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NeilArge

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I'm planning on putting down a stout soon and given the amount of roasted grain in the recipe (+half kilo) thought that I should look at the water profile. I'm using rainwater but do have a report on it - it has a little bit of calcium, chloride and sodium in it. Anyway, using CrozDog's spreadsheet to get a balanced profile with that amount of roasted malt (recipe below), I ended up with the following additions: 4g of gypsum, 4g of calc. chloride and 15 g of chalk. 15grams of chalk looks a lot to me. What do you think?

Advice gratefully accepted,

ToG


Code:
Recipe: Dog's Guts Stout
Brewer: Neil
Asst Brewer: 
Style: American Stout
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 22.00 L      
Boil Size: 25.18 L
Estimated OG: 1.064 SG
Estimated Color: 94.3 EBC
Estimated IBU: 43.4 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
3.83 kg       Pale Malt, Traditional Ale (Joe White) (5.Grain        62.68 %       
1.15 kg       Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC)                     Grain        18.80 %       
0.44 kg       Roasted Barley (Joe White) (1398.7 EBC)   Grain        7.24 %        
0.22 kg       Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (236.4 EBC)    Grain        3.62 %        
0.22 kg       Barley, Flaked (3.3 EBC)                  Grain        3.60 %        
0.13 kg       Wheat Malt, Malt Craft (Joe White) (3.5 EBGrain        2.17 %        
0.11 kg       Black (Patent) Malt (985.0 EBC)           Grain        1.88 %        
44.96 gm      Bullion [7.90 %]  (60 min)                Hops         35.3 IBU      
13.39 gm      Bullion [7.90 %]  (30 min)                Hops         8.1 IBU       
7.65 gm       Bullion [7.90 %]  (0 min)                 Hops          -            
4.00 gm       Calcium Chloride (Mash 60.0 min)          Misc                       
4.00 gm       Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min)  Misc                       
15.00 gm      Chalk (Mash 60.0 min)                     Misc                       
1 Pkgs        Ringwood Ale (Wyeast Labs #1187) [Starter Yeast-Ale                  


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 6.10 kg
----------------------------
Single Infusion, Medium Body
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp     
60 min        Mash In            Add 18.31 L of water at 73.6 C      67.8 C        
10 min        Mash Out           Add 8.91 L of water at 93.5 C       75.6 C
 

Tony

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I have made a lot of stouts with fairly soft water and used scary amounts of chalk as calculated by Promash.

The water looks like milk and you think its going to be a disaster but it works really well.

AFAIK, the chalk is not very soluible in water, so most of it will simply settle out. Its in there to raise the pH counteracting the low pH from all the roasted grain.

I now just add a teaspoon of chalk to my mash and a teaspoon to the sparge water. Not very scientific but i get great results.

give it a go!

To reduce the need for so much chalk, I now add half my roast grain to the mash and half at sparge time. This goives me a smoother beer as well.

CHeers

Edit: Drop the wheat and up your flaked barley. I would recoment between 10 and 20%. 3.6% wont do anything for the beer
 

NeilArge

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Tony said:
I have made a lot of stouts with fairly soft water and used scary amounts of chalk as calculated by Promash.

The water looks like milk and you think its going to be a disaster but it works really well.

AFAIK, the chalk is not very soluible in water, so most of it will simply settle out. Its in there to raise the pH counteracting the low pH from all the roasted grain.

I now just add a teaspoon of chalk to my mash and a teaspoon to the sparge water. Not very scientific but i get great results.

give it a go!

To reduce the need for so much chalk, I now add half my roast grain to the mash and half at sparge time. This goives me a smoother beer as well.

CHeers

Edit: Drop the wheat and up your flaked barley. I would recoment between 10 and 20%. 3.6% wont do anything for the beer
Thanks for the brilliant advice Tony. You reminded me of something that I'd read earlier about the heavy use of roasted malts - add 'em late to avoid astringency but still get the sugars. I will give that a go re: chalk in the mash and sparge water. And I'll up the flaked barley to give more body. Would you add any choc. malt to this?
Cheers
ToG
 

Tony

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You can add chocolate malt, but it all depends on the type of roast character you want.

