Water treatment

How to get most out of brewing with your Braumeister? Help others and share your tips/best practices.

Water treatment

Unread postby Wezzel » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:44 pm

Right, as a newbie to this wonderful forum I thought I should post my inaugural question!

I have been using Bru'n water for a while to calculate mash and sparge water additions separately but, with the BM, even if I do decide to sparge I would like to keep things simple so. . .

I was thinking about filling the BM with enough water for mash and sparge, treating it all as it it were mash water, and then removing a few litres to heat up for sparging later. Presumably I can set Bru'n water for a full volume mash and ignore the sparge water calculations.

It's more of a faff but do you think it would be worth treating the sparge water separately?
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Re: Water treatment

Unread postby BrauTim » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:12 pm

I treat all my water in one go and then draw sparge off separately. TBH, we are more rinsing the grains with the BM just to ensure that we got any residual sugar out rather than a traditional sparge which involves measuring the run-off until it hits around 1.010, alot of BM' ers don't sparge at all, I only sparge with around 2-3 litres.

I don't see much benefit with treating the main and sparge water separately unless you are going to do a large volume of sparge water to get the boil volume up.

EDIT: You also have to remember that we are sparging following mash-out, in a 3v system sparge can be done within Sacch rest temps as the enzymes are still active with a final mash-out sparge to halt enzyme activity, this is where water treatment is more important, also traditional sparge is around 1.5 times the volume of the mash, this doesn't apply to the BM. There are various methods of sparging , the BM method is but one of them. In the BM system the sparge temperature doesn't matter too much as the mash has already been gelatinised and most of the sugar extracted in recirculation, the residual sugars will just wash-out (I'm assuming that we are not using cold water here) but I usually like to sparge with water hotter than 50C, although I don't pay too much attention to this aspect as long as it's not above 80C where tannin extraction could occur (but with a small volume sparge I don't think this is too much of an issue either).
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Re: Water treatment

Unread postby Wezzel » Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:24 pm

Great reply. Thanks Tim and that makes a lot of sense. That's just what I was hoping someone would say.

I'm loving my BM more every day and it hasn't even been delivered yet!
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Re: Water treatment

Unread postby Dicko » Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:28 am

Wezzel wrote:Right, as a newbie to this wonderful forum I thought I should post my inaugural question!

I have been using Bru'n water for a while to calculate mash and sparge water additions separately but, with the BM, even if I do decide to sparge I would like to keep things simple so. . .

I was thinking about filling the BM with enough water for mash and sparge, treating it all as it it were mash water, and then removing a few litres to heat up for sparging later. Presumably I can set Bru'n water for a full volume mash and ignore the sparge water calculations.

It's more of a faff but do you think it would be worth treating the sparge water separately?


That is exactly how I do my water Wezzel. It is so simple.

BrauTim has some very accurate info there....A BM does most of the work for us. :D

:cheers:
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Re: Water treatment

Unread postby cpa4ny » Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:32 am

I treat my brewing liquor and sparge water separately.

I run both through my carbon filter to get rid of chloramine, which unlike chlorine doesn't boil off (that's what they treat the water with in my neck of the woods).

Subsequently, the brewing liquor gets treated with brewing salts (gypsum, calcium chloride and/or Epsom salts - depending on the recipe)

I also use Bru'n Water as it takes in more water parameters than Braukaiser's more simplistic spreadsheet.

The sparge water only needs to be acidified to below pH of 6.

I would typically acidify it to the level of my mash pH, which usually hovers around pH 5.2-5.3 (@ room temp, of course).

Some BM users don't sparge, but I personally don't see a reason why I should leave extra sugars behind.

Hope that helps :beer:
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Re: Water treatment

Unread postby martingale » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:46 pm

BrauTim wrote:I treat all my water in one go and then draw sparge off separately. TBH, we are more rinsing the grains with the BM just to ensure that we got any residual sugar out rather than a traditional sparge which involves measuring the run-off until it hits around 1.010, alot of BM' ers don't sparge at all, I only sparge with around 2-3 litres.

