Author Topic: Water for Märzen  (Read 976 times)

Offline 69franx

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Water for Märzen
« on: August 05, 2014, 07:58:20 PM »
I have been building my water from 100% RO, and using Bru'NWater to treat to hit profiles. I am in the planning stages for a Märzen this weekend. I am using BCS recipe, with German Pils, Munich, Belgian Caramunich, and Briess Vienna(all the LHBS had) so I was looking to try to hit profile of Munich through RO and any working combo of Gypsum, Epsom, Canning Salt, Baking Soda, Calcium Chloride, Pickling Lime, and lactic acid. I am having a hard time trying to get enough calcium into the mix without throwing almost everything else off in the profile. What numbers are the most important to hit for a Märzen? This is my first lager, so just want to try hit what I should hit, without knowing what to hit when I cant hit everything: I can get plenty of calcium, but then Sulfate is too high, if I add the pickling lime to make up the Calcium, then my pH is 5.88 and I should not add the Lactic if I use the lime. Please show me the way. I know I could also target Vienna water, as style may actually originate there and that does give me more room with the sulfate, so maybe that is the way to go?

Edit: I guess a follow up is what pH do I want to target? From Bru'NWater, I am thinking it is a lighter colored beer, so 5.2-5.3? I'm just kind of lost on this one. My IPA was a lot easier to build a profile for.

Second Edit: I can hit an Amber Malty profile pretty easily without the lime or acid, at a pH of 5.4, I guess this may be the way to go?
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 08:21:34 PM by 69franx »
Frank Laske
Franx Brew Works
Fermenting:
Conditioning: The Queen's Diamonds EBW, Ringler Pilsner, American Blonde Ale(Blondie's Ale)
In Bottles: House IPA, German Themed IPA
In the works: 2 different Saison's inspired by/created by forum members, You're my Hero Hazelnut Double Brown

Offline erockrph

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2014, 09:35:38 PM »
Personally, I like pretty soft water for my Märzen. I add gypsum to get to 20ppm of sulfate, then table salt to get me 20ppm of sodium, then CaCl2 to get up to 40ppm of chloride. With my starting well water that nets me about 36ppm of calcium, which is on the low side but works just fine for me. After that it only takes a small lactic acid addition to get me to a mash pH of 5.4
Eric B.

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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2014, 05:04:20 AM »
I'm pretty sure I read on another thread here that Martin suggested Amber Malty.  That's what I'm using for an Octoberfest I'm doing this weekend.  For my water, I only needed a little CaCl2 and some lactic acid.
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2014, 05:17:12 AM »
Thanks to both of you. I will run with Amber Malty then. With RO, it's just small additions if gypsum, CaCl2, and Epsom. Will yield:
Ca 51.7
Mg. 5.0
Na. 8.0
Sulfate 56
Cl. 67.8
Bicarbonate  16
With Cations and anions balanced at 3.3
Total hardness of 150
Alkalinity of 13
RA at -27?
And a pH of 5.4
Here's to my first lager
Frank Laske
Franx Brew Works
Fermenting:
Conditioning: The Queen's Diamonds EBW, Ringler Pilsner, American Blonde Ale(Blondie's Ale)
In Bottles: House IPA, German Themed IPA
In the works: 2 different Saison's inspired by/created by forum members, You're my Hero Hazelnut Double Brown

Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2014, 06:53:01 AM »
As for the sub-50ppm Ca for lagers, I brewed the two pilsners from earlier this year with ~ 35ppm Ca - the first time I'd done that. Martin had posted that it's not only not a problem for lagers, that it might be a good thing. Both pils dropped clear nicely.
Jon H.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2014, 07:05:16 AM »
Thanks Jon, I will look at tweaking it a bit at home this evening
Frank Laske
Franx Brew Works
Fermenting:
Conditioning: The Queen's Diamonds EBW, Ringler Pilsner, American Blonde Ale(Blondie's Ale)
In Bottles: House IPA, German Themed IPA
In the works: 2 different Saison's inspired by/created by forum members, You're my Hero Hazelnut Double Brown

Offline brewcrew7

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2014, 07:10:56 AM »
I'll agree with Hoosier, all the lagers I've brewed this year (Czech dark, light, dopplebock, oktoberfest, helles and okay, kolsch-style) were all sub 50 ppm Ca as part of a change in approach. In fact I cut Lake Michigan tap water with RO and was using ~16 ppm. Still used some lactic acid in the mash but all converted well, dropped clear and are tasty. However, to say they are different from those with more calcium is tough to say without a side-by-side. Best of luck!

