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Jumping to AG! But... I need to ask some questions

So I am making the jump to AG soon, and I have studied a lot. I put in my water analysis to Bru’n Water, and from what it looks like Bru’n Water says my water should be fairly good for brewing (at least a barley wine) with little additions needed, if any. I think…

I wanted to double check with you guys for some guidance, to double check that I didn’t put something in wrong. My other main concern is that my mash tun is only 10 Gallons, will that be enough to hold ~19# of grain, plus around 6.5 gallons of water?

:

Calcium (Ca) 32.6
Magnesium (Mg) 9.2
Sodium (Na) 20.9
Potassium (K) 2.7
Iron (Fe) 0.0

77.0 Bicarbonate (HCO3)
0.0 Carbonate (CO3)
42.4 Sulfate (SO4)
29.5 Chloride (Cl)
1.0 Nitrate (NO3)
0.0 Nitrite (NO2)
0.9 Fluoride (F)

Hardness: Moderate to Moderately high.

Recipe: Big Foot Barley Wine

18# of Domestic 2 Row
8oz of Carapils
8oz of Caramel 40L

oh, and all the ion concentrations are in mg/L if it matters.

Use this link

http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml

Here is what I can deduce from your post.
You mention somewhere along the way 6.50 gallons of water I am assuming this is your mash strike water amount. If so you are shooting for a grist ratio of 1.37 qts/Lb which is perfectly fine and Chuck was spot on with the rackers.org post as it shows you the tun will be at 8.00 gallons total after mashing in.

Now what I can tell you regarding your mash is that AS/IS the Mash PH will rest IN/Around 5.6PH (measured at room temp) which will get the job done.

Regarding balance you are showing a SO4/CL ratio of 1.4 which is right at balanced to “slightly” bitter myself I would want to be at around 1.3-2.0 for a barley wine as it is super malty anyway. So your good to go here unless you want to increase bittering perception some.

Now, your water profile is very similar to mine and there are a few things I would do to hit a slightly better mash PH and up the calcium levels. What I would adjust is an addition of 1.6grams of “pickling lime” this increases the calcium from original 37mg/l-(ppm)(1.0mg/l=1.001ppm) to 73ppm and unfortunately this in effect raises the mash PH from 5.6 to 6.4 which would be way out of line. So to bring it back to an optimal 5.4 PH I would then add 20ml of **Phosphoric 10% and if you really wanted to you could add 0.8gram gypsum to the mash to raise the SO4/CL ratio to 2.0 which would be a solid bitter profile and would not affect any other mash PH parameters described within the paragraph but it has another effect of raising the calcium another tick so this would go from 73ppm to 80. Which is just fine also.

Now this leaves the mash optimal regarding Calcium, PH and SO4/CL

If I want to alter the sparge water to create the same SO4/CL ratio then in the kettle I then add another 0.8grams gypsum to the sparge water in my case this is 7.0 gallons. You can adjust this within the sidebar in Bru N water by unchecking the radio bar alongside it. People sometimes add additional CaCL2(Calcium Chloride) to the sparge or kettle to also maintain calcium levels into the wort but here I feel from what I have read, witnessed and tasted the major advantage is in the mash and you will see some of the calcium trickle down(IMHO).

If you are batch sparging you don’t need to worry about sparge PH as it is buffered in most cases. But if your looking towards fly or continuous sparging you might also consider acidifying the sparge water. I do this as a practice as I fly sparge and I do not see my mash running’s raise above 6.0 no matter the beer. In my case again using bru n water I use 7 gallons of sparge water and estimating your Alkalinity at 63 and a PH of 8 from your HCO3 of 77 to drop it down to 5.7PH would take 14.5ml of **Phosphoric 10%

I understand your embarking on your first all grain that’s why I mentioned the Job will get done above and anything in between 5.2-5.7PH will make fine wort and your AS/IS SO4/CL is perfectly fine also, but there are a few things you can start looking at anyways. SO4/CL ratio is also very subjective depending on the exact hops you are choosing to use also.

** I use Phosphoric acid 10% which you can purchase from NB or other LHBS this is just the choice I have made regarding a brewers choice of acids. Others also commonly use lactic acid for some of these adjustments.

Your trying to make beer, not go to the moon. :wink:

Make a couple batches of beer and then worry about “chemistry”.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]Your trying to make beer, not go to the moon. :wink:

Make a couple batches of beer and then worry about “chemistry”.[/quote]

Agreed. I brewed all grain for 6-7 years, winning some awards along the way, before I did more than just add some gypsum for hoppy beers. Admittedly, my light and dark beers are better now that I adjust the water, but you can make damn good beers without worrying about it as long as your water isn’t too extreme to start with.

And there I was thinking my thread was long forgotten. This is why I love you guys!

