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Melbourne Water


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#1 Strutter

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 04:50 PM

Hi all,

After my first 4 biabs of crap eff and some recent reading i'm going to make some water adjustments next brew day. I'm not trying to create a water profile just improve mash eff.

My plan is to buy some Calcium Chloride and add it as necessary as per instruction to harden up my water.

My query is, will this be enough on its own or am i better off adding on of those ph adjuster thingys OR do i do both?

Im not trying to re-invent the wheel, just make a better bevvy with the grain i have available.


Cheers,

Strut

#2 Wolfy

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 05:17 PM

We're on Cardinia water here which is pretty soft (I can't find a link to the file from the water company just now), but I'd suggest you start with the instructions at the end of Key Concepts in Water Treatment .
Depending on where you are buying your Calcium Chloride given that brewing salts are pretty cheap, you may as well pickup some Gypsum and even Chalk at the same time (KegKing had them for just a few $ a pack when I looked there last).

#3 felten

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 05:17 PM

http://www.homebrewt...-primer-198460/ and http://www.melbourne...20treatment.pdf

The 1st link make it all pretty easy. The 2nd link is Melbourne specific.

http://www.sewl.com......YSIS 2009.pdf here's the water report I have bookmarked, not sure if its the most recent or not.

Edited by felten, 09 August 2011 - 05:19 PM.


#4 fergthebrewer

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 05:25 PM

Hi all,

After my first 4 biabs of crap eff and some recent reading i'm going to make some water adjustments next brew day. I'm not trying to create a water profile just improve mash eff.

My plan is to buy some Calcium Chloride and add it as necessary as per instruction to harden up my water.

My query is, will this be enough on its own or am i better off adding on of those ph adjuster thingys OR do i do both?

Im not trying to re-invent the wheel, just make a better bevvy with the grain i have available.


Cheers,

Strut

In my opinon , just adjusting your water profile isn't going to fix your problems alone...
It will however help alot...
According to some research , Calcium is the "good guy" with brewing....
It increases mash acidity , enzyme activity , protein digestion amd can also improve lauter run-off...
btw you want Calcium cholide , as you have stated , as a general water treament....
Calcium carbonate for your darker beers
Calcium sulphate for your paler beers
I'd also have a look at your crush too...does your HB shop do it for you or do you do it ?
Crush can play a majot part in your effeciency too...
Also a fellow biab'er also does a sparge of sorts with his bag in a bucket after he pulls it out of the pot....
As for the 5 star ph mash adjuster stuff..never used it.. but might buy some myself....and i'd probably only use that rather than try and fart around with 2 things...
Good luck
Cheers
F
btw...also label your stuff...there was a post this week with someone using pbw instead of their brewing salts !
F

#5 hillbillybreweries

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 06:09 PM

you can't go wrong reading Tony's Key Concepts in Water Treatment paper as suggested earlier in this thread via the Melbourne Brewer's link.
You definitely don't want your beer suffering from lack of Calcium by using water straight from tap - and of course you should filter it and/or boil it.
Gypsum is going to give you a crisper bitterness perhaps good for British Ales for example- added at the right amounts of course. Calcium Chloride can give you softer bitterness which is great for an APA for another example.
It's a complex area as you look across all styles but Tony's paper helps a lot and simplifies it for some of us less science orientated brewers.

If you add the right stuff to your water you can adjust the ph of your mash with Phosphoric Acid or if you like Citric Acid as needed and it will be one thing that will help improve your beer.

#6 Strutter

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 06:49 PM

Ripper, thanks all.

As I've stated I'm just trying to improve my mash eff, not re create water from around the world.

Just gotta grab those 8 points to turn a 4 beer grain bill into 5....

#7 manticle

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:00 PM

Calcium sulphate to push hops and bitterness.
Calcium Chloride to push malt profile.

In my opinion based on some experience and limited knowledge (using Melbourne water) you need nothing else. I'm sworn off carbonates and avoid them even in dark beers (others may disagree) and likewise magnesium and sodium.

It helps flavour more than anything in my beers - if you have big efficiency problems, calcium in soft water will help but there are other things to look at as well.

#8 seemax

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 09:53 PM

+1 on manticle's quick summary

consistent mash temps, grain crush, pH ... they're the simple factors that you can control...

FWIW - i got very minor eff gains with gypsum (calcium sulphate) .. and a good gain from calcium chloride...