Roast Barley is a great backbone for your roast character and you can build it from there but i usually try and keep stouts simple.

Add some choc malt if you want it milder and smoother, black malt or chocolate wheat if you want a more intense ashy burnt character.

a few % crystal that you have is great to ballance the beer but if you find its needs some low end oomph to ballance the roast without adding too much crystal sweetness, 3% brown malt is great.

The only other advice i can give is on the hops. I personally think late hops in a stout confuses the beer. over complicates it. To me a stout is all about the roast so i only use a single 60 min bittering addition these days. This also makes calculating accurate bitterness much easier if you no chill stouts like me for my nitro setup.

I have settled on a stout recipe as a kind of Guinness / Murpheys clone but better for my nitro taps. I will post it on here tonight if i remember. My promash files are all at home.

Cheers
 

manticle

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I'm not a big fan of carbonates in any beer, including stouts so I also add my roast grains in late. The way I do it is to mill then cover with water and leave that vessel in the fridge overnight (covered). Next day I remove from the fridge and bring to mash temps then add the lot to the beer during the last 10 minutes or so of the mash.

I find this gives all the colour I want but a very smooth stout.

Do you really need 15g to hit 5.4-ish pH?

As above - chalk isn't very soluble in water - it needs to be dissolved in acid first. If you have a source of CO2, I believe that can be enough to dissolve the chalk (add a bit to the mash as per this page: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Building_brewing_water_with_dissolved_chalk * Dissolving it first should allow for the usage of less.

I like a bit of roast, a bit of choc and a bit of coffee flavour in my stouts so I tend to use black, RB and Choc together but as mentioned by Tony - each will give you something different so the recipe will depend on your desired outcome.

*Bear in mind that while I have made stouts, played with brewing salts and done a lot of reading in regards to water and mash pH, I have never tried to dissolve chalk using CO2 so I include this link as a reference only. Should make interesting reading though.
 

NeilArge

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Tony said:
You can add chocolate malt, but it all depends on the type of roast character you want.

Roast Barley is a great backbone for your roast character and you can build it from there but i usually try and keep stouts simple.

Add some choc malt if you want it milder and smoother, black malt or chocolate wheat if you want a more intense ashy burnt character.

a few % crystal that you have is great to ballance the beer but if you find its needs some low end oomph to ballance the roast without adding too much crystal sweetness, 3% brown malt is great.

The only other advice i can give is on the hops. I personally think late hops in a stout confuses the beer. over complicates it. To me a stout is all about the roast so i only use a single 60 min bittering addition these days. This also makes calculating accurate bitterness much easier if you no chill stouts like me for my nitro setup.

I have settled on a stout recipe as a kind of Guinness / Murpheys clone but better for my nitro taps. I will post it on here tonight if i remember. My promash files are all at home.

Cheers
Thanks again Tony. The recipe is basically taken from an Avery Brewery recipe which uses a lot of Bullion hops - I was looking for a stout recipe that used predominantly Bullion (I have a lot) and quite liked the look of this one. It doesn't use choc. malt at all and I guess there's no real need for it. But I might add a bit of brown malt as I have used that in an oatmeal stout that I have made numerous times before and like its effect. But I will keep the hop additions simple and at least drop the late one. I'm looking forward to seeing how the blackcurrant character of the Bullion goes with the coffee roast character of the RB, together with the sweetness of the crystal and Vienna malt. I'm only using the Ringwood yeast because that's all the English ale yeast I have on hand but I guess that should be ok?
Cheers
ToG
 

NeilArge

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manticle said:
I'm not a big fan of carbonates in any beer, including stouts so I also add my roast grains in late. The way I do it is to mill then cover with water and leave that vessel in the fridge overnight (covered). Next day I remove from the fridge and bring to mash temps then add the lot to the beer during the last 10 minutes or so of the mash.

I find this gives all the colour I want but a very smooth stout.

Do you really need 15g to hit 5.4-ish pH?

As above - chalk isn't very soluble in water - it needs to be dissolved in acid first. If you have a source of CO2, I believe that can be enough to dissolve the chalk (add a bit to the mash as per this page: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Building_brewing_water_with_dissolved_chalk * Dissolving it first should allow for the usage of less.

