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Brisbane North Water Profile - What Is It Telling Me?

Discussion in 'Water' started by Gigantorus, 24/8/17.

 

  1. Gigantorus

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    Posted 24/8/17
    Have been able to obtain a water profile report from Urban Utilities for my region (attached).

    All my brewing life I've been fairly ignorant about water profiles and It's impact on beer - apart from knowing that certain elements are harmful to making good beer.

    So now I have my local water profile how can I use to make better beer? In saying this I don't wish to go back to university.

    Can experienced brewers simply give me the short version of what the figures are telling me thanks? i.e. What additives should I consider and what stage of brewing should they be added?

    Thanks in advance.

    Cheers,
    Pete
     

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  2. stewy

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    Posted 27/8/17
    If you want to keep it simple, here goes.

    Calcium is below the recommended minimum of 50PPM

    Sulfate/Chloride ratio is balanced

    pH is high (all Brissie water tends to be).

    As a start I would recommend the following

    1/ Add campden tablet to your water (this will remove any chlorine/chloramine; both can produce chlorophenols)

    2/ Depending on beer style you need to add either gypsum or calcium chloride to get into the recommended Ca zone of 50-150ppm. (For hoppy beers use gypsum, more Malt forward beers use calcium chloride.
    Download bru'n water spreadsheet as a tool to find out how much to add but generally 5-8 grams in a standard batch is fine.

    3/ Magnesium is slightly low but the grain should raise this to desired levels so I wouldn't worry about it. (You can add Epsom salts to increase if you want)

    4/ To get in the desired mash pH you will need an acid addition for almost all beer styles with a starting pH of 7.9. You can use acidulated Malt for this. My preference is lactic acid. Works great. Again, the bru'n water spreadsheet will let you know how much once you enter your base water profile & grain bill.

    As for when to add them - add to your strike water while heating it up. I also treat my sparge water too.

    You can make water as simple or complex as you like and I find tinkering with calcium level, sulfate/chloride ratio, removing chlorine & getting mash pH right is enough to produce fantastic beers.

    All the best!
     
    Last edited: 27/8/17
  3. Jack of all biers

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    Posted 27/8/17
    What Stewy said, but I'd only add that forget looking at the pH of the water, but rather look at the alkalinity. If you are AG'ing pale beers, your average alkalinity of ~50 CaCO3 is what you should be looking at. You'd likely need to add some acidulated malt (or food grade acid) for pale beers. Brewersfriend's water calculator or Bru'n water calcs are good for estimating a fairly accurate resultant pH of the mash.

    I do remember you tend to extract brew though, so if you only do that, forget that part of things and add Ca up to the 50-150ppm mark as Stewy advised. That will help your yeast no end.

    On helping your yeast, I'd also say that Zinc is ALWAYS in short supply in our water. A good yeast nutrient mix will have enough at the recommended dose, or you could add Zinc sulphate ZnSO4 (easier to get hold of) or Zinc chloride ZnCl2 (harder to store, as it absorbs moisture easily) to the water prior to mashing. This is because zinc acts as a co-enzyme, so thereby assists the mash enzymes do their thing and later assists the enzymes in the yeast to do their thing . The yeast nutrient addition to your boil is the easiest though. If you want to add zinc to the mash, then make up a 1 Litre solution as below. 0.4 ppm is what I add to the mash, as some is lost during mashing and boiling, so it should end up with about 0.1-0.15ppm Zn after the boil, which is the recommended aim for healthy yeast.

    ZnCl2
    Make a solution of 4.17g ZnCl2 (dry) per litre of de-ionised or distilled water.
    This solution contains 2mg of Zinc per mL.
    So for 20L wort you add 4ml to get 0.4 ppm Zn in the wort

    ZnSO4.7H20
    Make a solution of 35 grams of ZnSO4 per litre of deionised or distilled water.
    This solution contains 8 mg of zinc per mL.
    So for 20L wort you add 1ml to get 0.4 ppm Zn in the wort

    Another thing to consider is when the zinc is added to the boil. A fair amount of zinc can be lost in the hot break, which is why it is recommended that yeast nutrients are added towards the end of the boil.
     