#9 verysupple

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:30 AM

Resurecting an old thread here...

 

 

 

Calcium sulphate to push hops and bitterness.
Calcium Chloride to push malt profile.

In my opinion based on some experience and limited knowledge (using Melbourne water) you need nothing else. I'm sworn off carbonates and avoid them even in dark beers (others may disagree) and likewise magnesium and sodium.

It helps flavour more than anything in my beers - if you have big efficiency problems, calcium in soft water will help but there are other things to look at as well.

 

It's taken me about 3 days to get my head around water chemistry but I think I've got it now. I want to get my Ca levels up a bit and plan to do just as you said, Manticle, and add CaSO4 and CaCl2. By my calculations this would put my residual alkalinity to effective hardness ratio way out and my resulting mash pH would only be in the correct range for really light beers (up to ~9 EBC). Now, this would be easily remedied by adding CaCO3 or MgSO4. But I seem to keep reading that carbonates and magnesium are bad.

 

Have you measured your mash pH for different grain bills and confirmed that it's not dropping too low for darker beers (not extremely dark like stout, like amber to brown)?



#10 manticle

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:42 AM

I add my dark grains late after cold steeping overnight. Mid coloured beers are close to spot on, lighter ones get a hint of food grade acid as well.

 

Are you saying small salt additions are making your mash too acidic?


Edited by manticle, 17 April 2013 - 11:43 AM.


#11 verysupple

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:53 AM

I haven't actually made any adjustments yet. I was just wondering so I could decide whether or not to bother buying the CaCO3 or MgSO4. 

 

From what you have found, I think I'll try with just CaSO4 and CaCl2 and test the pH about 15 min after dough-in. Then I can make necessary adjustments next time if need be.

 

Thanks for the info.



#12 manticle

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:58 AM

Carbonate will raise the pH (although not by much unless dissolved in acid first) but magnesium sulphate will drop it so they do different things. Magnesium does similar things to calcium but less effectively.

 

I meant does software suggest your proposed additions will make the mash too acidic?


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#13 verysupple

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:20 PM

Yeah, Palmer's spreadsheet says it will be too acidic. But he acknowledges that the whole thing's a bit hand wavey.

 

My mistake about the MgSO4, when I was playing around with the spreadsheet I tried adding MgSO4 instead of CaSO4 to get the sulfates up a bit (for a bitter). This of course meant that my Ca levels were much lower than before, leading to no acidity problem. I didn't realise that it also meant my Ca was too low - which was the whole point of salt additions in the first place. 

 

Thanks for your help man.



#14 manticle

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:24 PM

No worries.

 

Try downloading the EZ water calculator spreadsheet (metric version) and comparing it with the brun water calculator. Between the two of those, you should get a reasonable picture of what you should be looking at, provided you have an up to date water quality analysis for your area.



#15 Truman

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:36 PM

When do you guys add your salts? I use EZ water calc and tick the sparge box. I add the mash salts at dough in but was told to add the sparge salts straight to the kettle. I didnt understand why or how this would work?



#16 manticle

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:51 PM

I add some salts to the kettle mainly for flavour although the extra calcium is beneficial to the boil and to fermentation. Boil pH isn't totally irrelevant and is measured in some breweries i believet but something I would only sweat over if trying to brew the perfect lager or for nerd points/interest. I've never measured mine and I'm not sure how much a bit of calcium would alter the pH. If boil pH is an issue, you might need to look at acid additions but that's outside my current realm of knowledge.

I add mine to the mash and another dose to the kettle. If my water were particularly alkaline, I would be adding salts or acid to my sparge water as well since alkaline water is not great for sparging but Melbourne water doesn't really warrant it (although nothing wrong with calculating appropriate amounts and dosing the water too).

Edited by manticle, 17 April 2013 - 12:58 PM.


#17 practicalfool

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 01:57 PM

Always just added the salts to the hot liquor tank and used it through the brew. I don't bother adding more salt to the top up water though.
I'd second that carbonate hasn't been a good experience so far but a few different things went wrong with that brew.

#18 ramu_gupta

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 06:52 PM

Link to the 2012 water analysis.


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#19 Spiesy

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 09:33 AM

I'm trying to plug these figures into BeerAlchemy (my brew software), but cannot seem to find the 'bicarbonate' levels. Does anyone know if they're masquerading as anything else in the report above?



#20 manticle

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 10:41 AM

Total alkalinity expressed as CaCO3