Author Topic: Gratzer Water  (Read 2039 times)

Offline mabrungard

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Gratzer Water
« on: November 09, 2012, 10:50:54 AM »
I just finished reading the excellent article on the smoked wheat beer, Gratzer in the Nov/Dec 2012 Zymurgy issue.  Since a Gratz water profile was included in the article, it got my interest. 

As with many water profiles from historic brewing cities, the uninformed use of those water profiles can get you into trouble.  The Gratz profiles included in the article are cases in point.  Of those Well samples in the article, only Well #2 comes close to balancing and it requires an assumption to achieve that balance.  The assumption comes for the Alkalinity.  Unfortunately, it appears that the alkalinity should have been labeled HCO3 instead since the profile does not come close to balancing with 325 ppm (as CaCO3) Alkalinity.  So, the Gratz water profile can be reasonably assumed to have the following profile:

Ca:      121 ppm
Mg:      31 ppm
Na:      32 ppm
SO4:    145 ppm
Cl:       67 ppm
HCO3:  320 ppm

Fortunately in the case of this light-colored wheat beer, trying to duplicate the bicarbonate (HCO3) content is pointless.  That water is far too alkaline to brew this pale beer.  Fortunately, the simple process of boiling the Gratz water would result in the following profile that is more suited to brewing this style:

Ca:       45 ppm
Mg:       31 ppm
Na:       32 ppm
SO4:     145 ppm
Cl:        67 ppm
HCO3:   80 ppm

This reduces the alkalinity significantly and creates Residual Alkalinity conditions that are reasonably suited for brewing this beer.  The article goes on to say that an Acid Rest was used in the brewing.  That should further neutralize the HCO3 and make the water more suited to this pale style and make the finished beer more tart and spritzy.  That effect can be parroted with a minor addition of lactic acid.  I'd say enough acid to neutralize about 20 to 30 ppm of the HCO3. 

This sure looks like an interesting beer.  I love session and smoked beers and this should be something enjoyable.  Try it out with these water recommendations and you should be in the ball park. 

That entire issue was really enjoyable and information packed.  If you are not an AHA member, I can assure you that AHA dues provide quite a return.  Seriously consider joining. 
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

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Offline Mark G

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Re: Gratzer Water
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 11:26:58 AM »
Thanks for the thoughtful analysis Martin. Next time I brew this I'll use your recommendations.
Mark Gres

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Gratzer Water
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 11:51:07 AM »
Martin,

I contacted Jill Reading with a question about the water, and then I heard from the author. I had asked if they boiled the water or used slaked lime, and he was unaware of any treatment. He did bring up the acid rest.

Last year we made a Graetzer using homesmoked malt, and used the yellow beer water profile. It was a very interesting beer. Next time I might try your modified Graetzer  water. The Weyermann malt will make it easier to brew!

One topic on it.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=13837.0

One I started.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=13830.0
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Online kmccaf

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Re: Gratzer Water
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 12:52:05 PM »
Thanks for the thoughtful analysis Martin. Next time I brew this I'll use your recommendations.

+1 This is great information. I will also be using this the next time I brew as well. Also, for those who haven't brewed this yet, it really pairs well with a lot of different meals.
So it goes.

Offline Pi

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Re: Gratzer Water
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2012, 07:11:09 AM »
I found the Weizenrauchmalz at Rebel Brewer and I'm going to brew it this weekend. I'm using WPL029 and going with Hallertaur.
Martin suggests boiling. Do i simply boil all my mash/sparge water (about 10 gal.) or do I need to decant as well?
Primary:Stella Rosemary IPA
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Offline nateo

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Re: Gratzer Water
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2012, 07:23:05 AM »
Martin suggests boiling. Do i simply boil all my mash/sparge water (about 10 gal.) or do I need to decant as well?

You would only pre-boil the water if you had water from Gratz, in order to reduce the temporary hardness. Just ignore the first water profile and target the second.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline mmitchem

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Re: Gratzer Water
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2012, 07:31:27 AM »
Boiling the water looks like the way to go for those of us that have really high amounts of HCO3. Is the reduction of HCO3 (and Ca from the data provided) linear based on the length of boil? For instance, can I accurately predict what my water's HCO3 and Ca levels would be after boiling for 15 minutes?
Michael P Mitchem
Beer and Ale Research Foundation (B.A.R.F.)
AHA Member since 2011