HOMEBREW Digest #5661 Sun 21 February 2010

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  RE: Water (donniestyle)
  Hardness ("A. J. deLange")
  temporary hardness ("Darrell G. Leavitt")
  Re: water (M Lewandowski)
  RE: Water (Kieran Short)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010 23:26:54 -0600 (CST) From: donniestyle at directlink.net Subject: RE: Water "Will boiling remove some of the hardness? Isn't the white stuff you find on the bottom of the kettle the calcium from the hardness? It was to my understanding that you have to dilute the hardness out, does boiling actually work?" You can remove the temporary hardness. Acidify the water, boil it, let it cool, than rack off the sediment. You cannot remove it all. You can use a Reverse Osmosis system, and remove most of the minerals also. Some RO systems remove over 95% of the minerals. A friend sent his Dallas store's RO system water to a lab and got these results. Calcium: 4.0 ppm Sulfate: 2.0 ppm Magnesium: 0.0 ppm Chloride: 4.0 ppm Sodium: 2.0 ppm Bicarbonate: 6.0 ppm PH: 7.0 I used my municipal water supply, run through a whole house carbon filter for years. It makes good beer, but there are other things in water sources that can affect your beer flavor. Phenols from decaying vegetation can be nasty. The Iron content may be off the chart. You get the idea. I decided last year that the next step for me to make better beer is to start with quality water. I started going to the store with 4 clean corny kegs and fill them with RO water for $0.39 per gallon. I've since gathered 4 plastic 5 gallon jugs. It's been working well. I usually do not add very much brewing salts either, and often none unless I am making certain styles like Bitters, Dry Stout, and such. I made "Irish Lager" last week and did add quite a bit, but not as much as the "Dublin" profile, Ca=107, Mg=0, Na=2, SO4=50, Cl=18. HCO3=118. Saude, Don Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2010 08:28:55 -0500 From: "A. J. deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Hardness Yes, boiling will remove some hardness from water but, and this is why it is done, it also removes carbonate (alkalinity). Typically, hadness/alkalinity can be lowered to about 1 mval (50 ppm as CaCO3) by this technique but the water must have fairly high temporary (carbonate) hardness to start with. If it doesn't you can still decarbonate to some extent by 1)adding additional calcium in the form of the chloride or sulfate 2)adding some finely divided calcium carbonate (chalk) to serve as nucleation sites. After decarbonation by this method you would probably want to supplement the calcium anyway so as to make up for the calcium lost in the precipitate so the point really is to do this before the boil rather than after as the additional calcium will enhance carbonate removal by LeChateliers principle. Ca++ + 2HCO3- ---> CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2010 09:06:57 -0500 (EST) From: "Darrell G. Leavitt" <leavitdg at plattsburgh.edu> Subject: temporary hardness Yes, you can pre-boil your water the night before brewing, then decant/ siphon off the water, leaving the white stuff (calcium, and more I believe) behind and your water is softer. This works, I believe, only for temporary hardness. Have you seen John Palmers HowtoBrew.com ? He goes into this, as do several other good authors. Also, I am sure the archives, here, have a good deal of info on this. Darrell Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 11:39:23 -0500 From: M Lewandowski <m-lew at comcast.net> Subject: Re: water Will boiling remove some of the hardness? It depends on your water. Boiling will remove "temporary" hardness. Practically speaking, hardness is from dissolved calcium and magnesium ions. These ions have a positive charge. The positive ions have to be balanced with a negative charge. When negatively-charged bicarbonate ions provide the balance, this is called temporary hardness. Boiling will cause the hardness plus the bicarbonate (which changes form to carbonate during boiling) to precipiate out. Boiling won't reemove all of the temporary harndress, but it will reduce it significantly. Isn't the white stuff you find on the bottom of the kettle the calcium from the hardness? Exactly. When this white precipitate forms, you reduced your water's hardness. It was to my understanding that you have to dilute the hardness out, does boiling actually work? It depends on yoru water. If the bicarbonate concentration is reasonably high, it'll work pretty well. I hope this helped. Feel free to ask follow-up questions. Mike L. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 2010 10:50:57 +1100 From: Kieran Short <kieran.short at gmail.com> Subject: RE: Water "I can more easily brew red ales, and darker ales, but have to use some distilled water, or pre-boil some of my water, so as to get rid of some of the temporary hardness." Minerals are non-volatile. They will not boil off. They will not be removed from the water that comes out of the kettle at the end of the boil. Because you lose some water vapour/steam while it boils, you'll actually be concentrating them just a tiny bit. When these concentrations get appreciably high, that's when dissolved minerals react with the kettle element and form a precipitate on the bottom of your kettle - as Mike says). The only way to do what you're saying, is to distil your water, which uses the process of boiling, but is not simply boiling. The purpose of distillation is to leave those minerals and other contaminants in the boiling mineralised water below. Distillation captures the vapour/steam that comes off the water, and separates it from the boiling liquid which keeps the minerals. If you were to take some Glad/Saran wrap, and make some sort of tent above a pot with a marble in the middle to make a collection point with a pan below it, you could make up a clandestine distillation system. It would take a hell of a lot of boiling though to make enough for a brew. Not to mention it would be completely devoid of all minerals, which would require the addition of minerals in order to make it usable. Of course you could also try a reverse-osmosis system which is quite expensive to set up. anyway, I hope this helps, all the best, Kieran Return to table of contents
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