)
 

Martin Brungard
New Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 9
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 75.184.117.224
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010 - 04:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Low calcium water is going to give you problems with yeast performance and the lack of proper precipitation of oxalates and proteinatious trub. Supposedly the Pilsen brewers got away with it, but who knows if the decoction mashing helped to liberate minerals from the mash.

I recommend a minimum of 40 ppm calcium under any circumstance and increasing that to 60 to 70 ppm is probably a good idea. I don't know what this brewers local water is like, but I second the recommendation that dilution is a good idea. It reduces the amount of water to buy. If he doesn't have that water's composition, then its going to be tougher.

The -20 RA number is not the way to go. You will end up with too low a mash pH. I'm showing that a RA in the 0 to 15 range would be OK. Remember that Palmer's spreadsheet is wrong and doesn't have much basis in fact.

(Message edited by mabrungard on December 27, 2010)
 

Ric Heinz
Intermediate Member
Username: Rheinz

Post Number: 487
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 34.254.119.221
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010 - 06:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks. I appreciate the comments.

My water in high in Bicarbonate, 181 ppm after boiling to remove the temporary hardness. To get it down below 50 ppm I have to dilute by 75%.

Am I wrong in trying to do this for a pilsner?
 

Tex Brewer
Advanced Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 628
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.203.59.252
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010 - 08:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This isn't adding up, Ric. Temporary hardness is caused by bicarbonate. So if you boil, precipitate out CaCO3 (and MgCO3) from your Ca and bicarbonate, and reduce bicarbonate to "only" 181 ppm, then you have a whole lotta other cations in there, like sodium. This sounds like very alakaline water, and possibly salty, too. Not too good for brewing, esp a pilsner. Might be better for dark beer. You are not trying to get the bicarb below 50, you are trying to get at least 50 Ca. The boiling eliminates the Ca in this case because you have an excess of bicarb. Not knowing the whole chemistry of your source water, I can't make a specific recommendation, but starting from scratch (distilled water), you want to get Ca up to about 50, minimize alkalinty (bicarb) and sulfate, but chloride would be OK. So you are probably adding CaCl2 to the water to achieve that. A small amount of the other anions won't hurt, but a lot will.

Mr. Water Chemistry (Bill P) really needs to chime in here.
 

Tom Meier
Advanced Member
Username: Brewdawg96

Post Number: 985
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.96.151.111
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 05:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

? I don't understand Martin's advice above.

There is no way in God's green earth you will ever have a pH that goes to low, with pilsner grist. Maybe if you dump alot of acid into it.

By all means, I second what Graham said. Dilute it down and then add back calcium chloride to hit 50 ppm. The man KNOWS. He won a friggin' AHA medal in Pilsner with crappy Miss'ippi water.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12369
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 03:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't deserve any titles despite having spent a fair amount of time studying brewing water chemistry. I can think of a number of people (including at least two who have already posted in this thread) whose knowledge of the subject equals or exceeds mine.

Temporary hardness is the calcium and magnesium that can be removed by boiling the water (or by treating it with slaked lime). The calcium and magnesium combine with bicarbonate (the alkalinity) in the water to form insoluble calcium and magnesium carbonate that precipitate out (water and carbon dioxide are also produced but can be ignored for this discussion). Rather little of the magnesium is actually removed because magnesium carbonate is relatively soluble (about 600 mg/L).

Not all of the hardness can be eliminated this way. For one thing, about 50 mg/L of calcium carbonate (this includes nearly 20 mg/L of calcium) remains in solution because it is slightly soluble, and the second limiting factor is the amount of bicarbonate (the alkalinity) in the water. The remaining hardness is called the permanent hardness, and in most brewing water is the excess of hardness over alkalinity. If the alkalinity exceeds the hardness, almost all the hardness is temporary, minus the nearly 50 mg/L of calcium carbonate.

Therefore boiling the water reduces both hardness (calcium and magnesium) and alkalinity (bicarbonate). Reducing alkalinity is usually desirable, but especially calcium is beneficial to brewing, so sometimes the result of boiling is water that is deficient in calcium.

