Wizardry

Mashing, fly sparging, batch sparging, dry hopping, late additions. Have an idea you want to bounce or stop by and share your experiences here.

Wizardry

Postby Justin H on Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:53 pm

That's how I am beginning to feel about water adjustments. It's all just wizardry. In brewing a 3 gallon batch of mild i had an initial mash pH of 5.6. I foolishly tried to dial it down with 1ml lactic. Oops, corrected pH 4.2. Blindly, in an attempt to correct my correction, I add 0.5g lime. Revised pH: 7.0. I'm obvious not going to leave my mash at 7.0. I realize that I am working with RO water with a little bit of seasoning, so my buffering is essentially nil. But what happens next is what has me calling "shenanigans". I measure out and dose the mash with 0.5 ml lactic. Revised pH: 3.9 WTF. At this point I am about to give up. It's been almost an hour. I throw in a "pinch" of lime and a few minutes later, pH 5.4. Who knows what sort of impact all of these swings will have, but the next time I mash in and I am anywhere near an acceptable value there is no way I am messing with it.
Rant over.
User avatar
Justin H
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:40 pm
Location: Yorba Linda, Ca

Re: Wizardry

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:54 pm

Adjustments using mineral additions generally take a while to happen. I've also run into wildly varying measurements from my pH meter from time to time. I'm not a chemist, I just pretend to be one on brew days, so I am probably not the most proficient pH meter user.

The good news is that you are starting with a blank slate by using RO. What tool, or tools, are you using to determine what you need to add back into your brewing water? I have played with them all and the one I like the best, because it is easy to use, is EZ Water. I have also used BrunWater and the water tools in BeerSmith. Like I said, I like EZ Water for the ease of use and simplicity. I also like BrunWater, but it is much more complicated to use (but I feel it gives the best results). BeerSmith is pretty simple and it will automatically calculate what you need to add. The other two tools force you to keep adding or subtracting amounts of minerals in the spreadsheet until you fumble your way to your target water. The problem with BeerSmith is that it always tells me to add NaCl, Baking Soda, and/or Chalk no matter what style of beer I am brewing. I find that very annoying and unnecessary.

Another tip since you are only doing three gallon batches would be to use Phosphoric acid instead of Lactic acid since the Phosphoric is more diluted and will be easier to measure out in small amounts that Lactic.
The future's uncertain and the end is always near
User avatar
BrewMasterBrad
Untappd Junkie
 
Posts: 3261
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 12:31 pm
Location: Circle City Craft Beer, Corona, CA

Re: Wizardry

Postby lexuschris on Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:11 pm

The link to BrunWater doesn't have a download link for the spreadsheet. Can you post a copy, or is it pay to play?

N00b here to water chemistry, but I try to get in the ballpark. I got a Ward's lab report of my Irvine house water a few years back, and it seemed to serve me well enough with the EZ Water spreadsheets. I've not done that at my new house, and I now own a pH meter. My mash pH is always around 6.2 or so. Not ideal, unless I'm using the wrong end of this stupid thing. :)

Need to get my water analyzed, or just RO like everyone else. K:-)
--LexusChris
"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." – W.C. Fields
User avatar
lexuschris
 
Posts: 1845
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:08 pm
Location: Corona del Mar, CA

Re: Wizardry

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:34 am

There is a free version of Bru'n Water and paid version. I have attached the free version. I am a paid user also and that version is personalized and has additional features unlocked (like a macro that allows you to save your calculations for each recipe rather than saving multiple copies of the file). This is an Excel spreadsheet and must be opened in Excel. If you use Google Sheets, some functions will not work.
Attachments
Brun Water 1.18.xls
(647.5 KiB) Downloaded 20 times
The future's uncertain and the end is always near
User avatar
BrewMasterBrad
Untappd Junkie
 
Posts: 3261
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 12:31 pm
Location: Circle City Craft Beer, Corona, CA

