HOMEBREW Digest #5523 Tue 10 March 2009

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  Water Report ("A.J deLange")
  re: Mill Gap Setting (stencil)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 13:20:49 -0400 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Water Report The advice I usually give in these cases (Jeff McNally's question his water report) is to grab a copy of the spreadsheet at http://www.wetnewf.org/Brewing_articles/BURP_OCT08 and plug in the numbers. I've done that and attached it here (not for HBD Cc). At the left side of the spreadsheet you'll see two red fields. The first indicates that this water report has a serious anion/cation imbalance of 12.6%. To put this in perspective you would need 0.825 mEq/L more anion (or less cation) to have a physically realizeable water. Doubling of the alkalinity or an increase in sulfate to 47 mg/L would be required. OTOH it is very suspicious that changing the reported sodium from 42.3 mg/L to 24.3 gives a well balanced (0.7%) profile. Is it possible that you (or the lab) fat-fingered the sodium report? But then sodium is hard to measure and because it has a low atomic weight sodium errors contribute a lot to imbalance. This is a lot of ifs and so its a bit hard to draw solid conclusions from such a report. As alkalinity and hardness are easy to measure let's assume those numbers are good (because they are the ones responsible for setting mash pH) and go forward but I'd contact the lab, tell them that their report is imbalanced and ask for an explanation. The other red field at the left of the spreadsheet is informing you that the water is over saturated with CO2 (which you already know from the pH of 6). This means that allowed to stand the water will lose CO2 and its pH increase. This is typical of well water in climates where the soil contains enough moisture to support bacteria (i.e. most everywhere except deserts). You will note that I entered your calcium and magnesium values as negative numbers. This tells the spreadsheet to interpret them as mg/L values and in response to this input it calculates hardness of 88.55 ppm as CaCO3. This confirms that the total hardness value on your report is "as CaCO3" but then again the only other units it could reasonably be in the US is mEq/L and the number given is outlandishly high for that. The same reasoning applies to the alkalinity number. In the US it is almost always in ppm as CaCO3 unless it is in mEq/L and 37.5 mEq/L is outlandishly high alkalinity. Alkalinity is actually calculated by measuring the mEq/L and multiplying by 50. People sometimes get confused and multiply by 100. I only mention this here because doubling the reported alkalinity would better balance the report (though if the lab made the usual mistake the reported alkalinity would be twice, not half). You will see that you have a modest residual alkalinity of 14.7 ppm as CaCO3 and that this will give you an expected mash pH 0.02 higher than a distilled water mash IOW if your grist composition gives you a distilled water pH of 5.7 (typical for base malt only) this water would be expected to give you 5.72. You can now check that the pH in cell w3 is the same as in C3 and start experimenting with calcium salt additions in cells J22 and L22 to see what their effect is on pH shift (cell T61). For example 200 mg/L gypsum changes the pH shift from +.02 to -.03 so that if your distilled water mash pH were 5.7 as before your pH with this water supplemented with 200 mg/L gypsum would be expected to be 5.67 i.e. it takes a lot of calcium to pull pH a few hundredths of a point and you are also increasing your sulfate. Darker malts or acids are a much better way to set mash pH (though forbidden by Reinheitsgebot but then again so is adding gypsum). There's obviously lots more stuff you can do with this spreadsheet once loaded with your source water parameters. See the included instructions (Sheet 2) for details. As a final comment - you probably would not need supplemental carbonate or bicarbonate in a stout if you used roast barley to a reasonable extent. The real deciding factor should, of course, be your test mash or what you actually measure in the mash tun. If roast malt/ barley is being used you can forget residual alkalinity. It takes 3.5 mEq of calcium to neutralize 1 mEq of alkalinity. The acid in roast barley/malt should overwhelm this. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 20:12:43 -0400 From: stencil <etcs.ret at verizon.net> Subject: re: Mill Gap Setting On Fri, 06 Mar 2009 23:21:14 -0500, in Homebrew Digest #5520 (March 06, 2009) Josh Knarr wrote: > >What's everyone using for their mill gap setting? > >Seems like .039" seems popular (or the default). 0.080" and 0.064", in that order, in a Valley Mill. Not too coincidentally these dimensions correspond to AWG12 and AWG14 solid copper wire. I always mill and dough-in the night before, usually using around half the computed dough-in volume of water. It's my belief that the long soak of coarse grist wets more starch than a short dip of finer grist, and sparging is easier. Yields are satisfactory. If I wanted to go down to 0.039" I'd use AWG18 solid bell wire as a gage. gds, stencil Return to table of contents
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