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Author Topic: Water treatment  (Read 6925 times)

Reply #30June 14, 2018, 07:55:20 AM

Ben2083

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2018, 07:55:20 AM »

First time I have seen this thread Dan, and an interesting topic. I had been thinking about if I should be doing water treatments, and keep meaning to do some background reading. So far all I have done is just left my water out overnight open, to dechlorinate, and I have been happy with my beers so haven't got round to looking in to it much further yet.

I have heard from a couple of breweries you can send a sample of your water off to Murphy and Sons for a free analysis, and they give a report out (that includes Calcium and Magnesium). It's aimed at professional breweries, and most use it regulalry to check consistency, but from what i have heard if you make up yourself a brewery name at your address, they'll do yours for you.....they obvious recommend they're own products to correct your brewing liquor as required.

http://laboratory.murphyandson.co.uk/our-products/water/

Not something I have used myself yet, and you might have already looked in to it, but thought i'd mention it. Sounds like you are enjoying the chemistry set though so perhaps just keep going with that!
Fermenting: Rhubarb Wheat Beer, Orange & Peppercorn Saison
Conditioning: Winter Spiced Ale
Planning: A Dry Stout, some sort of lager, Pig & Porter Red Spider Clone.
Drinking: Vienna Session Pale, Chocolate Mild, Abbey Ale, Thornbridge Chiron Clone 

Reply #31December 04, 2018, 08:03:48 PM

cwooffin

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2018, 08:03:48 PM »
Good posts, thanks Dan.

I also read the simple guide to water treatment from the homebrewforum and went through exactly the same progress. I got a bit different results, which I guess shouldn't come as a surprise.

Calcium of 80 ppm

CaC03 of 148 ppm

The other readings I got from my water report were:

Magnesium 7.5 ppm
Sodium 17.3 ppm
Sulphate 25 ppm
Chloride 28.96 ppm

Last weekend I brewed a simple pale ale, and was I was a bit overwhelmed with the recommendations for a suitable water profile.

In the end I opted for a so-called balanced sulphate to chloride ratio of 1.2, alkalinity of around 20 ppm and calcium of 100 ppm.

The net result is that I ended up adding salt for more chloride (but now I realise the sodium level is too high) and gypsum which raised my calcium and sulphate (a bit too much in the case of the calcium as I now think its around 130 ppm but the sulphate is okay).

I wanted to use CRS nut I've only got lactic acid so I was a bit cautious with the addition as I heard it can affect the taste at high levels. I added 9.1ml as my mash PH which was calculated to be >5.8, and I wanted it to be close to 5.2. Of course, who knows what I ended up with as I was using PH strips which are pretty useless.

Well, time will tell to see if the beer is a basket case (although the wort tasted okay/nice).

I'll learn for next time, and I need to also get myself some Calcium Chloride and CRS, and at some stage a proper PH meter.

I also need to learn how to use BeerSmith3 - for someone new - it's complicated.....

Reply #32December 04, 2018, 08:27:26 PM

DanWalters

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2018, 08:27:26 PM »
Hi Chris,

I need to thank you already mate, not only have you re-sparked my interest in this but also prompted me to check Severn Trent website for my water report. I checked before the summer and they only provided a report for my address up until December 2018 and a 12 month report, however on checking just they now provide Quarterly reports with the most recent being until 31st May 2018, so a lot more accurate.

Therefore my next brew I am going to brew with tap water for the very first time  :o

I also have Beersmith 3 and once you get your head around it it is a damn good tool, and this latest version allows you to enter in a water profile and it lets you know the compounds for adjustment based on style....I may have to stop typing now as the excitement of adding my own water profile to beersmith and it telling me what I need to add in terms of additions is just too much!  ;D ;D ;D

If you need a hand setting up Beersmith just give me a shout, I am no super expert but I can get my way around it and have enjoyed setting up BIAB equipment profiles.

Cheers

Dan
Fermenting: Session IPA
Conditioning: Milk Stout
Planning: All Together IPA, Dunkel Weiss, Belgian Dark Ale, West Coast IPA
Drinking: Old Speckled Hen Clone, Rum & Vanilla Imperial Porter

Reply #33December 05, 2018, 07:18:08 AM

cwooffin

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2018, 07:18:08 AM »
Thanks Dan - I might take you up on the BeerSmith3 offer! I'm still faffing around with the BIAB set-up and still haven't really got the water volumes sorted out (hence why some of my recent brews are far, far too strong for my liking!)

