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EZ water Calc help

I just recently got into all grain brewing. My first batch a Pale ale came out good. I use poland springs for the mash and distilled for sparging. My second batch is a robust porter. It went into primary last night so I may be jumping the gun a little but the wort tasted very grainy. I used 11LB Golden promise, 12oz Briess caramel 60, 12oz Fawcett pale chocolate, 8oz Belgian Biscuit, 8oz roasted barley, 3oz Briess cherry wood smoked malt. After water treatment I was at

RA-230 Estimated room-temp mash pH-5.8
Ca-97
Mg-18
Na-125
Cl-101
SO4-98
I realize this mash pH is to high I was hoping that the 5.2 buffer would help. Do you guys think I got tannin extraction or is the grainy taste some what normal from a recipe like this? I am currently just using pH strips for beer; range 4.0-6.2 the color was not right on so it was difficult for me to tell if I was at 5.6 or more like 6 as it was a light tanish with brown-red type colors I could not tell if it was trying to go purple (6.2) Needless to say it is fermenting away as we speak. I am having trouble getting my RA right where it needs to be for styles I am looking at with the pH being bellow 5.7-5.86. I have never used acid to lower a mash and am not sure if with dark beers it would defeat the purpose because of its affect on RA? Any tips and suggestion are very appreciated.
P.S. grainy taste was there prior to sparging. Setup is 10g got mash, 5 gallon got cooler for sparging, and a turkey fryer…brand new happened to find it in my basement all packaged up still. 25ft immersion chiller. I get my grains pre-cracked and other supply’s from Northern Brewer.

The 5.2 product doesn’t work, and neither do those cheap pH strips. I’d get some ColorpHast strips so that you can at least start checking your mash pH. Once you have that information you can start making adjustments - right now you’re just shooting blind.

A “grainy” taste doesn’t really sound like an issue with tannin extraction though.

Your pH doesn’t look right to me - if you mashed that grain bill in spring water, assuming that there’s not much in it, you should have had something close to 5.2 for a room-temp pH. But your Ca, Na, Cl2, and SO4 all look like you added salt to the mash (or else the spring water is full of stuff). Did you add anything? If not, what’s the spring water profile?

I did water treatment Poland springs is
Ca-6.75
Mg-1.14
Na-4.1
Cl-5.76
SO4-4.3
HCO3-18.7
i added MASH/SPARGE in grams gypsum 1/.6 sparge, calc chloride 4.5/2.8 sparge, epsom salt 4/2.5, chalk 1.5/0 and sodium bicarbonate 10grams in the mash. When I was first looking around I felt like this was a lot of Baking soda but I found other forums where people had used it similarly with success and my ranges where all inside Palmer’s (good) zone just with the sodium being towards the upper limit 0-150 estimated value after sparge is 77PPM.
-Values after treatment.-
RA-230 Estimated room-temp mash pH-5.8
Ca-97
Mg-18
Na-125
Cl-101
SO4-98

Additions of gypsum/chloride (which lower the pH) are counter to adding chalk/baking soda (raise pH, add carbonate), so you ended up adding a lot of salt you didn’t need, especially the baking soda.

One approach that might make it easier for future batches is to put your grain bill in and check the pH - if it’s too low need to add carbonate so add a little chalk, if it’s too high you need to add sulfate/chloride (pick the first for hoppy beers and the second for malty). Add just enough to get you in the 5.3-5.4 mash pH range. That’s it for the mash. Then look at the resulting profile and tweak it the finished beer with kettle additions - for DI water, I would add a tiny amount of epsom salt and then rebalance the sulfate:chloride ratio.

You could have mashed with only a little chalk added to counter the acidity of the dark grains, then boosted the chloride in the kettle to emphasize maltiness.

I thought it was important to have a ball park Residual Alkalinity close to the color of beer you are brewing?

Ballpark, yes. Different grists can produce the same color wort but have very different mash pH values. In practice, I’ve never found it necessary to have an RA greater than about 200.

The bigger problem, as Shadetree said, is that you’re adding antagonistic ions to the mash. Ca/Mg to reduce alkalinity, and HCO3 to raise it. To some extent, you may need to do that in order to get the flavor ions (Cl, SO4) where you want them. But in that case whichever you don’t need in the mash can be added to the boil instead. 27 grams of salts is an enormous amount for a 5-6 gal batch.

How would you guys have gone about doing this?

As I mentioned, use just enough chalk to get the pH in the proper range for the mash, then add enough CaCl2 to the kettle to boost the chloride for a malty beer (or if you want more balance, add equal amounts of gypsum and CaCl2). Shoot for 50-100 ppm Ca in the kettle.

Alright I will do this next time. Thanks a lot.

Just a follow up. The porter came out great. I still plan on adjusting my water treatment to the advice you guys gave just figured I would post that the overly grainy taste is completely gone. Thanks again.

I would have brewed with tap water and not worried at all about pH, RA, etc. Unless your water is extremely soft or extremely hard all the calculations and salt additions that homebrewers do to try and match a particular water profile is overkill. You will make great beer either way.

+1

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