Author Topic: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile  (Read 2701 times)

Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2450
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« on: December 21, 2012, 08:29:31 AM »
Hey all -

I've always used the "Yellow-Bitter" profile, but on a whim last time, I used the "Pale Ale Profile" in martin's sheet last IPA and I don't think I really cared for it - beer tasted a bit too minerally, sharp and the body was not what I was used to.   Could be other factors, but I am a little gun-shy to use that profile again.

Am brewing IPA again today and tomorrow for a big local festival, and was thinking of this instead:

8gal Mashwater:

starting with RO: add 10gm gypsum, 4.4 epsom, 2.6gm CaCl

resulting profile:

101.5 Ca
14.3 Mg
8.0 Na
242.0 SO4
46.1 Cl
16.0 Bicarb

Expected pH 5.3

I like the initial look of this prior to brewing since i still get a high Sulfate vs. Chloride ratio and more importantly, the bicarb is low while in the PA profile its almost 110. 

Thoughts?
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2012, 09:07:09 AM »
I'd scale back the epsom. You only want about 5mg/L of Mg.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline michaeltrego

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 30
    • View Profile
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2012, 10:03:34 AM »
I would go with only 5g gypsum and 2.5g CaCl.  I once attempted to augment the Mg in my soft water with Epsom and didn't like the resulting taste.  So I don't worry about Mg anymore.  Per Martin: "A typical barley or wheat mash grist should contribute more than 5 ppm magnesium to the wort for proper yeast flocculation so it should not be necessary to add magnesium to brewing water unless desired for its flavor effects. "

Offline morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5669
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2012, 11:15:35 AM »
I'll give a +1 on skipping the epsom. never used it and never had a problem with the yeast not floccing
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline mabrungard

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1094
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2012, 11:42:13 AM »
That modest Mg content is probably not going to alter the taste that much.  The main objection is probably the sulfate and calcium.  The bicarbonate is there only as necessary to produce an acceptable mash pH.  I assume Paul adjusted it up or down to meet the needs of his mash. 

If that Pale Ale profile was not to your liking, I would reduce the sulfate even lower than 242 ppm.  A 60 ppm reduction is not that significant if you were used to (and liked) about 100 ppm.  I'd drop it to about 200, since that is midway. 

Remember if you find water profiles that are more to your liking, custom water profiles can be entered into the water profile table on the Water Adjustment sheet.  The table even has the ability to error check your ion totals to make sure that you enter a reasonably 'balanced' set of ion inputs.   

By the way, I'll be brewing my next SNPA using the yellow bitter profile.  I've always used the Pale Ale profile and like it, but AJ kept hounding me that better pale ales can be made with lower sulfate content.  I'll be finding out.  The good thing is that I can always add additional gypsum to the keg if I don't like the low sulfate taste!
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

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

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook for occasional discussions on brewing water and Bru'n Water

Offline Alewyfe

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 344
  • Fighting for Truth, Justice & Home Brew
    • View Profile
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2012, 12:08:06 PM »
That modest Mg content is probably not going to alter the taste that much.  The main objection is probably the sulfate and calcium.  The bicarbonate is there only as necessary to produce an acceptable mash pH.  I assume Paul adjusted it up or down to meet the needs of his mash. 

If that Pale Ale profile was not to your liking, I would reduce the sulfate even lower than 242 ppm.  A 60 ppm reduction is not that significant if you were used to (and liked) about 100 ppm.  I'd drop it to about 200, since that is midway. 

Remember if you find water profiles that are more to your liking, custom water profiles can be entered into the water profile table on the Water Adjustment sheet.  The table even has the ability to error check your ion totals to make sure that you enter a reasonably 'balanced' set of ion inputs.   

By the way, I'll be brewing my next SNPA using the yellow bitter profile.  I've always used the Pale Ale profile and like it, but AJ kept hounding me that better pale ales can be made with lower sulfate content.  I'll be finding out.  The good thing is that I can always add additional gypsum to the keg if I don't like the low sulfate taste!

Post your tasting conclusions when done. I'm interested in your conclusion/opinion.
Diane
Roseburg, Oregon
Member: Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild
             Cascade Brewers Society
             AHA

"Growing old is mandatory. Growing up? Definitely optional!"

Offline woodlandbrew

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
    • Woodland Brew
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2012, 04:32:14 PM »
Another +1 for lowering the Epsom.  Maybe bring up the CaSO4 to get the SO4 level you are looking for?  Both the yeast and the mash generally like Calcium.

Here are the basics I follow:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/2012/11/basic-water-chemistry.html
Brewing Engineering is avalible at Amazon

Offline richardt

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1227
    • View Profile
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2012, 05:17:09 PM »
That modest Mg content is probably not going to alter the taste that much.  The main objection is probably the sulfate and calcium.  The bicarbonate is there only as necessary to produce an acceptable mash pH.  I assume Paul adjusted it up or down to meet the needs of his mash. 

If that Pale Ale profile was not to your liking, I would reduce the sulfate even lower than 242 ppm.  A 60 ppm reduction is not that significant if you were used to (and liked) about 100 ppm.  I'd drop it to about 200, since that is midway. 

Remember if you find water profiles that are more to your liking, custom water profiles can be entered into the water profile table on the Water Adjustment sheet.  The table even has the ability to error check your ion totals to make sure that you enter a reasonably 'balanced' set of ion inputs.   

By the way, I'll be brewing my next SNPA using the yellow bitter profile.  I've always used the Pale Ale profile and like it, but AJ kept hounding me that better pale ales can be made with lower sulfate content.  I'll be finding out.  The good thing is that I can always add additional gypsum to the keg if I don't like the low sulfate taste!

