Author Topic: Water Calculators  (Read 929 times)

Offline dean

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Water Calculators
« on: June 10, 2010, 08:32:48 AM »
Sometimes they confuse the hell out of me.   :D  Maybe more than sometimes even.  I've got 4 different calculators on my computer now since I added brewitch(sp?) today.

One of the things that gets me is the outcome being either balanced, bitter or very bitter.  Each one of them has quite a broad range so for it to just say bitter doesn't tell me much of anything.

Look at some of the water profiles on famous beers ..... holy cow no way in hell I want my beer to have some of the chloride to sulfate ratios they show because my beer would be so bitter I couldn't swallow it.  And some of them are missing attributes... how can you duplicate that?  I guess thats why there are missing attributes?   :D

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2010, 10:11:05 AM »
Sometimes they confuse the hell out of me.   :D  Maybe more than sometimes even.  I've got 4 different calculators on my computer now since I added brewitch(sp?) today.
Looks like you are not using mine since I don’t calculate the Cl/SO4 ratio. ;)

The bitterness in beer is largely determined by the amount and type of hops used.  While the ion profile may change its perception to some extend a low hopped Dunkel will still be malt dominated even if the water has more sulfate than chloride (this is true for the Munich water for example).

In the past I have seen a lot of talk about this CL/SO4 ratio but little information on how the guidelines were developed and which beers they would apply to.  It is quite possible that most home brewers worry too much about that part of their water report.

Kai


Offline tygo

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2010, 10:12:10 AM »
I gave up on trying to emulate specific water profiles pretty quickly.  I add in whatever brewing salts I need to get my mash into the right pH range, make sure I have some minimum amounts of Ca and Mg, and then play with the Cl/SO4 ratio to align it a bit with the type of beer I'm brewing.  I don't worry too much about that ratio, just get it into a general ballpark that seems to fit what I'm trying to accomplish flavor-wise.  

Generally my objective is to achieve these things with the least amount of additions as possible.  I use the EZ Water Adjustment spreadsheet and it has worked very well for me.
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Offline dean

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2010, 11:23:22 AM »
Kai, I still use your spreadsheet because it doesn't tell me the CL/S04 ratio result.   :D 

I think I might still be having a problem with my brews having a salty flavor and the only thing I've done consistently since I first had the problem is using acidulated malt to lower the mash ph.  Is it possible that I got a bad batch of acidulated malt?  I like it for ease of use but my next batch I'm going with lactic acid instead to see if that is it.  Otherwise my water chemistry has changed dramatically and probably wouldn't be useful without removing sodium somehow.  My water tastes great in a glass and doesn't seem to have changed.

I tasted the wort from the sour mash I just made.... a little malty, quite sour and then out of the background came saltiness again.  I'm hoping its the acid malt.   :-\

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2010, 12:04:00 PM »
Do you use a water softener? Have you had your water tested? It could just be excess salt (Na, Cl) in the water.
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Offline dean

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2010, 05:04:23 PM »
No, I don't use a water softener, just well water so far.  My water report (from Ward Labs) is on page 4 of the thread "post your water report".

I have literally blamed "everything", hops, oxiclean, too much yeast nutrient and now my wort has that familiar taste after not using any of those.  The only thing in common with each batch has been the acid malt I bought.  Maybe I'm just having a go with some nasty critter?  I don't know.  All I know is I taste salt to some degree and I've never tasted it til I started messing with my water.  The recent sour mash I did nothing except use acid malt and 100% well water.  The SRM should be about 3 to 5 on it.   I'm kinda getting bummed about it.   :(  :D   But... maybe I'm just being paranoid and tasting salt in the sour mash when it may not be there?  Watch it turn out to be a helluva brew and I won't be able to duplicate it... story of my brewing life.   ::)


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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2010, 07:01:45 PM »
Dean,

Have you tried buying R/O water an brewing with it just to see if it is your water? 

Kai

Offline dean

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2010, 04:18:47 AM »
No, not yet. It may be coming though.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2010, 04:32:20 AM »
Dean,

Have you tried buying R/O water an brewing with it just to see if it is your water? 

Kai

Which is similiar to distilled water. 6 in one half dozen in the other with the exception of bacteria that gets destroyed in the BK.
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Offline dean

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2010, 05:32:23 AM »
I'm going to make a batch this weekend, 18.6 pounds of grain, SRM should be about 9, total of 15.25 gallons of mash water being 66% distilled water, no acids and build the minerals up.  It gets the CaCO3 down to 70 with an RA of -2.  I'm still struggling with the chloride to sulfate ratio though... I'm making a Belgain do you think a chloride to sulfate ratio of .79 is okay for the style?  Its still balanced but leaning toward bitter.  Any thoughts on it?  Should I go for a maltier profile?  I like malty but I also like bitter... just not bitter over the top or harsh bitter. 

That is IF my starter is ready... its WY3724, just started it last night maybe its not warm enough, I haven't looked at it yet today and I need to step it up anyway. 

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2010, 08:26:32 AM »
Dean, have you had anyone else taste your beer and give you an opinion?  Someone with an "educated" palate?
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Offline richardt

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2010, 08:51:05 AM »
Another thing to keep in mind is that the profiles of nearly all water supplies fluctuate throughout the seasons.  You're using well water--the profile you've posted is pretty good for ambers and stouts given its RA.  Not good at all for pale beers.  I have no idea what the geology of your area is like but snow melt, heavy rains, droughts, watershed areas, underground springs, irrigation patterns, etc may all all impact the water profile throughout the year.  Even my public utility (large metropolitan area) draws its water from underground wells and blends them and still finds fluctuations throughout the year.

If you want to brew lighter styles or be dead-on target with brewing certain styles for competitions, then build your water with known ingredients.  I suggest RO water (I get for 30 cents a gallon at the grocery store) and brew salts.  It's cheaper than sending samples to Ward Labs each time you brew.  Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Water Calculators
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2010, 08:55:32 AM »
I'm still struggling with the chloride to sulfate ratio though... I'm making a Belgain do you think a chloride to sulfate ratio of .79 is okay for the style?

.79 is probably fine depending on what the ion levels are - just citing the ratio doesn't give any information. For most Belgians I just try to get both around 30-50 ppm and call it a day. None of the traditional Belgian breweries do extensive mineral additions AFAIK.
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