HOMEBREW Digest #5533 Sun 29 March 2009

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  sparge arm ("Darrell G. Leavitt")
  RE: Sparge Arms ("David Houseman")
  Starsan 5.2 ("A.J deLange")
  Re: Scottsdale AZ brewpubs? (John Stewart)
  Using Five Star 5.2 pH stabilizer with other water treatment (Craig Agnor)
  Re: Five Star pH Stabilizer (Calvin Perilloux)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sat, 28 Mar 2009 07:12:54 -0400 (EDT) From: "Darrell G. Leavitt" <leavitdg at plattsburgh.edu> Subject: sparge arm Rowan; You have most likely considered this, but how much space is under your false bottom, and could that be a factor in your efficiency? I am not sure what a B3 is, but I use a Polarware 10 gallon pot, and there is nearly a gallon under the false bottom. I regularly get around 78% efficiency, but at times when I drain the bottom, the efficiency goes up a bit. But then I wonder if it is better to not get all the little crap that sometimes comes with the last runnings when I do this? Good morning. Darrell Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 2009 08:02:59 -0400 From: "David Houseman" <david.houseman at verizon.net> Subject: RE: Sparge Arms Rowan, I did start out using a sparge are, the one from Listermann I believe. But then came to two realizations. One was that I wanted to keep about an inch of water on top of the grain bed to (1) maintain uniform flow and (2) float the entire grain bed. The second was that I wanted to minimize oxidation and spraying water is certainly more likely to absorb O2 than a simple flow. So I stopped using a sparge arm in favor of simply placing a perforated pizza pan on the grain bed and then laying a hose on the and just running sparge water onto it. The pizza pan with holes keeps the water from channeling into the grain bed. I keep 1 to 2 inches of water on the grain bed throughout the sparge. When I new sculpture from MoreBeer it came with a copper ring that drips sparge water, or recirculated wort, onto the grain bed in a circular pattern. Again no spraying, but more gently laying the wort/water onto the bed across the entire top of the bed. So I think you were on the right track to start with. Maybe instead of aluminum foil, make a ring to drip onto the grain bed more gently. BTW, put the holes in the ring on the top, not the bottom and keep it level and the wort/water will be uniform. David Houseman Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 2009 11:48:22 -0400 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Starsan 5.2 Starsan 5.2 is, apparently, a classic phosphate buffer. A bufffer is a mixture of salts representing different levels of deprotonation of a polyprotic acid and the acid itself. Phosphoric acid, H3(PO4) is an example with 3 protons i.e. hydrogen ions to give up. The Law of Mass Action demands that the ratios of the concentrations of the ions in the solution be (ideally dilute solution approximation) r1 = 10^(pH - pK1) for the ratio of monobasic phosphate (H2(PO4)-) to phosphoric acid (H3(PO4)), r2 = 10^(pH-pK2) for the ratio of dibasic (H(PO4)--) to monobasic and r3 = 10^ (pH-pK3) for the ratio of tribasic (PO4)---) to dibasic where the pK's are minus the logs of the dissociation constants for the three dissociation steps: H3(PO4) ---> H + + H2(PO4)- and so on. pK1 = 2.1; pK2 = 7.2 and pK3 = 12.44 for phosphoric acid. When pH = pK the corresponding r = 1 and the two species are present in equal concentration. Now if you have x moles/L phosphoric acid in a solution at a given pH there must be r1*x of monobasic phosphate, r2*r1*x of dibasic and r3*r2*r1 of tribasic for a total of P=x*(1 + r1 + r1*r2 + r1*r2*r3). The fraction of the total which is phosphoric is thus clearly f1 = 1/(1 + r1 + r1*r2 + r1*r2*r3), the fraction which is monbasic f2 = r1*f1, the fraction which is dibasic f3 = r2*f2 = r1*r2*f1 and the fraction which is tribasic f4 = r3*f2 = r1*r2*r3*f1. At pH 5.2 phosphoric acid accounts for 0.08% of the total (PO4), mononbasic phosphate for 98.93%, dibasic phosphate for 1% and tribasic phosphate for so little as to be unappreciable (which is a good thing in this case because if it weren't it would strip all the calcium out of your water). To make a buffer at pH 5.2 we would set up the ratios by dissolving phosphoric acid in sufficient quantity to provide 0.08% of the total moles of phosphate, monobasic sodium or potassium phosphate in sufficient quantity to provide 98.93% of the moles of phosphate and dibasic sodium or potassium phosphate in sufficient quantity to provide 1 % of the moles of phosphate in distilled water and expect the pH of the mix to be pretty