Author Topic: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone  (Read 795 times)

Offline erockrph

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Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« on: February 17, 2014, 09:44:37 AM »
So a while back I was given an Old Peculier clone recipe that allegedly comes from someone's "Brewlab training and analysis" prof after a trip to the Theakston brewery. It includes some brewing water parameters. I'm typically in the "keep it simple" school of thought when it comes to water adjustments and typically keep my adjustments on the low side. But this water is seriously hard, and I've never come close to putting this much mineral adjustment in my water.

So my question to those of you who have brewed with hard water is A) does this look right to you? and B) is this going to taste OK?

Pertinant details below:

Original recipe as I received it:

Quote
Pale ale malt - 71%
Crystal malt (does not specify which) - 3%
Torrified wheat - 7%
Sucrose - 18%
DD Williamson Caramel Syrup - 1%

30 IBU from magnum hops
Late hops with fuggle ( does not specify what time to add)

Sulphate - 400 mg/l
chloride - 200 mg/l
calcium - 170 mg/l
alkalinity - 25

The caramel syrup is caramel coloring (similar to what you would find in something like cola) as far as I can tell. I was going to sub with black treacle, but I couldn't get any in time so I'm using 50-50 Lyle's Golden Syrup and Molasses instead. Here's the recipe I'm going to brew:

Quote
Style Name: Old Ale
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.042
Efficiency: 80% (brew house)

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.017
ABV (standard): 5.12%
IBU (tinseth): 29.35
SRM (morey): 22.19

FERMENTABLES:
3.75 lb - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (69%)
8 oz - Lyle's Golden Syrup (9.2%)
6 oz - Torrified Wheat (6.9%)
3 oz - United Kingdom - Extra Dark Crystal 160L (3.4%)
2 oz - American - Midnight Wheat Malt - (late addition)  (2.3%) <--for color adjustment
0.5 lb - Molasses (9.2%)

HOPS:
0.6 oz - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.2, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 29.35
0.75 oz - Challenger, Type: Pellet, AA: 4, Use: Boil for 0 min
0.65 oz - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.2, Use: Boil for 0 min

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 153 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 16 qt, Sacc Rest

YEAST:
White Labs - Yorkshire Square Ale Yeast WLP037

Here's the adjustment I've come up with from Brunwater (note: I have pretty soft well water that I'm using for my base). I no-sparge, so this is all going into 4 gallons of mash liquor.

Gypsum - 6 grams
Epsom Salt - 4 grams
CaCl2 - 5 grams
Baking Soda - 1.6 grams

This is what Brunwater spits out as my water analysis:
Ca: 201ppm
Mg: 27 ppm
Na: 40ppm
SO4: 324ppm
Cl: 166ppm

This is way harder than any brewing water I've ever used before. Should I roll with this as-is, or should I scale it back a bit?
Eric B.

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

Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 10:48:37 AM »
That is a ton of calcium. Maybe that is the original water and they pre-boil it to reduce the hardness?
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2014, 11:04:24 AM »
Martin has said to be sure to keep chloride well under 100ppm when using high sulfate levels like that, to avoid 'minerally' flavors. I'll be curious to see his take on it.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2014, 03:27:17 PM »
That is a weird recommendation for the water with so much sulfate and chloride. My tasting impressions of Old Pec were not on the water...its the malt. With the levels proposed above, I am concerned that the water would exert more influence than it should. I urge caution.

Given the large amount of maltiness in this beer, I don't dismiss the possibility of using a decent amount of sulfate in the water to help enhance the drying of the finish. 400 ppm is a bit higher than I typically employ, but to each his own. I do have serious reservations with using that high dose of chloride since that is a recipe for minerally flavor in beer. I don't recall minerally perceptions in Old Pec, but if you want to exhibit that in this malty beer, the minerally water may be overwhelmed by the sheer maltiness of the beer. This won't destroy the beer, so it may be workable. Go for it if you are ready to experiment.

For the given ion concentrations, it appears that they water might also contain around 40 ppm Mg and 50 ppm Na to get the profile to balance. Again, these may not destroy the beer if the maltiness covers up the water. I would still be shy in pursuing the level of mineralization suggested above.

Enjoy!
Martin B
Carmel, IN

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Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2014, 04:36:27 PM »
I found that profile surprising, and was hoping Martin would chime in. Thanks for the input Martin. I want to brew an old ale again soon.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 05:46:53 AM »
Thanks for weighing in on this, Martin!

I'm calling an audible and cutting things down a bit to a more reasonable (but still a lot harder than I typically use):

Ca: 165
Mg: 21
Na: 33
Cl: 103
SO4: 298

I might try dosing the finished beer with some CaCl2 in the glass somewhere down the line if I feel like experimenting a bit. I checked back on some old tasting notes of mine and a few trusted spots on the web, and everything mentions either minerals/mineral water or a drying finish, so I feel pretty comfortable with these numbers.