I like a bit of roast, a bit of choc and a bit of coffee flavour in my stouts so I tend to use black, RB and Choc together but as mentioned by Tony - each will give you something different so the recipe will depend on your desired outcome.

*Bear in mind that while I have made stouts, played with brewing salts and done a lot of reading in regards to water and mash pH, I have never tried to dissolve chalk using CO2 so I include this link as a reference only. Should make interesting reading though.
Thanks Manticle for the thoughtful response and interesting links. I had read that chalk was a difficult addition to manage and that just confirms it! I wonder if you could dissolve a bit just using some soda water and shake the shite out of it? Yes, according to the spreadsheet I need 15g chalk, to go along with 4g of gypsum and 4g of calc. chloride to get a balanced beer. I can post the spreadsheet here if anyone is interested. But the suggestion to pull back on the timing of the roasted grain in the mash sounds sensible too. I'll experiment and let you know what I do and how it goes. Thanks again.
ToG
 

drsmurto

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A few comments from one of the resident scientists/chemists.

Chalk, CaCO3 does nothing if it does not dissolve. It cannot have an impact on pH if it is not in solution. It needs to be in solution (dissolved) to react with the excess hydrogen ions (technically hydronium ions) which increases the pH. So adding some to sparge water will only have an impact if it ends up in the mash tun. If it remains behind in the HLT then it has done nothing.

It will dissolve in the mash tun due to the lower pH.

15g of CaCO3 is a lot. In excess of 200ppm of carbonate. That will be very hard to disguise, Tony may be inadvertently getting away with it by serving his stouts with very low carbonation via a nitro system.

I know people like to rely on spreadsheets but adding anything to your beer to adjust your pH really should only be done after you discover the pH is out of the desired range.

I add very small quantities of brewing salts for flavour/balance reasons. Not for pH reasons as I prefer to rely on the buffering capacity of the mash itself (eg. naturally occurring phosphates) and then measure pH.
 

Tony

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Great info DrS !

I will have to go check what my spoon of chalk in the mash actually weighs.

I have used a lot in the past in a stout but as DrS said..... its possible a lot of it didnt even disolve into solution, and was lost.

Still turned out great from memmory and that was pre nitro.

I also keep brewing salts to a minimum when brewing other styles but do like my sotuts with a good hit of flaked barley and chalk :)

cheers
 

mabrungard

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Chalk is not reliable in providing the alkalinity needed for acidic mash grists like this. A brewer is FAR better off finding some slaked lime (aka: pickling lime or calcium hydroxide) and using that to add alkalinity. Bru'n Water software is a tool that can help calculate the lime addition for the mash. While you are on the Bru'n Water website, do read the Water Knowledge section to better understand why you need that alkalinity.

Another option to brewing this stout is to use the Guinness method and separately steep the roast grains and add that dark liquor directly to the kettle. Mash the rest of the grain as usual.
 

NeilArge

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DrSmurto said:
A few comments from one of the resident scientists/chemists.

Chalk, CaCO3 does nothing if it does not dissolve. It cannot have an impact on pH if it is not in solution. It needs to be in solution (dissolved) to react with the excess hydrogen ions (technically hydronium ions) which increases the pH. So adding some to sparge water will only have an impact if it ends up in the mash tun. If it remains behind in the HLT then it has done nothing.

It will dissolve in the mash tun due to the lower pH.

15g of CaCO3 is a lot. In excess of 200ppm of carbonate. That will be very hard to disguise, Tony may be inadvertently getting away with it by serving his stouts with very low carbonation via a nitro system.

I know people like to rely on spreadsheets but adding anything to your beer to adjust your pH really should only be done after you discover the pH is out of the desired range.