I don't see much benefit with treating the main and sparge water separately unless you are going to do a large volume of sparge water to get the boil volume up.

EDIT: You also have to remember that we are sparging following mash-out, in a 3v system sparge can be done within Sacch rest temps as the enzymes are still active with a final mash-out sparge to halt enzyme activity, this is where water treatment is more important, also traditional sparge is around 1.5 times the volume of the mash, this doesn't apply to the BM. There are various methods of sparging , the BM method is but one of them. In the BM system the sparge temperature doesn't matter too much as the mash has already been gelatinised and most of the sugar extracted in recirculation, the residual sugars will just wash-out (I'm assuming that we are not using cold water here) but I usually like to sparge with water hotter than 50C, although I don't pay too much attention to this aspect as long as it's not above 80C where tannin extraction could occur (but with a small volume sparge I don't think this is too much of an issue either).


Great info, BrauTim!

I too don't worry too much about sparge water temperature (I just use room temp), but read that a high pH (> 5.8 ) could contribute to astringency - wondering if this is still the case post-mash-out. I haven't done enough batches to notice the difference. Do you acidify your sparge water?
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Re: Water treatment

Unread postby BrauTim » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:43 pm

martingale wrote:
I too don't worry too much about sparge water temperature (I just use room temp), but read that a high pH (> 5.8 ) could contribute to astringency - wondering if this is still the case post-mash-out. I haven't done enough batches to notice the difference. Do you acidify your sparge water?


Yes, I just treat all my water in one go and then draw off 2-3 litres for sparge, so my sparge water must be in the 6-6.5pH range (I'll check this next brewday if I remember), but as I say, I don't think that there is enough sparge water here to cause astringency problems compared to a traditional 1.5 times the volume of mash water sparge where the sparge can take 45mins and longer to complete, a quick rinse is all I do (note that I do leave the malt pipe to drain into a bucket for about an hour and pour that liquid into the boil which would be around 1-3 litres worth depending how long I have left the malt pipe suspended above the BM post-mash).

I've not noticed any astringency in any of my beers at all. I guess that 2-3 litres in the 50L malt pipe diluted with the water already still in the grain probably lowers the pH of the sparge anyway and even if it didn't and there was some tannin extraction going on it probably is so little to be of no concern in a 40-50L batch. So really it's nothing to worry about unless you are going to sparge with a greater percentage of water, but I have no way of being able to calculate at what volume of sparge it may even become a problem.
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Re: Water treatment

Unread postby martingale » Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:45 pm

BrauTim wrote:
martingale wrote:
I too don't worry too much about sparge water temperature (I just use room temp), but read that a high pH (> 5.8 ) could contribute to astringency - wondering if this is still the case post-mash-out. I haven't done enough batches to notice the difference. Do you acidify your sparge water?


Yes, I just treat all my water in one go and then draw off 2-3 litres for sparge, so my sparge water must be in the 6-6.5pH range (I'll check this next brewday if I remember), but as I say, I don't think that there is enough sparge water here to cause astringency problems compared to a traditional 1.5 times the volume of mash water sparge where the sparge can take 45mins and longer to complete, a quick rinse is all I do (note that I do leave the malt pipe to drain into a bucket for about an hour and pour that liquid into the boil which would be around 1-3 litres worth depending how long I have left the malt pipe suspended above the BM post-mash).

I've not noticed any astringency in any of my beers at all. I guess that 2-3 litres in the 50L malt pipe diluted with the water already still in the grain probably lowers the pH of the sparge anyway and even if it didn't and there was some tannin extraction going on it probably is so little to be of no concern in a 40-50L batch. So really it's nothing to worry about unless you are going to sparge with a greater percentage of water, but I have no way of being able to calculate at what volume of sparge it may even become a problem.


That's useful, thank you!
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Re: Water treatment

Unread postby Popeye » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:54 pm

I have the 20l size and brewed each time, with a spage of about 5 litres of tap water heated to 78 to match the mash out temp. No additions to the sparge water. But, care in the temperature to avoid over 78. My grain bill is normally 4.5/ 5.0 kgs
Over 30 brews and no problems with astringency.
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