I agree with the recommendations to dilute and/or boil the water (perhaps both in the case of Ric's water), and then increase the calcium to 50 mg/L with calcium chloride. The reason for using calcium chloride rather than gypsum is that chloride tends to increase the perception of maltiness, which is desirable in a pilsner. However, if the resulting chloride level is above 150 mg/L, especially coupled with a high sodium level (above 100 mg/L), then you may want to substitute gypsum instead.

I still respectfully disagree with the opinion that John Palmer's water spreadsheet is so much in error that it should not be used. Yes, there is a problem in the way it calculates calcium carbonate additions, and in the fact that it doesn't take the water pH into account, but for most brewing water the errors are not so great as to make it unuseful.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2611
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.105.173
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 04:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

FWIW, I've been using Palmer's spreadsheet for three or four years. I generally check my mash pH with Colorphast strips, which admittedly are not all that precise, but from the lightest to the darkest beers, it consistently ends up near 5.2.

There are a couple of variables that need to be taken into account. First, I use ProMash to calculate the SRM of the wort. There are 3 different formulas that can be used, which yield similar but different results. If the lovibond rating of malt you're using isn't precisely the same as that for the malt you select in the ProMash recipe (e.g. 300L American roasted barley versus 500L British), that throws it off even more. Ultimately, the number ProMash spits out is a bit of a wag. Since the SRM number is where Palmer's spreadsheet starts, it becomes a bit of a "garbage in, garbage out" situation. You can't blame the spreadsheet for that.

In the case of very dark beers, for example a RIS, you may end up with an SRM number of 50 or more. Yes, if you blindly follow the spreadsheet recommendations, you'll end up needing 500+ ppm carbonates, which is, of course, not advisable under any circumstances. But hey, we know that.

The spreadsheet is a tool, and IMHO a very good one. Like most tools, though, it has some limitations. If you recognize that it can lead you astray for very dark beers and use appropriate restraint in your salt additions, it works quite well. I don't have the chemical smarts to argue the precise accuracy of this or that, but as an end user, my pH comes out where I want it to consistently. That's good enough for me.

As an aside, regarding the pH, my water's pH as reported by Ward Labs is 9.4, which is, of course, fairly alkaline. While the spreadsheet does not take pH into account, at least in my case it is quite insignificant, because I only have about 20 ppm carbonates. The hardness side of the equation is extremely low, which leads to alkalinity even with such a low carbonate load. My "crappy Miss'ippi water" (what a backhanded compliment! ) had around 100 ppm, which was more problematic, but even so, the spreadsheet still worked.

I haven't even looked at DeLange's because Bill scares me every time he talks about it. I certainly understand the intellectual desire for precision, but sometimes a broadsword works just as well as a rapier, with the added bonus of being a lot faster and easier to use.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12370
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 05:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham, I wouldn't stay away from A.J.'s spreadsheet on my account. Your ability is more than sufficient; despite the rather high learning curve, you may find some extremely useful features there. And if you persist in reading the manual (it would benefit from some careful proofreading and a little revising) you will be rewarded with a much more thorough knowledge of the chemistry involved.

(Message edited by BillPierce on December 28, 2010)
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12371
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 05:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I might add that I don't enter a target color greater than 30 SRM in Palmer's spreadsheet. My considered opinion is that's the maximum value for which bicarbonate adjustment is necessary and beneficial. Of course you are free to feel otherwise.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2678
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.45.166
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 05:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've been following all the recent water chemistry threads with a mixture of fascination and horror: fascination with the level of effort everyone is putting into these calculations and horror that I seem to be so deficient in my attention to them.

But Graham has given me the courage to speak out.

My water is ridiculously soft, nearly ion-free. The mash pH can be way off, especially for dark beers, without some salt additions. I have to add something to almost every mash.

