Water treatment

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Water treatment

Unread postby Cristian » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:37 pm

hi guys, I am just starting the water chemistry adventure and I am already hitting walls :roll:
I have the water report available from Pheonix analytical but I'm struggling to understand how to adjust the water and Ph into the water calculators.
I used 3 water calculators so far (beersmith, Graham Wheeler, brewfather) and each of them added a new layer of confusion :)

first some info:

- my water profile: Ca= 56; Mg=12,7; Na=2,1; SO4=23,5; Cl=4,9 HCO3=198; Total Alkalinity as Caco3= 162
- I mostly brew session IPAs, NEIPA, Pale Ales
- mash water volume 30L

1. Beersmith is recommending salts additions to bring Ca, Mg, Na, SO4, Cl close to target profile but does not touch the levels of HCO3 considering it's in the safe range. The other values are also in the safe range but adjusted to be closer to the target profile.
2. Brewfather, on the other hand, has some very nice recipe integration taking into account the grain bill and another layer of target water by style. Ca, Mg, Na, Cl values are adjusted to match target profile but SO4 is half the target and HCO3 unchanged. (6ml of Lactic Acid is used to lower the Ph to 5.46)
3. Graham Wheeler looks to match the target profile as desired by adding CRS (AMS). I suppose that CO3-HCO3-CaCo3 are somehow connected :shock:

my questions:
- are grains influencing the levels of Ca, Mg, Na, SO4, Cl, HCO3/CO3 after added to treated water? (i know Ph is changing)
- why SO4 value is not increased in the brewfather calculator? due to SO4/Cl ratio?
- Graham Wheeler is adding this new to me CO3 (calculated automatically after Alkalinity is added) and is pointing out that "Carbonate levels are too high" and adjustment is needed. Adding requested CRS(AMS), all looks great. Understanding that HCO3 and CO3 are somehow connected, why Beersmith considers normal such a big value and why brewfather does not offer a "cure" for it.
- as Lactic acid addition is recommended not to exceed 5%, should I consider any maximum values for AMS?
- is it important to have grains, salts and ph adjustment working together on the same calculator?

thank you for your patience :beer:
IMG_1499 (1).jpg
Graham Wheeler screenshot
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Brewfather screenshot
IMG_1498 (2).jpg
Beersmith screenshot
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Re: Water treatment

Unread postby BigEd » Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:02 pm

My first rule is: Don't overthink it. As you have found out there is often no simple consensus on water treatment. My thought is that your water is too alkaline for the pale beers you like to make. The profile is a bit unusual in that while the alkalinity is modestly high the ions of Ca and Mg are not. You can easily bring the alkalinity down by two methods; acid addition or dilution with distilled water.

If you have access to distilled water at a low cost it has the advantage of being extremely simple. Mix equal portions with your source water and your water's profile numbers are cut in half. From there it's relatively easy to add brewing salts to modify your Ca, SO4, and Cl amounts. Using an acid addition does require closer monitoring and you should check the pH with test strips or even better, a pH meter.

For IPA and pale ale I'd suggest increasing the SO4 with gypsum (Calcium Sulphate). This will also increase the Ca but no harm there and you have plenty of room to work with. NEIPA should have a high Cl number as it helps the haziness factor of this beer and high SO4 numbers aren't required as the hop bitterness is much lower that traditional IPA. Calcium chloride is the choice of brewing salt here. You DO NOT need to add any Mg IMO. Only trace amounts are required for any beer and your water already has 12 PPM, more than enough even with a 50% dilution.

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Re: Water treatment

Unread postby Cristian » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:29 pm

thank you very much. very useful tips BigEd :beer:
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