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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Kaiser on November 25, 2009, 04:32:20 PM

Title: Various water recipes
Post by: Kaiser on November 25, 2009, 04:32:20 PM
A number of people have asked me to publish some of the water recipes I'm using. I guess b/c I talk so much about water.

So I decided to do that here: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Various_water_recipes

But don't get the idea that these are highly optimized and elaborate recipes. I generally only care about residual alkalinity and hardness. When it comes to hardness I prerfer softer water but have yet to make a side-by-side with waters that have large diferences in their hardness.

See them as starting points.

Kai
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: denny on November 25, 2009, 04:41:15 PM
Cool!  Thanks as always!  I tend not to mess with my water and do as is traditionally done...brew styles that fit my water, rather than try to make water to fit the style I'm brewing.  But your guidelines will be really valuable for those times I'm gonna make water.
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: Kaiser on November 25, 2009, 06:32:57 PM
Building water from scratch is really a home brewer only thing. I think only few commercial brewers would want to go that route given the capital investment and the amount of waste water produced by an RO system.

But building water adds so many more knobs that a homebrewer can turn and this can be rather daunting for beginners. When I moved to the new house and started using RO water I didn’t know want to aim for either. So many choices. In the end I actually started emulating the water I had in North Carolina b/c it had worked so well for me. Later I gained a better understanding of water chemistry and figured out what is important and what not.

But having a collection of basic water recipes for a handful of different styles should help many who want to or have to build water from scratch but don’t know where to start.

Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: lonnie mac on November 25, 2009, 06:40:02 PM
Thanks Kai! This is some GREAT stuff...

I do all my water myself also. RO... Indeed at first it can be a scary thing to figure all this out.
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: blatz on November 25, 2009, 06:42:16 PM
I don't know about that assertion, Kai.  Maybe at the big level, but not so much on micros.
 
My pro friend has recommended for a year now to get an RO system.  Nothing like peer pressure.  I still might cave one day - I might get a quote just for kicks.

He says that most craft breweries use RO (he's friendly with a lot of the Cali and Denver micros), and frankly, every brewpub I've been to and brewer that I have talked to uses RO water and adds some back.  

We just had a discussion on the NB board - Stone uses RO according to a recent Jamil podcast.  

I think building from RO gives a level of consistency that is necessary for quality control.

Anyhow - thanks for taking the time to make that list - I am going to pm/email you later a profile that I used for my Baltic Porter - I think I overdid it a bit  :-[ but there's so much complexity in there, who'll notice!
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: denny on November 25, 2009, 06:50:08 PM
and frankly, every brewpub I've been to and brewer that I have talked to uses RO water and adds some back.  

Interesting....my experience with brewpubs/micros around here is just the opposite!
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: hamiltont on November 25, 2009, 06:54:19 PM
Brew pub here uses RO water. Has a huge tank in the back room.  He's very picky about his water.
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: Kaiser on November 25, 2009, 06:55:37 PM
He says that most craft breweries use RO (he's friendly with a lot of the Cali and Denver micros), and frankly, every brewpub I've been to and brewer that I have talked to uses RO water and adds some back. 

really. I didn't know that. On the other hand I tend to be less in touch with what US craft breweries do than what a German brewery might be doing. For the latter I think that if the RA of the tap water matches what is needed for their beer, the water from the tap will be used w/o modifications. Which is why emulating the local water from a paricular German brewery is oftentimes a good start. But there are exceptions as well.

If Stone is using RO water, I'll have to check with them how they handle chalk in their very dark beers.

Kai
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: blatz on November 25, 2009, 06:55:47 PM
and frankly, every brewpub I've been to and brewer that I have talked to uses RO water and adds some back.  

Interesting....my experience with brewpubs/micros around here is just the opposite!

I think you guys have very good water is the reason, least based on the tap water I had when there last week.  I'd kill to have water that good without filtering.

I was in a brewpub in Reno and had an amber that tasted like pennies - I sent it back, so they had the brewer come talk to me - first thing he said was "you're a brewer aren't you?" then he immediately apologized b/c the day they made that batch the RO system was on the fritz and he just went on without it, course, I'm the only one to have complained, but oh well.

I know the five I've been to here also use RO.
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: blatz on November 25, 2009, 07:00:08 PM
kai - I don't know if i'll get in trouble posting a link to another forum, but here's the discussion we were having:

http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=81869

I have no doubt you're correct about the big german breweries, and I would surmise the same for some of the big Americans, although being that the three majors all brew in multiple locations, they might use RO to keep the product consistent - pure speculation, but a good guess I think.
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: lonnie mac on November 25, 2009, 07:01:39 PM
I know St Arnold here also uses RO... The system is just mind blowing. One of the reasons I went to RO was because at a brew-in there one day, we all had free use of the 2" RO hose...