I used to get obsessive with the Brewater utility and a 200 gram scale, carefully measuring out CaCl, Epsom salts, chalk, kosher salt, baking soda, etc. But I found that it really doesn't matter.

I start with my nearly-distilled water. For lighter beers, I add a couple teaspoons of CaCl; for very dark beers, it's a couple teaspoons of chalk; for mid-range beers, it's one of each. Very hop-forward beers get an additional teaspoon of gypsum.

My mash pH has been so dead-on for so long using this method that I've stopped measuring it. Conversion is quick and complete. Efficiency is fine. The beer tastes great.

As Graham said above, "That's good enough for me."
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12372
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 05:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Despite the geographical differences (coastal Connecticut versus piedmont Georgia), Paul and Graham have rather similar water. I would consider them blessed because it's so much easier to add minerals to the water than remove them.
 

Ric Heinz
Intermediate Member
Username: Rheinz

Post Number: 488
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 99.140.140.109
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 06:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for everyones comments.

Here my water profile after being treated with Sodium Metabisulfate and BOILED:
Ca - 62 ppm
Mg - 6 ppm
Na - 37 ppm
K - 9 ppm
CO3 - 0 ppm
HCO3 - 181 ppm
SO4 - 44 ppm
Cl- - 73 ppm

pH - 7.2
Hardness - 180 ppm as CaCO3
Alkalinity - 148 ppm as CaCO3
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12373
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 08:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For brewing a pilsner, I would dilute that water 90 percent with RO-filtered water and add 0.7 grams calcium chloride per gallon. The resulting water will have under 60 mg/L calcium and a little less than 100 mg/L chloride. You can confirm this by plugging the numbers into Palmer's spreadsheet (remember that RO filtration is about 90-95 effective depending on the ion).
 

John Palmer
New Member
Username: John_palmer

Post Number: 3
Registered: 08-2006
Posted From: 71.83.210.104
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 04:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Everyone,
Sorry I don't participate more on these excellent discussions but between teens and work I just don't have much time in my life right now - by nine pm I am ready for bed!
I am currently working on a water book for Brewers Publications, and Residual Alkalinity vs. SRM is one area that we knew we needed to address. I understand the disagreement on carbonate vs bicarbonate additions, and I am currently studying my water chemistry textbooks to correct that.
My spreadsheet does not utilize the initial water pH because it is my opinion/supposition that the malt/RA system completely dominate it. As I note in my water talks, you can have the same pH in a system composed of high mineral content versus low mineral content - the pH is a ratio or balance point of the system, adjusting the system depends on understanding the constituents and interactions more than their apparent hydrogen ratio. Or at least, so I believe. ;-)
I have known Martin for years and respect his knowledge and opinions on water. If he feels that my spreadsheet has serious errors and should not be used, that is fine. I have felt the same way about other water calculators. ;-)
The bottom line at this point is that the spreadsheet seems to work pretty well for a lot of people. It is based on empirical data from early in 2000 and needs more data to improve it. I intend to gather that data this spring.
Thanks for your feedback, I always appreciate it, even if I forget to reply.
John
 

Alec
Junior Member
Username: Pdxal

Post Number: 94
Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 71.214.88.152
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 06:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for the response, John.
The more I read about water chemistry the more afraid I get that I'll screw things up.
Perhaps I'm blessed to get away with ignorance with Portland, Oregon city water, or perhaps I've been lucky. So far, I've not done anything to my water and gotten away with it. YMMV.
I'll keep trying to pick up information on here and jump into adjustments at some point.
We now return to the regularly scheduled discussion.
 

Tex Brewer
Advanced Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 629
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.203.59.252
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 03:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

John, thank you so much for responding. And your association with Martin is good--I am sure you two will work out any changes and improvements, to the betterment of everyone on this board.

BTW, your comments on pH are right on. Alkalinity (or acidity) are way more important than pH the vast majority of time, especially when dealing with typical waters.

