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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: UnequivocalBrewing on November 05, 2017, 04:28:14 PM

Title: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on November 05, 2017, 04:28:14 PM
Hi,

I'm trying to figure out the magic behind Tree House's incredible mouth-feel.  I came across this article by Michael Tonsmeire:

https://byo.com/stories/issue/item/3590-minerals-profile-in-the-glass

And here is Nate responding to questions about his water profile:

https://twitter.com/treehousenate/status/697190895150592001?lang=en

The thing that stands out for me in the BYO article is the low amount of calcium in the finished Alter Ego, despite the relatively high rates of sulfates and chlorides in the finished beer...at least on the order of magnitude of both Michael's and Kimmich's beer. 

Does anyone know if something with the malt, process, or fermentation is driving that Calcium down?  Or is it potentially he is building up that sulfate and chloride with something other than a Calcium base?  Magnesium, Sodium?
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: kramerog on November 06, 2017, 08:42:30 AM
From the water reports, it seems that the two breweries may be using lots of potassium and magnesium salts, but it is unclear to me how much potassium and magnesium might be coming from the malts.
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: mabrungard on November 06, 2017, 09:30:34 AM
Malt provides a huge amount of Mg and K to wort. In addition, it varies per grain variety and terrior. Unfortunately, this analysis is unlikely to guide you with respect to what your water profile should be. It's best to standardize on quantifying what's in your water and the resulting effects on beer quality and perception, instead of trying to assess what's in your wort.
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on November 06, 2017, 10:44:09 AM
Martin - I agree with you.  My primary question is mostly around how the calcium levels can be so low with such high levels of Sulfates and Chlorides.  I'm assuming they could potentially be using a different vehicle (cation) for the Sulfates and Chlorides? 

You can technically build up from RO water to hit over 100PPM of each sulfate and chloride while keeping the calcium very low like 20-30....but then of course your sodium and magnesium rise.  Not sure if having magnesium around 25-30 and sodium around 75 will cause any other problems??
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: Kutaka on November 06, 2017, 03:53:47 PM
ZnCl2 instead of table salt is a possibility.  Zn is one nutrient wort lacks.  Na at 75 from salt would taste waaay too salty.
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: Ellismr on November 06, 2017, 07:14:23 PM
I’ve had my water in Rhode Island tested at work labs and another company in Michigan in my calcium here is 7 ppm in my magnesium is 5 ppm. 


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Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: kramerog on November 06, 2017, 08:54:27 PM
Since there is a lot of potassium from malt, it shouldn't be a big deal to use KCl, which is pretty available online.
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: mabrungard on November 07, 2017, 05:59:08 AM
ZnCl2 instead of table salt is a possibility.  Zn is one nutrient wort lacks.  Na at 75 from salt would taste waaay too salty.

Careful there! The taste threshold for zinc is very low. For that reason, zinc dosing is extremely small. If I recall correctly, zinc sulfate heptahydrate dosage is something like 1 gram in 10 to 20 barrels of wort. You can probably tell that it would be really hard to measure out a dose for a 5 to 10 gallon batch.
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 07, 2017, 06:08:09 AM
ZnCl2 instead of table salt is a possibility.  Zn is one nutrient wort lacks.  Na at 75 from salt would taste waaay too salty.

Careful there! The taste threshold for zinc is very low. For that reason, zinc dosing is extremely small. If I recall correctly, zinc sulfate heptahydrate dosage is something like 1 gram in 10 to 20 barrels of wort. You can probably tell that it would be really hard to measure out a dose for a 5 to 10 gallon batch.
Good point.

Also, too much zinc is toxic to yeast. I remember adding .15 ppm zinc before I started using the Wyeast nutrient, which contains zinc. According to Kai 0.6 ppm inhibits yeast growth.
http://braukaiser.com/blog/blog/2012/06/22/the-effect-of-zinc-on-fermentation-performance/
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: Kutaka on November 07, 2017, 08:25:59 AM
Ok, don't use ZnCl2. 
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: reverseapachemaster on November 07, 2017, 10:56:19 AM
Is it possible that the water originally has a lot of calcium that they are boiling out or is lost to the brewing process?
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: stpug on November 07, 2017, 11:45:34 AM
Comparing those two beers with MT's analysis, it appears that the AE potassium levels are significantly increased from both HT and MT (~500ppm more elevated in AE).  This may give some credence to using KCl (previously mentioned) which will provide the chloride while not contributing any calcium, and boosting the K to more closely match AE.  Taking into account MT's dosing with gypsum and CaCl2 (1:3 ratio, respectively), it would seem that if you swapped CaCl2 with KCl to reach the level of Chloride in MT's example (assume 175ppm target) then you would effectively reduce the contributed Ca by upto 75% in MT's final beer which puts the final beer much much lower in terms of calcium content (probably <50ppm).  I also note that phosphorous is increased in AE above MT/HT which may indicate they adjust for pH using phosphoric acid.  All that said, I'm not sure how much merit there is in trying to "match" a beer/brewery's water mineralization, but it's kind of fun to surmise about these things anyway.  I also don't know how a reduction in calcium level in finished beer might affect mouthfeel.  Fortunately, it seems like a pretty easy thing to test out on similar batches using water mineralization as your primary variable in play.
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: Kutaka on November 08, 2017, 02:55:15 PM
KCl tastes pretty bad as a direct sub for salt on food.  Maybe it tastes ok diluted in beer?  Don't want to find out.  Determining the 'magical' mystery water from over hyped juice beer breweries is not worth chasing.
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: Stevie on November 08, 2017, 03:05:39 PM
KCl tastes pretty bad as a direct sub for salt on food.  Maybe it tastes ok diluted in beer?  Don't want to find out.  Determining the 'magical' mystery water from over hyped juice beer breweries is not worth chasing.
+1 on the hype
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on November 08, 2017, 07:35:32 PM
KCl tastes pretty bad as a direct sub for salt on food.  Maybe it tastes ok diluted in beer?  Don't want to find out.  Determining the 'magical' mystery water from over hyped juice beer breweries is not worth chasing.
+1 on the hype