Reply #34December 06, 2018, 10:29:58 AM

Ben2083

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2018, 10:29:58 AM »

Chris,

In the interest of balance and for anyone else following this thread,  I should also mention Brewers Friend as an alternative to BeerSmith. I use this as I find it to be a bit more user friendly, and easy to follow, although perhaps doesn’t quite have the same level of detail. One thing I do find very good is the help and explanation pages, which are linked too from the relevant calculators etc. To be fair, I only had a go at sing Beer Smith once, and it was on my second or third brew so I was a bit overwhelmed by it all, but really do like Brewers Friend.

This is the water profile section. Their are links to the basic and advanced calculators here, you can also do the same within a recipe when you create it.
 
https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/water-profiles

Fermenting: Rhubarb Wheat Beer, Orange & Peppercorn Saison
Conditioning: Winter Spiced Ale
Planning: A Dry Stout, some sort of lager, Pig & Porter Red Spider Clone.
Drinking: Vienna Session Pale, Chocolate Mild, Abbey Ale, Thornbridge Chiron Clone 

Reply #35December 08, 2018, 09:59:25 PM

DanWalters

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2018, 09:59:25 PM »
Well its Brew Day tomorrow and I am using tap water for the first time, details as below:

Calcium: 35ppm
Alkalinity: 63ppm
Sulphate: 84ppm
Chloride: 72ppm
Sulphate:Chloride Ratio 1.17

I couldn't find a reading for magnesium on my water report. I decided not to use the Beersmith software for water additions but to do my own calcs based on the homebrew forum posts from Strange Steve, so this is what I did, my water volume is 26 litres:

1.56ml of lactic acid to bring the Alkalinity down to 33ppm, suitable for the amber beer I am brewing.

To bring the calcium level up to around 100ppm I also wanted to maintain a Sulphate:Chloride ratio of between 0.8 - 1.5 but I wanted it to remain a balanced beer in terms of malt character and bitterness. The beer I am brewing, Kew Botanic from the new Camra home brew book, has a bitterness of just 30 ibus, so not very bitter.

So I decided to add both Gypsum and Calcium Chloride, I added 3.9g gypsum and the same, coincidentally, of Calcium Chloride, this brought the calcium level to 111ppm and the Sulphate:Chloride level to 1.17

How bizarre that I have ended at the same Sulphate:Chloride ration that my tap water is currently at!

Cheers

Dan
Fermenting: Session IPA
Conditioning: Milk Stout
Planning: All Together IPA, Dunkel Weiss, Belgian Dark Ale, West Coast IPA
Drinking: Old Speckled Hen Clone, Rum & Vanilla Imperial Porter

Reply #36December 09, 2018, 09:51:52 AM

cwooffin

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2018, 09:51:52 AM »
Wow Dan, that profile is quite different to mine.

I'll be interested to see how you get on. I tried water treating for the first time, but limited my additions to gypsum, lactic acid and salt. I too didn't bother with magnesium adjustments as I read that this isn't massively important and you can screw up the final taste.

The brew has been fermenting (very slowly compared to every other brew I've done), but it's now ready for secondary fermentation. I had a sneak drink of the beer I used for the gravity reading, and I was a bit non-plussed. It really didn't have much taste, bearing in mind I loaded it with Mosaic, Centennial and Citra. The wort tasted and smelt amazing. I've done a similar recipe in the summer and that turned out nice.

I don't think it's the water additions, as I'm thinking its the yeast. This time I tried a new yeast (I would usually go with US-05 for a pale ale, or even Nottingham). I tried the pale ale yeast from Crossmyloof. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do a split brew with and without water treatment so I'll never know.

Dan - it sounds like you haven't brewed this recipe before? I was curious whether you had, however, so you can see if the water additions helped or not?

Reply #37December 09, 2018, 12:17:52 PM

CraigA

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2018, 12:17:52 PM »
I've been having a go at water treatment least few brews, but it's not going well.

It would be helpful if Severn Trent provided a calcium level in their report, but they're more concerned detailing less important things like e. coli and arsenic. I had been (incorrectly) assuming hardness and alkalinity were related, and using various online calculators put together a Worcester water profile in Beersmith. Whenever I measured mash pH it always seemed to be in the right range without acid additions, something Beersmith/BF calculators said it wouldn't be, so I was a little confused. I bought a Salifert KH test kit and did a test last night. What I thought was 170ppm turned out to be more like 66ppm for alkalinity. 170ppm is the hardness - doh! I need to get a calcium test kit to get the right level, but at least I have a much more accurate figure to work with for getting pH right.

