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Caustic cleaning with softened water vs brewing water

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  • Caustic cleaning with softened water vs brewing water

    Hi guys!

    I have a few questions about caustic cleaning with different water profiles (softened water vs brewing water).

    Our municipal water is not the best. I donít have the water report at hand but from what I remember it is >500ppm hardness, 250ppm chloride, 90 ppm sulfate, 150 ppm sodium and >1,100 conductivity among other parameters. So we clean with softened water and brew with well water which is of better quality in comparison to the municipal water. In short, beer wasnít meant to be brewed where we are located, hahaha!

    Up to now I had a small-sized HLT where I heated softened water for caustic cleaning the day before brewing.

    On brewing day I heated the well water and added salts and acids to bring the residual alkalinity down for a good mash PH. The mash PH was within range but I still got cloudiness in the warm water from minerals in suspension, calcium build-up of the wall and calcium precipitate on the bottom of the HLT.

    Now we are getting a new system and I want to change my cleaning procedure and clean on brewday. I see two options.

    1) Heat softened water in a separate tank and brew as usual. I have to buy another tank but I can skip the acid cycle.

    2) Use the brewing water for cleaning and bring down parameters with acids as usual or mix with RO water, which means getting an RO system. But I am not sure if I would still get calcium build-up and precipitate that would lead to inadequate cleaning.

    My chemical supplier suggested getting a caustic with higher sequestering power followed by a PAA sanitizer with nitric acid to skip the acid cycle.

    Any thoughts?

    Cheers!

  • #2
    Hi,

    I've been reading a bit about the subject. Posting it here just in case it can be of help to anybody.

    -In the Water book, John Palmer and Colin Kaminski recommend cleaning and rinsing with softened water (<50ppm hardness is best) in hard water conditions.

    -According to my chemical supplier, my caustic cleaner has a sequestering power of 130ppm hardness for each 1% solution.

    I am still thinking about if I should use softened water or brewing liquor to clean the FVs and HE with caustic. For those of you who add acids to the brewing liquor and use it to clean your tanks, does the low PH in the brewing liquor affect the cleaning solution in any way?

    Also, if I'm overcoplicating things please let me know, haha!

    Comment


    • #3
      Just picked up this thread

      Never mind the CIP water - you need an RO plant for your brewing water - those are ridiculously high values. The chloride and sodium alone will make any beer unpleasant and the high hardness means you will have to treat anyway to prevent, or at least minimise the fouling on the wort chiller, and, and, and ....

      We had something like those values from one of the aquifers at one of the major breweries I worked (I can't remember the exact ionic composition) but it was similar, possibly lower values than those and was completely unsuitable for brewing with. The water was treated for boiler water only for a long time, but more recently they have installed an RO plant to make it suitable for brewing with, adding mineral salts as necessary. The other aquifer was ok for brewing ales, but not lagers

      I know you are brewing at the moment, but do yourself a favour and get yourself an RO plant and buffer tank suitable for both brewing and cleaning, and then you won't have the concerns you raise about CIP, and you will be able to brew any style without the water adversely affect all or most of the beers.
      dick

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for your answer Dick. Sorry if I wasn't very clear.

        We only use our municipal water for softened water (cleaning and boiler). Our brewing water slightly better as you can see from this thread:

        https://discussions.probrewer.com/sh...ent-approaches

        So now we are using brew water with acids, and also RO water from a basic Pentair PRF-RO system for our lighter styles. The plan is to get a better RO system and buffer tank and combine RO and brew water (and acids when necessary).

        My main concern is what parameters are needed for the brew water to be adequate for cleaning with caustic taking into account that:

        -Brew water may be quite hard for darker styles.

        -PH can be low due to acid additions for lighter styles and sparging and I don't know to what point low PH affects caustic cleaning solutions.

        -I currently get cloudiness in the warm water from minerals in suspension, calcium build-up of the wall and calcium precipitate on the bottom of the HLT even after lowering the hardness with acids.

        In short, what do you recommend?

        1) Clean with softened water using a separate vessel to heat it?

        2) Clean with RO water using a separate vessel to heat it?

        3) Use the brew water (with different hardness and alkalinity depending on the beer) to clean with caustic? And include or not and acid cycle in between the caustic and the PAA.

        Cheers!

        Comment


        • #5
          With the various ions left in even after softening, I think you are better off getting a larger (or second) RO plant for cleaning water. Assuming the softener has replaced ALL the calcium and magnesium ions, then you are left with very levels of chloride and sodium, which is not particularly good for stainless - a risk of corrosion from the high chloride ion level left in the final rinse water film. I also suspect there will be knock on effects to the detergent efficiency etc. - but you would need to talk to your supplier about this.

          If using RO, then you simply use the same water obtained from wort cooling (or additional top up) in the hot liquor tank you use for brewing. This will mean you won't have to acid descale the water side of the wort chiller anything like as much as I suspect you are currently having to do.

          Have you spoken to your cleaning chemicals supplier? They should be the best people to advise
          dick

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dick murton View Post
            With the various ions left in even after softening, I think you are better off getting a larger (or second) RO plant for cleaning water. Assuming the softener has replaced ALL the calcium and magnesium ions, then you are left with very levels of chloride and sodium, which is not particularly good for stainless - a risk of corrosion from the high chloride ion level left in the final rinse water film. I also suspect there will be knock on effects to the detergent efficiency etc. - but you would need to talk to your supplier about this.

            If using RO, then you simply use the same water obtained from wort cooling (or additional top up) in the hot liquor tank you use for brewing. This will mean you won't have to acid descale the water side of the wort chiller anything like as much as I suspect you are currently having to do.

            Have you spoken to your cleaning chemicals supplier? They should be the best people to advise
            Thanks Dick!

            Comment

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