Everyone commenting here is a paying member of this association and has a right to leverage this forum.  Everyone likes different styles, has different tastes, has different learning interests, and has different levels of knowledge.  This is less about "chasing" water profiles but more about learning and understanding the dynamics at play.  I still haven't heard an aligned or confident rationale on how a finished beer can have such low calcium and hardness but such high sulfates and chlorides.  I'm particularly interested because I (my opinion) find Tree House beer to be beautifully crafted with fantastic aroma, incredible taste, perfectly balanced, with incredible mouth-feel.  But that's ok...if people aren't interested in this particular thread then they should just move onto the next one.  I take no offense to that.  That's what I do when I see threads that don't pique my interest.  So, I'd be happy to hear any more rationale you all might have for some of the questions I've posed here.  Otherwise, I'm sure there are some great "Do you like NEIPAs" threads out there for a good old beer style debate.   
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: Kutaka on November 08, 2017, 08:13:59 PM
The best water expert on the internet has already replied to this thread.  If he doesn't have an answer you want to hear, then Tree House really does have some magic water there.
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 09, 2017, 07:00:10 AM
KCl tastes pretty bad as a direct sub for salt on food.  Maybe it tastes ok diluted in beer?  Don't want to find out.  Determining the 'magical' mystery water from over hyped juice beer breweries is not worth chasing.
+1 on the hype

Everyone commenting here is a paying member of this association and has a right to leverage this forum.  Everyone likes different styles, has different tastes, has different learning interests, and has different levels of knowledge.  This is less about "chasing" water profiles but more about learning and understanding the dynamics at play.  I still haven't heard an aligned or confident rationale on how a finished beer can have such low calcium and hardness but such high sulfates and chlorides.  I'm particularly interested because I (my opinion) find Tree House beer to be beautifully crafted with fantastic aroma, incredible taste, perfectly balanced, with incredible mouth-feel.  But that's ok...if people aren't interested in this particular thread then they should just move onto the next one.  I take no offense to that.  That's what I do when I see threads that don't pique my interest.  So, I'd be happy to hear any more rationale you all might have for some of the questions I've posed here.  Otherwise, I'm sure there are some great "Do you like NEIPAs" threads out there for a good old beer style debate.   

MgCl is used by some to boost the Cl in their Czech beers. I don’t know if that trick would work as the Mg would go up, maybe too high.

I think some good points are raise in the Scott Janish link. At the bottom he has measurements from his water and finished beer. The levels don’t look remarkably different from the treehouse beer. Some of the minerals have different levels though. I think his speculation on malt type needs a comment - he used Rahr in his beer, do you know what Treehouse uses? John Kimmich has said that Heady uses Pearl malt from the UK for the base malt.

John Palmers water book has a table on page 178 that shows how a 1.040 beer made with de-mineralized water has chloride levels of 130 ppm. The SO4 was not too high at 15ppm.

More questions than answers, but malt might be one of the keys to the mineral profile.

I don’t know if this helps, but it isn’t an intriguing area.
Title: Re: Tree House Brewing Water Profile
Post by: BitterItDown on November 12, 2017, 11:45:18 AM
Scott Janish covers mouthfeel softness (http://scottjanish.com/chasing-mouthfeel-softness/) and haze (http://scottjanish.com/researching-new-england-ipa-neipa-haze/).

Speaking from personal experience, I have successfully made low calcium - high sulfate and/or chloride - waters (beers) using calcium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid.  This was starting with distilled or de-ionized water.  Being strong bases and acids they do require precision and a modicum of caution when working with them (to avoid inhalation/burning oneself and a Ping-Pong pH effect...).  I believe the British work with these acids more than Americans (CRS (http://www.brupaks.com/water%20treatment.htm) - i.e. Carbonate Reducing Solution (https://www.the-home-brew-shop.co.uk/acatalog/Carbonate_Reducing_Solution_CRS_1ltr.html)).  Jim's Beer Kit (http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/index.php) is a good British homebrew forum.

There are several water calculators that account for these acids but I don't know that any allow the use of the proprietary CRS solution.

The resulting beers were very good indeed.  I received compliments on how "soft and smooth" they were.  However, that may not be totally attributed to water as much as it is the entire process (water included): quality, fresh ingredients, recipe, low bittering addition with smooth bittering hops (i.e. Magnum), lower boil intensity, fresh beer (not overly oxidized), yeast, etc...