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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2011 * Archive through September 14, 2011 * Too much calcium chloride? < Previous Next >

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Josh Vogel
Junior Member
Username: Loopie_beer

Post Number: 73
Registered: 02-2011
Posted From: 65.60.214.75
Posted on Friday, September 02, 2011 - 12:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey everyone, been doing a little research for a water profile for a hefeweizen. I came across this water profile:
Calcium: 51
Magnesium: 5
Sodium: 3
Sulfate: 9
Chloride: 81
Bicarb: 28

I used Martin's Bru'n Water (thanks again Martin!) and have a gotten really close to the water profile I need. HOWEVER, the program is calling for 4.4g of Calcium Cholride in Mash (6.75GAL) and 6.7g in the Sparge (9.44GAL).

This seems like an awful lot and I don't want to mess this up with a simple overlook of these salts.
The grist is for a 10 GAL batch
10 lbs Wheat (2 srm)
6.5 lbs 2-row (2 srm)
1 lb Vienna (3 srm)

For the record I use RO water to build my profile.

Is the Cal Chlor too much? Am I over thinking as all the numbers in Bru'n Water work out?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13167
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Friday, September 02, 2011 - 01:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As I suspect you realize, that is the water profile for a light colored malty beer. It would seem hefeweizen fits that description.

I don't see too much difference in the results I get from Martin's spreadsheet when I compare them with yours. If you take Martin's supplied profile for 100 percent RO-filtered water (it's not quite the same as distilled water) and add 0.71 grams of calcium chloride per gallon, the resulting profile is close to your target above (the chloride is 91 mg/L, a difference but not a major one). The calculated amount of salt to add is 4.8 grams to the mash and 6.7 grams to the sparge water, again not quite the same as your values but certainly close.

So yes, your calculations pass the "smell test."
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2784
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Friday, September 02, 2011 - 02:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I confess, I have not worked with Martin's spreadsheet because I find it too complicated. So, with that caveat, I will just tell you that I do not add any brewing salts to the sparge water. I don't see any point in doing so. I realize that ions are lost in the grain bed, but much of the work of the ions in question is accomplished in the mash.

Calcium and chloride both have roles to play in the kettle and in subsequent yeast performance, to include flocculation and clarity. Perhaps this is why Martin suggests additional additions to the sparge water? If the idea is to carry over additional ions into the kettle and the finished beer, why not add the minerals directly to the kettle and not to the sparge water, which is going to be filtered through the grain bed?

Not chucking spears, just asking.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13168
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Friday, September 02, 2011 - 02:38 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham, Martin mentions in the instructions that the additional salt(s) can optionally be added to the kettle instead of the sparge water. I doubt there is much interaction with the grain once conversion has taken place, so I suspect it's merely a matter of choice.
 

Josh Vogel
Junior Member
Username: Loopie_beer

Post Number: 74
Registered: 02-2011
Posted From: 65.60.214.75
Posted on Friday, September 02, 2011 - 02:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, thanks for the quick response as well as my confirmation. I just didn't want a beer that tasted like calcium chloride rather than a hefe.

Graham, I believe that its been posted here that either way would work. However, I was under the assumption that by adding the proper amounts to the sparge it would help with sparge water pH. I fly sparge and my understanding is that pH of sparge is much more importanrt than that of batch sparge. I have always added to the sparge water so it just habit more than anything.

Thank you both for your helpful insight! It is greatly appreciated!
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2785
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Friday, September 02, 2011 - 02:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

One of the primary reasons to add calcium to the mash is that the calcium reacts with phytins in the malt to lower the pH. Adding calcium to plain water, particularly RO water, has no effect on the water's pH.

So, it seems to me that we are comparing apples to oranges here. If you are concerned about sparge pH, adding salts is NOT the way to correct that - adding acids, such as phosphoric or lactic, is. If you are concerned about your final mineral profile, perhaps a kettle addition of minerals might be the way to adjust this, though I personally am dubious about this practice.