I add very small quantities of brewing salts for flavour/balance reasons. Not for pH reasons as I prefer to rely on the buffering capacity of the mash itself (eg. naturally occurring phosphates) and then measure pH.
Thanks for the sage advice, Doc. To be honest I haven't mucked about with the water before in making dark beers such as this and have been happy with the results. I don't have a pH meter to test the mash but maybe I should invest in one...
ToG
 

Kai

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manticle said:
I'm not a big fan of carbonates in any beer, including stouts so I also add my roast grains in late. The way I do it is to mill then cover with water and leave that vessel in the fridge overnight (covered). Next day I remove from the fridge and bring to mash temps then add the lot to the beer during the last 10 minutes or so of the mash.

I find this gives all the colour I want but a very smooth stout.
Why are you not a fan of carbonates, manticle?
 

manticle

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Most brewing science texts seem to recommend against their use in most cases and I can't help but wonder whether dark beers allow carbonates not to screw it up more than actually improve the beer. Hopefully that makes sense. Dark beers are more forgiving of carbonate water than lighter beers but do they actually make it better.

Additionally we add calcium to drop pH (among other things) then try and raise it with carbonates which need to be dissolved in acid. Seems counter-intuitive and a stuff around (although I guess my cold steeping method is no easier).

Final reason is the few times I have used them, either I or other brewers have noted either astringency or chalkiness. I will admit that my almost prejudicial distaste for them means I should at some point do a side by side stout. Maybe 3 ways - one carbonate, one without but normal mash and one with cold steep. My system is only tiny though and I have a lot of side by sides on the to do list.

So summary - not read much good about them, not liked beers I've brewed with them (limited experience though) and happy with dark beers without them.
 

Thirsty Boy

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mabrungard said:
Chalk is not reliable in providing the alkalinity needed for acidic mash grists like this. A brewer is FAR better off finding some slaked lime (aka: pickling lime or calcium hydroxide) and using that to add alkalinity. Bru'n Water software is a tool that can help calculate the lime addition for the mash. While you are on the Bru'n Water website, do read the Water Knowledge section to better understand why you need that alkalinity.

Another option to brewing this stout is to use the Guinness method and separately steep the roast grains and add that dark liquor directly to the kettle. Mash the rest of the grain as usual.
which allows you to not put any carbonates in your beer - which IMO is a good thing. Carbonates taste nasty in every beer, including stouts. Hardly anyone agrees with me.... but i cant be held responsible if you're all wrong at once.

Food grade caustic would do the job too. Should note though, that both Slaked Lime and Caustic are dangerous to handle - chalk more or less isn't (although as my maths teacher proved, if flung hard enough at an inattentive student, it can actually draw blood)

Still - too much worry about low pH - low pH is not nearly so bad for beer quality as is high pH. I've never made a stout where the mash pH turned out low enough for me to think "hey, I should really have tweaked my water to get a better pH than that" maybe I lost a point or two of efficiency, thats about the worst it would have done though.
 

Kai

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manticle said:
Most brewing science texts seem to recommend against their use in most cases and I can't help but wonder whether dark beers allow carbonates not to screw it up more than actually improve the beer. Hopefully that makes sense. Dark beers are more forgiving of carbonate water than lighter beers but do they actually make it better.

Additionally we add calcium to drop pH (among other things) then try and raise it with carbonates which need to be dissolved in acid. Seems counter-intuitive and a stuff around (although I guess my cold steeping method is no easier).

Final reason is the few times I have used them, either I or other brewers have noted either astringency or chalkiness. I will admit that my almost prejudicial distaste for them means I should at some point do a side by side stout. Maybe 3 ways - one carbonate, one without but normal mash and one with cold steep. My system is only tiny though and I have a lot of side by sides on the to do list.

So summary - not read much good about them, not liked beers I've brewed with them (limited experience though) and happy with dark beers without them.
Good that you're happy with your darkies without them. That is the most important factor.

The reason I asked the question is I also have heard plenty of discouragement from professional texts with regard to the use of carbonates in water treatment. However, I have never fully read up on the subject. Subsequently my partial theory to date has been that the generic advice to avoid carbonates in water is based on avoiding beer stone buildup on stainless steel that sees more beer pass through it in a day than you or I could posssibly hope to drink in a lifetime.
 