This board continues to be the greatest. The wheat:chaff ratio is extremely high. Thanks to everyone who contributes.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12376
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 11:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I greatly appreciate John taking the time to join the discussion here. I agree entirely that the water pH has almost no direct impact on the mash pH; by itself the water pH is little more than an abstract data point. However, it does have a relationship to alkalinity, in that the complex equilibrium among carbonate, bicarbonate and carbonic ions (the "carbo system") is greatly dependent on pH. When you add calcium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate you are increasing the alkalinity, and also changing both the pH and the fraction of carbonate, bicarbonate and carbonic. Attributing all of the increase to bicarbonate, as most water spreadsheets do, is not strictly accurate and can lead to errors in the calculated mash pH. I don't disagree that the errors are not substantial for most brewing water calculations, but neither would I call them quite inconsequential.

Anyway, I very much look forward to John's brewing water book whenever it is published, and I have great respect for the work he has contributed toward making all of us better homebrewers.
 

Steve Haun
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevehaun

Post Number: 382
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 67.209.87.85
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 01:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Not to muddy the water any further, but my well water is very high in bicarbonate. I used to dilute it with RO water but now treat my water with pickling lime Ca(OH)2 to precipitate the bicarbonate. It is an old germanic brewing trick. I am happy with this approach because I can treat 50 gallons of water for less than a dollar. My well water tastes very good so it would be a shame not to use it. I sent samples to Ward Labs before and after treatment:
bicarbonate: before (246 ppm) after (51 ppm)
total alkalinity: before (202 ppm) after (43 ppm)
residual alkalinity: before (153 ppm) after (25 ppm)

Here is a link about the methodology.
http://hbd.org/hbd/archive/2540.html#2540-18

You can also read this but I would rather poke myself in the eye - and my bachelors degree is in chemistry.
http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Alkalinity_reduction_with_slaked_lime

It is really pretty simple. I treat 50 gallons at a time in a 55 gallon HDPE barrel. I also use the treated water in my espresso machine. I am drinking a pint of pilsener as I type...
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12377
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 03:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Palmer also mentions the slaked lime process in some detail in Chapter 15 of How to Brew. If you skip to the actual directions at Kai Troester's site (the second link in Steve's post; go to the photographs about two-thirds of the way to the bottom), it's not quite so dense as his explanation of the chemsitry.

This was the method historically used by Munich breweries toward the end of the 19th century that allowed them to brew lighter colored beers with the local water that was high in bicarbonate. I did it on one occasion when I lived where there was more highly alkaline water than I currently have. It was effective, but it seemed easier to me to dilute the water. However, I can see why a commercial brewery that did not want to invest in a large scale RO filter might want to use this method.
 

Steve Haun
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevehaun

Post Number: 383
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 67.209.87.85
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 03:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I make 30 gallon batches so buying RO water at 39 cents a gallon adds significant cost to my brewday compared to 1-2 cents per gallon for slake lime-treated water.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12379
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 04:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I might also mention that calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) treatment is sometimes used on a large scale in municipal water systems with source water that is otherwise excessively alkaline. This was the case when I lived in Des Moines, Iowa, and the result was water with reasonable alkalinity (38 mg/L and RA of 16 mg/L) but with a pH that was quite high (8.3 - 8.4). Of course this demonstrates that the water pH itself is not really the issue; it's more than overcome by the malt acidity. Once again the relevant concept is the residual alkalinity. Only when brewing really light colored beers did I find the mash pH above its desirable range, and in those cases I diluted it with RO-filtered water because I wanted more delicate flavor.

Steve, what is the pH of your treated water?

(Message edited by BillPierce on December 30, 2010)
 

Martin Brungard
New Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 12
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 173.210.100.130
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 09:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't really see a big problem with Ric's water after he posted the water report. The alkalinity is sort of high, but that is what acid is for. Hopefully he has something more than lactic acid since the acid additions might be approaching the taste threshold.

Clearly, it would be better to dilute, but its not absolutely necessary. The mineral content in his water will be OK in a German Pils.

