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Carbon Filtration and pH Question

Corvallis Mike

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My tap water is pretty good for brewing, pH 7.4, Ca - 5 ppm, Mg - 2 ppm, Na -18 ppm, SO4 - 12 ppm, Alkalinity -30 ppm and Hardness - 20 ppm.  No Iron or Nitrates.  The city does add small amounts of chloramines.

My basic light beer water is 10 gallons of the above tap water that I treat with 1/2 of a Campden tablet, 3 grams of CaSO4 and 3 grams of CACl2.  The treated water pH remains at 7.4 

Using a grain bill of 12 - 14 lbs of 2 Row (90% US-2.0 SRM  and 10% UK 2 Row-3.0 SRM or Vienna-3.0 SRM) and 6 ounces of Acid Malt gives me a 5.3 Mash pH.

I was talking with a local Brew Pub Brew Master who recommended that I eliminate the Campden and just trickle run my 10 gallons of tap water through an activated charcoal filter cartridge.  I did that but, when I checked the  filtered water pH, it was 9.3.  I know that the Mash will lower pH but am concerned about starting with water at such an alkaline pH.

Should I just forget the charcoal filtration and stick with the Campden?
 

Ck27

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Corvallis Mike said:
My tap water is pretty good for brewing, pH 7.4, Ca - 5 ppm, Mg - 2 ppm, Na -18 ppm, SO4 - 12 ppm, Alkalinity -30 ppm and Hardness - 20 ppm.  No Iron or Nitrates.  The city does add small amounts of chloramines.

My basic light beer water is 10 gallons of the above tap water that I treat with 1/2 of a Campden tablet, 3 grams of CaSO4 and 3 grams of CACl2.  The treated water pH remains at 7.4 

Using a grain bill of 12 - 14 lbs of 2 Row (90% US-2.0 SRM  and 10% UK 2 Row-3.0 SRM or Vienna-3.0 SRM) and 6 ounces of Acid Malt gives me a 5.3 Mash pH.

I was talking with a local Brew Pub Brew Master who recommended that I eliminate the Campden and just trickle run my 10 gallons of tap water through an activated charcoal filter cartridge.  I did that but, when I checked the  filtered water pH, it was 9.3.  I know that the Mash will lower pH but am concerned about starting with water at such an alkaline pH.

Should I just forget the charcoal filtration and stick with the Campden?

You probably should add some acid malt to try and lower the PH, unfortunately Filters tend to do that to water. Make the PH go out of balance.

Campden tablets work and are cheaper and they don't really effect PH.

 

Corvallis Mike

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Ck27 said:
Corvallis Mike said:
My tap water is pretty good for brewing, pH 7.4, Ca - 5 ppm, Mg - 2 ppm, Na -18 ppm, SO4 - 12 ppm, Alkalinity -30 ppm and Hardness - 20 ppm.  No Iron or Nitrates.  The city does add small amounts of chloramines.

My basic light beer water is 10 gallons of the above tap water that I treat with 1/2 of a Campden tablet, 3 grams of CaSO4 and 3 grams of CACl2.  The treated water pH remains at 7.4 

Using a grain bill of 12 - 14 lbs of 2 Row (90% US-2.0 SRM  and 10% UK 2 Row-3.0 SRM or Vienna-3.0 SRM) and 6 ounces of Acid Malt gives me a 5.3 Mash pH.

I was talking with a local Brew Pub Brew Master who recommended that I eliminate the Campden and just trickle run my 10 gallons of tap water through an activated charcoal filter cartridge.  I did that but, when I checked the  filtered water pH, it was 9.3.  I know that the Mash will lower pH but am concerned about starting with water at such an alkaline pH.

Should I just forget the charcoal filtration and stick with the Campden?

You probably should add some acid malt to try and lower the PH, unfortunately Filters tend to do that to water. Make the PH go out of balance.

Campden tablets work and are cheaper and they don't really effect PH.

Yes, I have a 10 gallon batch of water with the Campden (1/2) tablet and no charcoal filtration.  I will just dump the filtered water and use my standard prep water.  Classic case of "If it ain't broken, don't fix it."
 

Ck27

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Corvallis Mike said:
Ck27 said:
Corvallis Mike said:
My tap water is pretty good for brewing, pH 7.4, Ca - 5 ppm, Mg - 2 ppm, Na -18 ppm, SO4 - 12 ppm, Alkalinity -30 ppm and Hardness - 20 ppm.  No Iron or Nitrates.  The city does add small amounts of chloramines.

