HOMEBREW Digest #4973 Wed 15 March 2006

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  Well water analysis (Jeska) (Calvin Perilloux)
  Muncie water ("A.J deLange")
  Metallic flavors ("Steve Laycock")
  Campden tablets and chloramine (Randy Scott)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 18:54:54 -0800 (PST) From: Calvin Perilloux <calvinperilloux at yahoo.com> Subject: Well water analysis (Jeska) In the last HBD, Dan Jeska posted details on his water analysis. This water looks a LOT better than his softened water. Let's consider what he can do with this water for brewing. For English Pale Ale, let's compare water from Burton-on-Trent. (See http://www.brookes.ac.uk/geology/8361/1999/phil/water.htm for an example of data.) His carbonates are in the ballpark. The main things Dan needs to add to his water is gypsum and Epsom salts. Kosher/canning salt might help a tad, but only a tiny amount. By my calculations (not crosschecked and done in metric, no less), here's what I think would do best for Burtonising your water: Add 860mg/liter Gypsum and 420 mg/liter of Epsom salts. Here are the ion concentrations taking these additions into account: Old (Bass) New Net Percent Gypsum Epsom Item Jeska Burton Jeska Diff Diff Adds Adds Ca 62 268 262 -6 -2% 200 Mg 21 62 62 0 1% 41 SO4 10 638 654 16 2% 480 164 Rarely does it seem that we can get so close! So if you want to make 10 gallons of brewing water, use the mg/liter above and convert to English measures. I did that conversion wrongly last time, and I'm a bit pressed for time, so I'll leave it in metric for now. Oh yeah, and a pinch of salt (no pun intended), kosher salt, NaCl. Back of the envelope calculation calls for about 35mg/liter. That's less than 1 gram in 20 liters. Really tiny amount. For those who start doing this themselves (to crosscheck the numbers or to do their own analysis) and wonder why 820mg of gypsum only give 680 mg of ions, that's because gypsum is actually calcium sulfate dihydrate; similar for epsom(ite) being a heptahydrate. And so you need to account for the hydrate portions. Anyway, for most other beers, I reckon this water is pretty good. The exception is the famed Bohemian Pilsner where carbonate-reduction methods should be used. Calvin Perilloux Middletown, Maryland, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 05:08:40 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Muncie water Yes, the Muncie report is pretty complete if not consitent (see below). The first thing I usually do is the residual alkalinity calculation which gives an idea as to whether mash pH is likely to be OK without intervention. For this water this is RA = 50*[ (246/50) - (65/20 -11.5/12.15)/3] = 176 which is quite high because the water is highly alkaline without sufficient offsetting hardness. Now note that the calcium hardness based on the reported calcium content is 50*65/20 = 162.5 and the magnesium hardness according to the reported magnesium content is 50*23/12.15 = 94.6 which gives a total of 257.15 which is quite a bit less than the reported total hardness of 321 so something does not match up there. Nonetheless it will probably be necessary to decarbonate this water by boiling or lime treatment before brewing some styles of beer. 1:1 dilution with RO water should allow most styles to be brewed without additional treatment and 2:1 RO:tap would be even better. This has got to be easier than boiling or lime treatment. Assuming the pH to be below 8.3 almost all the alkalinity will be from bicarbonate so that the bicarbonate concentration is approximately 61*246/50 = 300 mg/L but one usually doesn't care about the bicarbonate level except that it is a source of alkalinity i.e. it is the alkalinity number that is important. We can also observe that the sodium and chloride levels are not excessive nor is the sulfate though it might be a bit high for some lagers. Campden tablets get rid of chloramine and chorine very rapidly. If you crush them before throwing them into the water they will react more quickly. As soon as the smell of chlorine is gone the water is chlorine free. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 09:43:54 -0800 From: "Steve Laycock" <slaycock at discoverynet.com> Subject: Metallic flavors Greetings All! Well, this is absolutely off topic but something I need some feedback on from the resident experts.. I have a fairly decent supply of corney kegs and besides putting beer in them I decided to use one to put filtered H20 in for a trip we took to Phoenix over Christmas. If you've not been to this town their water is something to pull your teeth out for. I put about 5psi on the keg to seal the lid for the trip, and after about four days the water picked up a metallic taste. It was kindof tangy metallic and the water was discarded at that point. Some time later I decided to take the SAME keg to the dairy and fill it with 5 gallons of whole milk for my cheese making endeavors. I use C02 to push out the milk from the keg, then bleed off all the C02 after dispensed. As you guessed the milk is also taking on this metallic/tangy taste. However that "taste" dissipates with a bit of time. At first I was concerned about metal contamination into the water, then realized that the metallic taste must come from the C02 and not from the Stainless Steel keg itself. Now all that said... I just want some other brain to tell me that my conclusion is correct and I will not harm myself from consuming from this keg. The convenience of using these things for other products are too tempting, but if my conclusion is correct and the water or milk is fine, how would you suggest dealing with this problem? In my mind the C02 looks like a great candidate for keeping the pathogens under wraps, but it imparts the metallic flavor so easily and nobody will touch this stuff. The only other thought is to use oxygen to charge the keg and dispense with that. I do have a 10# oxygen bottle for charging my wort with O2. Thanks for your thoughts Steve Highwater Brewhaus Pleasant Hill Mo Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 16:15:07 -0600 From: Randy Scott <lists at rscott.us> Subject: Campden tablets and chloramine I've always read/believed/assumed that half a Campden tablet (sodium metabisulphite) in 10 gals. of water would bind free chlorine and chloramine in a few minutes. But in the last couple days I've seen two references to letting it sit for 24 hours. Any chemistry majors want to weigh in on the debate? ras Return to table of contents
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