Author Topic: German Water Hardness  (Read 1529 times)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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German Water Hardness
« on: February 08, 2012, 09:18:29 PM »
I had run across this a while back and found it again while doing some Pilsners this year.  While one might think that water in Germany is soft like the Czeck Republic, you could be right or very wrong.

This map has the units of the German Hardness scale, which is related to the Ca and Mg content.  Not sure you can say much about SO4 or alkalinity, other than it varies also.

I find it corroborates my own tastes about the water where I lived which is one of the red areas along the Rhein - Wiesbaden if you know where that is.  Pretty mineral laden water was my thinking.

Just food for thought.  Maybe Martin will get a kick out of it.  ;)

http://www.wasser.de/inhalt.pl?kategorie=2000113
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Offline nateo

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Re: German Water Hardness
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2012, 10:55:58 PM »
IIRC Martin posted that they tended to have high temporary hardness, so relatively high alkalinity per hardness. Southern Germans decarbed by boiling, which is how those plucky Bayerners could make both dark and light beers.
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Offline brewmichigan

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Re: German Water Hardness
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 07:47:03 AM »
I know this is a little off topic but I was wondering where you get your water and what you do to it for a German pils versus and Czech pils.
Mike --- Flint, Michigan

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: German Water Hardness
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 08:19:44 AM »
I buy RO water for all of my brewing.

I adjust the Czeck Pils to 50 ppm Ca using CaCl2.

The German Pils and CAP use the Pilsner water recipe on braukaiser.com.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline johnf

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Re: German Water Hardness
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 08:20:32 AM »
Tried google translate and I am still not clear. Also I have never been quite straight on the German terminology. Is this carbonate hardness (alkalinity), calcium hardness (hardness proper), or the two added together or something?

If it includes alkalinity it is interesting how it differs from the US where we have one big fat high alkalinity region in the middle. You could have breweries 10 miles apart with very different water based on that map.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: German Water Hardness
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 09:47:17 AM »

I adjust the Czeck Pils to 50 ppm Ca using CaCl2.


AJ and I just had a discussion about Pilsen water and the American Lager water profile I have included in Bru'n Water.  Either of those profiles have very low calcium that defies the current thinking on the minimum calcium in water.  As we know, those beers tend to have a degree of delicateness that is probably due in part to the low mineralization in the water.  

It appears that there are a couple of reasons why you could get away with a much lower Ca content than 40 or 50 ppm.   First, I've stated in the past that it appears that a minimum of 40 ppm Ca is appropriate for reducing beerstone formation.  We also know that 50 ppm Ca is helpful for improving yeast health and flocculation performance.  In the case of fighting beerstone, the mega brewers have probably instituted strenuous clean-in-place protocols that reduce the formation of beerstone in the first place.  We homebrewers would have to weigh if we want to incurr the wrath of beerstone by reducing Ca much lower than 40 ppm.  In the case of yeast health and flocculation, we know that big breweries have no problem in pitching huge quantities of yeast.  Therefore, yeast health and growth are not a big concern for them.  We also know that big breweries have elaborate settling, fining, and filtering procedures, so they don't really have to worry about flocculation in their brewhouse.  Craft and home brewers might need to pay more heed to this factor.  

So it appears that you could work around lower Ca concentrations in your brewing if you are willing to deal with the hazards.  

Enjoy!
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 09:48:56 AM by mabrungard »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: German Water Hardness
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2012, 02:00:16 PM »
Tried google translate and I am still not clear. Also I have never been quite straight on the German terminology. Is this carbonate hardness (alkalinity), calcium hardness (hardness proper), or the two added together or something?

If it includes alkalinity it is interesting how it differs from the US where we have one big fat high alkalinity region in the middle. You could have breweries 10 miles apart with very different water based on that map.

I have been brushing up on my German, and saw that it was Ca and Mg in this graph. The area in Upper Franconia looks to have good water.  In the far north it is also soft, where Jever is.

Using the trusty Babelfish translator I got for the first paragraph:

The hardness of the water (water hardness), depends on the content of calcium and magnesium connections. The higher the content is, the harder is the water. The hardness of the water plays a substantial role when washing the laundry. The more softly the water, the less water softener (and/or detergents) are necessary with the laundry care. Please adhere with the dosage to the data of the detergent manufacturers.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: German Water Hardness
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 02:11:53 PM »
Ok this stuff is very confusing to me haha.

What would one be looking for in a hefeweizen as opposed to say a bock.
Jason
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: German Water Hardness
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2012, 02:32:13 PM »
Jim, for German beers I look to Kai's site for information like that.

Read the one for Weihenstephan for the light wheat, moderate alkaline for darker wheat beers.

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Various_water_recipes
Jeff Rankert
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Offline nateo

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Re: German Water Hardness
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 02:42:13 PM »
Jm: I used to be quite particular about my water chemistry. I take a more RDWHAHB approach now. After lime softening, my water is pretty similar to Kai's "moderate alkalinity" water profile, although a bit less alkalinity. I've done a number of mashes with only pale malt and the pH is rarely too high.

Perhaps my palate isn't refined enough, but I've made a few "delicate" beers with that water and have been happy with the results. I also seem to remember Thirsty Monk saying that in the Czech Rep. the water varies from soft to moderately hard, and that it's not true that all Pilsners require soft water.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: German Water Hardness
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2012, 03:47:04 PM »
It is hard to get rid off old wife tails.
Nateo thank you for listening.
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