    Last edited: 27/8/17
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  4. Gigantorus

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    Posted 29/8/17
    Thanks Stewy and Jack. Much appreciated and makes sense.
    Jack I'm now doing All Grain since getting the Robobrew. :)
    Cheers,
    Pete
     
  5. Bonenose

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    Posted 7/9/17
    Started messing around with water a little while ago and have found the water calculator on brewers friend to be very helpful. Takes a bit of getting used to but helps you understand the effect of chemical and acid additions.
     
  6. Lord Raja Goomba I

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    Posted 7/9/17
    Can confirm the need for an acid addition for pale hoppy beers, pure cac03 or a combo of it and Epsom and gypsum will still never get the pH low enough to get it right. It's been a struggle I've had out here and as I understand more and more, I realised how much effort I was wasting trying to balance water without an acid being part of the adjustment.
     
  7. Gigantorus

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    Posted 7/9/17
    I also touched base with a contact at a local brewery who always is happy to offer words of wisdom and he suggested the following:


    If the water is treated with Chlorine and/or Chloramine using the Potassium Met is a very good idea. It works amazingly well and only a tiny amount is needed to be effective.

    A pH of 7.5-8.0 is fairly normal for Brisbane water. Bear in mind that the pH of the water does not reflect what the pH of the mash will be. Once you mash in, the grains will have a natural buffering effect and the pH of the mash will be a fair bit lower. If you have a lot of darker grains in the grist the drop in pH will be more as the darker grains tend to be more acidic. If your grist is all or nearly all pale malts the pH drop will be less. The 5.2 stabiliser will buffer the pH of the mash up/down as long as the mineral profile of the water is not off the charts. It is definitely an easy way to deal with pH of the mash.

    I would also suggest adding some brewing salts in the mash as well or even in place of the 5.2 stabiliser. These will also help to adjust the pH as well as adding to the flavour profile of the beer. Looking at the water profile I would suggest that it is lacking in Calcium, Chloride and Sulfate. Most commonly we use Calcium Sulphate, Calcium Chloride and to a lesser extent Calcium Carbonate. Both Calcium Sulphate and Calcium Chloride will help to lower the pH. However Calcium Sulphate helps to promote the hoppiness in a beer, whereas Calcium Chloride helps to promote the maltiness in a beer. Calcium Carbonate will increase the pH of the mash and is generally used when making very dark beers like Stouts and Porters to help offset some of the harshness from the roasted malts.

    As you can see on the report there is a reasonable amount of variation in the numbers. If you really want to be 100% certain of the water profile and additions needed you need to have a source of RO water and you build the profile from scratch. As most people including ourselves do not have the luxury of supply of RO water we take an assumption that our water will be close enough to the same when we brew. As a guide when we are making the wort kits and with my own brewing we would generally add the following amounts of salts to the mash of a 23 Litre batch:


    APA, Golden Ale, Pils


    Calcium Sulphate 6g

    Calcium Chloride 3g


    Very Hoppy Pale Ale or IPA

    Calcium Sulphate 6g


    Malty Ale or Lager

    Calcium Chloride 6g

    Calcium Sulphate 3g


    Oatmeal / Irish Stout

    Calcium Carbonate 6g

    Calcium Chloride 3g



    Balanced Ale or Lager


    Calcium Chloride 3g

    Calcium Sulphate 3g
     
  8. manticle

    Standing up for the Aussie Bottler

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    Posted 7/9/17
    CacO3 will raise pH (if you're lucky enough for it to actually dissolve in the first place).
    Did you mean CaCl2?
     
  9. Lord Raja Goomba I

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    Posted 8/9/17
    Yes, the slightly alcohol brain mixed it up.
     
  10. garage_life

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    Posted 11/10/17
    Got this the other week, thought I'd leave it here instead on a new thread if anyone is interested. Data for Stafford / Everton park and I guess surrounding area.
     

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  11. fishingbrad

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    Posted 12/10/17
    Sweet. Now if one of you guys can explain how to read this report I might get somewhere with my water. I turned it upside down but I still could not understand it.
     
  12. Adr_0

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    Posted 12/10/17
    That report doesn't say that much unfortunately.