I'll come back with some tasting notes once this one is ready.
Eric B.

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Offline epic1856

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 09:53:09 AM »
On a side note, they do open Fermentation, I've been to the brewery before and had a nice tour.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2014, 12:47:29 PM »
On a side note, they do open Fermentation, I've been to the brewery before and had a nice tour.

Yeah, I'm doing the open fermentation thing myself (bucket with a sanitized paint strainer bag over the top). My whole basement smells like English ale for the first few days of fermentation. It's quite a lovely thing :)
Eric B.

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 10:06:06 PM »
Well, I brewed this using the water profile above. I'm drinking my first sample now. There is a considerable, but not altogether unpleasant mineral water character, and a considerable drying finish. I'll have to try a side by side with OP to see if the water character is the same. There is also a bit of Burton Snatch on the nose at first. Regardless of the comparison with Old Pec, I'm probably going to cut my Cl and SO4 by 30% or so next time.

On a side note, the molasses definitely keeps this from being a true Old Pec clone as it has a very distinct flavor. But it is so damn good in this beer. I'll probably go up to 12oz next time.
Eric B.

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2014, 08:47:54 PM »
I'm doing a side by side tasting between my brew and Old Peculier right now, so I thought I'd weigh in on the differences I'm noticing.

As far as the water is concerned, I do pick up a significant mineral flavor in the Old Pec, and almost a hint of a metallic note. One thing I'm noticing is a very round malt character in the middle. My brew has less of this roundness and seemingly more dryness in the finish. I get a similar gypsum-esque drying note at the end of the Old Pec, but it seems like there is something else there that keeps it from being quite so dry.

My brew ends up drinking like an ESB with molasses, while the OP seems a bit richer.

And the WLP037 is definitely not from Theakston. The ester profile is completely different. At this point I'm definitely leaning towards 037 being the Sam Smith strain. I'd probably use the Timothy Taylor strain if I tried to replicate Old Pec as the stone fruit in the ester profile is pretty close.
Eric B.

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Offline brewcrew7

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2014, 10:35:58 AM »
I've brewed an Old Pec clone 2-3 times now with a similar recipe. Differences between ours is that I've created my own dark invert sugar and used Optic pale malt. I think in combination with a touch of black malt it achieves a similar drying finish. I've not increased my sulfates to anything more than 50ppm for this beer but I have used Wyeast 1469.

I wonder if the molasses you are using is more fermentable and little is left behind? What was your FG? You are probably right in that the type of sugar dictates that 'peculier' flavor. I wonder if the beer is brewed to have a little bit of residual sweetness as well (pasteurized and filtered). I've got a batch in bottles now but it might be lacking without a side-by-side comparison. I know in a mild I brewed before this one I swear the sugar provided just about all the flavor and aroma, with a touch of chocolate malt playing along. Mmm...

Offline erockrph

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2014, 08:20:56 PM »
I used blackstrap molasses and I can definitely pick up a bit of residual molasses flavor. I also get a bit of smoky/bacon notes from it as well, but it's not too overpowering. I'm also wondering if the minerals in my water profile are accentuating that a bit.

That's a good point about the FG that I hadn't considered. The Yorkshire Square yeast is definitely more attenuative than I had expected. I went from 1.059 - 1.011 on this brew. Seeing as it's so ridiculously flocculant, I was assuming I'd end up a few points higher than that, despite the added sugar. Although Old Pec doesn't taste sweet to me it definitely has a fuller, rounder malt character than my brew.

As is the case with most of my clone attempts, I will definitely make some changes to my recipe the next time around, although not necessarily to get closer to the commercial brew. In my first pass at cloning a brew I almost always find some differences from the commercial beer that I enjoy in my own version. In this case, it was definitely the molasses. That flavor just works so well in this beer, even though it's definitely different from the commercial brew.

Changes for my next rebrew:
-Use WY1469
-Use all molasses for the sugar addition. I'm thinking of cutting the blackstrap amount in half to cut down on the bacon, and replacing the Lyle's and the rest of the blackstrap with regular dark molasses.
-Use a softer water profile. I'm leaning towards the ballpark of the London Pale profile from Martin's Zymurgy article

In other words, I'm leaning more towards a London ESB with molasses than a true Old Pec clone. I can get my hands on OP pretty easily, so I'd rather brew something inspired by it with my own twist on it.
Eric B.

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Offline brewcrew7

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Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2014, 04:57:59 PM »
I should have read your posts more carefully, interesting! My invert sugar was made with about 3oz of blackstrap molasses so my version would not have gotten as much character as yours. Do you think the coloring in Old Pec has any bearing on its flavor? In any event, it looks like you are on the right track for getting what you want out of this. Thanks!