Author Topic: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?  (Read 3445 times)

Offline trentmark

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Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« on: December 14, 2012, 09:26:49 AM »
Water chemistry boggles my mind. I have been trying to build mash and sparge water from RO water. The RO water from my local water store has a pH of 6.5 and typically has 30 ppm of god only know what. I have been using an online spreadsheet to try to calculate salt additions but I don’t feel good about the results. My mash pH comes in a little high at 5.6. Since I am trying to extract a highly fermentable wort, I am shooting for 5.4. I have not been treating my sparge water and the sparge is fine reaching 5.7 by the end. I fly sparge.  However, my boil pH is high at 5.5. I have been lowering the mash pH to target and the boil pH to 5.1 with acid. I am getting excellent extraction efficiency but the final product seems to be a little harsh, from the hops I think. This weekend I am brewing a Saison. I have a full line of salts and an accurate balance. Could someone recommend mash and sparge water salt additions for this grain bill and hop profile: 59% Begian Pils-2L, 9.82% Vienna-3.5L, 9.82% Munich-10L, 4.91% flaked wheat-1.6L, 2.15% Special B-180L, 2.15% Special Roast-50L, and 12.27% dextrose. I expect a SRM of 8.7. Hops will be 3 oz. of Kent Goldings – 60 minutes, 2 oz. of Styrian Goldings – 15 minutes and 2 oz. – Styrian Goldings at flame out for an expected IBU of 32.5 (Tinseth’s method). I expect an original gravity of 1.057.  This is a 12 gallon batch and I will use 4 gallons of mash water up to 15 gallons of sparge water. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.
 

Offline blatz

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 09:46:07 AM »
download Martin brungard's sheet (google bru'n water) -its very straightforward, easy to use and Martin is one of the most informative contributors on brewing water, IMO.
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Offline garc_mall

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 09:54:10 AM »
download Martin brungard's sheet (google bru'n water) -its very straightforward, easy to use and Martin is one of the most informative contributors on brewing water, IMO.

This.

As far as I understand, put more calcium in your mash. And for sure treat your sparge water with some acid (Lactic or Sulfuric). But I really don't know what I am talking about, I just use bru'n water.
In a Keg: Flanders Red Ale, Rye Altbier, Cascade/Topaz Pale
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Offline nateo

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 10:28:49 AM »
Americans obsess over brewing water. I don't think it's really all that important, in the grand scheme of things. Use a light touch. Only add stuff if you have a specific reason to do so. All things being equal, I've had the best results just by using the least-mineralized water I can. Make sure you hit your target pH though (use acid if you need to), because that can make a big difference.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 10:36:33 AM »
Read the water knowledge section in Bru'nwater. Read it again. It has good information that will sink in. It worked for me.

As far as what you should do, you need to know your origin (the water analysis) before starting the journey (adjustments). The grist determines the route you take.

You could send your RO to Ward Labs for analysis. I did, and the results are in the 3rd post in this thread (first number in each entry, tap water is the second). I think you could say the levels are all low (3 ppm?)and go with it.

The pH of the water is not important, the mash pH is. Martin's spread sheet should help you hit the target pH. It is a little hard to do it for you, as you did not include the batch size, or more directly the weights for the grist.


Jeff Rankert
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 10:45:27 AM »
+eleventy for Bru'n Water and the man behind it. Thanks Martin for helping us all out!
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2012, 11:27:40 AM »
Americans obsess over brewing water. I don't think it's really all that important, in the grand scheme of things. Use a light touch. Only add stuff if you have a specific reason to do so. All things being equal, I've had the best results just by using the least-mineralized water I can. Make sure you hit your target pH though (use acid if you need to), because that can make a big difference.

+1 on what Nate says.  But unfortunately, not all brewers have a low mineralized water source and have to use what they have.  Sometimes its a disaster in waiting and all a brewer can do is screw it up more.  But until the brewer has a decent idea of what is in their water, any way could be the wrong way to go. 

I suppose another aspect that Nate is alluding to is the quest that some brewers have for using a water profile from a historic brewing city.  That can be a bad idea too. 

Nate's overall sentiment to use low mineralization is very sound though.  God has smiled on those of you that have a water source with little mineralization. 
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Offline nateo

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2012, 11:39:29 AM »
God has smiled on those of you that have a water source with little mineralization.

I buy RO for my light lagers, but lime softening is "good enough" for everything else.

I've learned a lot from talking to German brewers (pro and amateur). As far as I can tell, they only really care about alkalinity, and don't futz with their water nearly as much as we do. They also despise inorganic acids, so take their advice FWIW.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline liquidbrewing

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2012, 04:41:38 PM »
Is your tap water that bad that you can't brew with?
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2012, 04:45:40 PM »
Is your tap water that bad that you can't brew with?

If I liked to brew only stouts I might give it a try. The RA is 200.
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Online Kaiser

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2012, 05:32:33 PM »
I've learned a lot from talking to German brewers (pro and amateur). As far as I can tell, they only really care about alkalinity, and don't futz with their water nearly as much as we do. They also despise inorganic acids, so take their advice FWIW.

I think we (homebrewers) fuzz a lot about water b/c we have the time to so so. I don't mess with my water nearly as much anymore than I used to when I was actively researching the topic. Just recently I brewed my Schwarzbier again. This time I dissed the idea of using my RO water and simply used my Munich like well water for mashing and the RO water for sparging.

Kai

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2012, 09:49:53 PM »
I have made a few this year with just a couple tsp of gypsum or CaCl2 depending on the beer. RDWHAHB.
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Offline liquidbrewing

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2012, 10:12:17 PM »
 Send your water in to Ward Labs.  Knowing the chemistry of your water will help you build your water.  Is your beer absolutely terrible?  If you're making good beer sometimes, then there are other things to look at.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 10:17:01 PM by liquidbrewing »
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Offline liquidbrewing

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2012, 10:19:12 PM »
Is your tap water that bad that you can't brew with?

If I liked to brew only stouts I might give it a try. The RA is 200.

I was asking the OP, if it wasn't that obvious.
Justin
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2012, 10:27:37 PM »
Is your tap water that bad that you can't brew with?

If I liked to brew only stouts I might give it a try. The RA is 200.

I was asking the OP, if it wasn't that obvious.
Sorry, pointing out that some have terrible water and are forced to use RO.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!