I'm glad to see brewers using lime softening for their brewing water. Its best used for waters with high temporary hardness and its quite effective. As some of you know, I am a water resources engineer with 25 yrs of experience with the largest water and wastewater firms in the country. Yes, I am actually a water treatment professional.

When lime softening is performed properly by bringing the water pH to 11.0, the typical minimum Ca concentration that can be achieved is 30 ppm. Bill's report of 38 ppm is not a surprise.

Bill questioned the pH of Steve's water. The pH of lime-softened water is dependent upon the water utility's pipe corrosion considerations. To keep the softened water from being corrosive to the pipes and customer plumbing, the pH can typically be in the 8+ range. The utility will typically perform aeration to carbonate the water and drop the pH somewhat, but they typically have to also add a strong acid like hydrochloric or sulfuric to adjust it down to their target pH.

In Steve's case, I'm assuming he's decanting the water off the sediment and aerating for days to get the pH down somewhat. He may still have to add an acid to bring the pH down to be reasonable value.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12384
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 11:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The most problematic brewing water I have encountered so far is Jeff Rankert's report of his municipal well water from Milford, MI (not surprising, as I grew up 3 miles south of there, fortunately long before I ever tried to brew). The total hardness is 412 mg/L, the alkalinity 300 mg/L and the RA 199 mg/L. Obviously you couldn't brew anything but the darkest stout with that water, and I know Jeff buys RO-filtered water and builds it to style. I'm wondering what the results of lime treatment would be for his tap water. I realize it would not address the issue of his high chloride level (132 mg/L).
 

Steve Haun
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevehaun

Post Number: 384
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 67.209.87.85
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2010 - 02:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In answer to Martin's and Bill's questions:
I use cheap pH test strips to do the titration. My untreated water is about 8 (ward labs says 7.7). When I add the Ca(OH)2 the pH goes up to about 10. I then keep stirring and adding water until the pH falls below 8. I used Hubert's calculations to treat my water and they were right on. I add 26 grams of Ca(OH)2 to 25 gallons of water. I then add water and stir intermittently. The pH falls at about the 45 gallon mark. I then top off to 50 gallons. The final pH is closer to 6 than 8. I have devised a drain that allows me to drain off the supernatant leaving the precipitated CaCO3 undisturbed. I also leave about 4 gallons of water behind. So in my 55 gallon barrel, I collect about 46 gallons per water treatment. I do not aerate.
 

Michael
Senior Member
Username: Hoppop

Post Number: 1113
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 24.74.83.67
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2010 - 02:50 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Martin, you are a welcome resource here. I have to admit that I am mentally exhausted from reading up on water chemistry (I was an Art major originally in college), but I am taking the leap into improving my water to fit a particular style.

I really appreciate your input. Also, thanks to all for their input on this topic. Michael
 

Kevin Kowalczyk
Advanced Member
Username: Itsfunbrewingbeer

Post Number: 975
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 173.51.245.89
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2010 - 05:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, you mention high chloride levels, mine are 348 mg/L. I dilute with RO water for every brew, just to get the chloride levels down.

I have high sodium levels as well--it's the seawater soaking into the groundwater reserves. My brewblog details me getting into the water report after I moved away from the beautiful Lake Michigan brewing water:

http://noblesquarebrewing.blogspot.com/2010/05/redondo-beach-water-update.html
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12387
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2010 - 01:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wow, chloride levels of 348 mg/L are outrageous! The EPA's National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations (admittedly, non-enforceable guidelines) recommend no more than 250 mg/L. As for sodium, it has been on the EPA's Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List since 1998, but there is as of yet no standard. Here in Canada the Ministry of Environment's "aesthetic objective" (again non-enforceable) is 200 mg/L, and as a matter of good practice most water systems strive to keep sodium below 150 mg/L.

Of course the result of high levels of chloride and sodium together is...you already know the answer: salty water.
 

Ric Heinz
Intermediate Member
Username: Rheinz

Post Number: 490
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 99.140.140.109
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2011 - 02:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Happy New Year folks.

