Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Homebrewing Perspective on Mash pH III: Distilled-Water pH and Buffering Capacity of the Grist

Yeah, it's about time for another post!

A colleague and I recently completed a study relevant to mash pH. Specifically, we have determined the distilled-water pH and buffering capacity of a number of grains used in brewing. We have not only collected new data -- mostly on noncrystal specialty malts and flaked grains -- but have also analyzed all the data that we could find in the literature and on the web.

Our results are in this paper:  A Homebrewing Perspective on Mash pH III:  Distilled-Water pH and Buffering Capacity of the Grist.

I hope you enjoy the read!  Cheers!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Brewing Water Calculator: MpH Water Calculator v3.0

Yes, here it is (drum roll, please), the long awaited update to my brewing-water calculator:  MpH Water Calculator v3.0.

The most significant changes are found on the Water Tab.  You can now enter ions for two water sources that you might mix for either mash or sparge water.  Typically one source is a municipal water supply while the other is RO or distilled, but the two sources can be from any two different water supplies.  In addition, the entries for the ions reflect the order that ions are reported in a typical water report from Ward Labs.  

I've also added BJCP 2015 style data, just for convenience.

The underlying model used to estimate mash pH is the same as previous versions of the calculator.  I'm currently working on a more fundamental (i.e., less phenomenological) model for the calculations.  With any luck this model will be implemented later this year.

As always, if you have any questions, use the comment section of this blog.  Cheers!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Brewing Water Calculator: MpH Water Calculator v2.0

So I have finally gotten around to updating my brewing water calculator; the current incarnation is MpH Water Calculator v2.0.  You may notice an increase in the number of sheets within the Excel workbook.  The goal of this increase is to make the calculator simpler to use.  Hopefully I've succeeded.  An instruction sheet leads things off.  You will likely find it helpful to refer to these instructions when first beginning to use the calculator.  Perhaps the biggest change is the water profiles sheet, which should be helpful as you design your water.  I've also added a sheet with BJCP style info, just for reference purposes.

As usual, feedback is welcome.  Cheers and Happy Brewing!

EDIT:  Here is a link to an .xls version for those using older versions of Excel:  MpH Water Calculator v2.0.xls.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sparge Water Acidification

Interested in some of the science associated with reducing alkalinity in brewing liquor via the addition of acid? Then you may be interested in my latest homebrewing related article, Sparge Water Acidification. This article discusses why low alkalinity water is desirable for use in fly sparging, and how the addition of acid can be used to reduce the alkalinity to acceptable levels. Equations are provided that allow the homebrewer to calculate the amount of acid needed, although for the less adventurous, these equations are implemented in my brewing water workbook, MpH Water Calculator.

Happy brewing y'all, and cheers!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

MpH Water Calculator v1.2

My brewing liquor workbook, MpH Water Calculator, is now updated to version 1.2.  (Note: the name has been expanded to make the purpose of the workbook more obvious.)  The new addition is a worksheet to calculate acid additions necessary to reduce carbonate alkalinity and bring the pH of the sparge water close to that of the mash.  Calculations for both lactic and phosphoric acid are provided.

Sparge water alkalinity reduction is desirable in order to help keep the mash pH from rising during the end of a fly sparge.  Such a rise is widely believed to be detrimental due to grain tannins being released into the liquor when the pH rises.  (This happens because the malt acidity becomes reduced towards the end of the sparge, allowing alkalinity in the sparge liquor to raise the pH in the grain bed.)

A companion paper, Sparge Water Acidification, describing the equations used in the worksheet, is in progress and will be posted here shortly.

Happy brewing y'all, and cheers!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Updated Brewing Water Spreadsheet

The ions in brewing water have two main effect with regards to the beer making process.  First, in conjunction with the grain bill, the ions determine the pH of the mash.  This is extensively discussed in earlier posts on this blog.  However, the overall ion content of the brewing water (used in the mash and for sparging) also affects the flavor of the final product.  It is thus desirable to keep track of the total ion content in one's brewing liquor.  The update to my brewing spreadsheet, MpH Calculator v1.1, now allows the homebrewer to easily keep track of the overall ion content of the water going into his/her beer.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mash pH Calculator (MpH Calculator v1.0)

With some prodding from a fellow homebrewer (you know who you are!), I have put together a simple spreadsheet for calculating mash pH.  The equations used in the spreadsheet are discussed in the two papers introduced in the previous two posts of this blog.  The spreadsheet is not unlike others that are out there (think EZ Water, Brun Water, and Kaiser Water), but it is not as extensive in that (for this first version, anyway), it only deals with estimating the pH of the mash. This does, however, make the spreadsheet quite simple and (I hope) quite straightforward to use.

One thing the sheet assumes is that you know the ion concentrations (in ppm) associated with your brewing water.  If your water report does not give these in a straightforward manner, I suggest you search around on the web to first figure out how to convert your information to ppm of the individual ions.

The outline of the spreadsheet is as follows.  From your grain bill and strike water volume, the pH that your mash would have if you were to use distilled water is calculated.  Next the spreadsheet takes into account any ions in the strike water that can affect pH.  These ions are Ca^(2+), Mg^(2+), and HCO_3^+.  After this you can enter any salt additions that you wish, and pH is calculated again taking these into account.  Lastly, you have the option of several acid additions that will also affect pH.  The bottom-line pH value is your estimated pH.  Along the way you may find the comments attached to various cells useful.

One feature you may find lacking is that this spreadsheet does not deal with CaCO_3 (chalk) additions.  This is intentional.  First, the addition of chalk is (i) really never necessary, and (ii) somewhat problematic in that chalk only fully dissolves in the presence of elevated CO_2 pressure.  If you really needs to raise the HCO_3^- (bicarbonate) level of the brewing liquor, a little NaHCO_3 will go a long way, as the spreadsheet will calculate for you.

As always, thoughts, comments, and questions are always welcome.  Cheers!