Author Topic: Help With Saison and My Water Profile.  (Read 2776 times)

Offline Hatefly

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Help With Saison and My Water Profile.
« on: April 23, 2016, 09:49:36 PM »
Hello all, I am looking to brew a Saison and while my previous batches were good, it did not seem to have the FEEL i was looking for. This is my current water profile.

CA:    34
MG:   7.3
NA:    77
SO4:   63
CL:     46

Alk:    135
HCO3: 162.8

Id like to create a fairly hoppy Saison, so looking at a CL/SO4 ratio of 2:1.

My "perceived" problems are my water Alk sucks, it's way high, NA is high and CA is low. I need to use acids (lactic/malt) to lower my PH, but this causes my HCO3 to drop down into the negatives just to get me at PH 5.4. Im under the assumption that for this style you want a decent amount of HCO3, is this correct? What does HCO3 actually do for the beer? I was under the impression that overall it not really desired.

Any help on some good numbers for what i'm looking for would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!


Offline erockrph

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Re: Help With Saison and My Water Profile.
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2016, 07:02:38 PM »
As far as I'm concerned, the only thing bicarbonate in your brewing water is good for is making you use more acid for pale beers. I like my saisons with relatively low mineral amounts. I target 100ppm Cl and about 50ppm Sulfate. The key is shooting for a lower pH. I mash my saisons at 5.3 and have considered going closer to 5.2. That bit of extra tartness really makes the flavor brighter.

If I had your water, I'd probably use RO water for this style.
Eric B.

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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Help With Saison and My Water Profile.
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2016, 11:31:25 PM »
While the Na is sort of high, its not way out of line. Reducing it by about half would be my preference, but not a requirement. As you surmise, the alkalinity is high and getting the pH down will require an acid addition. Don't worry about a program reporting negative bicarbonate content. While its impossible to have negative content, that is the way that some programs account for the acids and alkalis in the mash. In the case of a pale beer like a Saison, having a negative bicarb value is likely.

I wouldn't focus too much on the SO4/Cl ratio. That tap water already has a significant SO4 and Cl content and trying to meet a ratio after starting with those high values could easily create minerally flavors that you may or may not desire. i would boost only the SO4 a bit for a Saison in order to improve the dryness of the finish. I also suggest that you review the water profiles from the various Belgian cities that are shown in Bru'n Water to understand the modest mineralization that is typical in some of those cities. 
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Offline narvin

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Re: Help With Saison and My Water Profile.
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2016, 01:37:55 AM »
+1.  I wouldn't add any chloride.   You're not going to find many places in Belgium with more than you have.  Bicarbonate alao isn't necessary, since they're often treating their water to remove it.  Start with a bit of sulfate like Martin says to hit 80ppm or so and use acid to bring the mash pH down to 5.3-5.4.  If you don't like the result because of the sodium, next time dilute 50/50 with some store bought RO water.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 01:42:19 AM by narvin »
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Offline stpug

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Re: Help With Saison and My Water Profile.
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2016, 05:35:09 PM »
My take on "farm house" style beers is: Unless your water is totally unsuitable for brewing, then simply filter before use (or use alternative method to remove chlorine/chloramines) and treat to achieve reasonable mash pH and call it a day. The field of saison, grisette, farmhouse, etc ales is so wide open that you should find what your water brings to the table.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Help With Saison and My Water Profile.
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2016, 05:41:19 PM »
The field of saison, grisette, farmhouse, etc ales is so wide open that you should find what your water brings to the table.

That sentiment is OK if you like the resulting beer. But you may find that more adjustment is needed to provide the flavor you prefer. The concept of Terrior for water is quite faulty. Most brewers want to be able to produce more than a narrow range of the beer spectrum.
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Offline stpug

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Re: Help With Saison and My Water Profile.
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2016, 06:37:59 PM »
The field of saison, grisette, farmhouse, etc ales is so wide open that you should find what your water brings to the table.

That sentiment is OK if you like the resulting beer. But you may find that more adjustment is needed to provide the flavor you prefer. The concept of Terrior for water is quite faulty. Most brewers want to be able to produce more than a narrow range of the beer spectrum.

You're absolutely right. I failed to mention that in my initial reply - I guess I take it for granted that after trying something, you decide afterwards how or if you need to change it for the next time.  This is very much my practice on most styles - start small/minimal, evaluate, adjust for next time.

I agree that water can prove quite faulty in brewing from the concept of Terrior which is why I specifically said "totally unsuitable" in my initial reply; however, in the case of a "style" (i.e. saison) that really is not a style anywhere in the world, and more just a rough guidelines of how to be creative and use what you have readily available, then I think using your own personal, mostly-unadulterated water as a beer ingredient is a reasonable path to take --- at least from my perspective (again, unless your water stinks, either literally or figuratively :D)