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Who bothers with water chemistry?


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#41 Pratty1

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 10:21 AM

When I moved to water chem for my beers I noticed a solid leap in better beers.  :)  Mainly the pH being targeted for the style I was making which made the final beers taste better. 

 

These days Im using rain water and adding back to get target ppm for desired styles. 

 

Usually any ales less than 5% will get moderate sulphate to 175ppm, bigger ales will be full 300ppm for burtonized water.

 

Lagers are pretty much rain water with some acidulated malt or lactic to get bang on 5.2pH for that crisp finish.

 

Any darker beers like porter or stout i try and get the hardness around 150-200ppm which has been better than using soft tap water. 

 

Over this past month my beers are taking a NE IPA style approach with Chloride forward Hoppy ales tro 150ppm plus using 15-20% Oats ( No fining or gelatin ) These are stupidly hopped up with close to 8g per litre dry hopped plus the late kettle hops...results are pending and after yrs of sulphate forward for hoppy styles its new territory.

 

:beerbang:



#42 peteru

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 10:48 AM

 

I do, although my chemistry vocabulary is limited. Google may do a decent job of translating. If it does not, I can help with specific terms.

 

Although, I'm not sure why bother with Prague water. It's not used as is in any commercial brewing. It tastes quite disgusting and many Prague residents fill up canisters of water in other towns and bring it home for drinking and cooking.

 

If you are looking at widely known Czech beers, you might consider the Pilsen well water (which is going to be very different to municipal water), Ceske Budejovice (Budvar) water or Velke Popovice (Kozel) water. I think all those breweries now treat their water to get it consistent anyway, so replicating town water profiles may not get you anywhere near the brewing water.



#43 Coodgee

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 10:52 AM

My process is fairly simple. For hop-forward ales and "non-delicate" beers I use the tap water but the water is so variable in Brisbane that I don't bother with precise calculations. If I'm brewing a hoppy beer I will add between 5 and 12 grams of gypsum for a 23L batch to ensure the sulphate/chloride ratio is easily in favour of the sulphates. Then I take a mash pH reading after 15 minutes and adjust as necessary for the style with lactic acid. It's pretty easy but the key is a reliable pH meter that you can trust. If you are using a poor pH meter or strips it's like wanking in oven mitts. For finesse beers like lagers I'll pay $10 for 38L of RO water from the dispensing machine down the road and add a combination of gypsum and calcium chloride to build a profile. Then measure and adjust mash pH as required and use the RO water for sparging. 



#44 Coodgee

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 10:53 AM

 

 

Over this past month my beers are taking a NE IPA style approach with Chloride forward Hoppy ales tro 150ppm plus using 15-20% Oats ( No fining or gelatin ) These are stupidly hopped up with close to 8g per litre dry hopped plus the late kettle hops...results are pending and after yrs of sulphate forward for hoppy styles its new territory.

 

:beerbang:

 

please keep us updated! Do you expect less hop astringency and more smoothness from this beer? 



#45 Pratty1

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 10:57 AM

^ ^ its supposed to make it like that however the shelf life and hop character can fade pretty fast.

I will likely post something about it. 😁

#46 Dave70

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 12:57 PM

Dave70, would you think the Pilsen water profile is at all similar? It's built into Beersmith

 

No idea mate. The most high tech I've ever got with water additions was a teaspoon or two of chalk in a the odd stout / porter. Other than that its straight rainwater. 

On the other hand, having guzzled as much beer as time and walking un aided would allow  sampled the odd Pilsner whilst in Prague, there is certainly a little magic in those beers. 

If the water actually is actually a integral piece of the puzzle, than its worth pursuing. 

If you have a sandstone cellar underneath your house like this, and plenty of oak barrels, all the better. 

 

Pilsner-Urquell-Beer-Cellars-Bohemia-Cze



#47 mtb

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:22 PM

Maybe if I get diggin' now...



