Author Topic: Bohemian Pilsner Water question  (Read 3516 times)

Offline beerstache

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Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« on: December 31, 2011, 03:58:20 PM »
I'm going to make a Bohemian Pils soon and was reading Brewing Classic Styles "To George" recipe and Jamil recommends not using all Reverse Osmosis water as it "lacks the buffering capacity and necessary minerals for all grain brewing".
Then I read Josh Brengle's recipe for a pilsner in the Sept./Oct. issue of Zymurgy in which he used 100% R/O water.
I'm a little confused, should I use 100% R/O water without any adjustments or should there be some adjustments?
My well water has moderate carbonate levels and alkalinity, would a 50/50 blend be O.K.?
Thanks

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2011, 05:27:59 PM »
Yes.

Quote
Water from a variety of sources is used in the production of ‘Černá Hora’ beer. In terms of hardness,
this water is considered soft to medium-hard.

This is a quote from EU Product Origin file.
Černá Hora is about 40 Miles east from Prague.

Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2011, 05:37:53 PM »
Here is another quote:
Quote
Water — For production of "České pivo", water from local sources is used. The hardness of the water used for brewing is assessed as soft to medium-hard.

České pivo = Czech Beer
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2011, 08:25:51 PM »
I'm glad to see the responses that essentially confirm my findings. Better beer will always be made with adequate calcium content. As mentioned above, a moderately hard water is suitable for Boh Pils brewing.

My findings indicate that a minimum calcium content of 40 ppm provides several benefits. Yeast performance and beer clearing are improved and the production of beerstone is reduced or eliminated at that minimum level. Bumping that to 50 ppm seems to be the consensus minimum calcium concentration. I'm not willing to go there yet, but its similar to my minimum.

40 ppm calcium represents a hardness level of 100 ppm as CaCO3 which happens to be classified as a moderately hard water. I'd say that is a decent affirmation of using a calcium level in that range.  Even AJ Delange recommends a minimum calcium concentration in his writings and recommendations.  AJ is rather skilled and knowledgible in European Light Lagers and I consider this another confirmation of brewing light lagers with a moderate calcium level.

I do have caution with regard to brewing with percentages of typical tap water. Those tap waters may have significant alkalinity and that could carry through to the brewing water if the percentage of tap water is elevated. The typical Boh Pils grist will not perform well with too much alkalinity. This might be a time when the percentage of alkaline tap water should be limited and any calcium need in the brewing water is supplemented with calcium chloride.

Enjoy!

(ps: The original post was created from my phone.  I've clarified the language and spelling since)
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 08:27:43 AM by mabrungard »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2012, 07:53:04 AM »
On Monday we brewed a Bohemian Pils. 100% RO water was used.  CaCL2 was added to get 50 ppm of Ca into the mash and sparge water. 

Brewing Classic styles doesn't go much into water chemistry.  It is geared to that anyone can make the recipes, note that the base recipe is extract and all grain is the advanced option.
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Offline redzim

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2012, 12:56:38 PM »
On Monday we brewed a Bohemian Pils. 100% RO water was used.  CaCL2 was added to get 50 ppm of Ca into the mash and sparge water. 

Care to share your final water chemistry numbers, in ppm?  For my last Boh Pils (the one I sent you, Jeff), I added gypsum, epsom, and CaCl2 to distilled water to get  40ppm Ca, 2ppm Mg, zero Na, 13ppm sulfates, 67ppm chlorides.  RA computed to -30.

Mash pH was 5.2 (I had added 1% of total grist as acidulated malt, might skip that next time to increase pH a little)

-red

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 02:31:58 PM »
The RO water I use came back from Ward Labs with everything listed as < 1ppm. 

The CaCl2 additions got it to Ca=50.4, Cl=89.3 ppm.  Real simple.

The one I did last year had some Epsom salt added for yeast health, and some dinged it for Sulfate in the flavor.  Let us see if they do that this year.  Many say the mash will give enough Mg, so I am trying that.
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Offline redzim

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2012, 02:46:20 PM »
Do you use acidulated malt, or just 100% pilsner?


Offline beerstache

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2012, 03:26:44 PM »
Jeff,
Could you figure out how much Cal. Chloride I need for 7 Gal. R/O water to get the results you got?  Would that be in Grams or ounces?
Thanks to everyone for your knowledge on this subject, chemistry is not my strong point!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2012, 06:13:59 PM »
Red - 100% Weyermann's Bohemian Floor Malted Pilsner.

beerstache - it was 0.7 grams/gallon of CaCl2, so that is 4.9 grams for 7 gallons of water.  You need to treat the sparge water too.  Hope you have a scale that has a fine resolution.

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Offline beerstache

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 03:40:37 PM »
Thanks Jeff!  I'm going to try a 60/40 blend of R/O and my tap water and see how that turns out.  If i'm not satisfied, I'll try your method on the next batch.  Nice to see another Michigander!  I'm up near Traverse City myself.

Online boulderbrewer

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2012, 10:00:54 PM »
Jeff, I'd be interested in how the hop flavor comes through, I would guess your Bopils will taste flabby . Personally I would get to 40 ppm Ca with the SO4 being twice the Cl2, Don't forget your anions!
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2012, 08:00:55 AM »
Jeff, I'd be interested in how the hop flavor comes through, I would guess your Bopils will taste flabby . Personally I would get to 40 ppm Ca with the SO4 being twice the Cl2, Don't forget your anions!

That is about where I was last year, and the beer was dinged for sulfate harshness.  SO4 and Cl were both about 60 ppm. You can look up what AJ deLange says about sulfates and Noble hops.  His beers with low or no sulfate are usually picked out as better for hop quality in blind tastings vs ones that have a high sulfate (don't know how high).

We will see how this one turn out.  It has been a while, but the PU in Prague was outstanding, one of the best beers I have ever had.

I have read somewherer that the brewers in Pilsen add CaCl2 to get the Calcium up in the 40-50 ppm range.  The water there has sulfate values of 8 ppm. 
 
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2012, 10:13:46 AM »
Although PU is assertively bittered, I'm with Jeff and AJ in keeping the sulfate level for this beer style lower than recommended by Boulderbrewer.  You might get away with that in a German Pils. 
Martin B
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Bohemian Pilsner Water question
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2012, 02:23:38 PM »
Although PU is assertively bittered, I'm with Jeff and AJ in keeping the sulfate level for this beer style lower than recommended by Boulderbrewer.  You might get away with that in a German Pils. 

I will say that you can get away with sulfates in a German Pils.  I have used Kai's Pils water and the beer scored pretty high.  Many of the Pils I have had in Germany have a mineral finish also, maybe from sulfate.

I have not brewed that many Czeck Pils, so still getting that one dialed in.
Jeff Rankert
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