Using the calculator here https://www.lenntech.com/ro/water-hardness.htm I managed to get very rough figures for calcium and magnesium just by putting in different amounts and checking the English degrees until it hit 11.8 (from the ST report).

Alkalinity: 66ppm
Ca: 48ppm
Mg: 12ppm
Na: 35ppm
SO4: 52ppm
Cl: 40ppm
SO4:Cl 1.3

Very similar to London water, just a little higher sulphate. Suggests Worcester water is good for amber ales, IPAs and British ales.

Calcium levels look a little low though. I will get a test kit for a more accurate level, but in the mean time maybe I'll just stick to adding small amounts of either gypsum or calcium chloride and not worry about the pH level of the mash, it should get there on its own.
Fermenting: Invitational beers
Conditioning: Project Sour
Drinking:
Ageing: Belgian Dubbel
Planning: Partigyle

https://riffhomebrewing.com/

Reply #38December 09, 2018, 01:52:53 PM

cwooffin

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2018, 01:52:53 PM »
Hi Craig,

I got myself a calcium test kit last week and my water indicated a calcium level of 80ppm which is over double that of Dan's profile. My alkalinity as CaC03 is quite a bit higher at 148 ppm.

I wasn't too worried about the calcium level but I was concerned about the alkalinity not least because my mash PH was also quite high.

I personally find that there is so much information available, you can very easily get confused. I thought I nailed my first water profile adjustment, but I think I totally screwed it up.

Anyway, learning the craft of home brewing is part of the fun if you ask me!

Reply #39December 09, 2018, 05:06:25 PM

DanWalters

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2018, 05:06:25 PM »
Wow Dan, that profile is quite different to mine.

I'll be interested to see how you get on. I tried water treating for the first time, but limited my additions to gypsum, lactic acid and salt. I too didn't bother with magnesium adjustments as I read that this isn't massively important and you can screw up the final taste.

The brew has been fermenting (very slowly compared to every other brew I've done), but it's now ready for secondary fermentation. I had a sneak drink of the beer I used for the gravity reading, and I was a bit non-plussed. It really didn't have much taste, bearing in mind I loaded it with Mosaic, Centennial and Citra. The wort tasted and smelt amazing. I've done a similar recipe in the summer and that turned out nice.

I don't think it's the water additions, as I'm thinking its the yeast. This time I tried a new yeast (I would usually go with US-05 for a pale ale, or even Nottingham). I tried the pale ale yeast from Crossmyloof. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do a split brew with and without water treatment so I'll never know.

Dan - it sounds like you haven't brewed this recipe before? I was curious whether you had, however, so you can see if the water additions helped or not?

I have had some good results with the CrossMyLoof yeast, I always find it kicks off really quick and goes off like a steam train, however I know there have been some mixed results shared online. For me the Safale yeasts take longer to get going but I swap and change between them to be honest.

Yeah this is a new brew for me so will have to see what it comes out like, its quite an interesting brew that uses a big cascade dry hop along with juniper berries, 5 min boil and also dry hop.

Cheers

Dan
Fermenting: Session IPA
Conditioning: Milk Stout
Planning: All Together IPA, Dunkel Weiss, Belgian Dark Ale, West Coast IPA
Drinking: Old Speckled Hen Clone, Rum & Vanilla Imperial Porter

Reply #40December 09, 2018, 05:12:42 PM

DanWalters

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2018, 05:12:42 PM »
I've been having a go at water treatment least few brews, but it's not going well.

It would be helpful if Severn Trent provided a calcium level in their report, but they're more concerned detailing less important things like e. coli and arsenic. I had been (incorrectly) assuming hardness and alkalinity were related, and using various online calculators put together a Worcester water profile in Beersmith. Whenever I measured mash pH it always seemed to be in the right range without acid additions, something Beersmith/BF calculators said it wouldn't be, so I was a little confused. I bought a Salifert KH test kit and did a test last night. What I thought was 170ppm turned out to be more like 66ppm for alkalinity. 170ppm is the hardness - doh! I need to get a calcium test kit to get the right level, but at least I have a much more accurate figure to work with for getting pH right.

Using the calculator here https://www.lenntech.com/ro/water-hardness.htm I managed to get very rough figures for calcium and magnesium just by putting in different amounts and checking the English degrees until it hit 11.8 (from the ST report).

