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Water Calculators

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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


--- Quote from: dean on June 10, 2010, 03:32:48 PM ---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.

--- End quote ---
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.


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.

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.   :-\

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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