Author Topic: Building Water  (Read 3907 times)

Offline klickitat jim

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Building Water
« on: November 01, 2013, 08:59:09 AM »
I have very little chemistry knowledge. My well water seems to make good beer. If there is a weakness I would say it's when trying to bring out maltiness in light colored beers.

I tried reading the Brun water page and it was largely over my head. The calculator wouldn't work on my smart phone. But I found the calculator on brewersfriend.com/water-chemistry and I THINK I figured it out.

I know that I need to get a Ward test done on my water but meanwhile I thought I'd try this water building everyone talks about.

Using the brewers friend page, with 100% distilled water, and the Light/Malty profile, this is what I came up with.
9 gallons total water
3 grams gypsum
6 grams calcium chloride
.5 g Epsom
.5 g canning salt

Does that sound right?
Does this all go in the mash, or do you treat all of the water first then divide it up into mash and sparge?
Anything essential that I'm missing?

Thanks

Offline beersk

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 09:13:46 AM »
I'd say skip the epsom and canning salt, it's really not necessary. But definitely use Bru'n water, it's awesome. I use 100% RO and usually only add a couple grams of either gypsum or calcium chloride or a combination of both in the mash water. For your sparge water, you won't need to make any adjustments and can add your flavoring salts to the kettle before bringing to a boil.
Watch out for those Cross Dressing Amateurs!

Jesse

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 09:19:16 AM »
I can't get Brun water program to work on my phone, which is my only computer.

So you're saying add the gypsum and calcium chloride to the mash water. What are the flavor salts you add to the kettle?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 09:21:13 AM »
With our water in the PNW, you already have an awesome base to go from.  Start with your well water and add some CaCl for malty beers, and CaSO4 for hoppy beers.  You don't need to add any Mg or Na to your water, so I would leave out the epsom and canning salts.

For a light malty beer I would add 1 gram per gallon of CaCl to your mash - that will give you lots of Ca for the mash enzymes and a pretty high level of Cl.  Don't add anything to the sparge water.  You will end up with less CaCl in your final beer because sparging will dilute it.

There are lots of ways to do it, but I prefer this method.

If you really want to play with building your water go for it, but I think it is a waste of time since we have such a nice base to start from here.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2013, 09:28:14 AM »
I'd say skip the epsom and canning salt, it's really not necessary. But definitely use Bru'n water, it's awesome. I use 100% RO and usually only add a couple grams of either gypsum or calcium chloride or a combination of both in the mash water. For your sparge water, you won't need to make any adjustments and can add your flavoring salts to the kettle before bringing to a boil.
+1
Jon H.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2013, 09:36:42 AM »
With our water in the PNW, you already have an awesome base to go from.  Start with your well water and add some CaCl for malty beers, and CaSO4 for hoppy beers.  You don't need to add any Mg or Na to your water, so I would leave out the epsom and canning salts.

For a light malty beer I would add 1 gram per gallon of CaCl to your mash - that will give you lots of Ca for the mash enzymes and a pretty high level of Cl.  Don't add anything to the sparge water.  You will end up with less CaCl in your final beer because sparging will dilute it.

There are lots of ways to do it, but I prefer this method.

If you really want to play with building your water go for it, but I think it is a waste of time since we have such a nice base to start from here.

One gram per gallon of mash water or total water?

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2013, 09:45:15 AM »
With our water in the PNW, you already have an awesome base to go from.  Start with your well water and add some CaCl for malty beers, and CaSO4 for hoppy beers.  You don't need to add any Mg or Na to your water, so I would leave out the epsom and canning salts.

For a light malty beer I would add 1 gram per gallon of CaCl to your mash - that will give you lots of Ca for the mash enzymes and a pretty high level of Cl.  Don't add anything to the sparge water.  You will end up with less CaCl in your final beer because sparging will dilute it.

There are lots of ways to do it, but I prefer this method.

If you really want to play with building your water go for it, but I think it is a waste of time since we have such a nice base to start from here.
I am really envious of the good water you guys have.  The Midwest is pretty much RO/Bru'nWater territory.  But at least it works well.
Jon H.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2013, 10:33:19 AM »
First of all, your brewing water in a vacuum is only part of the story. You need to know the grain bill to get the complete picture. I use both BrunWater and Kai's advanced calculator on Brewer's Friend ( http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-chemistry-and-brewing-water-calculator/ ). It's a bit more complicated, but I think you'll get better results using something that takes your grist into account.

Like all other aspects of homebrewing, water is as complicated as you want to make it, and you can read all you want but nothing beats some hands-on experimentation to really understand what's going on.

I started by doing my best to nail a water profile dead-on using Gypsum, CaCl, Table Salt and Epsom Salt. But after time I have pared back to just using Gypsum and CaCl, with either acid or baking soda to adjust pH as needed. I did notice a small difference in some beers with the added sodium or magnesium, but not a lot - and not in every beer. They're nice to have in my toolkit if I ever felt like something was missing in a recipe, but they're not something I'd reach for by default.

I'd recommend starting with the Brewer's Friend Advanced calculator to start, as it seems a little more accessible to the entry-level brewer. Just focus on getting your Calcium, Chloride, Sulfate and pH in the right range to start. Start with Gypsum and CaCl, then add acid or lime/baking soda (if needed) to hit your pH.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2013, 11:00:12 AM »
Thanks for the info. With my well water I have no ph issues. What I think I will do is try tschmidlins advice for pnw water. If that doesn't fix it I'll try brewing a light malty with distilled and the brewers friend advanced

Offline beersk

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2013, 11:10:39 AM »
Thanks for the info. With my well water I have no ph issues. What I think I will do is try tschmidlins advice for pnw water. If that doesn't fix it I'll try brewing a light malty with distilled and the brewers friend advanced
Good luck, man. Like erockprh said, water is as complicated as you want to make it. I've been resisting buying a pH meter and just use Bru'n water. I've been happy with my beers.
Watch out for those Cross Dressing Amateurs!

Jesse

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2013, 11:12:17 AM »
Thanks for the info. With my well water I have no ph issues. What I think I will do is try tschmidlins advice for pnw water. If that doesn't fix it I'll try brewing a light malty with distilled and the brewers friend advanced
Good luck, man. Like erockprh said, water is as complicated as you want to make it. I've been resisting buying a pH meter and just use Bru'n water. I've been happy with my beers.
+1.  Same here.
Jon H.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2013, 12:38:23 PM »
I use bottled water exclusively and just add a teaspoon of CaCl to the mash for might lightest color beers.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline punatic

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2013, 01:40:49 PM »
I just take some O2 molecules, mix them up good with twice as many H2 molecules, add some heat, and voilà... water. 

Easy speasy, 1,2,threesy.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2013, 01:46:04 PM »
I use bottled water exclusively and just add a teaspoon of CaCl to the mash for might lightest color beers.

just to be clear, this is not a recipe for 'no problems'. unless you know the tap that bottled water came out of you aren't really in any better shape. Not all bottled water is created equal. Some may even contain chlorine or chloramines. Some may not be all that sanitary. There are frighteningly few rules around bottled water.

"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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Offline punatic

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2013, 01:56:12 PM »
Not all bottled water is created equal. Some may even contain chlorine or chloramines. Some may not be all that sanitary. There are frighteningly few rules around bottled water.

Absolutely not true.  Bottled water is highly regulated by the FDA, and does not contain chlorine nor chloramine.  Ozone is used for disinfectant by some.  (I am in the bottled water business.)

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