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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2012 * Archive through April 03, 2012 * Dark beer water adjustment question < Previous Next >

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Steve Anderson
Intermediate Member
Username: Steveinmemphis

Post Number: 391
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 66.195.24.74
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2012 - 09:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tomorrow is birthday #54 for me and I am celebrating by brewing Holtrop's Rochefort 8 clone. All of the recent water chemistry posts have me concerned that the soft Memphis water I brew with may need some adjusting for a dark beer. Many of the stouts I brewed in the past had an unpleasant licorice taste to them, so I just quit brewing stouts. When I look at the water adjustment worksheets and tables on the websites you guys refer to my eyes glaze over and my brain goes numb. I think what I read is telling me to add some chalk to soft water for dark beers. Does that sound right?
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2893
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2012 - 09:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, that sounds exactly right, with the caveat that much of the dark color in this particular recipe may come from syrup (I'm unfamiliar). Do you have an analysis of your water, and what is the recipe?
 

Steve Anderson
Intermediate Member
Username: Steveinmemphis

Post Number: 392
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 66.195.24.74
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2012 - 10:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here is the recipe:

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Belgian Abbeyll (Wyeast #1762)
Yeast Starter: No, I'm lazy and use two packs
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter: no
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.078
Final Gravity: 1.018
IBU: 26.2
Boiling Time (Minutes): 75
Color: 27.6
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 23 days @ 69-70
Additional Fermentation: Bottle condition for at least two months
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 14 days @69-70
Tasting Notes: It's everything you would expect from our monk brewing friends... great beer!

10.92 lb Pilsner (2 row) Belgian (2.0 SRM) 70.24%
1.73 lb Caramunich Malt (46.0 SRM) 11.13%
0.58 lb Corn, Flaked (1.3 SRM) 3.75%
0.58 lb Special B Malt (114.0 SRM) 3.75%
0.23 lb Carafa special dehusked (302.0 SRM) 1.47%
1.50 lb Dark Belgian candy sugar (100 SRM) 9.65 %
1.73 oz Styrian Goldings [4.20%] Boil 60 min
0.75 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [3.50%] Boil 30 min
0.39 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [3.50%] Boil 5 min
0.38 oz coriander seed Boil 5 min (Crush first)

MASH PROFILE

Protein rest Add 12.64 qt water at 156.2F to get 142F for 30min
Saccrification Add 11.23 qt water at 170.2F to get 154F for 60 min
Mash out Add 9.83 qt water at 205.6 to get 168F for 5 min
Begin Vorlauf then drain Mash Tun
Sparge with 0.73 gallons of water at 168F

Carb with 4.83 oz corn sugar

I do not have a water analysis here at work.

You make a good point about a good bit of the dark coming from the dark candy sugar. I may be worrying about nothing.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13695
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2012 - 10:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, much of the dark color comes from dark candi syrup or sugar that is not mashed. The color of the base mash for my own slightly tweaked version (for one thing, I cold steep the dehusked carafa malt for color) of the recipe is 12 SRM, a medium to dark amber (and also just about ideal for my unadjusted water).

Steve, to keep the process simple and stupid for you, my instincts would be to add just over 1/2 tsp. calcium carbonate to your mash for a 5 gallon batch of this beer. Yes, it's only an educated guess without knowing the exact composition of your water, but I bet it would get you in the ballpark.

(Message edited by BillPierce on March 02, 2012)
 

Dave Hacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 2528
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 69.167.206.190
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2012 - 11:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steve I was like you in being somewhat intimidated by all the formulas for water adjustments. I settled on a program called EZ Water and inserted some data points from Martin B's spreadsheet. Piece o' cake! You simply plug in the grains and amounts you use for a recipe and it will tell you when you've reached the sweet spot. You do need to know what your water profile is, though. It uses that as a basis for any additions whether to raise/ lower pH or to balance the carbonates/ chlorides.
 

Steve Anderson
Intermediate Member
Username: Steveinmemphis

Post Number: 393
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 75.66.82.251
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2012 - 05:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks guys. I have the Memphis Water numbers loaded in ProMash. I will pull them into EZ Water or some other program and see if I can figure this stuff out. In the meantime, I appreciate the help getting in the ballpark.
 

Bob G.
Advanced Member
Username: Brewerbob

Post Number: 811
Registered: 06-2002
Posted From: 50.136.131.168
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2012 - 06:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would think that the Special B and dehusked Carafa would warrant some chalk as Bill has noted. Especially if you think the water is soft. Use Martin's Water App, plug in the numbers and go from there.
 

