Author Topic: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature  (Read 19456 times)

Offline PortlandBrewers

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Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« on: August 16, 2016, 05:30:22 AM »
I just updated BeerSmith and decided to try out the new pH features.  I normally use Bru'n water so I decided i'd compare the results of both programs and make sure they match up.  As you might imagine by now, they did not match up at all.  First, Bru'n water works great when I'm brewing 7bbls, its spot on every single time, but when I brew a 8 gallon batch, my mash pH always comes in too high.  I've corrected this by shooting for a mash pH of 5.2 if I want 5.4.  Now, when I set up my water profile in BeerSmith and it calculates my 88% lactic acid addition, its saying i need 7.3ml to get it down to 5.4, whereas bru'n water tells me to get down to 5.2 pH (usually gets me 5.4) i need to add 4ml.  Anyone else have similar issues, or perhaps an explanation for what might be causing this discrepancy?

Offline arctic78

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2016, 05:15:16 AM »
Would like to know this as well as I have found it different also. may be just me but not the easiest to use either.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2016, 05:25:17 AM »
They use different calculations to reach their recommendation of mineral, salt and acid additions.  Water chemistry is so very complex that many variables are overlooked in order to make the calculations less cumbersome.  The water profile you enter in omits many other constituents in your water supply that, although minor, still contribute to the ending pH.  Likewise, the contributions of ions from grains varies by specific cultivar, location of growth, mineral content of soil, fertilizers used, malting process, method of kilning, etc.  These calculators make a modest assumption that the effect on pH and mineral addition is relatively consistent among all the different grain type.  All of these things are minor in themselves, but can add up to make a significant difference in output for a water modelling calculator.

Best thing to do, IMHO, is to pick one that seems to be consistent in its output versus your actual results and then note that offset in your target.  You seem to have already done this for BrunWater.

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Offline BeerSmith

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2016, 02:16:31 PM »
The estimated mash pH calculations should be very close for comparable water profiles and grain bills.  The lactic acid calculations will differ as BeerSmith takes into account acid density variation with acid concentration which I believe the other program ignores.  For a full comparison if you want to geek out read the paper here comparing various water tools:

  Paper on mash pH estimation: http://homebrewingphysics.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-homebrewing-perspective-on-mash-ph-i.html
  Paper on mash pH adjustment comparing tools: http://homebrewingphysics.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-homebrewing-perspective-on-mash-ph-ii.html

The new water tool uses the equations recommended in the paper.

Brad
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Offline arctic78

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2016, 04:26:43 AM »
 Wow! thanks for the light reading  ;) bit to get my head around but very interesting will have to read over several times.

KellerBrauer

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2016, 06:48:11 PM »
Water is a very complex subject indeed.  I also use Brun Water and have noticed a difference.  So with my Hefe I brewed Sunday, I followed BS2 and my projected pH was spot on.

A book I highly recommend is called Water, a comprenhisive guide for brewers, by John Palmer.  If you want to even attempt to understand water, you need to read this book. 

Offline BeerSmith

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2016, 11:03:39 PM »
To be honest I had to go back and pull out my college Chemistry books to relearn quite a bit before I could even understand the paper to begin implementing it.  I'm fairly certain that the pH adjustment feature is as accurate as I can make it.  The pH estimation portion is also good, though there will always be variation in actual pH due to differences in malt used, malting techniques, etc... which is why I strongly recommend using a pH meter to measure your pH before adjusting it in the actual brew.

Brad
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Offline Oginme

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2016, 06:26:35 AM »
I took some recipes from last spring and entered them into the water adjustment spreadsheets most people use regularly.  I had been using BrunWater to predict pH and have been doing a minimal of water adjustment using salts.  My water is pretty bland, very similar to spring water.  Only one of the recipes below contained any salt additions (the ESB with 1 gram of Gypsum for 15 liters of water).  Grain bills were entered in each spreadsheet as well as each spreadsheet allows.  Below are the results.


                        
       BeerSmith            BrunWater                  EZ-Water         Actual
Style        Predicted   Delta   Predicted   Delta   Predicted   Delta      Msmt
Brown   5.45          0.08            5.67   0.3             5.46   0.09              5.37
Pale Ale   5.63          0.22            5.69   0.28             5.61   0.2              5.41
Porter   5.57        -0.02            5.69   0.1             5.57     -0.02              5.59
ESB           5.6           0.3            5.59   0.29             5.48   0.18              5.3
                        
Average error          0.15                     0.24                      0.11      

I don't claim any of the spreadsheets are superior or better to use.  These results are based upon my well water and may not reflect what you may obtain with your process and water.

pH readings are obtained by sampling 25 cc of wort after 10 minutes of thorough stirring.  Process is full volume BIAB. All batches are designed to produce 11 liters of wort at the end of the boil, approximately 14.1 liters pre-boil volume.  There were no additions between mash collection and start of boil volume.

My advice:  Pick one spreadsheet and use it.  Measure your pH as Brad has recommended.  Learn the way your water source behaves with that spreadsheet and take that into account when making future water adjustments.  Remember that the spreadsheets are just estimates, relax about their exact readings versus yours, and brew on!

Recycle your grains, feed them to a goat!

Offline BeerSmith

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2016, 11:14:04 AM »
Thanks for the data!  If you go back and read the detailed technical papers, all of the pH estimates are based on some work Kai Troester from BrauKaiser did using just water and various malts.  While the experiments were valuable, they are far from comprehensive and even small variations in malt or malting processes can affect the pH.  The estimate really only gets you in the ballpark.

That's why I tried to orient the BeerSmith pH adjustment tool around taking a pH measurement during the mash and making the adjustment rather than relying entirely on the estimates.
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KellerBrauer

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2016, 03:35:02 PM »
Brad, are you planning on adding this pH "adjustment on the fly" feature into the next upgrade of the mobile version? I brew in the basement with my mobile version and my desktop version is upstairs on the second floor.  It would be more convenient to have the adjustment tools where I'm brewing.

Offline BeerSmith

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2016, 10:37:36 PM »
I'm hoping to add the standalone pH adjustment tool as a minimum and possibly pH estimation as well.
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Offline Oginme

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2016, 11:08:43 AM »
One thing that I picked up on is that the addition of acidulated malt into the design page does not affect the predicted pH of the mash.  You have given us the ability to make an adjustment of pH on the mash tab by addition of acid malt, but this is based upon an actual measurement of mash pH (a little late for acid malt addition, IMHO).  Any way this can be made to reflect the actual addition of acid malt on the design tab?
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Offline arctic78

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2016, 12:22:26 AM »
+1 on the Acid malt. I was playing around with a recipe and found also it made no change in the pH prediction

Offline enkamania

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2016, 02:42:23 PM »
The estimated ph number in BeerSmith, at what point in the mash is that number expected?

Offline Oginme

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Re: Bru'n water vs. BeerSmith mash pH feature
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2016, 04:18:37 PM »
IMHO, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes for the mash to equilibrate at a given pH and it very slowly decreases just a bit as the mash continues.  The last one that I tracked was at 6.42 at 10 minutes of stirring and mixing ending up at 6.39 at the end of 60 minutes. 
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