#48 Rocker1986

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:57 PM

That Pilsen water profile in Beersmith is what I roughly aim for with the mineral additions to my distilled water when I brew pilsners. They certainly turn out better than using straight tap water, so there must be some element of truth to it. The mineral additions are stupidly small though, even for 36L of strike water. Half a gram of this, 0.14 grams of that... :blink: :lol:



#49 mtb

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 02:13 PM

Yeah Pilsen seems very low on most minerals. Just put together a Pale Ale profile though, and it calls for 18g Gypsum in 40L strike water. Pretty drastic difference, but I guess that's the point, different beers = different profiles



#50 Adr_0

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 04:20 PM

For my water here - very moderate across all minerals/ions - I ended up adding just under 12g of CaSO4 to an APA, which gave a theoretical mineral profile of:

32.0   Sodium (mg/l)
206.3 Sulfate (mg/l)
39.0   Chloride (mg/l)
130.5 Bicarbonate (mg/l)

 

Admittedly the base malt was 50% pils, but even with an FG of 1014 the beer was extremely dry and had quite a sharp bitterness.  I initially wondered if I needed more (bi)carbonate, but my understanding of this is that:

- it wouldn't dissolve in a pale mash very well, at pH 5.4

- anything carrying over into the beer would come out of suspension

 

So is my answer to the above actually chloride?

 

I have seen a few people use chalk - mostly to 'soften' a beer with roasted malts, though if it precipitates out of solution in the boil I'm not sure that's very useful.  The boil pH is going to be a lot lower than the mash pH, so perhaps chalk should go in in the last couple of minutes?

 

And on another note, using 100% distilled water and a touch of acid malt, a 45-50IBU pils (Magnum, Styrian Goldings, Pacifica) had a very clean, pleasant bitterness - still solid but long lasting and soft, as others have said.  So definitely go this way for these beers.



#51 mtb

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 04:30 PM

So is my answer to the above actually chloride?

 

Yeah from what I've read, there's a lot to be considered in sulfate/chloride ratios. A high proportion of sulfates apparently will yield way more bitterness per IBU.



#52 mtb

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 04:36 PM

Might actually qualify that post with an excerpt of the linked article. As for your sulfate:chloride ratio Adr_0, your ratio is 5.4 according to Beersmith. According to the chart below that is in the "Very bitter" range.

 

Chloride ions tend to enhance the malty aspects of beer, as well as enhance the perception of mouthfeel. Sulfate ions, in contrast, tend to accentuate hop flavors and bitternes, often leading to the perception of a drier and cleaner finish. Sulfate levels above 200 ppm are best reserved for hoppy beers like IPAs.

 

John Palmer also published a water spreadsheet with guidelines for the ratio. A summary is below:

  • 0-0.4: Too Malty
  • 0.4-0.6: Very Malty
  • 0.6-0.8: Malty
  • 0.8-1.5: Balanced
  • 1.5-2.0: Slightly Bitter
  • 2-4: Bitter
  • 4-9: Very bitter
  • 9+: Too bitter!

Edited by mtb, 02 December 2016 - 04:38 PM.


#53 manticle

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 04:36 PM

For my water here - very moderate across all minerals/ions - I ended up adding just under 12g of CaSO4 to an APA, which gave a theoretical mineral profile of:
32.0   Sodium (mg/l)
206.3 Sulfate (mg/l)
39.0   Chloride (mg/l)
130.5 Bicarbonate (mg/l)
 
Admittedly the base malt was 50% pils, but even with an FG of 1014 the beer was extremely dry and had quite a sharp bitterness.  I initially wondered if I needed more (bi)carbonate, but my understanding of this is that:
- it wouldn't dissolve in a pale mash very well, at pH 5.4
- anything carrying over into the beer would come out of suspension
 
So is my answer to the above actually chloride?
 
I have seen a few people use chalk - mostly to 'soften' a beer with roasted malts, though if it precipitates out of solution in the boil I'm not sure that's very useful.  The boil pH is going to be a lot lower than the mash pH, so perhaps chalk should go in in the last couple of minutes?
 
And on another note, using 100% distilled water and a touch of acid malt, a 45-50IBU pils (Magnum, Styrian Goldings, Pacifica) had a very clean, pleasant bitterness - still solid but long lasting and soft, as others have said.  So definitely go this way for these beers.


Carnonate/bicarbonate won't help pale beer. If anything, I'd look at reducing what you already have.

