Water Treatment For Ipa?

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Old Thunder brewery
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I am interested in doing an IPA, and am wondering about water treatment. I got a copy of my local ( illawarra ) water, and it seems to be low in calcium and also sulfate. I have also read ( Designing great beers ) that one teaspoon of gypsum in a brew will not come close to the amount of sulfates in burton water for most water supplies. According to my ( probrewer.com, go to tools and use the water tool ) calc's, i could use up to 13-15g in both mash and sparge water to get close to the amount of calcium and sulfates.

My water levels are

Total hardness as CaCO3 mg/l = 40-47
Calcium mg/l = 15-16
Magnesium mg/l = 1.6-1.8
Alkalinity as CaCo3 30-35.

HCO3 ( ppm ) = 39.65

Am i way off or missing something here?? I have never even looked at my water before, so dont really know what i am doing, can anyone out there help me out ??

Any info would be appreciated.


Well-Known Member
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Your numbers seem fine. I think the thing to consider is that Burton water is right out on the extreme end in terms of sulfates, and that you don't need 800-1200ppm for the desired effect. I think Terry Foster recommends something along the lines of 300-500ppm, though in my experience 300ppm is a bit low.

It depends on what type of IPA you're going for too. If you're doing an American-style one then I'd keep the sulfates a lot lower (say just enough to get sufficient Ca in the mash or something) than a full-blown historical-recreationist British-style one.

Seems like some people just add gypsum to the boil (instead of mash & sparge water.) I can't imagine it matters too much either way, but some texts recommend getting at least 50ppm of Ca in the mash, so if I were you I'd add at least some of the CaSO4 to the mash. Personally I don't add CaSO4 to my sparge water because I'm wary of messing up the pH (I brew with very soft water) though I'm not sure it would really have much (if any) of an effect.

Ah, water chemistry... I might not have ditched chemistry at uni if I knew it had such a practical application. :chug:

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