Re: Wizardry

Postby DrDually on Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:05 am

The Brun Water spreadsheet seems very cumbersome
Then I found this a few years ago
http://ezwatercalculator.com/
Free and you can edit as needed unlike Brun Water
Noticed several cells showing #DIV by 0 so edited them to show "0"
Need a copy? PM me

ps: Much easier to use...only one page
Chris aka Dr Dually
drdually@att.net

Life is tough. It is even tougher when you are stupid. John Wayne

Bottled and enjoying: Nada, zip
Kegged: English Brown, American Amber, Double Barrel Ale
Next up: Kolsch
User avatar
DrDually
 
Posts: 447
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Santa Ana, CA

Re: Wizardry

Postby brahn on Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:22 pm

I use Brewer's Friend for my recipes and they have a water calculator built in that works well in my experience.

It looks like you can use just the water calculator if you want: http://www.brewersfriend.com/water-chemistry/

or the more advanced version (works nice when your recipe auto populates):

http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-chemi ... alculator/
User avatar
brahn
Club IT Director
 
Posts: 1749
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 5:12 pm
Location: Tustin, CA

Re: Wizardry

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:20 pm

Brewers Friend is interesting since it can give you results in both weight and volume. The problem with volume is that I don't have a .65 tsp measuring spoon. K:-) I think with mineral additions, you are always better off going by weight, but the volume tool will get you in the neighborhood. I like the simplicity of the Brewers Friend tool.

The problem I have with most of these tools is that you have to enter your additions and play around with the ratios until you get to where you want to be. The one positive of the BeerSmith tool is that it automatically calculates your additions to match your target profile. The problem is that you are then trusting that BeerSmith is correct. Also, like I mentioned in an earlier post, BeerSmith always adds in chalk and table salt regardless of the recipe. This is very annoying.

This whole water adjustment conundrum is the reason I bought the Exact iDip kit with the pH meter. Using the Bru'n Water tool, I have been able to get very close to my target water mineral content and have nailed exactly my mash pH consistently. Admittedly, the learning curve on Bru'n Water is steeper than the other tools, but it works very well for both my mineral and acid additions especially since I started using RO water.
The future's uncertain and the end is always near
User avatar
BrewMasterBrad
Untappd Junkie
 
Posts: 3261
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 12:31 pm
Location: Circle City Craft Beer, Corona, CA

Re: Wizardry

Postby Justin H on Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:21 pm

I typically use EZ Water, and it is easy, but it is not accessible on my phone. So I either work out mineral additions in advance, or I guess. After consulting EZ water I have to assume that my sample glass was not rinsed nearly as well as it needed to be (pH meter was wildly different from the software predictions).

Does anyone use these calculators on a mobile device? I will have to look into brunwater, since it appears to have downloaded to my phone. I hope it works. I have BeerSmith but I have never used it for minerals. Brad, when it suggests NaCl and CaCO3 do you go with despite your annoyance, or do you omit it without too much deviation?
User avatar
Justin H
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:40 pm
Location: Yorba Linda, Ca

Re: Wizardry

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:26 pm

Justin, if it is a new recipe that I don't have calculations for already, I generally use the automatic calculation feature in BeerSmith to get me in the right ballpark, then I enter those numbers in Bru'n Water and fiddle with it from there. I eliminate the NaCl, baking soda, and chalk suggestions from BeerSmith and just bump up the Gypsum, CaCl, and Epsom Salts to make up the Calcium (unless I am making a very dark beer, then I will generally follow the BeerSmith suggestions).

One thing to keep in mind on the pH meter readings is that the meter electrode is very temperature sensitive as well, so you should cool down your sample before you test it. Also, I like to have all my calculations done well ahead of time. In fact, I measure out all my brewing water and make my mineral additions the night before I brew. That way, the minerals have time to get into solution before I add my grains. Making pH adjustments on the fly is nearly impossible. By the time you figure out what you need to do, the mash is pretty set and most of the conversion will have already taken place.
The future's uncertain and the end is always near
User avatar
BrewMasterBrad
Untappd Junkie
 
Posts: 3261
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 12:31 pm
Location: Circle City Craft Beer, Corona, CA


Return to Techniques



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest