Author Topic: Using very hard water for all beer styles???  (Read 2194 times)

Offline braufessor

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Re: Using very hard water for all beer styles???
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2017, 02:15:40 PM »
Did two experimental beers yesterday..... (Again, I am primarily doing this out of curiosity and to see if it can be done successfully - I use RO almost exclusively).

The two I brewed yesterday -  both pale (SRM=4), Hoppy beers.

#1 = just used the tap water "as-is" and added enough minerals to get a reasonable APA/IPA profile and get pH into 5.35 range....... that is a lot of acid by the way.  1 ml/gallon Lactic Acid plus 5ml/gallon 10% Phosphoric.  I did nail the pH's though...... good job B'run Water :)

#2 = Boiled water to precipitate out temporary hardness.  This let me use less acid, plus more minerals to get back to a similar profile as batch #1.  This was a little more "hit and miss" as I could not be positive of precisely what my water was like after boiling.  Started with 1/2 ml lactic per gallon and no other acid.  I did add 1 ml extra acid to the mash because it was at about low 5.4's.  I also added 2 ml lactic to the boil as the pH was still higher than batch #1.  But, in the end, I was able to use a little less lactic in batch #2 and none of the phosphoric.

So, at any rate, I will see what they taste like in a couple weeks and report back if it produced good beer or not in case anyone is interested now or in the future.

Offline braufessor

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Re: Using very hard water for all beer styles???
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2017, 02:35:56 AM »
Update:

Just in case anyone is wondering now or in the future.  Both beers are on tap now..... along with the same beer brewed with RO water (which is older by 3 weeks or so).

Basically, both beers turned out better than I thought they would. (I had low expectations) However, neither is all that great. 

1.) Straight tap water and a LOT of acid to get pH into 5.35 range.  I was surprised that the acid did not come through..... really no taste affect in regard to the acid.

2.) Boiled tap water, less acid.... but..... I had more trouble getting pH where it needed to be and had to add acid in boil.

Bottom line was that both beers ended up "drinkable." Both were fairly similar in finished product..... I would doubt that people could tell them apart reliably.   Neither ended up really astringent or anything.  However, both were.... well, "rough."  Basically, they were not severely harsh .... but, they were part way there. A pint is drinkable, but you would probably not be running back for 3 or 4 more - at least not in my opinion.

The one I had already brewed with RO water was a lot smoother and rounder.  Actually, if I blend either of the experimental ones 50/50 with the RO one....it is pretty good. 

Offline egg

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Re: Using very hard water for all beer styles???
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2017, 09:45:26 AM »
Nice experiment. I've enjoyed reading this thread.

As a Brit, with relatively high alkalinity (my area typically ~120ppm CACO3, 65 Ca, only 6 ppm Mg, 48 SO4, 28 Cl, so not as high as yours), I'm used to having to add a fair amount of acid.  Like Charles though, I use CRS/AMS, which I think is much more common over here; I notice that Northernbrewer don't even list it.  It means being tied to a certain proportion of sulphate/chloride gain (sulphate biased), but as long as I balance that with the salts, I've had very good results in many styles.  In fairness, I did used bottled water in a lager.  I know some brewers use sulphuric and hydrochloric acids separately as well, to gain extra control, but I'm happy with CRS.

I've noticed lactic from acidulated malt at fairly low levels in wheat beers, so have steered clear of lactic acid.  I've never used phosphoric, though I've read that can actually precipitate some Ca out of solution (?).  I'd be interested in hearing your results from a different starting point, using CRS/AMS if you can get it, in balance with the salts, and seeing what effect that had on the same beer.