#54 Coodgee

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 04:42 PM

For my water here - very moderate across all minerals/ions - I ended up adding just under 12g of CaSO4 to an APA, which gave a theoretical mineral profile of:

32.0   Sodium (mg/l)
206.3 Sulfate (mg/l)
39.0   Chloride (mg/l)
130.5 Bicarbonate (mg/l)

 

Admittedly the base malt was 50% pils, but even with an FG of 1014 the beer was extremely dry and had quite a sharp bitterness.  I initially wondered if I needed more (bi)carbonate, but my understanding of this is that:

- it wouldn't dissolve in a pale mash very well, at pH 5.4

- anything carrying over into the beer would come out of suspension

 

So is my answer to the above actually chloride?

 

I have seen a few people use chalk - mostly to 'soften' a beer with roasted malts, though if it precipitates out of solution in the boil I'm not sure that's very useful.  The boil pH is going to be a lot lower than the mash pH, so perhaps chalk should go in in the last couple of minutes?

 

And on another note, using 100% distilled water and a touch of acid malt, a 45-50IBU pils (Magnum, Styrian Goldings, Pacifica) had a very clean, pleasant bitterness - still solid but long lasting and soft, as others have said.  So definitely go this way for these beers.

 

 

thats a sulphate to chloride ratio of 5.3 which beersmith puts in the bitter category, short of the "very bitter" category. But yeah that's on the more extreme end of the scale. I would think the answer lies not in adding more chloride but simply less sulphate. you've got to consider the amount of calcium you are adding too, which comes from both the gypsum and the CaCl. Maybe try 6 grams next time and see if it's more to your liking. Also, I find you really have to stir in your gypsum additions. The first one I did I found to be sitting as a big sticky clump on the top plate of my grainfather after I'd finished the mash. 


Edited by Coodgee, 02 December 2016 - 04:42 PM.


#55 wobbly

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 06:17 PM

Those contemplating playing around with their water this link to Martin Brungard's "Water Knowledge" is a good reference starting point  https://sites.google...water-knowledge

 

You could/should also consider down loading Martins Bru'n Water Exel spread sheet from this link https://sites.google...site/brunwater/

 

There is a free version and a second version that requires a "donation" and the donation gets you a bit more detail

 

Cheers

 

Wobbly



#56 Adr_0

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 06:42 PM

Thanks guys, that's awesome - very good to know.  I'm actually brewing a brown ale using largely distilled water - I don't quite trust the water here for some reason... - and will likely add CaCl2, CaSO4 and CaCO3.  Maybe even some NaCl or sodium bicarb.

 

Carnonate/bicarbonate won't help pale beer. If anything, I'd look at reducing what you already have.

Yeah - sorry I should have clarified.  I didn't add any CaCO3 to the APA, but did to a dubbel and weizenbock - both of which were ok.

 

I'm comfortable with the chloride/sulphate - thanks for the posts above, they are awesome - but I am curious about the chalk.  Is there any function past neutralising high-roast grain bills?  In porters/stouts, by extension, does it then purely come down to pH in the final beer, with respect to CaCO3?  I say this because chalky water might be great for these beers, but everything tells me it will precipitate during a boil, so won't really end up in the final beer as a 'softening' agent for roasty beers.  Yes or no?



#57 manticle

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 06:51 PM

I'm not into chalk - needs to be dissolved in acid to do much of anything and I think there are better nethods of dealing with low pH in dark beers.

#58 Adr_0

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 06:51 PM

So some reading above, alkalinity being too high is probably not a good thing for flavour profile - essentially only enough chalk is needed to balance acids in darker beers.  Certainly nothing in the boil.

 

This has me leaning towards bringing in salt with the CaCl2 and CaSO4 - hopefully not ending up with a gose.



#59 manticle

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 06:53 PM

Sodium chloride can work in small doses. Adds to chloride content and sodium in large amounts can be harsh and toxic to yeast.

#60 Lethaldog

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 06:56 PM

I'm a bit dumb I add a couple of tablespoons of ph 5.2 to my mash water and I'm pretty happy with my beers, I've never dabbled much in water treatment but I love the whole process of brewing so I might look a bit further into it but for now I seem to get pretty good efficiency and flavour!