Bottom line, though, adding minerals to adjust sparge water pH doesn't work, as far as my limited understanding of chemistry goes.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13169
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Friday, September 02, 2011 - 03:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Josh, Graham is correct about all of this. Calcium chloride has no effect on water pH (the mash pH is another issue). If you want to adjust the sparge water pH, you should do so via acid addition. So it really does come down to a matter of choice about the additional CaCl2 in the sparge water or the kettle.

Graham, to add to your water chemistry knowledge, there are salts that add alkalinity to the water and therefore would affect the pH of the sparge water. These include calcium carbonate (although very little soluble in water alone), sodium bicarbonate and calcium hydroxide. However, it is not recommended to add these salts to the sparge water because they raise the pH and would require more acid to counteract them. Nor is it a good idea to add them to the kettle. If you want to increase calcium after the adjustment at mash-in, do so via calcium sulfate or calcium chloride additions.

As long as I'm on this subject, you might take a look at the Instructions and Water Knowledge sections of Martin's spreadsheet. Even if you don't use the spreadsheet for your own calculations, they provide what I consider a middle ground between the level of John Palmer's water discussion in How to Brew and A.J. deLange's much more scientific (and difficult) writings. Moreover, they incorporate some additional information that was not so well understood when Palmer published his book.

(Message edited by billpierce on September 02, 2011)
 

Martin Brungard
Junior Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 58
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 50.90.10.242
Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2011 - 02:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham, Bru'n Water isn't really that complicated. Once you've entered your data in the first 2 sheets, they typically don't need to be touched again. But I agree that it is a little more complicated than the typical mineral addition calculator. Bru'n Water is well beyond a mineral addition calculator. Its going to be a little more complicated because of that.

With regard to adding minerals to the sparge. I consider that the most appropriate way since then the mash chemistry may alter the final wort mineral content in the same way as if you were brewing with water from London or Burton or some other brewing center. In my opinion, adding minerals to the kettle circumvents that opportunity for reaction and possibly alters the final wort mineral content. Its probably not a big difference, but it just isn't that big a deal for me to add my minerals to the HLT instead of the kettle.
 

Tex Brewer
Advanced Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 694
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 70.243.116.210
Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2011 - 03:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Josh says he uses RO water. Regarding sparge water pH, I see no need to add acid to bring the sparge water pH down, because RO water has almost 0 alkalinity. Even a small amount of acid will send the pH way down. So if you are sparging with RO water (with no salts added), I would say don't do anything to it pH-wise.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2787
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2011 - 03:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Let's assume for the sake of discussion that RO water is essentially distilled water. That means the pH would be 7.0. Ideally you don't want your sparge water to exceed 6.0. You can't adjust the pH downward by adding salts. Therefore, you need to use an acid. Yes, the amount would be small. Would it be a disaster if you forget to use it? I personally forget almost every single time, and my unadjusted water pH is 9.5. However, my water is very low in dissolved solids, so as with RO water, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter much.

In the case of this particular discussion, any adjustment would probably do as much to make the brewer feel good about the level of his effort and his sound procedures as to improve the quality of the beer. (Not true with all water.)
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13172
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2011 - 04:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

At the risk of beating this horse to death, RO filters are somewhat more effective at removing hardness (calcium and magnesium) than alkalinity (bicarbonate and carbonate). The typical result (because RO filtration is commonly used for hard, alkaline water) is a tiny amount of calcium and a small (but not quite insignificant) amount of alkalinity. Consequently the pH of RO-filtered water can be quite high (above 8.5) because that small amount of alkalinty is so little buffered by hardness.

Of course the good news is that it takes only a very small amount of calcium or magnesium to buffer that alkalinity, and a tiny amount of acid to neutralize it. This is why it isn't very important to adjust the pH of RO-filtered sparge water. The calcium already in the mash takes care of this.

Graham, I would think this situation (very low hardness but slightly higher alkalinity) accounts for your high water pH, and also why the beer is little affected if you forget to add acid to the sparge water.

I also just realized this is another demonstration that it's the residual alkalinity, that is, the alkalinity unbuffered by hardness, that matters to the brewer. Paulas Kolbach's findings in the 1930s and '40s (and not published until 1953) remain very important.

(Message edited by BillPierce on September 03, 2011)