Author Topic: Water addition questions - is less more?  (Read 749 times)

Offline Brewtweak

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Water addition questions - is less more?
« on: May 08, 2014, 06:50:28 AM »
I was listening to the Brew Strong 'Waterganza...  again and was struck by JP's assertion that mineral additions are important for getting the correct amounts of important minerals but that regardless of the amount of mineral, the SO4 to CL2 ratio is what steers malty - bitterness results.

So I've started setting up my water targets a bit different. First I dilute until I hit the desired RA then I add minerals until I reach my desired amounts for the recipe and then acidify until I get everything balanced and have my projected PH.

Here are 2 different profiles I've come up with for the same recipe, an american IPA.
2.5 gallon batch
16 SRM

NUMBER 1:
water dilution 2:1 with distilled
CA: 89
Mg:15
Na:3
SO4:96
Cl2:45

ALK: 40    RA: -33
PH: 5.5

Mineral Additions:
gypsum: 1.2 grams
CaCl2: .6 grams
1ml lactic acid

NUMBER 2:
water dilution 1:1 with distilled
Ca:62
Mg:12
Na:2.2
SO4:65
Cl2:31

ALK: 18    RA:  -33

Gypsum: .8 grams
CaCl2: .4 grams
.9ml Lactic acid
PH: 5.5

Both recipes acheive the same PH and basic Alkalinity, RA and a Cl2 to SO4 ratio of 2.1
Of course one has lower mineral levels. Am I going to realize the difference in bitterness or hop aroma/presence between these 2? is adding less brewing salts going to yield a better beer? Am I over thinking it? LOL

« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 06:52:02 AM by swlusk »
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2014, 07:08:00 AM »
IMO, the SO4:Cl ratio is of little use. The actual concentrations are far more important. This is especially important in something like an IPA, where very high sulfate levels are preferred. You're much better setting your chloride at a modest level, and adjusting your sulfate to taste. I just add Gypsum to my (fairly soft) well water, and don't bother with a CaCl2 addition in my APAs and IPAs. I shoot for around 250ppm of sulfate, but others prefer it much higher.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2014, 07:40:33 AM »
As Eric says, pay attention to the levels. Look up Munich water, that should be for hoppy beers if you go by the ratio. The number from Martin March April Zymurgy article are Cl=10 ppm and SO4=18 ppm. Pretty low, so you don't think it emphasizes the hop bitterness.
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Offline denny

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2014, 08:16:04 AM »
IMO, the SO4:Cl ratio is of little use. The actual concentrations are far more important. This is especially important in something like an IPA, where very high sulfate levels are preferred. You're much better setting your chloride at a modest level, and adjusting your sulfate to taste. I just add Gypsum to my (fairly soft) well water, and don't bother with a CaCl2 addition in my APAs and IPAs. I shoot for around 250ppm of sulfate, but others prefer it much higher.

THIS^^^^  Look...let's say you want a 3:1 ratio.  Do you use 3 ppm SO4 and 1 ppm CaCl2, or 300 ppm SO4 and 100 ppm CaCl2?
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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2014, 08:36:16 AM »
IMO, the SO4:Cl ratio is of little use. The actual concentrations are far more important. This is especially important in something like an IPA, where very high sulfate levels are preferred. You're much better setting your chloride at a modest level, and adjusting your sulfate to taste. I just add Gypsum to my (fairly soft) well water, and don't bother with a CaCl2 addition in my APAs and IPAs. I shoot for around 250ppm of sulfate, but others prefer it much higher.

THIS^^^^  Look...let's say you want a 3:1 ratio.  Do you use 3 ppm SO4 and 1 ppm CaCl2, or 300 ppm SO4 and 100 ppm CaCl2?

Yep, exactly.  That would make two pretty different beers.
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Offline Brewtweak

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2014, 08:39:34 AM »
Very good. Dont worry about the ratio, target the levels. I guess my biggest worry is over-doing the additions and having a beer that tastes overly minerally.
 


With this in mind.. How does this profile look:
A total of 4.8 grams of Gypsum, 1.4 grams of CaCl2, and .6ml of lactic for a 2.5 gallon IPA.