    Chlorine is 0.2-1.5ppm so dosing 5-6mg/L of sodium met or ascorbic acid will do the job.

    TDS doesn't really tell the breakdown of Ca, Mg, CO3 but says that the water is low-moderate hardness.

    You need more information than this though, ideally:
    Ca
    Mg
    Alkalinity (as CaCO3)
    Sulphate
    Chloride
     
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  13. Lord Raja Goomba I

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    Posted 12/10/17
    That appears to be the shorter report. I got one a couple of years back that I posted, but I daresay that would have changed.

    One thing I did notice is that at Ferny Grove (still within the Brisbane LGA), the water appears to be different from Stafford. This is only anecdotal, but I brewed a beer at my brothers (no water adjustments) in Stafford, then the same beer a couple of months later (no adjustments) and the beer seemed to exhibit characteristics as though the water at Ferny Grove was softer than at Stafford. However, this is just guess work, and there may be other factors.
     
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  14. garage_life

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    Posted 13/10/17
    I just skimmed that report, I'll have to check I'm sure there was much more detail, I might have grabbed the wrong file.... Emailed back to see if they have a mineral analysis just now.
     
  15. garage_life

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    Posted 16/10/17
    Here you go, the indepth report. Just be aware which location you are reading, first 4 pages are Bris. I've also contacted Brendale brewing and All Inn to see if they have any more specific data.
     

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    Last edited: 16/10/17
  16. garage_life

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    Posted 16/10/17
    Hey mate, what area in N Bris was this from?
     
  17. Gigantorus

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    Posted 16/10/17
    GL,
    It was listed as the Geebung Area.
    Cheers,
    Pete
     
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  18. TowelBoy2013

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    Posted 18/12/17
    Recently got a water report from our Council here in Nelson, NZ but having a hard time making heads or tails of it. FWIW i'll post it below and see if any brains smarter than mine can suggest any additions...

    Water report: Full
    GH: General hardness
    KH: Alkalinity, (carbonate hardness)
    Calcium: 12mg/l
    Magnesium: 8mg/l
    Sodium: 5mg/l
    Chloride: 5mg/l
    Sulfate: 2mg/l
    Alkalinity As: Bicarbonate
    Bicarbonate: 76mg/l

    pH: 7.7
     
  19. Jack of all biers

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    Posted 18/12/17
    It tells you that your water is fairly soft and pure, but that bicabonate level seems out of place (it's not that bad, but raises your waters total alkalinity level). You will want to add some calcium up to at least 50mg/L (max 150mg/L) and can take your pick with calcium chloride or calcium sulphate additions as both sulphate and chloride levels are very low.

    It would be nice to know what your Total Alkalinity is (as mg/L or ppm in CaCO3 or carbonate), as bicarb is temporary hardness and can be dealt with/removed.

    Run your figures through here for your recipes, but just a simple SMASH with 5kg Gladfield pilsner malt (30L total water and 15L as mash water) without additions or acid would leave your mash around 5.8. Adding 6gm of Calcium chloride and 6gm calcium sulphate to your mash will reduce the mash pH to 5.55, which is in the acceptable range. Add 200 gm of acidulated malt and that would bring it down to approximately 5.2, which is better (or add some acid, which ever is your preference). That would leave your values as (rounded to nearest mg);

    Ca: 113mg/L
    Mg: 8mg/L (though likely higher as malt will add to this)
    Na: 5mg/L
    Cl: 101mg/L
    SO4: 114mg/L

    The above figures are predictions from Brewers friend, but as a user of it and one who measures their pH values at all stages, I have only once had the prediction be out by +/- 0.1 pH value and on that one occasion (Stout) it was about 0.2 pH out.
     
    Last edited: 18/12/17
  20. Dazza88

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    Posted 29/1/18
    This is a great help reading through this thread.

    So dark beers can go too acidic when mashing. I'm about to brew a RIS with an og of 1.100. Ive read a bit about bicarb additions to couter this. Was wondering if any north brisbane brewers could comment on if they use bicarb to counter the acidity caused by dark malts when brewing with brissie tap water? I have a ph meter coming in the mail
     

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