Author Topic: Bru'n water versus a brewing book recipe  (Read 683 times)

Offline kgs

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Bru'n water versus a brewing book recipe
« on: July 03, 2016, 04:49:14 PM »
Sometime soon I will be using RO water and additions for a half-batch (3 gal) of Gordon Strong's Landlord Tribute recipe from Modern Homebrew recipes. It's my first effort at using RO water + additions. The LHBS had 25% phosphoric acid so that's what I bought. My grain bill will be 5 lbs Golden Promise and 1.5 oz debittered black malt.

For a six-gallon batch, Gordon specifies RO water treated with 1/4 tsp 10% phosphoric acid per five gallons, plus 1 tsp CaCl2 in mash, 0.5 tsp CaCO3 in boil.

Working with Bru'n Water, to get my mash water into the "green" (fyi I typically don't sparge) requires I push up the 25% phosphoric acid to at least 1.05 ml/gallon, yielding an estimated mash ph of 5.5. For a 3-gallon batch I mash with around 5 gallons of water, so that would translate to just a little over 5ml phosphoric acid (about 1 tsp). That's a lot more, proportionately, than Gordon recommends. Is that a bad thing?

Adding .25 calcium chloride per gallon to the mash works out ok -- the mash ph stays the same. But adding anything higher than .01 gram/gallon chalk to the boil (with "add hardness minerals to kettle" checked) pushes the estimated ph into the upper limits (orange) range. I am thinking that for this recipe this range may make sense, because the recipe specifies a "minerally" quality--does that seem right?

I'm in no rush, just trying to understand a) this recipe and b) water treatment and c) Bru'n Water. I plan to brew the recipe this weekend with my current process -- using filtered fridge water, no treatment -- then brew it again in a couple of weeks with treated RO water.

I just passed two major milestones in my graduate studies, so I am also thinking "go on, treat yourself to a ph meter." It seems a little odd to make a lot of adjustments and not measure as I go.
K.G. Schneider
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Offline denny

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Re: Bru'n water versus a brewing book recipe
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2016, 04:52:19 PM »
In situations like this, I'd think of it as Bru'nwater is telling you what to do from a theoretical perspective.  Gordon is telling you what to do based on his experience with and tasting of the beer.  I know that I often tweak Bru'nwater recommendations when I rebrew a recipe, based on my own experience and tastes.  I think in this case, I'd follow Gordon's advice.
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Offline kgs

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Re: Bru'n water versus a brewing book recipe
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2016, 06:24:55 PM »
In situations like this, I'd think of it as Bru'nwater is telling you what to do from a theoretical perspective.  Gordon is telling you what to do based on his experience with and tasting of the beer.  I know that I often tweak Bru'nwater recommendations when I rebrew a recipe, based on my own experience and tastes.  I think in this case, I'd follow Gordon's advice.

Definitely good advice, it's just that the delta between his information and Bru'n Water surprised me. Gordon writes, "I adjust my RO water with 10% phosphoric acid to produce brewing liquor with a pH of about 5.5 when measured at 68 ° F (20 ° C)." All of his recipes specify 1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) of phosphoric acid for 6-gallon batches.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that following Gordon's advice produced really outstanding beer. But unless I'm using Bru'n Water wrong (which again, I wouldn't rule out), regardless of the recipe, I don't see how Gordon gets to 5.5 ph with 1/4 tsp of phosphoric acid per 5 gallons of water. The only thing I can think of is that you don't have to be precise with phosphoric acid to get good results.
K.G. Schneider
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Bru'n water versus a brewing book recipe
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2016, 06:47:12 PM »
Keep in mind that Gordon also adds many of his crystal/caramel malts along with roasted malts (in this case your debittered black malt) to the volauf after the mash has completed. Double check his recipe and see if he does that on this one. He also does not specify mash pH readings for his recipes, rather he ballparks his mineral adjustments to reach a certain flavor profile I believe, as he knows his system best.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Bru'n water versus a brewing book recipe
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2016, 06:53:53 PM »
Keep in mind that Gordon also adds many of his crystal/caramel malts along with roasted malts (in this case your debittered black malt) to the volauf after the mash has completed. Double check his recipe and see if he does that on this one. He also does not specify mash pH readings for his recipes, rather he ballparks his mineral adjustments to reach a certain flavor profile I believe, as he knows his system best.



Yeah. I have a lot of respect for Gordon but I prefer to target a specific pH with Brunwater, and to also mash all grains together and account for it in Brunwater. Lots of ways to get there.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Bru'n water versus a brewing book recipe
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2016, 07:12:02 PM »
A 1/4 tsp of 10% phosphoric could easily bring RO water pH down to 5.5 since RO water has little alkalinity. However, that acid dose is not nearly sufficient to bring a mash pH into a desirable range when mostly pale malt is the grist. My impression is that Gordon just ball parks all of his water to a single specification and brews. Given the low mineralization that his recommendations produce, there is no way that this water treatment will produce a 'minerally' taste in the beer. And I have no justification for the chalk in the boil since that just helps push the already slightly too high wort pH a bit higher and that creates a rougher hop perception and finish. Not having had TT Landlord before, I can't comment on what the finished beer should taste like. But I would be surprised that these mineral additions would make the beer better.

Recognize that Gordon has an outstanding palate and he often tailors his medal-winning beers through post-fermentation blending to produce what he wants the final beer to taste like. On top of that, recognize that Gordon's Ninkasi medals were also a result of his mead results. He is still a very good brewer, but unless you are going to alter your post-fermented beers with blending, you may not be happy with those methods.

Based on what I see those recommendations producing in the finished beers, I wouldn't use Gordon's recommendations. They don't add up to a good result.
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Offline kgs

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Re: Bru'n water versus a brewing book recipe
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2016, 05:15:42 PM »
Martin, thanks. Your answer helped a lot.
K.G. Schneider
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