My basic light beer water is 10 gallons of the above tap water that I treat with 1/2 of a Campden tablet, 3 grams of CaSO4 and 3 grams of CACl2.  The treated water pH remains at 7.4 

Using a grain bill of 12 - 14 lbs of 2 Row (90% US-2.0 SRM  and 10% UK 2 Row-3.0 SRM or Vienna-3.0 SRM) and 6 ounces of Acid Malt gives me a 5.3 Mash pH.

I was talking with a local Brew Pub Brew Master who recommended that I eliminate the Campden and just trickle run my 10 gallons of tap water through an activated charcoal filter cartridge.  I did that but, when I checked the  filtered water pH, it was 9.3.  I know that the Mash will lower pH but am concerned about starting with water at such an alkaline pH.

Should I just forget the charcoal filtration and stick with the Campden?

You probably should add some acid malt to try and lower the PH, unfortunately Filters tend to do that to water. Make the PH go out of balance.

Campden tablets work and are cheaper and they don't really effect PH.

Yes, I have a 10 gallon batch of water with the Campden (1/2) tablet and no charcoal filtration.  I will just dump the filtered water and use my standard prep water.  Classic case of "If it ain't broken, don't fix it."

ive tried so many filters but the other issue with carbon filters and whatnot is that they can sometimes add minerals and leave a weird taste in water. and frankly, if you just campden it and boil it any water is safe. I recently started using my well water because I figure if its boiling for 1 hour 30 minutes then I should be good. Yeah it has lots of copper and sometimes its noticeable in the water, for the most part, if I really had to I could filter it or cut it slightly with RO water. That seems to aid with the copper being noticeable in the beer.
 

GigaFemto

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Your water sounds great and I would use it with the campden. I also have very soft water like that, but my starting pH out of the tap is 9.3 - 9.6. There is very little alkalinity, though, so the pH drops easily when the grains are added. For a light-colored beer I have to add a bit of acid, but for darker beers I do not. There is nothing wrong with a starting pH that is that high as long as you don't have a lot of alkalinity that will keep the pH from dropping. On the other hand, your water sounds good without the filtering so I would go with it.

--GF
 

Ck27

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GigaFemto said:
Your water sounds great and I would use it with the campden. I also have very soft water like that, but my starting pH out of the tap is 9.3 - 9.6. There is very little alkalinity, though, so the pH drops easily when the grains are added. For a light-colored beer I have to add a bit of acid, but for darker beers I do not. There is nothing wrong with a starting pH that is that high as long as you don't have a lot of alkalinity that will keep the pH from dropping. On the other hand, your water sounds good without the filtering so I would go with it.

--GF

My PH on my well is 6.6
 

Oginme

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It is not the pH of the water that matters so much as the buffering capacity which is determined by the mineral and ion content.  Your water looks to be really good for starting with and your use of the campden tablet and salts seem to be pretty reasonable and prudent.  I agree with Gigafemto, you should go with how you have been treating it and not worry about carbon filtering.

To give you an idea of how much impact the starting pH matters, I brew a Bohemian Pilsner with Weyermann Barke Pilsner malt, 1% honey malt and 1% acid malt.  My water is pretty close to yours, except that the starting pH is around 6.5.  The first time I brewed this recipe, my mash pH was 5.94.  So the next time I brewed it, I pretreated my water with a drop of caustic (Sodium hydroxide) which brought the pH of the water above 10 (like yours, my water has NO real buffering capacity).  Mash pH with the same malt bill and same lot of Pilsner malt was [insert drum roll here] ... 5.98.  Pretty much within the error of the pH meter I use.

 

Corvallis Mike

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Thanks to all for the prompt and informative information and comments.  I brewed the IPA today with my regular tap water (10 gal) treated for 48 hours with 1/2 Campden tablet, 3 g of CaSO4 and 3 g of CaCl2.  Also used 6 oz. of Acid Malt (2.6% of the Grain Bill).  Mash pH was 5.29 and Sparge Water pH was 5.35.  Hit my Target Pre-Boil OG of 1.055 on the nose.  Target OG was 1.062 and I hit that also.

Cheers!
 
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