Granted, I looked at both somewhat briefly, but both seemed to be talking about the total water (liquor) amount, whereas Palmer's focused strictly on the chemicals in the mash volume, where the conversion is taking place. Has anyone used both and seen whether you end up with the same profile?
And the WaterWitch doesn't list calcium, which is usually cited as the first mineral to nail down for yeast performance, regardless of beer style.
As I understand it water hardness is the summation of the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water so although the water witch doesn't ask for calcium it does ask for hardness. My guess is that the calcium calculations are being taken care of with that number. I have to think the people putting that spreadsheet together know the importance of calcium in brew water and wouldn't omit it in the spreadsheet and since it isn't asked for directly, it has to be there somewhere right? Again, my guess is its the hardness cell
If I read Palmer right you can also interpret Alkalinity as the amount of bicarbonate in the water or (HCO3). If your water report gives you Alkalinity as CaC03 then multiply that number by 1.22 to get your HCO3 value (this is in one of the notes below the brewers friends calculator)
MaltLicker when i first found this site I had a similar question so I went digging. Well, others also had this same question and the guy who developed the calculator answered some questions on a thread at a different brew site (Can you believe there are other brew sites? how weird) Here is a link to that thread if anyone is interested. Below I've posted his response to the question about what volume to treat (total volume, just mash volume etc.) it might not be the best or most detailed and specific answer but I satisfied mehttp://www.homebrewtalk.com/f84/new-water-chemistry-calculator-111128/QuestionThis calculator is great, thanks!
One question, potentially very stupid: the water volume (pre-boil field): is everyone calculating your mash and sparge water salt adjustments separately, or do you add your mash and sparge volumes together, calculate your required salt additions, and then just split your salt additions between mash and sparge?
Reply"As for the question on water volume, the calculator is setup to account for minerals going into the kettle before the boil. That is how it would be done if source water needed no alteration (like burton on trent water). So, yes, add your mash and sparge volumes together. For a 5.5 gallon batch, it might be somewhere around 7.5 gallons to account for boil off, dead space in the mash tun, and other equipment losses.
Right now I am batch sparging. I don't bother to add salts to the sparge water. I add all the salts into the mash (by adding to my HLT while it is warming up). I suppose a more perfect method would be do split up the salts accordingly. I think it would end up being a very minute difference, at least for levels of ions I am dealing with. It can't hurt!
In other methods, such as fly sparging, brewers do need to pay closer attention to the pH when draining to the kettle as the mash is continually dilted. In that case, I would definitely split it up."
Of course having said all that, there is just no getting away from Palmer. I was having some trouble calculating my target hardness (or at least being sure of what i was doing) so I opened up his new spreadsheet and entered in my target for the different minerals and his spreadsheet calculated the hardness. Then I took that number and entered it into my beerwitch when then told me how much of what to add based on my local and target water profiles. then, just as a check, I entered those additions into the brewersfriend to see if the brewersfriend and beerwitch calculators agree. sure enough they did so I have alot more confidence in my additions. Additionally, the brewersfriend will tell you what your profile, with your additions, is good for. For example, this weekend I plan on making an American Amber so with my additions the brewers friend tells me in the Sulphite Chloride ratio that the water profile is good for "balance between malt and bitterness" why the Alkalinity and SRM cell tells me that its "good for amber beer (50-150 ppm Alkanlity)" Of course this is exactly what I'm shooting for in the beer I'm making this weekend.
Just for fun though if you look at Palmer's Spreadsheet it too has a Sulphite Chloride ratio which matched up with the brewerfriend (I think he got it off of Palmer's spreadsheet so that makes sense)
I think all of three spreadsheets have their goods and bads I really like the beerwitch because it will tell me what and how much of what I need to add but it can be a little confusing compared to other calculators and you need to know how to calculate the hardness or have the water profile that gives it to you.
I like the brewersfriend because it will tell you, after you've added your additions, what your water profile is good for, not to mention letting you know if your water profile is within acceptable ranges and even give a warning if your water profile is bad for brewing but it won't tell you or suggest how much of what you need to add.
Palmer's is great (my guess is his is the one on which all others is based) because it will calculate the things that the beerwitch won't like hardness or alkalinity based solely on the amounts of minerals but aside from letting you know the sulphite ratio is won't tell you what your water profile is good for (brewersfriend) or how much of what you need to add(beerwitch).
Wouldn't it be great if we could get all of the goods of all three in one tool?! (Hint Hint Brad