close to 5.2. In practice we'd probably skip the phosphoric acid and just use the salts (as I believe 5.2 is a powder I'm sure there is no acid in it). The total amount of salts required depends on the required "buffering capacity" i.e. how much acid or base needs to be absorbed. As mash pH is generally in the 5's anyway the buffer doesn't have to pull pH very far but if the alkalinity of the liquor is high more buffer may be needed - it is acting as a source of protons to reduce pH. A point of interest WRT this is that the buffering capacity of salt mixtures is highest near their pKs and worst half way in between them. pH 4.66 is half way between pK1 and pK2 thus this phosphate buffer (which I'm only assuming is what it is because that's what it says it is in the WIlliams catalogue) is working fairly close to the least effective pH for phosphate. From this point of view citrate, with pK2 = 4.77 might be a better choice but phosphate is more flavor neutral. The second part of your question is as to how one does mineral content adjustments. If one is willing to make a lot of simplifying assumptions about water chemistry this can be done with a relatively simple Excel spreadsheet of which there are several out there. In general you specify the parameters of the available water (you must have an analysis) in one part of the spreadsheet and amounts of salts to be added in another. The spreadsheet effectively adds the ions you add as salts to the ions present in the source water and presents you with the results which you then compare to the desired ion content profile. This works well when neither calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate or carbon dioxide are part of your formulation process and if you do not acidify with lactic, citric, phosphoric etc acids. i.e. it is fine for gypsum, calcium chloride, sodium chloride additions and dilutions. To synthesize waters with high temporary hardness it is usually necessary to add calcium and/or sodium carbonate which requires addition of acid in some form (carbonic, i.e. carbon dioxide, is mother nature's and my own preferred form). The simple spreadsheets ignore this important aspect of brewing water chemistry. I offer my own spreadsheet at www.wetnewf.org as an example of a spreadsheet that takes acid/base requirements into account, allows the use of any acid (not, I hope, that someone would contemplate using, for example, Prussic acid) for pH adjustment, recognizes that brewing waters are not "ideally dilute" solutions, considers temperature and will even design the phosphate buffer of the first part of your question. The downside is, of course, that it makes more demands on the user than the simpler spreadsheets. It comes with extensive instructions and you may want to have a look. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 2009 16:07:16 -0500 From: John Stewart <john at johnstewart.com> Subject: Re: Scottsdale AZ brewpubs? > I may be travelling to Scottsdale AZ in May/June this year and was > hoping somebody may be able to recommend local brewpubs for a > thirsty traveller!! I've been to the area a few times. I'd be interested to know the answer, too. I'm from Madison, WI, and we have a fine assortment of brewers in the neighborhood. Lake Louie is what I was drinking tonight, their Kiss the Lips IPA. My favorite IPA, however, is the other side of Lake Mendota from them (and me), Hopalicious from Ale Asylum. Of course the Great Dane provides an assortment of decent brews in 4 locations in town, too (and sponsors the ultimate frisbee league in Madison - 2 free pitchers per team after every game!). Anyway, I visited Tempe, AZ for work last year and I was sorely disappointed with the local brew selections at dinnertime. Fat Tire if I was lucky. Often not. I complained to a colleague, who lives in the valley (a vast, vast valley of suburbia). He said "oh, no, we've got a great local brew pub." On my last night there, we went, and I had the sampler of their beer. I admit, it wasn't terrible... but only a minority of beers were anything above "okay". I don't remember the name of the brew pub, but I'll tell you what I do remember: On my layover in the Minneapolis airport, as I was humping my bag from one end of the airport to the other, covered in sweat trying to make my connection, I whizzed by... the same brew pub. Like everything else in the Valley of the Phoenix, it was a chain. Good luck and let me know. I have to go back next weekend. johnS Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 2009 16:08:03 +0100 From: Craig Agnor <cragnor at gmail.com> Subject: Using Five Star 5.2 pH stabilizer