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2014, 08:20:00 AM »
Brewers Association members should have seen the article in their New Brewer magazine last month that highlights the fallacy of needing calcium in brewing water. AHA members will see that article in next month's Zymurgy magazine. If you are not an AHA member, you really should be!

Calcium is not needed at all for yeast health in brewing. However, it is needed in ale brewing in order to produce a timely clearing of the beer. Too little calcium will create flocculation deficiencies. The other thing calcium is desirable for is causing oxalate to precipitate out in the mash tun instead of your kidneys.

In the case of lager brewing, it turns out that having too much calcium in the water is actually detrimental to yeast performance and the calcium can actually create metabolism problems and some sugars may not be digested as they should. Ale yeast does not suffer from this problem.

It appears that for lager brewing, a minimum Ca content of around 20 ppm tends to produce fine tasting lagers. Bumping that Ca content to at least 40 ppm tends to get most of the oxalate to precipitate. For ale brewing, that long-held belief for brewing water to have at least 50 ppm Ca does have validity. Then the Ca content is sufficient to get most ale yeast to flocculate adequately.

In the case of this Marzen, I suggest that the Boiled Munich profile in Bru'n Water be studied. The low Ca content may need to be boosted a bit, but the Cl and SO4 content are fairly low and should not interfere with the malt flavor. The somewhat high bicarbonate content of that water should be taken down to whatever level is necessary to produce a mash pH of around 5.2 to 5.4. The bicarb should be neutralized with lactic acid or acid malt so that the beer is infused with a low level of lactate that I feel is part of the German beer flavor. Other acids won't do.

Enjoy!
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Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2014, 08:43:58 AM »
Great info Martin. Thanks.
Jon H.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2014, 09:13:52 AM »
Thanks Martin, is great getting info from an expert! I will take a look at Boiled Munich and post what I come up with.
Frank Laske
Franx Brew Works
Fermenting:
Conditioning: The Queen's Diamonds EBW, Ringler Pilsner, American Blonde Ale(Blondie's Ale)
In Bottles: House IPA, German Themed IPA
In the works: 2 different Saison's inspired by/created by forum members, You're my Hero Hazelnut Double Brown

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2014, 09:32:16 AM »
As always Martin, thank you!  ;D

I'll be keeping this in mind with our Oktoberfest brew day on 8/23.
Amanda Burkemper
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2014, 10:19:19 AM »
Martin, a little follow up after looking at "Boiled Munich" profile:
If I target 20-40ppm Ca, through Gypsum, my sulfate is way too high
If I target the same range with CaCl, my Cl goes way too high
If I target the same range with Pickling lime, the program does not want me to add the Lactic that you have suggested
I know from other posts that I do not want to use chalk to get there either...
Building from RO, my bicarb value is 16ppm and "Boiled Munich" wants 100ppm, to get there I have to add hardness minerals that then defeat the purpose of the lactic
I'm probably over thinking this, just looking for another push in the right direction
Frank Laske
Franx Brew Works
Fermenting:
Conditioning: The Queen's Diamonds EBW, Ringler Pilsner, American Blonde Ale(Blondie's Ale)
In Bottles: House IPA, German Themed IPA
In the works: 2 different Saison's inspired by/created by forum members, You're my Hero Hazelnut Double Brown

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2014, 10:28:01 AM »
What if you do a bit of gypsum and a bit of CaCl2?
Amanda Burkemper
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2014, 10:37:17 AM »
What if you do a bit of gypsum and a bit of CaCl2?
If I add both but keep Sulfate and Cl in line with profile, that leaves me with 10.3ppm Ca which fits the profile (12) but is nowhere near 20-40 ppm. It's where I started until I re-read Martin's suggestion and I'm paraphrasing here, of 20 minimum for fine tasting lagers and 40 to ensure oxalate precipitation
This kind of takes me (newbie lager brewer) back to the question of which aspect is more important: Ca, sulfate, Cl, Lactic, Bicarb, etc? Like I said, I know I'm likely over thinking and should just follow "Amber Malty" which is easy to hit with my RO water, I just don't know if I will get everything I can from A Märzen with this profile.
Any thoughts to help me clear my head? To paraphrase another member here and the instructor at my LHBS "Making beer is not rocket science, its much more important!"
Frank Laske
Franx Brew Works
Fermenting:
Conditioning: The Queen's Diamonds EBW, Ringler Pilsner, American Blonde Ale(Blondie's Ale)
In Bottles: House IPA, German Themed IPA
In the works: 2 different Saison's inspired by/created by forum members, You're my Hero Hazelnut Double Brown

Offline denny

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Re: Water for Märzen
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2014, 10:41:39 AM »
Damn...I've got that recipe fermenting right now and I COMPLETELY overlooked the caraMunich..oh, well.
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