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Thread: Help in adjusting Brewing Water

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Help in adjusting Brewing Water

    After taking a look at our brewery's water report I came up with the following based on the ppm measures reported by Ward Laboratories. Our Hardness:Alkalinity is 1.23:3.59(mv) and RA is looking like 3.35mv. The options for treatment seem to be adjusting the hardness:alkalinity ratio to be greater than 1:1 and boiling to reduce alkalinity or treating with lactic or phosphoric acid. I have a couple of questions...I have read in Michael Lewis's text Brewing, that using the first method with a hardness:alkalinity ratio < 1:1 adding gypsum and boiling could result in the formation of Na2SO4 which could produce an undesirable sour off flavor. Does anyone have any experience with this? If so, what should I look for as an indicator that this treatment will produce this off flavor? If treating with lactic acid is my best option, what is a good resource to help me find how much I would need to treat a given volume of water? The rest of the water report looks like this:
    Na-90ppm, 3.9 mv; K-14ppm, .36mv; Ca-13ppm, .65mv; Mg-7ppm, .58mv; Total Hardness as CaCO3-62ppm; HCO3-217ppm, 3.56mv; Total Alkalinity as CaCO3-178ppm, 3.56mv

    Thanks in advance for any input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Baxter, MN
    Being you're very low in calcium, have you considered balancing your alkalinity with either Calcium Chloride or Gypsum?
    What are your Chloride and Sulfate numbers? You may have room play with there if they're quite low.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Our water is very low in chloride and sulfate. I already add CaSO4 to the mash and usually end up with a mash pH 5.4-5.6. It seems that I can continue to treat the mash this way. The problem is that I have to heat the entire volume of water for my brew day before mashing as we have no hot liquor tank. Our ground water pH post carbon filter is 7.2. However, after boiling, it increases to 8.6. All pH measurements were taken at the calibration temperature. At this point I get how to treat the water but not the actual process of treatment. Would I be able to add all of the calcium salts to my volume of boiling water before mashing to balance the hardness:alkalinity? If I follow this process, won't some of the calcium precipitate with bicarbonate due to boiling driving off CO2? And if that is true, won't my boil pH be adversely affected by the reverse of this reaction? Here is what I am thinking...what about continuing to treat my mash water with CaSO4 as I am in the desired pH range for mash and treating the hot sparge water I hold over in a grundy with phosphoric acid to get that water from pH 8.6 to around 6.0. If I were to take that approach 1. Does water temperature matter for reducing alkalinity with acid treatment and 2. Should I also harden the sparge water with some CaSO4 as well? Feeling like I am almost there, just need some feedback on the actual treatment process!

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