But I decided to change the style of beer to an Imperial stout, and to fit the proper amount of grains in order to make a big one, I reduced the batch size to around 3 gallons to get a 1.101 gravity. Going to need a stir plate, aquarium aerator, and some yeast nutrients it looks like…

@ITsPossible, Although I am not doing the barley wine anymore, your post is more than helpful when thinking about what to add to this recipe. Thats the answer I was looking for. Very detailed and straight to the point. I am fly sparging, so I’ll make sure to take your advice in adjusting the water regarding the hot liquor tank accordingly.

@Nighthawk and Denny: I know you can make fantastic beers without even glancing at a water analysis, but I want to get comfortable with adjusting water chemistry accordingly as soon as I can. That way, I can get a feel for how to adjust the chemistry to each style.

Also, I asked my boss at work (hes the master brewer, I am an associate brewer) what he would do, and he had an answer in between “complete chemistry analysis” and “not caring”. He said he would add maybe a little gypsum to a big stout like that, but other than that he said he wouldn’t worry too much about it. He said don’t get too crazy with additives, otherwise your brewing water could suffer in the end.

Ah, more information. You work in a commercial brewing environment so RDWHAHB doesn’t come into play because you are comfortable with AG brewing on a large scale.

In that case, adjust away!

Here I thought you were a new brewer.

:cheers:

Haha, actually I just “help” brew on a large scale with AG. The bossman has the recipes, water chemistry reports and adjustments, etc. (I don’t bother asking for the exact recipes). I am basically just doing what I can to help him out by doing the grunt work: sanitizing, dumping and mixing the mash, etc. I love it, and can’t wait to go to brewing school to hopefully get into it deeper, but that’s a whole different story…

I guess you could say that I technically brew on a large commercial scale, yes, but I don’t make the calculations at my job. When I am home brewing, it’s just me alone to do it myself. I have never brewed at home an AG batch yet, so that is why I consider myself a major AG newb.

By the way…regarding your grainbill, I wouldn’t bother with the carapils. I suspect you’ll have plenty of body/mouthfeel.

Another question–what’s your desired OG? Are you batch or fly sparging?

This being your first time, I would not count on efficiency better than 65%.

[quote=“Male-ale”]@Nighthawk and Denny: I know you can make fantastic beers without even glancing at a water analysis, but I want to get comfortable with adjusting water chemistry accordingly as soon as I can. That way, I can get a feel for how to adjust the chemistry to each style.

Also, I asked my boss at work (hes the master brewer, I am an associate brewer) what he would do, and he had an answer in between “complete chemistry analysis” and “not caring”. He said he would add maybe a little gypsum to a big stout like that, but other than that he said he wouldn’t worry too much about it. He said don’t get too crazy with additives, otherwise your brewing water could suffer in the end.[/quote]3

You DO NOT want to add gypsum to a dark beer usually. The dark grains will drop the pH and the gypsum will drop it even more. Not a good idea. Usually you need to be raising the pH for a dark beer. Go download http://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/ for both info and water calculations. And get a complete water analysis fro www.wardlab.com . Get test W-6 for $16.50. If you don’t know where you’re starting from, you can’t do proper water adjustment.

Appreciate the feedback!

@ Denny, thank you for letting me know, because I definitely would have thrown in some gypsum… That wardlab sounds right up my ally, I’ll be sure to check into it.

Here’s the info for my imperial stout. It is based off of midwest brewing supply’s imperial, but I modified it a bit to suit a 3 gallon batch (so it could fit my 10 gallon mash tun comfortably. I have beer smith, so I have some of the calculations through there. After reading your post, rusty, I am seriously considering changing the cara malt amount to be a lot less:

(nameless) Imperial Stout

Batch size: 3 gallons
Preboil volume: 5.29
OG: 1.101
FG: 1.025

GRAIN BILL

3.2 oz of roasted barley
10 oz of caramel/crystal malt (120 L)
11.2 oz of chocolate malt
10# , and 4.2 oz of pale malt (2 row)

Total: 11.85#

HOP BILL

1.25 oz of Williamette at 2 mins
1.5 oz of Cascade at 30 mins
2.25 oz of Glacier at 60 mins

Yeast: Scottish Ale (Wyeast Labs 1728), and I plan on buying a stir plate and an aerator

MASH:

Single infusion, with fly sparging
Mash in at 152 for 60 minutes with 18.01 quarts of water
mash out with 8.29 quarts of water for 10 minutes.
Beer Smith says it should take up about 7.5 gallons of space in my tun, taking into account the false bottom.

Now this is where I am confused. It says to fly sparge with only .94 gallons of water, does that sound right?? Sounds pretty low to me. But I guess this is due to the 3 gallon size of the batch? Also, I am looking for any more suggestions regarding my grain bill. Maybe I should remove some cara and add more pale malt, along with some extract at boil even? Hell I’ll even take other people’s whole recipe suggestions.

Thanks guys!

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