Author Topic: Dry stout water profile  (Read 1117 times)

cornershot

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Dry stout water profile
« on: September 25, 2013, 09:41:03 PM »
I was listening to Martin's historic brewing water talk podcast from NHC 2013 and just as he was about to advise on brewing a dry stout my service cut out and I couldn't get it to replay. Anyway, he said Guinness brews with RO water and adds dark grains after the mash. Do they use straight RO or do they build it up? What's a good relatively soft water profile for a dry stout with the roasted barley added at the end of the mash? The best dry stout(I've made many) I ever made was with pure RO water with no salts added and roasted barley hot steeped and added after boil.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Dry stout water profile
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2013, 05:40:12 AM »
Al, your comments are timely.  Next month's Zymurgy will include an article on Irish water and includes the discussion on how and why Guinness brewing water is what it is (and Beamish, Murphy's, and Harp too).  They are all low mineralized waters.  This is quite a contrast to the hard and alkaline water that most homebrewers think is common for Ireland. 

The water quality typical at the St James Gate brewery is fairly similar to RO water...fairly low levels of all ions.  Typical RO water would need minor mineral additions to bring the ion concentrations up a bit, but they are still quite low.  I don't know if Guinness adds any minerals to their brewing liquor, but the most important factor is that water's low alkalinity.  That is the counter-intuitive aspect of this water.  We expect that stouts have to be made with higher alkalinity water.  For most stouts and porters, that need for alkalinity is true.  But for the dry stout style with its crisp acidic bite, low alkalinity water is a requirement.  You can either start with low alkalinity water or acidify the water to produce a lower than typical wort pH.  To stabilize their incoming water quality, Guinness implemented RO treatment so that they could use the variable quality Dublin water.  They didn't have to do that a hundred years ago since the water supply on their side of Dublin had low mineralization. 

The need to mash the base and roast components separately is due in part to that low alkalinity water.  Since a beer will be thinned out too much if the base malts are mashed at very low pH, mashing them without the acidic roast malts keeps that main mash pH higher and the body and fermentability is not impacted.  The separately-steeped roast malt component does produce a very acidic wort when low alkalinity water is used.  Those two components are combined in the kettle. I am not sure if Guinness combines those worts prior to or after the boil.     
Martin B
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Offline hubie

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Re: Dry stout water profile
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2013, 05:55:43 AM »
I am not sure if Guinness combines those worts prior to or after the boil.   

From a chemistry standpoint, would it matter?

cornershot

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Re: Dry stout water profile
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2013, 10:38:27 AM »
Thanks Martin!  Think I will use minimal salts and lactic acid to get my pH down to 5.0-5.2. A little Calcium chloride seems appropriate. Is gypsum? I'm not so sure. I preordered the water book from the AHA. Can't wait for it!

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Dry stout water profile
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2013, 10:59:29 AM »
From a chemistry standpoint, would it matter?

I don't know if there would be a significant difference in the beer flavor if the roast liquor was added pre- or post-boil.  There is clearly a difference when the roast is included in the main mash since it lowers the pH too much.  Anyone with any knowledge of the effect of adding this liquor before or after the boil?

Regarding the chloride and sulfate levels, the evidence suggests that the water that Guinness used probably had roughly 20 ppm chloride and sulfate each.  The evidence from water out of the Liffey River suggests that it also provides about 20 ppm chloride, but the sulfate level may be around 50 ppm.  In both cases, those levels are low.  I think a balanced ratio (1:1) of sulfate and chloride is a safe starting point.  If that beer is not dry enough, increasing the sulfate level to provide about a 2:1 ratio may be prudent.  Still low, but clearly sulfate should be a component of the water.  Remember sulfate is not really a 'bitterness' provider, it is a 'dryness' provider and that allows more perception of bitterness in beer.
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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cornershot

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Re: Dry stout water profile
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2013, 11:15:34 AM »
Thanks again! Dry stout is in my top 5 styles and I've been trying to dial mine in for a few years, perhaps a dozen batches. I think the correct water profile is all that's missing. I plan on adding the hot steeped roast barley liquor post boil. To me roast barley tastes like coffee and while I love coffee, I don't love it boiled. I like to have my roast barley liquor chilled and add it toward the end of the chilling process to aid in cooling the wort. Pumped to brew this one!

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Dry stout water profile
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2013, 11:52:14 AM »
Very helpful.  Thanks Martin ! Gonna have one ready for March (of course).
Jon H.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Dry stout water profile
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2013, 12:55:48 PM »
But today is Arthur's Day.  Set your alarms for 4:59 to start drinking.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2013/sep/24/arthurs-day-ireland-dark-side-guinness
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Dry stout water profile
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2013, 01:22:25 PM »
Sounds like a contrived brewing conglomerate "holiday".  OTOH my arm doesn't get twisted too hard to have a Guinness !
Jon H.

cornershot

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Re: Dry stout water profile
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2013, 07:45:36 PM »
Anyone have any experience with Ireland malting co. stout malt?