Martin Brungard
Junior Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 78
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 99.123.193.211
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2012 - 04:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Another option is to reserve the roast and crystal malts until the end of the mash. That way the mash pH exists at a decent range for the most important conversion conditions.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13700
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 04:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

DH, I have had EZ Water for a while, and finally used a brown ale recipe I brewed, in order to compare it to Martin's Bru'n Water. The results were rather different. Bru'n Water predicted a room temperature mash pH of 5.24, while EZ Water predicted 5.64. My own measurement was 5.3, which casts some doubt on EZ Water's results.

I only spent a half-hour or so looking at the calculations, but it would appear that EZ Water's approximation of the pH contribution of colored malts is not quite as fine. For example, it doesn't allow for varying the color of roast malts (the recipe uses Victory and Special Roast).

I'm still waiting (and may die waiting) for real acidity data on every malt, which, along with the water data, would allow for truly accurate prediction of the mash pH. Otherwise we're dealing with approximations. There is absolutely no reason acidity data couldn't be provided by the maltsters (it would merely require a pH measurement of the congress mash when it is done in the lab), but apparently they choose not to.
 

Dave Hacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 2529
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 99.117.36.145
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 12:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dang it! That's good to know. More refinement is apparently needed . . and just when I was reaching a comfort level with water adjustments.

I'm beginning to think this water stuff would confound Oppenheimer.
 

Martin Brungard
Junior Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 80
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 99.123.193.211
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 03:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, the acidity of roast malts (>200L) doesn't really change with respect to color. All roast malts tend to have the same acidity content per mass. That was one of the astounding finds from Troester's work. I have no idea how EZ Water does its calculations, but I'm pretty sure it was based on the same research.

I have a write up of how malt acidity varies in the new Water Knowledge article I recently posted. Check it out.

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge

(Message edited by mabrungard on March 04, 2012)
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13701
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 04:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Martin, I want to try to wrap my mind around this. Are you saying that the acidity contribution of biscuit malt (20L) and black patent malt (525L) is the same? Both of these are technically roast malts, with the obvious factor being a considerable difference in the degree of the roast.

And on the other hand, is the acidity contribution of Carahell malt (10L) considerably less than crystal 150L malt? What is is specifically about the malting process that makes roast malts so uniform in their acidity contribution and caramel/crystal malts so different?

Or is it that there is an upper limit to the acidity that can be contributed, and that this occurs at a color of about 200L? This would still not account for the behavior of the lighter roast malts (below 200L). Should these malts then be treated the same as crystal malts in terms of their acidity contribution?

I've always been skeptical of a linear relationship between acidity contribution and malt color, but it is a mind-boggling (at least to me) to hear that with roast malts there is virtually none at all.

I still would love to see pH listed in a malt analysis of these specialty malts.

Inquiring minds want to know about these things.

(Message edited by BillPierce on March 04, 2012)
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7946
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 166.249.96.84
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 05:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I throw the roast malts toward the end of the mash as Martin recommended. Never felt the need to bother with this for crystal, but it is food for thought.
 

Martin Brungard
Junior Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 81
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 99.123.193.211
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 07:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, although Biscuit is technically a Roast Malt because it is not stewed like a crystal malt, it is not roasted to the degree that a real Roast malt is (>200L). Therefore, treating it as a Crystal malt instead of a Roast malt is appropriate.

I too was surprised with the relatively uniformity in the acidity level of Roast malts in the experiments that Kai performed. I can only assume that the carbonizing result of the high temp kilning is the reason that they tend to be similar in acidity. Something along the lines that a majority of the carbohydrates have been converted to some sort of carbon ash-like material.

I don't know what else to tell you. I believe in Kai's results and the trends the data displays. This disconnect between color and malt acidity is the primary reason why we can't just use beer color as the guide for RA in mashing. For its color contribution, Roast malts don't add as much acidity as Crystal does.

I'm just the messenger, I have not looked into why this would be so.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13702
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 09:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I might argue then that acidity contribution *is* based on color, but there is an upper limit of about 200L. That would account almost equally well for fact that all the dark roast malts have the same contribution but lighter roast malts (biscuit, special roast, for example) function in the same way as caramel/crystal malts.

