so i have been reading and calculating a lot about my water recently using various texts and tools including those from palmer, daniels and the very helpful "key concepts in water treatment" for melbourne's water from wheeler. yep, another all grain brewer who needs to dig just that little bit deeper!!
i am kinda worried that my salt additions have been too insane; too much sulfate i think as they only seem to work with really hoppy ipa & iipa's. i am really only brewing pale ales, bitters, ipa's & the occasional stout. looking for some input from some melbourne brewer's who are happy with their mashing/water techniques.
in terms of ph, i have just been using the 5.2 buffer because i can't seem to understand the explanations on treating water correctly to hit the right ph. i think i understand the concept of residual alkalinity, but when i do the maths, i always seem to have to add bicarbonates (chalk) to mash to offset the calcium i need to hit (>50ppm) and hit a reasonable residual alkalinity for the predicted colour.
here is what i am using for melbourne's water:
Calcium (CA): 5.4
Bicarbonate (HCO3-): 12.0
Alkalinity as CaCO3: 9.8
Chloride (Cl): 13.0
Sulfate (SO): 8.0
Magnesium (Mg): 1.7
Sodium (Na): 7.6
And my calculations give me:
Effective Hardness: 4.9
Residual Alkalinity: 5.0
Min EBC: 11.0
Max EBC: 20.6
i am assuming that i would need to alter the water using some kinda acid ( phosphoric or something ) to get the residual alkalinity within range for the colour i am after, rather than adding bicarbonates which every text seems to be very clear on avoiding for pales beers ( despite burton being right up there ). am i on the right track? for some reason, i am hesitant to use acids ... but then, i am using 5.2.
is there anything wrong with me trying to match burton's water ( and hence balancing the calcium & bicarbonates ) to make a nice hoppy pale ale? or should i stick with getting the calcium up to around the 100ppm mark, sulfate to under 300ppm and just use the 5.2 buffer (or acid) to adjust the mash ph level? should i add all salts to just the strike water? or split with the sparge water (im am batch sparging), or add extra to the boil?
i know water is kinda a major topic, just trying to develop a clear path.
any thoughts, ideas or methods that work for others would be greatly appreciated.
cheers & cilurzo,