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5.2 Buffer?

Quick question. What do you guys think of the 5.2 buffering salts? My water supply is fanstastic and I’ve been told to just add 5.2 buffer for lagers and not mess with my water any more than that. I’m skeptical, after reading some reviews of this stuff. Here’s my water report:

Ca: 32
Mg: 12
Na: 8.9
SO4: 22
Cl: 20
HCO3: 159

Thanks!

Don’t waste your time or money with that product…it does not work. I’ve personally tried it.
Use EZ Water Calc or Bru’n Water spreadsheets and adjust your salts accordingly.

[quote=“Legman”]Don’t waste your time or money with that product…it does not work. I’ve personally tried it.
Use EZ Water Calc or Bru’n Water spreadsheets and adjust your salts accordingly.[/quote]

THIS^^^^

What about Beersmith’s water profile worksheet? As accurate as all the other spreadsheets? I was thinking about using this format for all my recipe details.

You have enough bicarbonate (and therefore alkalinity) that you’ll probably want to dilute with distilled/RO water for anything lighter than amber-ish. Other than that, your water is a great starting point.

What are the general perceptions on Palmer’s water calculator spreadsheet? I’ve messed with the Bru’n water sheet and I find it pretty cumbersome by comparison…

It correlates color directly with RA, which could cause problems in some extreme cases, but it should certainly get you close enough.

It correlates color directly with RA, which could cause problems in some extreme cases, but it should certainly get you close enough.[/quote]

Yes, it certainly does. Case in point, I’m making a porter that wants to be 32-33SRM tomorrow.

My starting water is:

Calcium 17
Magnesium 6
Alkalinity as CaCO3 40
Sodium 17
Chloride 35
Sulfate 5
pH 7.5

So, according to Palmer’s calcs, this water is suitable for beers in the 7-12SRM range, and obviously I’d want to add a lot of alkalinity to make it work for the porter.

My first thought is to simply add enough baking soda to get the alkalinity where I need it and be done, but this will push my sodium up above 100, which I don’t really like.

So, the next choice is to add split baking soda and chalk, but the chalk really has to crank the alkalinity up high (like 350+ range) to balance out the hardness also contributed, while keeping the NaHCO3 low enough to hold the Na in the 60-80 range.

So, I have 3 choices using this approach

–live with a RA that Palmer predicts will be a bit too low for the color I want
–live with Na that is in the 105-120 range (maybe not a big deal, but I know there is such a thing as too much Na)
–live with a total alkalinity as CaCO3 of damn near 400 (again, not sure if this really matters, but I don’t see any of the "classic water profiles, even Dublin, that have alkalinity as CaCO3 higher than 320ish)

Not sure if any of these is preferable or if I just need to strap it on and get used to Bru’N Water real quick :slight_smile: .

Any feedback is most welcome!!

PS–I will probably also balance out my Chloride/Sulfate a bit with some Epsom salt as well…

I don’t think you should have any problems. Add enough chalk/baking soda to get the RA to 150-200 and I can all but guarantee your pH will come out in range.

For very dark beers Palmer’s RA/SRM correlation falls apart, IME.

[quote=“a10t2”]For very dark beers Palmer’s RA/SRM correlation falls apart, IME.[/quote]+1. That was my experience as well.

…OK, screw it. I just fired up Bru’N Water and came out with a different story as expected. This also led me to the fact that I’d incorrectly entered the sulfate from my water report because it’s given as SO4-S (which the sheet says should be multiplied by 3 to get pure SO4).

Other than that, I have a couple questions related to water adjustment in general as opposed to one calculator or the other.

First, when entering water volume, I have always just used the mash water volume and left the sparge water completely out of it (I batch sparge). Is this the right way to do it?

Also, the water pH listed in my report is 7.5. Depending on how you read it, the “sparge acidification” page seems to indicate that I will always want to acidify my sparge water to get it down to 6 or lower. Does this sound right?

I’ve never done much with my sparge water and never noticed a problem (making many beers in the range of 4-18 SRM so far), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t or won’t be there. I’m thinking the sparge pH only becomes critical if my second runnings have especially low gravity, but I’m not sure…

Thanks in advance for any help!

It depends on what your goal is. If you’re making salt addition to adjust mash pH, then yes. If you’re doing them for flavor reasons (Cl and/or SO4) then you probably want to think in terms of the final batch volume. But flavor additions can be made to the kettle.

That doesn’t make sense to me. You want to keep the wort pH <6, but the water pH isn’t going to have a significant effect. As low in alkalinity as your water is, I doubt you’ll have a problem, but you may want to check the second runnings pH the first few times just to be sure.

I’ve used about all the water spreadsheets out there and nothing compares to Bru’nwater.

It depends on what your goal is. If you’re making salt addition to adjust mash pH, then yes. If you’re doing them for flavor reasons (Cl and/or SO4) then you probably want to think in terms of the final batch volume. But flavor additions can be made to the kettle.[/quote]

OK, makes sense, I think. I guess maybe in extreme cases if you adjust your Ca concentration to make your mash pH right, then end up with too little after the sparge and boil for optimum yeast health (>40ppm as is generally recommended). Probably not worth worrying about in practice…

That doesn’t make sense to me. You want to keep the wort pH <6, but the water pH isn’t going to have a significant effect. As low in alkalinity as your water is, I doubt you’ll have a problem, but you may want to check the second runnings pH the first few times just to be sure.[/quote]

I see your point. Bru’N Water seems to indicate otherwise according to the notes on that sheet

[quote]Enter the target water pH.
Brewing Sparge Water is usually neutralized to a pH between 5.5 and 6.0
[/quote]
…but I guess nobody’s perfect :slight_smile: .

Thanks!

I’ve used about all the water spreadsheets out there and nothing compares to Bru’nwater.[/quote]

Now that I’ve looked at it more carefully, I’m becoming much more comfortable with it. I don’t generally do pH tests but just trust whatever calculator I’m using, but I’ll definitely buy your and others’ comments on absolute accuracy.
:cheers:

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