Let me ask some additional questions based on the responses above (Still talking about the German Pilsner and again using John Palmer's spread-sheet).

If I go with Bills suggestion and dilute 90% with CaCl at .7 grams/gal, I get:

Calcium @ 57 ppm
Magnesium @ 1 ppm
Alkalinity as CaCO3 @ 15
Sodium @ 4 ppm
Chloride @ 97 ppm
Sulfate @ 4 ppm
Effective Hardness 41
RA -26
Chloride to Sulfate Ratio is 24 ... "Very Malty"

OK, I've got the Calcium up above 50 @ 57 ppm...

Any problems with the Magnesium, Sodium and Sulfate being so low? Should I try to raise some of these using additional mineral?

The Chloride to Sulfate ratio also seems to be extreme... Is this OK, should it be more balanced?

Thanks for everyone's input and comments.

Ric
 

Dave Witt
Senior Member
Username: Davew

Post Number: 1515
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.7.226.155
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2011 - 02:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm no water chem guru, but maybe you could obtain some of your calcium through a small addition of CaSO4, making your ratio less extreme. I'm not sure of the amount but maybe sub .2g per gal gypsum for an equal amount of CaCl2?
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2619
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.105.173
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2011 - 04:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Any problems with the Magnesium, Sodium and Sulfate being so low? Should I try to raise some of these using additional mineral?

No and no. IMHO, you should strive to add the least amount of salts required in almost every case, with possible exceptions for Burton-style ales and Dortmunder Export. Even in those cases, it's brewer's choice.

In the particular case of your German Pils, which is obviously a hoppy style, it would be OK to sub gypsum for calcium chloride, in part or in whole. I wouldn't worry about the ratio. Of course, some have argued that gypsum is suited only for drywall. Again, brewer's choice.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12396
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2011 - 05:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The concept of the chloride to sulfate ratio is interesting and not without merit. However, I find that sulfate gives a little "edge" to the bitterness, appropriate for Burton ales and other assertively hopped beers, but to my taste less so in a pilsner despite the IBUs. But Graham is entirely correct that almost any combination of calcium chloride and/or gypsum will work as long as neither chloride nor sulfate is there to excess. Along with sodium, the main contribution of these ions is to flavor, and subtle at that. Here's to brewer's choice indeed!
 

Bill Pierce
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Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12397
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2011 - 05:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham, in reference to your statement about exceptions to being cautions about using brewing salts, I'm not even sure about Dortmunder export, especially after the revelation that the Dortmunder Actien Brauerei uses a significant fraction of RO-filtered water.
 

Ron
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Username: Ron

Post Number: 9
Registered: 12-2010
Posted From: 69.110.76.135
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 02:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The BJCP guidelines for a German Pils call for a medium sulfate water but does not define what "medium" is.

Does anyone have a consensus definition to "medium" in terms of ppm?

Thanks.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12409
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 02:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'd say 50-100 mg/L sulfate as a ballpark figure for "medium" sulfate content.
 

Martin Brungard
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Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 15
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 173.210.100.130
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 03:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with Bill on the sulfate range.
 

Ron
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Username: Ron

Post Number: 10
Registered: 12-2010
Posted From: 69.110.76.135
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 04:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Using Tom M's water spreadsheet and inputing my water profile and then diluting to 90% RO and adding 4 grams of CaCl2 per gallon, I come up with the following adjusted profile:

CA: 45ppm
Mg: 1.8ppm
NA: 6.6ppm
CL: 63ppm
Sulfate: 13ppm
Alk: 7

The CA and Sulfates seem to be in line with a pilsner water profile but I am not sure about the Chloride

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks much.
 

Ron
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Username: Ron

Post Number: 11
Registered: 12-2010
Posted From: 69.110.76.135
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 04:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh, and THANK YOU for the response on the Sulfate question.
 