Ca: 106
Mg: 12
Na: 2
SO4: 153
Cl2: 43

ALK: 41    RA:  -41
PH: 5.4

MASH: 2g gypsum
          .6g Calcium chloride
          .6ml lactic

Kettle addition:  2.8g gypsum
                       .8g calcium chloride
                     
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 09:18:04 AM by swlusk »
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Offline sambates

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2014, 09:27:24 AM »
Based on some suggestions, I typically try to keep my mineral additions to one per batch (i.e., only CaCl or Gypsum). I recently made a Helles with minimal additions and did a 50:50 split on CaCl:Gypsum, which turned out just fine too.

I started following the less is more because once I made a beer, in which I tried to match water style, and I added about 4-5 different types of minerals. It was disgusting and I ended up dumping the whole keg. I also had a doppelbock that ended with a bitter/astringent finish due to too many additions. Follow your gut and believe that LESS IS MORE!
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Offline homebrewgamecock

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2014, 10:31:34 AM »
I also think it is very important to know your water info / stats before you start making additions.  If you don't have an accurate water profile, you are making adjustments in the dark IMO.

Offline Brewtweak

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2014, 11:04:47 AM »
I also think it is very important to know your water info / stats before you start making additions.  If you don't have an accurate water profile, you are making adjustments in the dark IMO.

I completely agree. I'm burdened with water that is high bicarbonate (210) and low levels of everything else. After I dilute down with distilled to lower the bicarb, I'm having to build my levels up for my style. Such is my water. :D
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Offline dcb

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 08:03:04 AM »
I started following the less is more because once I made a beer, in which I tried to match water style, and I added about 4-5 different types of minerals. It was disgusting and I ended up dumping the whole keg. I also had a doppelbock that ended with a bitter/astringent finish due to too many additions. Follow your gut and believe that LESS IS MORE!

Now I'm a bit nervous.  I loaded my Seattle water analysis into the brewersfriend.com water chemistry calculator, and by trial and error found I could get extremely close to the "Light colored and hoppy" profile I selected by adding 6g gypsum, 4g Epsom salts, 1 g table salt, and 2g calcium chloride to my 9gal of mash and sparge water. 

OTOH, I can get pretty good with just 4g gypsum and 4g calcium chloride.   And simply adding 6g bumps the sulfate up near the desired range and doesn't raise and red flags.

Does anyone trouble with the kind of fussy, 4-salt water treatments I worked out?  I also live by a less is more sort of philosophy and this thread makes me question the wisdom of getting too fiddly.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 08:11:57 AM »
I have and it was fine. not sure it was any better than just calcium chloride and/or gypsum though.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2014, 09:53:48 AM »
I used to try to match an exact profile, but now I just focus on the ions that are most relevant to the style I'm brewing. I largely use gypsum and CaCl2, but I like a small amount of sodium in my malty beers, so I will usually add some kosher salt to those.

I've been meaning to experiment with Epsom Salts a bit more, especially in hoppier beers.
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2014, 11:58:51 AM »
I've been using McDole's water profile on all of my hoppy beers. It is similar to martin's pale ale profile in the paid bru'n water.

Both require a good amount of Epsom. In the area of .7 grams per gallon for McDole's.

Offline Brewtweak

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2014, 03:51:24 PM »
I've been using McDole's water profile on all of my hoppy beers. It is similar to martin's pale ale profile in the paid bru'n water.

Both require a good amount of Epsom. In the area of .7 grams per gallon for McDole's.

Here lately I've been somewhat nervous about over-mineralizing my brewing water. Then I listened to the 2 recent brew strong shows with Martin on brewing cities, and have been using the spreadsheet for my last few beers, I think I'll rethink my philosophy. I though 100-150ppm of sulfate was a lot for an IPA. hmmmm maybe not? :D
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 03:53:13 PM by swlusk »
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Water addition questions - is less more?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2014, 08:32:18 AM »
Does anyone trouble with the kind of fussy, 4-salt water treatments I worked out?  I also live by a less is more sort of philosophy and this thread makes me question the wisdom of getting too fiddly.

I build off of reverse osmosis water so I often have to use 3-5 minerals to get my water to the right profile. If you have soft water there then you're going to have to make more additions to match harder water profiles.
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