with other water treatment Hello, I'm an all grain homebrewer of many years that has recently moved to an area with high alkalinity water (see below for the report) and have a question about using Five Star 5.2 in conjunction with other water treatments. I've recently started using Five Star 5.2 product and been immediately impressed with how it locks in the pH and has raised my efficiency. However, I've found the bitterness in my time tested IPA recipe to be quite harsh, when brewed at the new house (and with the new water supply). I suspect that this has nothing to do with using 5.2 and in doing some reading, the homebrewing literature (Daniels, Palmer) suggests that high alkalinity water can lead to a harshness in beers with a lot of hop flavor and bitterness. Other literature suggests adding various water salts (epsom salts, gypsum, table salt) to the dry grains, both to adjust the residual alkalinity and to achieve a desired flavor balance in the beer (Palmer). So, it appears that I may need to do additional water treatment to improve the quality of the beers I'm making with this water supply. Finally, my question. If I've decided to adjust my water using a combination of water salts and carbonate reduction (either by acid addition or adding distilled water) when and how should 5.2 be added? Note that most literature I've found on adding salts suggest adding the dry salts to the dry grain, then mixing the water for mashing into the grain/water salts. Any suggestions or advice on how to use 5.2 in conjunction with more conventional water treatment/adjustment would be appreciated. Thanks for your help. Best, Craig Loughton, Essex, UK PS Here's my water profile. Water for IG10 4BS 23/01/2009 Cations: mean (min - max) Chloride (Cl): 55.3 mg/l (51 - 61) Alkalinity CaCO3: 212 mg/l (200 - 229) Alkalinity HCO3: 258.5 mg/l (244 - 279) Hardness CaCO3: 285.8 mg/l (281 - 290) Sulphate (SO4): 55.2 (53.1 - 58.2) Anions: Calcium (Ca): 106.9 mg/l (102 - 111) Magnesium (Mg): 5.4 mg/l (5.0 - 5.9) Sodium (Na): 36.3 mg/l (34.3 - 40.9) pH: 7.8 (7.5 - 8.2) PPS I sent a similar inquiry to Five Star a week or so ago, but have not heard back from them yet. PPPS In the UK, there is a nice product available for reducing carbonate in the brewing water from Brupaks. I believe it is a mixture of acids that reduces bicarbonate while not throwing the water profile off terribly with other ions. See the link below for more details (not sure if this is also available in the states). http://www.brupaks.com/water%20treatment.htm Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 2009 10:36:52 -0700 (PDT) From: Calvin Perilloux <calvinperilloux at yahoo.com> Subject: Re: Five Star pH Stabilizer My educated guess is that 5.2 Stabilizer is a phosphate buffer, perhaps a specific mix of food grade (mono- and di-) sodium and/or potassium phosphates. I see that A.J has a post pending, and he probably has better information from memory than I can do with an hour of research, perhaps including exactly how the pK values of phosphate affect the mix of the salts in 5.2. Now when you hear phosphate buffers, you might, if you're not chemistry-literate, worry about "chemicals" in your beer, but phosphates are common food additives and are actually already present in food and needed for nutrition. (Malt itself is about 1% phosphate.) A tablespoon of 5.2 Stabilizer weighs 11 grams by my scale; that's enough for a 5 gallon mix, as specified by Five Star (the vendor). That's very roughly 0.6 grams of product per liter of beer. I'll let someone else do the chemistry and subsequent simple arithmetic to estimate the phosphorous content, but a quick back-of-the-envelope calculations shows it would be well within current dietary norms for phosphorous. (Unless you drink several liters per day, every day, and then you're obviously have total disregard for dietary norms anyway.) There's a reasonably good book called "Phosphates in Food" that shows some relevant information about phosphates, but I don't have the $380+ for my own copy, so I can only read snippets. Google can help a lot, though, if you want to pursue this further and are of a technical bent. Given enough research, you could probably in the end be able to make your own buffer salts that are customised for your own water and desired pH, so that you use only enough buffer to prevent pH drift, and no more. Me, I find it easier to just spend a few pennies and dump in the recommended tablespoon of 5.2 Stabilizer if I feel concerned about mash pH. Calvin Perilloux Middletown, Maryland, USA Return to table of contents
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