Bill Pierce
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Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12412
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 05:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I wouldn't worry about the chloride level, which is hardly excessive. I recommended calcium chloride because of my own preference for maltiness in a pilnser. However, if the style guidelines for North German pils mention moderate sulfate content, you could use gypsum (calcium sulfate) instead.
 

Michael
Senior Member
Username: Hoppop

Post Number: 1117
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 143.165.48.50
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 07:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This has been a great thread...one question for the collective. My LHBS does not carry calcium chloride. I see it listed locally here under pool services, ice melt, etc. (I know...probably not food grade). I also see under aquarium listings....outside of ordering on-line, is there another common retail source or product containing Calcium Chloride that can be used?

Thanks.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12415
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 07:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You could try a pharmacy. If they don't have it I'd go to an aquarium shop (fish are very sensitive to toxins), and then choose swimming pool CaCl2 over the ice melting variety.

And I forgot it's avaiable from the major online homebrew suppliers.

(Message edited by BillPierce on January 04, 2011)
 

Martin Brungard
New Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 16
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 173.210.100.130
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 08:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My wife just pointed out to me that there is a commercial product out there called 'Pickle Crisp' that is intended to be a replacement for pickling lime. It is calcium chloride.

Picklers use either the lime or calcium chloride to provide calcium to improve the crispness of their vegetables. The problem with lime and canning is that you have to completely wash off the high pH lime water before canning so that it doesn't affect the acidity of the canning liquor. A low pH is required to keep the bacteria at bay.

So, there you have it (if you can find it in a store).
 

Jeff Rankert
Intermediate Member
Username: Hopfenundmalz

Post Number: 267
Registered: 06-2008
Posted From: 76.122.174.139
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 08:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I had very good results last year with the Pils Profile from Kai's webpage. Use this if you want something a littel more hop forward, like a Jever or Flensburger. Those are the type of Pils I like.

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Various_water_recipes#Pilsner_water

I made the pils again yesterday. The mash pH was at 5.65 at roomtemp using this water profile and 100% pils malt. Added a little acid to get to 5.5.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 6234
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 08:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I highly recommend NOT using gypsum for a German Pils. I have tried it, and did not like the results - noble hops bitterness does not work work with sulfates. I think gypsum makes a pilsner into a Dortmunder (which I don't like that much).

Calcium chloride is the way to go for all pilsners. Keep the gypsum for your IPAs.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12416
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 08:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm glad someone else agrees with my tastes here. I find I occasionally differ with the style mavens.
 

Ron
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Username: Ron

Post Number: 12
Registered: 12-2010
Posted From: 69.110.76.135
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 11:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Actually Bill, I agree with you. I like my Pils a little malty as well so I will use the Calcium Chloride.

Thank you for the input.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2623
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 12.132.41.2
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011 - 02:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Pickle Crisp is indeed CaCl - that's been my source since someone first mentioned it here awhile ago. You can probably find it with the canning supplies in your local supermarket. Very inexpensive.
 

Jeff Rankert
Intermediate Member
Username: Hopfenundmalz

Post Number: 268
Registered: 06-2008
Posted From: 76.122.174.139
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011 - 05:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So Chumley, Bill, and Ron, which German Pilsners do you like? I would guess the ones from the south.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 6235
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011 - 06:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am a huge fan of Bitburger. Especially since my local tavern has it on tap. Its got to the point where I rarely order an American micro when I go in there anymore.

I dunno where Bitburger is in Germany.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12418
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011 - 11:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Another vote for Bitburger. In terms of location, Bitburg is near the German border with Luxembourg, certainly not in Bavaria, but not in the far north like Jever and Holsten (Hamburg).
 

Ron
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Username: Ron

Post Number: 13
Registered: 12-2010
Posted From: 68.143.135.226
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 01:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have been to the Bitburger brewery and like their beer a lot. However I am going to try to clone Jever.
 

Michael
Senior Member
Username: Hoppop

Post Number: 1118
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 143.165.48.50
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 04:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks all for the advice on Pickle Crisp. Will seek it out in my local markets. I am going to get into some pilsners here soon, and only had gypsum on hand to increase the calcium in my very soft water.

