Author Topic: Water Report  (Read 3022 times)

Offline Javaslinger

  • BeerSmith Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 43
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Water Report
« on: May 17, 2017, 08:54:08 AM »
So I got my water report from Ward Labs.  I'm fairly clear on how to use the water profile to determine most of what additions are necessary for a Target Profile.  However, I'm not seeing where pH comes into it.  My pH is 7.6 so is quite a bit too alkaline for my mash.  How do I use BeerSmith to determine what adjustments I need to make for my particular recipe.  I understand that some beers like stouts will be quite acidic to begin with.  Is this all taken into account by the software?


Offline Oginme

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 3150
  • Goats, guitars, and a home brew; Life is good!
    • Longvu LaManchas
Re: Water Report
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2017, 09:26:37 AM »
First, let's understand what the pH reading of your water tells you (and the software).  The pH reading determines the species of the main buffering component of water: the carbonate ion.  The carbonate ion can be found in 3 different forms in water, H2CO3, HCO3-, and CO3 2- and the balance between the three helps to determine the pH of the water.

The amount of buffering is then determined by the total amount of carbonate ions you have in your water.  This is usually supplied indirectly from your water report as ppm of Bicarbonate. [note: I don't have a Ward report in front of me, so I cannot remember how they typically report it.]  The software uses the pH to determine the amount of each of the carbonate species to calculate the effect of the natural pH contribution of each of the malts has in combination with water ions to calculate the pH of the water when the malts are added to the water. 

The effect of further addition of salts will be calculated in to come up with an estimate of what your mash pH will be.  If you want to lower the pH, you can add Gypsum, Epsom salts, or Calcium Chloride to lower the pH and/or Chalk or Baking soda to raise the pH. Alternatively, you can jump straight into addition of acids or alkali such as Lactic acid, phosphoric acid or pickling lime (alkali) to control pH. 

You can open up the BeerSmith water tool and either make the additions manually to see the outcome of the water ion balance or plug in a target profile and click on 'match target profile' to let the program determine the salts needed to be added to reach that profile.

TL:DR - Don't sweat the water pH, it is the carbonate ions and malts which will determine the initial the mash pH.
Recycle your grains, feed them to a goat!

Offline Olla

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 7
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Water Report
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2017, 01:29:20 PM »
"TL:DR - Don't sweat the water pH, it is the carbonate ions and malts which will determine the initial the mash pH."
I live in South Africa, Pretoria. The quality of our is such that I only use RO water for consumption.
If the water I use in my mash is then RO-water, that is relatively free from any "large amounts" of chemicals/minerals and it's pH is going to change with the malts that will be added for the mash.
What ever the water profile/pH is pre-boiling for mashing, wil change after the addition of the different malts.
Will it be acceptable/legal/permissible to start manipulating the pH of the mash once mashing starts??

Offline jonesee

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 17
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Water Report
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2017, 02:11:50 PM »

I have very soft water in North Wales UK, Calcium levels of approx 27ppm. Ignore your water (raw liquor) pH it has no bearing on mash pH or any other pH in the brewing process. I add a small quantity of DWB to the dry grains prior to the mash, this is a formulated blend of minerals.

The calcium ions are what aid the phosphates in the mash to alter the pH. By adding the correct amount of calcium the mash will be buffered enough to lower the pH down to the recommended mash range of 5.1 to 5.3. I measured my mash pH and it was spot on at 5.2. Mash pH is an important part of the brewing process.....well in my view 

For Bitters, IPA's, and Pale Ales, the main ions and the approx target range of Theoretical Wort Values Pre Fermentation are: Nitrate (0 - 50 ppm), Calcium (180 - 220), Magnesium ( 0 - 50), Chloride (150 - 250), Sulphate (250 - 450) and Alkalinity as CaCO3 (20 - 60). With my very soft water the Alkalinity as CaCO3 is about 8ppm a lot lower than the target but it wont affect the beer that is made, I could add Na2CO3 to bring this up to target range but the quantities would be very small and not worth it.

You can alter the water profile in BeerSmith to your hearts content, some is detailed in Oginme's response earlier of course. What I did is take the Burton type of water profile that is listed in Beer smith and used this a template for my water and added the ions that are most relevant to the brewing process.

I also add Campden tabs to the total quantity of the raw liquor that I intend to use for the brew before starting.  This purely drives off the chlorine/chloramine species in my raw liquor