I greatly respect the work Kai has done on malt acidity contribution, but I don't consider it the last word on the subject. It remains an approximation, when what is really needed (and which could be provided) is pH data for each malt. Only then will we truly able to predict the mash pH with accuracy and certainty.

I'll take this up with Kai. Martin, thanks for your thoughts on the subject.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13711
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - 02:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I heard from Kai Troester about this. He said he did some later experiments with additional specialty malts, including very light roast malts such as biscuit and toasted malt. His recommendation is to treat all specialty malts with a color of 100L or lower as caramel/crystal malts when calculating their acid contribution, and reserve the roast malt category for those roast malts darker than 100L.

I still wish (I'm beating this horse to death) there were acidity information available from the maltsters, which would eliminate the need for these approximations. Also, it still doesn't account for the difference in the predicted mash pH between Bru'n Water and EZ Water. I'll have to spend some more time with the spreadsheet formulas to see what's going on.
 

Martin Brungard
Junior Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 83
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 173.210.100.130
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - 04:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill,

I look forward to your view on the difference. I'm not sure how EZ does its calculation, but I'll indicate how its done in Bru'n Water.

The malt acidity relationships are shown on that Water Knowledge web site. I'm adding up all the milliequivalents of acidity from the malt to get the total acidity.

For the total alkalinity, its using the RA value of the final adjusted water to calculate the milliequivalents of alkalinity. Doing it this way accounts for the alkalinity reduction from the malt phytin reaction.

The latest relationship I've found for the mash pH is pH = 5.7 - 0.0258 X (total acidity - total alkalinity)
 

Dave Hacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 2535
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 69.167.206.190
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - 04:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Found this blurb on the EZ water site . . Bill, there is a new update released on the 22nd of this month . . don't know if that addresses any of the pH discrepencies or not . . .

References:
Portions of the Alkalinity, RA, and pH calculations are based on information and experiments from:
Kai Troester, "The effect of brewing water and grist composition on the pH of the mash" 2009
Recommended mineral ranges are from:
John Palmer, "How to Brew"
Recommended Cl to SO4 ratio ranges are from:
John Palmer's RA spreadsheet

Created by: TH
Version 3.0.2 (02-22-12)
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13713
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - 04:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Martin, that makes sense to total the malt acidity (based on Kai Troester's experiments) and water alkalinity (based on Kolbach's residual alkalinity formula) contributions in mEq, and to come up with a net result. The light came on in my head for that method seven years ago, but at the time there was no reliable data on malt acidity. Kai's approximations are the closest thing we have today.

May I ask about the derivation of that 0.0258 factor? I realize that 5.7 is the expected pH of a 100 percent base-malt mash in distilled water. I assume your factor has a relationship to Kolbach's predicted shift in mash pH for each mEq of alkalinity.

DH, I am using the 02/22/12 version of EZ Water. I'll have to wait for an uninterrupted hour or so to explore its formula for predicting the mash pH.
 

Steve Anderson
Intermediate Member
Username: Steveinmemphis

Post Number: 394
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 66.195.24.74
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - 07:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I thought I should chime back in on this thread to say that the discussion of this topic, while fascinating, sort of drives home the point that this stuff makes my brain hurt.

I took Bill's suggestion and added a bit more than .5 tsp. of calcium carbonate to the mash. I was shooting for 7 gallons of 1.085 wort, but realized after I started that my bucket was only 7 gallons, and I could not fill it to the brim (duh). I ended up with 6 gallons of 1.096, which erupted like a volcano about 6 hours after pitching the starter, despite a healthy dose of foam control. This stuff tastes great so far. I cannot wait until it is done.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13715
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 03:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

(This may be of interest only to Martin and a few others who are geeky about water and mash pH issues.)

Martin, I had a chance to look at both your spreadsheet and EZ Water in order to see why they differ in the predicted mash pH.

First, I entered my own water data:

Calcium 35.7 mg/L
Magnesium 8.88 mg/L
Sodium 16.3 mg/L
Chloride 30.5 mg/L
Sulfate 27.3 mg/L
Alkalinity 89.7 mg/L as CaCO3
(Bicarbonate 108.9 mg/L as CaCO3)
(Residual Alkalinity 59 mg/L as CaCO3)

Then I entered a very simple mash with 5 gallons of water and the following grain bill:

14 lbs. Two-row pale malt (2L)
1 lb. Crystal malt (60L).

Martin, your spreadsheet predicts a mash pH of 5.588 (if carried out to 3 decimal places). I won't go into your formula because you already know it and have already listed it above.

Now comparing EZ Water's method to yours is not so easy because we're not quite comparing apples with apples. But it does approximate your method in somewhat different terms, that is, it calculates the malt acidity component and then the water alkalinity component, and balances them against a norm for a base-malt-only mash in distilled water.

For all malts other than crystal/caramel malt, EZ Water uses a lookup table to determine the predicted distilled water mash pH for each malt. It's based on Kai Troester's data, so it should not be appreciably different than your results. For caramel/crystal malt it uses the following formula: Distilled water mash pH = 5.22 - (0.00504 * Malt color in degrees L)

Next it calculates the predicted distilled water mash pH for the entire grain bill by summing the mash pH times the weight in pounds of each grain, and dividing the sum by the total grain weight in pounds.

To calculate the alkalinity contribution of the water it uses the following complex formula:

Calculated pH offset due to water alkalinity =

((0.1085 * (Mash water volume in gallons / Total grain weight in pounds) + 0.013) * Water residual alkalinity, including any mineral additions, in mg/L as CaCO3) / 50

Adding these two values results, of course, in the predicted mash pH; in the case of my sample batch, this is 5.706.

That's not a lot of difference (5.588 in your spreadsheet versus 5.706 in EZ Water), but it's enough to be significant.

I'm struggling with a couple of the values the EZ Water formula. I understand the division by 50 to convert water alkalinity to milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). But for now I'm baffled by the 0.1085 and 0.013 values. For now I'm assuming the 0.013 offset has something to do with the effect on the mash pH for each mEq of water alkalinity.

At any rate, Martin, perhaps this will be of some value to you. If not, excuse my indulgence in very geeky math.

(Message edited by billpierce on March 07, 2012)
 

Dave Hacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 2536
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 99.117.36.145
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 12:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Count me as geeky . . Interesting data points. Nice work and thanks for carrying the torch, BP.
 

ChriSto
Advanced Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 872
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 12:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steve - I was checking for Memphis water quality and found this. This is well water supply from the City.

Table 1 Drinking Water Quality in Memphis and Shelby Counties
Iron 0.02 ppm
Manganese 0.004 ppm
Fluoride 1.02 ppm
pH 7.4
Alkalinity 57.2 ppm
Hardness 51.9 ppm
Calcium 27.5 ppm
Magnesium 24.4 ppm
Sodium 8.12 ppm
Potassium 0.92 ppm
Sulfate 8.60 ppm
Chloride 6.00 ppm
Nitrate 0.13 ppm
Phosphate 1.41 ppm
Dissolved Solid 80.2 ppm
Silica 13.1 ppm
Data Source: Memphis Light, Gas, Water Division
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13716
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 03:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steve, using the water analysis ChriSto provided, I plugged the numbers into my quick water spreadsheet (a slightly tweaked version of John Palmer's). Indeed it recommended 2.5 grams of chalk added to the mash. That's close enough to half a teaspoon (actually, it's more like 0.45 tsp.; measuring by volume is not so accurate) to put your mash pH into the ballpark range. This also assumes (there is some disagreement about this) that it takes twice the calculated amount of chalk because of questions about the extent that it reacts with the malt phosphates.
 

Martin Brungard
Junior Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 84
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 173.210.100.130
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 04:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The 0.0258 factor is a purely empirical factor that is based on the actual mashing results of about 50 mashes from brewers like you, Denny, me, and others. There is surprising uniformity for some of the data. When I look at my mash results, the correlation is extremely tight. I know that I was very careful in my scientific process, so I placed a great weight on those results. Every once in a while, there are excursions in the data from others.

There may be some similarity to Kohlbach's result, but his work dealt with only pale malt. Even so, these results should probably be similar since most grists contain a significant pale or pils charge. I guess there should be similarity, but I had not thought to look at that!

(Message edited by mabrungard on March 07, 2012)
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13717
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 04:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Martin, I understand. You "tuned" the results to fit actual mash pH data. As with all data sets, there are bound to be outliers that should be ignored in order to produce more uniform (and likely trsutworthy) results.
 

Steve Anderson
Intermediate Member
Username: Steveinmemphis

Post Number: 395
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 66.195.24.74
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 05:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Christo,
Thanks. I am will check this against what I have and update the info. I think what I have is from MLGW several years ago, and is not as complete as what you found.