HOMEBREW Digest #5686 Thu 27 May 2010

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  HBD is struggling to meet its meager operating expenses (John Schnupp)
  More Aqua/ Iron ("A.J deLange")
  Additional on Agua- Pt I (Andrew deLange)
  Additional on Aqua Pt-II (Andrew deLange)
  Re: Sodium/Chloride (mossview5)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Beer is our obsession and we're late for therapy! * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * NOTE: With the economy as it is, the HBD is struggling to meet its meager operating expenses of approximately $3500 per year. If less than half of those currently directly subscribed to the HBD sent in a mere $5.00, the HBD would be able to easily meet its annual expenses, with room to spare for next year. Please consider it. Financial Projection As of 21 May 2010 Projected 2010 Budget $3505.65 Expended against projection $ 874.75 Projected Excess/(Shortfall) ($2080.54) As always, donors and donations are publicly acknowledged and accounted for on the HBD web page. Thank you Send articles for __publication_only__ to post@hbd.org If your e-mail account is being deleted, please unsubscribe first!! To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE send an e-mail message with the word "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" to request@hbd.org FROM THE E-MAIL ACCOUNT YOU WISH TO HAVE SUBSCRIBED OR UNSUBSCRIBED!!!** IF YOU HAVE SPAM-PROOFED your e-mail address, you cannot subscribe to the digest as we cannot reach you. We will not correct your address for the automation - that's your job. HAVING TROUBLE posting, subscribing or unsusubscribing? See the HBD FAQ at http://hbd.org. LOOKING TO BUY OR SELL USED EQUIPMENT? Please do not post about it here. Go instead to http://homebrewfleamarket.com and post a free ad there. The HBD is a copyrighted document. The compilation is copyright HBD.ORG. Individual postings are copyright by their authors. ASK before reproducing and you'll rarely have trouble. Digest content cannot be reproduced by any means for sale or profit. More information is available by sending the word "info" to req@hbd.org or read the HBD FAQ at http://hbd.org. JANITORs on duty: Pat Babcock (pbabcock at hbd dot org), Jason Henning, and Spencer Thomas
---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 27 May 2010 01:59:13 -0700 (PDT) From: John Schnupp <john.schnupp at yahoo.com> Subject: HBD is struggling to meet its meager operating expenses >If less than half of those currently directly >subscribed to the HBD sent in a mere $5.00, the HBD would >be able to easily meet its annual expenses, <snip> >Financial Projection As of 21 May 2010 > Projected 2010 Budget $3505.65 >Expended against projection $ 874.75 >Projected Excess/(Shortfall) ($2080.54) WOW. I know it's been a long time since I posted, and even longer since I've brewed :-( I didn't realize that this was such a shoe-string operation. It's been a while since I've read any of the HBD posts. I know I can't make up the entire shortfall but as a long time reader (and now mostly lurker) you can be assured that you'll be seeing my small contribution in your snail- mail soon. Where else can one get an annual subscription for a daily paper (ok, so call it e-paper) for $5. John Schnupp, N3CNL Georgia, VT '95 XLH 1200 +79,900 Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 27 May 2010 12:21:54 -0400 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdelan at gmail.com> Subject: More Aqua/ Iron Another suggestion for Joe. Have some DI water trucked in, try brewing a Pils or 2 with it and see if you agree with Calvin and A.J. or the "not to worry" group. Upon deciding that low mineral is the way to go you could then start looking into ways of getting quantities of it into your brewery. And one other aspect of good Pils, which is also a controversial one, is whether decoction mashing is necessary. I say yes and also request that anyone who thinks he can convince me other wiseto please not disillusion me in this regard. To be somewhat more serious about the matter, you do need to get that classic mealanoidin quality. Many feel that simply adding some melanoidin malt is sufficient. For Dave: Ah, iron. Yes that can ruin your day but there are ways of getting rid of the stuff without using a softener (and losing the calcium). For HB quantities the simplest method is to simply aerate a quantity of the water (setting up a garden booster pump with a shower head and recirculating into a vessel while spraying through the head works fine for this. The spraying lets the extra CO2 (which is what is responsible for the low pH) escape and lets oxygen convert the clearwater iron to Fe(III) which is the ugly, brown, gelatinous junk you find in toilet tanks etc. Now simply filter this water (Greg Noonan recommended filtering through kids' playsand. If can be easily cleaned after treatment. More permanent options use the same basic principle. Iron removal filters (usually containing a mineral called "greensand") work the oxidation just as well and are automatically backwashed so you don't have to worry about that. However you do it the result is iron free water at more reasonable pH. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 27 May 2010 15:08:44 -0400 From: Andrew deLange <ajdelan at gmail.com> Subject: Additional on Agua- Pt I The original post got rejected as it was too long. As it looks as if some discussion is going I'm resubmitting: Further to Joe's questions: I didn't realize we were talking a commercial application here. This changes things dramatically in terms of the economics but the basic principals (i.e. the chemistry) don't. The following is opinion (which you will have seen backed up here to some extent but that doesn't mean everyone agrees with it): the secret to excellent Bohemian Pilsner (I have no experience with German) is very soft water and proper control of mash pH through the use of sauermalz or sauergut because very soft water will not give you the mash pH you need with a Pilsner malt grist. This assumes, of course, good malt and lots of Saaz hops. The one thing I consistently notice about commercial Pils is that the bittering is done with a high alpha hop and then some Saaz is tossed in at the end for "aroma and flavor". IMO this spoils a Pils but I certainly understand the economics behind having to do things this way. If I ran a brewery I'm sure I could put it out of business within a year. Now, on to the water. Opinion mode is off here (but it will be coming back on later). It's residual alkalinity is pretty high - too high to fix with mineral salt addition so either you must decarbonate or add acid which effectively decarbonates because it converts the bicarbonate ions to carbon dioxide but the cost is that each bicarbonate ion is replaced by the anion of the acid. For Pils, using noble hops, sulfuric acid is not a good choice but hydrochloric might be. Doing a quick calculation on what I assume you mains water to be (see below) it would take 1.25 L of 23 Be' HCl to treat 30 bbl of water to 50 ppm alkalinity but the residual alkalinity would be -24 (because of all the calcium). pH would be 5.6 but your but your chloride would be a whopping 183 (no surprise there). 1.1L of HCl would get you to 0 RA (alkalinity 74 but it's the RA that counts), a pH of 5.1 and a chloride level of 165. Calculations assume mains pH of 7 (you didn't tell us what the actual pH is) and the other thing I don't know is the end point you use when you measure alkalinity. Decarbonation by lime treatment is probably not practical at 30 bbl but people do sell lime decarbonation plant at that scale. Check Brauwelt and similar pubs. The approximate lime dose for your water would be about 200 mg/L but one must experiment to find the optimum dose. For small scale I find it best to use more than the calculation calls for in order to get the pH and calcium ion concentration high (which means more carbonate precipitated) and to "seed" the mix with finely divided calcium carbonate in order to provide nucleation sites. The problem with this approach is that you finish up with water with high pH which needs to be knocked back to something reasonable (you want the final result of the process to be reduced, not increased alkalinity). So you must add acid to neutralize the excess hydroxide. If you use hydrochloric acid for this purpose you will have increased chloride which is good in general terms but not so good in terms of getting that "soft" quality which the best Pilsners have and which I attribute to the water. Another approach to the excess hydroxide is to use carbonic acid. At the HB scale this simply means sparging CO2 through the water until the pH comes to 7-ish. Or you can use just the amount of lime stochimetrically calculated and not have to worry about acid addition afterwards. If you do this you will be able to decarbonate to about 50 ppm as CaCO3 alkalinity. Going to higher pH may get you a little below this but may not be worth the effort. If you do this manually (which I assume you would before investing in a lime plant) you would place say 40% of the water to be treated in a vessel which can be stirred and in which you can monitor pH. Add the lime and seed CaCO3, mix well and check pH. If you are going to supplement calcium chloride, do that now as the calcium will aid in carbonate capture. Now add additional water with stirring while monitoring pH. As the calcium carbonate precipitates the pH will fall. The reaction isn't that fast so wait a few minutes. What you are doing is neutralizing the base Ca(OH)2 with the acid (and it really is an acid) HCO3- i.e. 2HCO3- + Ca++ + 2(OH)- ---> CaCO3 + 2H2O. As the (OH)- ions get consumed the pH falls and when it arrives back at approximately the pH of the water you started with then you have dropped about as much bicarb (alkalinity) as you can using this method. You are already using the other traditional method of decarbonation. When the water sits in the HLT CO2 is driven off and chalk precipitates: 2HCO3- + Ca++ --> CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O. This is why the alkalinity of the water falls in the HLT from 262 to 168. As an aside, I am assuming that the water analysis you gave in the post was for HLT water because the calcium and magnesium numbers you gave don't balance with an alkalinity of 262. The lime value I gave above is based on the analysis you posted. If I guess that the original calcium was 2 mEq/L higher (i.e. reduced in the HLT by the same amount as the alkalinity) it would be at about 90 and the amount of trial lime calculates to 307 mg/L. This aside, you will have about 100 mg of calcium carbonate sitting in the bottom of your HLT for each liter of water that you ever heated in it and if you haven't been cleaning that out you should look into it. More to the point, you can get more CaCO3 to drop out using the same mechanism i.e. heating. If you bring the water to near boiling (you do not have to boil it) and sparge it with air that air will sweep out the CO2 and aid the precipitation of chalk (Le Chateleier's principal). OTOH if you do boil it steam will do the CO2 sweeping but it seems to me that pumping some air in there through a carbonation stone would use less energy than boiling though you don't have to boil long. Again, if you are intending to supplement with CaCl2 do it before undertaking this process. Here again adding some chalk for seeding might help. Also note that this method will only get you down to about 50 on the alkalinity though supplementation with CaCl2 my get you a bit lower. The trade between lime treatment and heating/air sparging is that the former requires more effort, the lime and the tweaking of the process to get it right and the latter uses more energy. Large operators usually go (or went in the past) with lime for this reason. Today with the improvement in RO and nanofiltration technologies breweries seem to be trending in that direction. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 27 May 2010 15:09:24 -0400 From: Andrew deLange <ajdelan at gmail.com> Subject: Additional on Aqua Pt-II f you soften this water you will be swapping out 2.55 mEq of calcium and 1.45 mEq of magnesium for 4 mEq (92 mg) of sodium in each liter for a total of 92 + 12.24 = 104 mg/L. How do you get 175.8? If that is the result of a measurement at the output of the softener then there is a problem. Brine is leaking into the process stream. If the measurement was taken right after a regeneration we can assume that the resin bed just didn't get as thoroughly rinsed as we'd like and that after a few gal. through the system the sodium level would drop back to around 104. There is no practical way to get the sodium out other than RO and we can argue as to whether that's practical. Boiling works if he steam is separated and condensed (i.e. distillation) as does passage through acid/base ion exchangers (swap H+ for cations and OH- for anions - think Brita pitcher, lab pure water systems...) are about all I can think of. Nanofiltration systems let the small ions through. Boiling does not cause sodium to precipitate. Opinion on again: Given that you apparently have a softener (for boiler feed?) RO is perfect for your application if your goal is to brew an authentic Bohemian Pilsner. It won't cost you $8000 for an RO system of sufficient capacity. A 2500 GPD system (produce 30 bbl in 9 hrs) can be had for half that and a 500 GPD system (collect 30 bbl in about 2 days) for around $2000. Now that's just for the system. If you have a vessel to collect the water into then you really don't need to do anything except plug the unit into 110, plumb the inlet, rout the concentrate to a drain and the permeate to the collection vessel. If you don't have a collection vessel then one of those must be acquired and if you get fancy with level controls, pressure tanks, pumps etc then the cost will clearly go higher. Other potential problem is that there may be restrictions on concentrate disposal. Assuming your mains water is at 262 alkalinity and 90 mg/L calcium your TDS going in (if you don't feed softened water which you doubtless should) is about 480 and if you operate at 50% recovery the concentrate (waste) stream will be at 960. Obviously if you operate the RO system at 50% recovery you will be buying 2 gal of water from the city for every gallon that winds up in the HLT. Also RO systems don't have 100% rejection. My experience with RO units is around 97% with some ions being better rejected than others. Using 97% for a quicky calculation would mean hardness out (assuming mains feed) of about 9 and alkalinity out of about 8 - pretty darn good for Boh. Pils. Now as noted in an earlier post with hard water membrane life is extended if an RO unit is fed with softened water. If you did this you would be feeding about 104 mg/ L sodium and the permeate would thus contain about 3 mg/L sodium. The alkalinity is not effected by softening. The calcium will be very low and probably should be supplemented. The easiest way to do this is to blend some of your source water with the RO water. Using 97% rejection and my assumptions about you mains water adding 1 L of mains water to 25 L of RO water would give you an RA of about 14 with an alkalinity of 17 and an effective hardness of 10. This is pretty close to Pilsen's water. I find water like this to make excellent Boh. Pils as long as mashtun pH is controlled (and not a terribly bad Pils if it isn't but definitely better if it is). Again I must caveat that there is an opinion being offered here. And I think the major area of contention in this case would be as to whether the calcium should be supplemented for the sake of the yeast, bright runoff, oxalate capture... and chloride for the sake of mouthfeel. I have not experimented with that up to this point. I feel I am making a darn good authentic, in the sense that water and hops are authentic and a couple of us going to be experimenting with Weyerman's "heirloom" floor malt in the next couple of weeks, Pils. Whether some extra calcium chloride might make it even better is another question and one I want an answer to. Well it's nice to see a little activity here on the HBD and yes, you have shamed me into sending along a wee something to Pat & Co. Cheers, A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 27 May 2010 21:16:58 -0400 From: mossview5 <mossview5 at gmail.com> Subject: Re: Sodium/Chloride AJ asked about Nanofiltration and why it might be better than Reverse Osmosis. Nanofiltration is a more porous membrane that does let more ions through. In particular, the monovalent ions such as sodium and chloride. In my trade, nanofiltration is a process referred to broadly as 'membrane softening'. Since most potable water supplies tend to be more afflicted by unwelcome hardness than saltiness, softening is a desirable goal. The real bonus to major water producers and users is that membrane softening produces an acceptably softened water while using much less power and wasting less water. Home RO units are terribly wasteful with water. For every gallon of RO water, about 4 to 7 gallons of water goes down the drain. Commercial RO units are much less wasteful, but they still end up sending about 1 gallon down the drain for every gallon of RO water produced. They use very high pressure pumps to drive the water through the membranes and the raw water typically has to be acidified to help avoid clogging the membranes. These are complications that few home owners would want to wrestle with. Commercial Nanofiltration units are more efficient than the commercial RO units since they do not require pumping to as high a pressure as RO and the amount of wasted water is further reduced. These units can produce a gallon of product water while only sending about 1/3 gallon down the drain. AJ's final point about nanofiltration was still correct. For the small amount of water that we require for brewing, its not really worthwhile to worry about our wasting water and energy. Home RO systems are good enough. Martin Brungard Indianapolis, IN Return to table of contents
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