NeilArge

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mabrungard said:
Chalk is not reliable in providing the alkalinity needed for acidic mash grists like this. A brewer is FAR better off finding some slaked lime (aka: pickling lime or calcium hydroxide) and using that to add alkalinity. Bru'n Water software is a tool that can help calculate the lime addition for the mash. While you are on the Bru'n Water website, do read the Water Knowledge section to better understand why you need that alkalinity.

Another option to brewing this stout is to use the Guinness method and separately steep the roast grains and add that dark liquor directly to the kettle. Mash the rest of the grain as usual.
Thanks very much for that advice, Martin. Some great reading there. Given all that I've read on the subject, and what my experience has been of brewing stouts and other dark beers in the past, I think I might just do the separate mash of the roasted grains. Should be an interesting experiment anyway.
 

Nick JD

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Thirsty Boy said:
Hardly anyone agrees with me.... but i cant be held responsible if you're all wrong at once.
This would make a great forum signature, TB. :p
 

mabrungard

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Thirsty Boy said:
which allows you to not put any carbonates in your beer - which IMO is a good thing. Carbonates taste nasty in every beer, including stouts. Hardly anyone agrees with me.... but i cant be held responsible if you're all wrong at once.

Food grade caustic would do the job too. Should note though, that both Slaked Lime and Caustic are dangerous to handle - chalk more or less isn't (although as my maths teacher proved, if flung hard enough at an inattentive student, it can actually draw blood)

Still - too much worry about low pH - low pH is not nearly so bad for beer quality as is high pH. I've never made a stout where the mash pH turned out low enough for me to think "hey, I should really have tweaked my water to get a better pH than that" maybe I lost a point or two of efficiency, thats about the worst it would have done though.
Excessive carbonate (aka: Alkalinity) is what truly tastes poorly in beer. Declerk's statement in his text actually refers to sodium bicarbonate, yet some take it to infer only the bicarbonate is the culprit. The thing is that when there are excess acids in the wort, they instantly convert that bicarb to water and CO2. So they are not likely to contribute negatively to flavor excepting when there aren't enough acids to neutralize them. Putting baking soda in a glass of water and tasting it tell the drinker nothing about what the effect is in beer.

But, the discussion above ties in nicely with Thirsty Boy's statement that beers are better off if they have a slightly low pH compared to a high pH. There are some detrimental effects from low pH, but that beer will still be drinkable. High pH is where the effects can be quite unpalatable. It is better to end up a little low than high with pH.
 

KaiTroester

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Guys, Hi Martin,


I don't think we can blame the presence of carbonate/bicarbonate for bad beer taste. At beer pH ( around 4.3) there is hardly any bicarbonate left. I think it is more a problem of the bicarbonate's ability to raise mash pH too high that causes a bad taste. Before we had a better understanding of how different grains affect mash pH we thought that really dark beers need a lot of alkalinity. But that doesn't seem to be true. In addition to that only about 1/2 of the chalk actually dissolves and takes effect. At least that's what I found in experiments. There have also been cases where the addition of chalk didn't do anything. What doesn't dissolved will likely stay behind in the spent grain.

Kai
 

NeilArge

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mabrungard said:
Excessive carbonate (aka: Alkalinity) is what truly tastes poorly in beer. Declerk's statement in his text actually refers to sodium bicarbonate, yet some take it to infer only the bicarbonate is the culprit. The thing is that when there are excess acids in the wort, they instantly convert that bicarb to water and CO2. So they are not likely to contribute negatively to flavor excepting when there aren't enough acids to neutralize them. Putting baking soda in a glass of water and tasting it tell the drinker nothing about what the effect is in beer.

But, the discussion above ties in nicely with Thirsty Boy's statement that beers are better off if they have a slightly low pH compared to a high pH. There are some detrimental effects from low pH, but that beer will still be drinkable. High pH is where the effects can be quite unpalatable. It is better to end up a little low than high with pH.
All of this seems to suggest to me that I'd be better off leaving the mashwater alone. It would be interesting to do a split mash: one with the works (carbonates wise) and the other 'nudie' and see how the beers turned out. Not sure whether I could be bothered doing that, not least because I only have the one mash tun.
Cheers and thanks for the very erudite discussion. I've learned a heap!
ToG
 

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