(Bitburger --- my FIL brought me some back from a trip he made to Germany a few years back.....good stuff indeed).
 

Ric Heinz
Intermediate Member
Username: Rheinz

Post Number: 491
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 34.254.119.221
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 04:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For pH adjustment of sparge water, I wondering if Muratic acid can be used. Since I have a pool, I have to keep a supply of it around. The bottle indicates it is 31.48% Hydrochloric Acid. This would be handy to use.
 

Ric Heinz
Intermediate Member
Username: Rheinz

Post Number: 492
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 34.254.119.221
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 04:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

FWIW, massive quantities of CaCl2 are used in the oil well drilling industry. It is used as a completion fluid (as are other brine fluids) to clean out the well prior to production.

For my brewing, I bought a bucket of food grade CaCl2 on ebay. I have also bought CaCl2 at the pool supply store for use in my pool.
 

Martin Brungard
New Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 17
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 173.210.100.130
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 05:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would be especially cautious with using a commercial acid product that is not labeled as food-grade. Acids dissolve metals very easily and it would be likely that a non food-grade acid would have things like heavy metals and other undesirable things. If you can find food-grade acids such as hydrochloric or sulfuric, then they are fine for brewing use. Be careful, they are strong acids!!!!!
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2690
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.45.166
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 05:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Food grade citric acid is available everywhere and should be safer than the other acids you mention. Would that impart too much flavor in the quantities needed? (Not asking for myself. I don't need to add acid with my water. Just wondering.)
 

michael atkins
Advanced Member
Username: Mga

Post Number: 804
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 71.214.12.18
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 07:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would not overlook the use of a very small addition of acidulated malt to lower the mash PH beyond the normal additions of brewing salts.

I have never done it but probably someone on the B&V's has.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12420
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 08:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, citric acid can be used for adjusting pH. It is usually available in powdered form as a monohydrate (bound to 1 water molecule), so it's 91.4 percent pure acid. The amounts are not excessive. For example, to lower the pH of 5 gallons of my tap water from a pH of 7.68 to 5.8 for sparging would require 2.4 grams (very roughly half a teaspoon) of citric acid powder, according to A.J. deLange's water spreadsheet. By comparison, I would use 2.2 ml (about 0.45 teaspoon) of 88 percent liquid lactic acid.

Palmer's water spreadsheet does not calculate the amounts of other than lactic or hydrochloric acid, although it would be possible for the dedicated user to add this ability for other acids. The math is not terribly daunting, and someone who had a semester of college chemistry could likely do it.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2691
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.45.166
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2011 - 03:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, Bill. Nice to know there's another arrow in the quiver if I ever move somewhere with harder water. I don't like keeping dangerous chemicals in the house (2 kids, 2 dogs, 3 cats -- too much opportunity for bad outcomes). I'd rather keep a somewhat safer acid on hand than hydrochloric or sulfuric.
 

Michael
Senior Member
Username: Hoppop

Post Number: 1120
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 143.165.48.50
Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - 03:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Pickle Crisp --- for those wanting...I ended up getting it on Amazon....(nayyyy). Seems it is seasonal in these parts in the grocery stores. Free shipping and such.

My wife cannot understand my excitement over something called "Pickle Crisp." (no locker room comments). Then she found out it was related to Homebrewing.

I am pretty excited to start paying more attention to my water profile and building it up for a very specific style....thanks to all for the assist...this thread will be bookmarked!

Michael
 

Joakim Ruud
Senior Member
Username: Joques

Post Number: 1928
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 91.135.33.235
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 12:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Man, I pity you guys with the alkaline water! Mine is so soft I have to add minerals to every brew - which is a lot easier that taking them out. Fairly recently the municipal water plant has started adding a small amount of calcium and alkalinity to the water, to reduce wear on the water pipes, but still it's insignificant. I would hate to have to move somewhere with hard water.

OH! And Jever is the best German pils - hands down :-)