Author Topic: water profile for special bitter?  (Read 1277 times)

Offline brewinhard

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water profile for special bitter?
« on: July 29, 2015, 07:23:40 PM »
Brewing up an 11-12 srm english special bitter (32 IBU's) and was curious which profile would best be used in Brunwater?  Pale ale?  Amber bitter?

Any suggestions for a target mash pH?

Thoughts from the english specialists?

Offline Stevie

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Re: water profile for special bitter?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 07:28:42 PM »
I'm brewing one soon and was planning on using Amber balanced.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: water profile for special bitter?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 07:36:27 PM »
I think you definitely want to get the sulfate up there for a special bitter. If not full on 'Pale Ale', I'd want sulfate 200+.  I like 250ish.  5.4 pH for me for beers where I want the hop character to have a presence.
Jon H.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: water profile for special bitter?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 08:25:45 PM »
Amber bitter.  You need a lot of sulfate in there.... IF you care about being traditional to style.  If you don't care about how English your English style ale is, then do whatever you like.  Might even taste better with the "amber balanced" setting.  It's your decision.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: water profile for special bitter?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2015, 09:04:02 PM »
Yeah, I was thinking either Amber bitter or Amber balanced.  I think I will go Amber bitter as I want the hops to pop.  Thanks for the suggestions.  And I will follow the 5.4 pH advice....

Offline markpotts

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Re: water profile for special bitter?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2015, 11:37:52 AM »
Special Bitter is a sub-section of English Pale Ale and I would treat my water as if I was brewing a pale ale.
I use my tap water and reduce the alkalinity to around 30ppm. At around 11 SRM, there will only be a small amount of crystal / speciality malts. Many English pales/bitters use an all pale malt grist and the colour is derived from kettle darkening, the use of brewers caramel or a tiny amount of black malt.
Mineral content I think is very subjective, I usually look for 200-250ppm sulphate and 60-70ppm chloride; the general consensus being the sulphate will enhance the hoppiness.
That said, there was a big discussion recently on a UK based forum that I frequent regarding Timothy Taylor 'Landlord' ......a classic English pale ale / special bitter that is known for a hoppy character.......and whilst the brewery are very secretive about giving any information on recipes, enough was pieced together to come to the conclusion that their water is probably biased towards chloride.
I hope this is of some help to you.

BTW, what is your intended grist and hopping for the beer?? I would be interested to see your take.
Have you chosen a yeast? The WYeast 1469 is fabulous for this style.   
Yorkshire, England

Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: water profile for special bitter?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2015, 12:26:05 PM »
If you tour the Fulle's brewery, they say that the water is from the municipal supply, and they add gypsum. They don't say how much, and a ppm level would be beyond 99.99% of the people on the tour.

The head brewer has said in interviews to get the Ca up to 100 ppm. So, start with a London profile, add gypsum to 100 ppm, and see how that works with the grist for the special bitter - something like 95% pale malt and 5% crystal and a touch of roasted malt. Run those through Brunwater and see if it works for mash pH. Let us know if that works.
Jeff Rankert
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Re: water profile for special bitter?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2015, 10:14:15 PM »
Isn't London water carbonate? I may be wrong, but I believe that the Brits invented slaked lime softening to deal with high levels of dissolved CaCO3.

Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: water profile for special bitter?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2015, 01:32:47 AM »
Isn't London water carbonate? I may be wrong, but I believe that the Brits invented slaked lime softening to deal with high levels of dissolved CaCO3.
I would need to look it up, but it is mildly/carbonate. The Gypsum addition may get enough Ca in to give a lower pH. They also had the next day's Water in the HLT, that will drop some Carbonate if the temp is high enough.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
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BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!