Brewing water spreadsheet update

I decided to give my brewing water calculator a face lift and also add some new features that brewers were looking for. The face lift happened mostly on the “basic” page, which is now more intuitively grouped into the sections for

  • base water
  • mash and grist info
  • salts and acids
  • resulting water profile and mash pH prediction

These are other things I changed or added:

  • changed the treatment of undissolved chalk such that it only contributes half its calcium since it contributes only half its alkalinity. Chalk’s solubility in mash seems to be limited and what does not dissolve and contribute to a rise in alkalinity should not contribute calcium ions either.
  • salt additions can now be made in g and mg/l. You can select the unit
  • the salts to be added can be reported in g and tsp. The latter is useful if your scale breaks down or you don’t own one yet.
  • lactic acid and phosphoric acid are supported. Are there many brewers who are actually using hydrochloric or sulfuric acid? I may add support for those later.
  • water boiling for alkalinity reduction has been added to the “advanced page”. This was easy to add since I already supported lime treatment
  • pH shift estimation for the major water treatment steps
  • salts can be added to all the water or strike water only. If they are only added to the strike water, the resulting water profile for the strike water or the overall water can be reported.

But a number of features remained the same:

  • The basic and advanced pages are still there. Anything entered in the basic page will automatically carry over into the advanced page. The idea is to support a wide variety of users.
  • the tall and narrow formatting remained in order to better support its use on mobile devices
  • I avoided macros or the use of fancy functionality in hope that this spreadsheet can be supported by mobile devices
  • the SRM based mash pH prediction is still there. Compared to some tests I’m running with grist based mash pH prediction, it does surprisingly well and is actually more accurate in most cases.
  • support for SI and US units. Under the hood it uses SI units almost exclusively. There is a spreadsheet version that is preloaded with US units even though this changes only 2 fields.

The new Kaiser_water_calculator.xls can be found in the Ingredients section on my site.

If you find bugs or have suggestions for improvements let me know here or send e-mail to “kai at braukaiser dot com”.

9 thoughts on “Brewing water spreadsheet update

  1. I see, in one of your blog posts, that you actually develop the spreadsheet in OpenOffice (or perhaps LibreOffice these days ;-). How about posting the spreadsheet directly in .ods format in addition to the .xls format? I am sure that many people (like myself) are using OO, too, so we can avoid the repeat translation back and forth between an “foreign” and proprietary format that can only serve as a source of errors and inefficiency. Just a thought…

    • Good point. I wanted to stay away from publishing too many versions and the xls format happened to be the common denominator when it comes to spreadsheets.

  2. I’ve recently started into BIAB brewing and just finished listening to you on BasicBrewing speaking on pH. Can you address the issues or provide a work-around for us BIABrewers who use a water to grist ratio higher than 2.4 qt/lbs. Your sheet doesn’t calculate for full liquor mashing. I’m currently using TH’s Ez Water Calculator.

    Nice work you are doing.

    • I’ll have to put this on my list of things to change. If you are using R/O or distilled water and add salts and acids to it you may just reduce the amount of water in the spreadsheet to get to 2.4 qt/lb. The amounts of salt needed for a given pH shift should not change that much as the mash thickness changes. This is because the pH properties of the mash are largely determined by the malt and not so much by the water.

  3. Congratulations for your web.

    I found it recently whilst looking for the acidity of different malts. I was using Brun Water software to calculate salt and acid additions and found that your is as good as his.
    I am based in Korea and getting here good quality malt is almost impossible, therefore I just use raw barley up to 90 per cent, sometimes with enzymes and sometimes without them. Raw barley is supposed to give a lower pH, something like 5.6.
    I have a doubt, you say that the German Kolbach formula to calculate Residual Alkalinity works only with Deutsche Haerte degrees (dH) and that it is too complicate to explain the formula based on ppm therefore you think it is better to use your spreadsheet. I did and the results are pretty similar to those of Brun Water software but quite different to those use by Siebel Institute and Doemens. They calculate the residual alkalinity using this formula with ppm:

    pH = 5.8 + [0.028 x {(Total alkalinity(as CaCO3) x 0.056)-(Ca (ppm) x 0.04)-(Mg (ppm) x 0.033)}]
    Note: RA=(Total alkalinity(as CaCO3) x 0.056)-(Ca (ppm) x 0.04)-(Mg (ppm) x 0.033)

    The residual alkalinity you get here is not the same one you get using your software. Using this formula my residual alkalinity is something like 1.8 and with your software or Brun is around 36. Is it a problem of different scales ?

    Thanks and cheers !


  4. Hello, I’ve been using your spreadsheet and I’m seeing a discrepancy from my friends who use bru’n water. I’m brewing a stout and your spreadsheet predicted I need to add a huge amount of baking soda (close to 30g for a 10 gallon batch) to hit a 5.4 pH while the bru’n water spreadsheet predicts I need to use a couple of grams of baking soda to hit this same pH. I’ve tried to figure out why but I cannot. Can you shed any light on this issue? the beer is about 44 SRM and has about 11% roasted malt. Thank you for all of the great information you put out there. I’ve found it very enlightening.

    • So one minor update I just found – it appears the bru’n water spreadsheet is not predicting as much pH drop from the grain. you predict it to drop to 4.9, they say 5.4. that would account for a major difference right there.

    • I know this reply and post approval is a bit late.

      Can you try the brewing water calculator at Brewers Friend? I haven’t changed the spreadsheet in a long time and refinements went into that calculator.

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