Alkalinity: 66ppm
Ca: 48ppm
Mg: 12ppm
Na: 35ppm
SO4: 52ppm
Cl: 40ppm
SO4:Cl 1.3

Very similar to London water, just a little higher sulphate. Suggests Worcester water is good for amber ales, IPAs and British ales.

Calcium levels look a little low though. I will get a test kit for a more accurate level, but in the mean time maybe I'll just stick to adding small amounts of either gypsum or calcium chloride and not worry about the pH level of the mash, it should get there on its own.

Everything that I read Craig also suggests that Alkalinity is less critical these days because of how well the malts are modified these days. I am going to monitor my water over the next 3 brews and if the alkalinity is within ball park then I shall stop testing and treating for it.

From what I am currently seeing online is that there is a lot more focus on Sulphate:Chloride ratio in making significance to brewing water...maybe you should have invested in a Calcium testing kit rather than alkalinity  ;)

Cheers

Dan
Fermenting: Session IPA
Conditioning: Milk Stout
Planning: All Together IPA, Dunkel Weiss, Belgian Dark Ale, West Coast IPA
Drinking: Old Speckled Hen Clone, Rum & Vanilla Imperial Porter

Reply #41December 11, 2018, 01:53:50 PM

CraigA

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2018, 01:53:50 PM »
Thanks for the Ca test kit Dan, it confirmed the estimate I got through the calculator to within a few ppm.

I've been looking through some of my notes from the course material I did earlier this year and it's quite in depth when it comes to water profile. Some of the biggest points to take away:

Water is called liquor when it is treated. Brewers don't use water to make beer.

Calcium: Between 50 - 200 ppm. Above this strips phosphate which is required for fermentation. Reacts with oxalic acid in the mash causing insoluble calcium oxalate - this forms crystals and gives nucleation points for CO2 in the bottle and can lead to gushing. Paler beers generally need higher calcium levels than darker beers, but 50-100 ppm is a good general guide.

Magnesium: 15 - 40 ppm. Above this give harsh and astringent flavours.

Sodium: Below 75 ppm adds sweetness; 75 - 150 ppm adds fullness. Above this perceptible saltiness. Inhibits enzymes so add to kettle.

Sulphate: Up to 300 ppm. Above this causes sulphurous off-flavours.

Chloride: Up to 400 ppm. Above this fermentation slows and lowers flocculation.

Chlorine: If treated with Campden tablets use sparingly. Sodium Metabisulphite is toxic to yeast and can produce off-flavours.
Fermenting: Invitational beers
Conditioning: Project Sour
Drinking:
Ageing: Belgian Dubbel
Planning: Partigyle

https://riffhomebrewing.com/

Reply #42December 11, 2018, 08:59:49 PM

DanWalters

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Re: Water treatment
« Reply #42 on: December 11, 2018, 08:59:49 PM »
Thanks for the Ca test kit Dan, it confirmed the estimate I got through the calculator to within a few ppm.

I've been looking through some of my notes from the course material I did earlier this year and it's quite in depth when it comes to water profile. Some of the biggest points to take away:

Water is called liquor when it is treated. Brewers don't use water to make beer.

Calcium: Between 50 - 200 ppm. Above this strips phosphate which is required for fermentation. Reacts with oxalic acid in the mash causing insoluble calcium oxalate - this forms crystals and gives nucleation points for CO2 in the bottle and can lead to gushing. Paler beers generally need higher calcium levels than darker beers, but 50-100 ppm is a good general guide.

Magnesium: 15 - 40 ppm. Above this give harsh and astringent flavours.

Sodium: Below 75 ppm adds sweetness; 75 - 150 ppm adds fullness. Above this perceptible saltiness. Inhibits enzymes so add to kettle.

Sulphate: Up to 300 ppm. Above this causes sulphurous off-flavours.

Chloride: Up to 400 ppm. Above this fermentation slows and lowers flocculation.

Chlorine: If treated with Campden tablets use sparingly. Sodium Metabisulphite is toxic to yeast and can produce off-flavours.

Some great info there Craig and thanks for sharing. I have never looked into the sodium side of things but I think I will do a bit more reading, Brulosophy show an interesting experiment here http://brulosophy.com/2018/01/22/water-chemistry-pt-10-the-impact-of-sodium-on-beer-exbeeriment-results/

Cheers

Dan
Fermenting: Session IPA
Conditioning: Milk Stout
Planning: All Together IPA, Dunkel Weiss, Belgian Dark Ale, West Coast IPA
Drinking: Old Speckled Hen Clone, Rum & Vanilla Imperial Porter

 

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