In my case here at home, chemically my water really ain't that bad. But you remember the old adage, if it taste good brew with it... Well, mine taste like crap!
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: Kaiser on November 25, 2009, 07:02:03 PM
kai - I don't know if i'll get in trouble posting a link to another forum, but here's the discussion we were having:
http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=81869

I don't think you should get in trouble. I'm a big fan of cross linking. I'll check it out.

Kai
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: blatz on November 25, 2009, 07:04:57 PM
I know St Arnold here also uses RO... The system is just mind blowing. One of the reasons I went to RO was because at a brew-in there one day, we all had free use of the 2" RO hose...


lonnie - so if I read you correctly, you're saying that since you were able to do it that day, the results were so great that you made the switch?
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: denny on November 25, 2009, 07:05:31 PM
and frankly, every brewpub I've been to and brewer that I have talked to uses RO water and adds some back.  

Interesting....my experience with brewpubs/micros around here is just the opposite!

I think you guys have very good water is the reason, least based on the tap water I had when there last week.  I'd kill to have water that good without filtering.

That's my guess, too.  Generally, the water is fairly soft and not noxious!

I'm lucky in that my well water is fantastic for both brewing and drinking.
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: denny on November 25, 2009, 07:06:14 PM
kai - I don't know if i'll get in trouble posting a link to another forum, but here's the discussion we were having:

Not unless it's a porn forum!  ;)
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: lonnie mac on November 25, 2009, 07:17:41 PM
I know St Arnold here also uses RO... The system is just mind blowing. One of the reasons I went to RO was because at a brew-in there one day, we all had free use of the 2" RO hose...


lonnie - so if I read you correctly, you're saying that since you were able to do it that day, the results were so great that you made the switch?

Ah! I should have explained... No, because that beer came out horrible! :) It was due to several things though, I had hastily measured all my chemicals out using a bathroom scale I guess because they were all way wrong, it was a typical outdoor windy brew day, and I didn't pitch for some time later...

But I did learn control after that. Just another level that we can go. And since my water really taste bad anyway, I can no longer blame my bad beer on it now that I am using RO.

Mufasa has his office here at St Arnold, and indeed consistency has a major role to play as SA contract brews all of our BJ's in the south.
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: Kaiser on November 25, 2009, 07:31:21 PM
Not unless it's a porn forum!  ;)

They have those  :o 




(insert reference to the Family Guy episosde, where Quagmire finds out about internet porn, here)

Kai
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: akr71 on November 25, 2009, 07:40:27 PM
Kai, once again a big thank you!  Your desire to experiment, document and share your results with all of us is quite simply astounding.

I like to experiment with a variety of beer styles, which means I have to be willing to play with water chemistry.  The local craft & micro breweries do a good job at representing UK style ales and are being more adventurous with hoppy beers.  So, if I want to know what different styles/regions have to offer, I have to try and brew them myself - and try to get the water at least somewhere in the ballpark.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: blatz on November 26, 2009, 06:36:11 PM

(insert reference to the Family Guy episosde, where Quagmire finds out about internet porn, here)

Kai

I'm just gonna go check my mail...
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: stout_fan on November 27, 2009, 01:38:57 PM
I'm generally OK with the city water (-chlorine). So for my fresh hopped IIPA I decided to do my first water adjustments. To this John Palmer will say "Finally, about time!"

However, the chloride is so high from road salt the necessary Sulfate additions from Epson Salts would have pushed it into the diuretic zone. That's not a good thing for beer. So I toned down the ratio to a less toxic version. IIRC I got it balanced.

The proper thing would be to do about 50% RO water and then have the ratio 1:2 the other way. But it was late, and the idea of buying 10 gallons of distilled water was offensive to my incredibly thin wallet.
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: tfries on November 27, 2009, 05:37:11 PM
That's my guess, too.  Generally, the water is fairly soft and not noxious!

I'm lucky in that my well water is fantastic for both brewing and drinking.

Yeah Denny, the profile of your well is pretty ideal.  Our well water has very little of anything in it and I always felt that our beers were a bit harsh.  We started adjusting the water about a year ago and since then the beers have been much better.
Title: Re: Various water recipes
Post by: denny on November 27, 2009, 05:39:11 PM
Such are the vagaries of well water, huh, Tom?  You and I live just a few miles apart, but our water is really different.  On Teach Day, a couple other people who live close by mentioned that their efficiency was up to 10 points higher than normal.  We were speculating that it might be due to the change in water.