This may be a situation where tastes and genetics collide.  I don't consider myself a super taster, but, with repect to sulfur aromas, I may be one.  I personally intensely dislike sulfate aromas regardless of source (e.g., water or yeast strain) as it evokes "septic" and "rot/decay" perceptions--i.e., unpleasant and not something I want to put in my mouth.  I think you'll find AJ's suggestion to be a good one.  I routinely use the more balanced SO4:Cl levels (usually around 50-60 ppm) on the "yellow, balanced" profile, while keeping ca levels over 50 ppm.  I think if one is brewing an APA, and agrees with the notion of using clean ale yeast (e.g., WY1056), and restraint with the grain bill with respect to specialty and crystal malts, then why wouldn't one want to use a "cleaner" (i.e., less minerally) water profile?  Let the focus be on the hop bitterness, flavor, and aromas.  IMO, AJ is definitely right on this point.

Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2450
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2013, 09:56:14 AM »
I am tempted to try Stone's water profile (with adjustments for pH if necessary) as stated in Koch's book:

30ppm Ca
12ppm Mg
85ppm Sulfate
40ppm Sodium

The low Ca and high Na are scary though.
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4522
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2013, 10:51:18 AM »
I am tempted to try Stone's water profile (with adjustments for pH if necessary) as stated in Koch's book:

30ppm Ca
12ppm Mg
85ppm Sulfate
40ppm Sodium

The low Ca and high Na are scary though.

When we toured Stone, the guide said that the tap water was blended with RO, 50:50. I am too lazy to look up the water profile for that part of the country, but they get a fair amount from the Colorado River, which is full of minerals. The profile above may be what they have in the HLT.

There was also a shipping pallet stacked high with a 50 Lb bags of Gypsum and Calcium Chloride. I assume they use those minerals to adjust for the beer they are brewing.

I think you have to experiment and find what works for you.

Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline mabrungard

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1094
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2013, 11:06:42 AM »
I am tempted to try Stone's water profile (with adjustments for pH if necessary) as stated in Koch's book:

30ppm Ca
12ppm Mg
85ppm Sulfate
40ppm Sodium

The low Ca and high Na are scary though.

When we toured Stone, the guide said that the tap water was blended with RO, 50:50. I am too lazy to look up the water profile for that part of the country, but they get a fair amount from the Colorado River, which is full of minerals. The profile above may be what they have in the HLT.

There was also a shipping pallet stacked high with a 50 Lb bags of Gypsum and Calcium Chloride. I assume they use those minerals to adjust for the beer they are brewing.


40 ppm sodium is not that high.  Don't worry too much about that.

The Colorado River water quality is not too good for brewing.  Ask any Las Vegan or Los Angeleno.  Diluting with RO is a reasonable alternative. 

Hmm??? I have no idea what a brewer would do with bags of minerals!  ;-)
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

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

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook for occasional discussions on brewing water and Bru'n Water

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4522
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2013, 11:23:28 AM »
I am tempted to try Stone's water profile (with adjustments for pH if necessary) as stated in Koch's book:

30ppm Ca
12ppm Mg
85ppm Sulfate
40ppm Sodium

The low Ca and high Na are scary though.

When we toured Stone, the guide said that the tap water was blended with RO, 50:50. I am too lazy to look up the water profile for that part of the country, but they get a fair amount from the Colorado River, which is full of minerals. The profile above may be what they have in the HLT.

There was also a shipping pallet stacked high with a 50 Lb bags of Gypsum and Calcium Chloride. I assume they use those minerals to adjust for the beer they are brewing.


40 ppm sodium is not that high.  Don't worry too much about that.

The Colorado River water quality is not too good for brewing.  Ask any Las Vegan or Los Angeleno.  Diluting with RO is a reasonable alternative. 

Hmm??? I have no idea what a brewer would do with bags of minerals!  ;-)

Having bathed in Colorado river water for 15 days once, I can say it is wet in a grimy way. The drinking water was run through a .2 micron filter, IIRC. Not good for bathing and was not the best drinking water either.

The Colorado picks up minerals through the Red Rock country, as it goes through the Paradox basin (salt), Gypsum from deposits in Canyonlands NP, and of course the Red Rock gives it the calcium carbonate that binds the sandstone together. There is also a little radioactive run off - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moab_uranium_mill_tailings_pile



Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline beersk

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1871
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 01:17:19 PM »
I can tell that Stone's water is higher in sodium, but also thought the sulfate would be higher. I think the thing my IPA's have been missing is sulfate...I tend to not go much above 100ppm. I should actually try 150-200ppm in a recipe I know and see if it makes the hops "pop" a little more. Thoughts?
Watch out for those Cross Dressing Amateurs!

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 909
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2013, 07:28:38 AM »

The Colorado River water quality is not too good for brewing.  Ask any Las Vegan or Los Angeleno.  Diluting with RO is a reasonable alternative. 

Really? I remember the last time or two I was in Vegas I tasted the water and thought it actually had a decent enough taste that it could be used for brewing, unlike the hard and heavily chlorinated water here in Dallas.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4522
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2013, 07:57:27 AM »

The Colorado River water quality is not too good for brewing.  Ask any Las Vegan or Los Angeleno.  Diluting with RO is a reasonable alternative. 

Really? I remember the last time or two I was in Vegas I tasted the water and thought it actually had a decent enough taste that it could be used for brewing, unlike the hard and heavily chlorinated water here in Dallas.

LV has a hardness of 288, which is high-ish. The alkalinity, Na, Cl and SO4 would be more concerns for some beers.
http://www.lvvwd.com/assets/pdf/wq_summary_lvvwd.pdf
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!