Author Topic: NaCl?  (Read 836 times)

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8589
    • View Profile
NaCl?
« on: January 06, 2018, 04:25:36 PM »
I'm puzzling over a very minor thing I find in a few of my beers. Difficult to properly describe but I'll do my best. Currently I have a nice pale ale on tap. It probably has too much hop flavor and aroma to nail the BJCP description, more of an IPA with lower end hop bitterness and on the low end of abv. It has no off flavors, it's properly carbonated, looks great, smells great. Upon taking a drink, it starts great and ends great, but there is a middle that seems, for lack of a better term, hollow.

I have two theories.
1. When you first take a drink it's full of carbonation, which amplifies everything, but as the carbonation diminishes it seems like the flavor and aroma and mouthfeel drop. Then after swallowing it kicks back up because now you have retronasal. In other words, nothing is wrong.

2. I'm missing some water ions and that is causing the mid palate hollow thing. My well is quite low in NaCl and I don't ads any.

The adjusted water on this beer is
100 Ca
10 Mg
8 Na
46 Cl
134 SO4

Thoughts?

Offline mabrungard

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2452
  • Water matters!
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 04:45:19 PM »
While I use about double the sodium level that you do, I don't believe its going to make a big difference in flavor in a pale ale. I'm leaning to the fact that you're using a very modest sulfate content and I find that it leaves the palate too 'full and quenched' to allow the hop flavor and bittering to be percieved. Sulfate dries the finish of any beer and for a pale ale, I find that the level needs to be in the 200 to 300 ppm range to be satisfying (for me).

I recommend you try a test in which you take a thin pinch of gypsum between your thumb and finger and add that to a pint of that pale ale. Mix it into the beer and see if that improves the beer for your tastes. That amount is obviously not exacting, but I estimate that it adds about 100 ppm sulfate to a pint of beer. If you like it, I recommend boosting your gypsum and/or epsom additions to boost sulfate in future brews.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8589
    • View Profile
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 05:47:15 PM »
I will try that tonight Martin. Thanks

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8589
    • View Profile
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 07:20:20 PM »
Martin

My next brew day includes an English IPA. How does this profile look?

146 Ca
10 Mg
27 Na
103 Cl
210 SO4

Offline mabrungard

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2452
  • Water matters!
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2018, 10:25:06 PM »
That'll be fine, but I find that keeping the chloride in the 50 to 70 ppm range is better when boosting sulfate.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Offline Robert

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2033
    • View Profile
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2018, 11:44:17 PM »
Martin,

As long as you're giving advice on Na and SO4, my next brew will be a Dunkel.   I'm thinking RO with 0.7g/gallon sodium bicarbonate and 0.7g/gallon calcium chloride.   How's that look? I'm thinking that should get me where I need to be for alkalinity, and will put sodium in the range you've recommended elsewhere in a dark beer.  I wonder, though, if I should consider any sulfate, or will chloride alone be more appropriate? (Last one was a Pils with only CaCl2 and acid.  When it's on tap I'm going to try your pinch of gypsum trick!)
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8589
    • View Profile
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 12:07:16 AM »
That'll be fine, but I find that keeping the chloride in the 50 to 70 ppm range is better when boosting sulfate.
Thanks

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6228
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 03:12:17 PM »
Jim, I have found that sodium in the 40-50 ppm range does give a small boost to counteract that "something's missing" character in the mid-palate. My only caveat is that I was getting this in my lagers, that use a far softer water tham my typical English ales. I end up in the 50-80 ppm range on Sulfate and Chloride in those typically. I switched from using CaCl2 for my chloride adjustment to kosher salt. That cut my Calcium (not a big deal in lagers) and boosted my Sodium. I don't have a specific description for the change, other than that my palate isn't hunting for the malt flavor during the middle like it was before.

As Martin stated, English Ales with more ions already in the water may be a different can of worms. I'd try adding a sprinkle of salt to your problem beer and see if that makes a change for the better. For these purposes, salts are simply flavorings and can be added to taste in the finished beer similar to flavor extracts, coffee, etc to determine effect and dosage rate.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 07:02:15 PM by erockrph »
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8589
    • View Profile
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 03:17:51 PM »
Excellent, thanks. I'll play around with that.

Offline mabrungard

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2452
  • Water matters!
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 06:29:52 PM »
I wouldn't expect that a Munich Dunkel would require alkalinity in the mashing water, so the sodium bicarb is a surprise. But if the pH prediction says it'll need it, then add it.

I know a lot of brewers rely on the advice posted on the HomebrewTalk forum in which only RO and calcium chloride are recommended for most brewing. That advice is based on an adversion to sulfate from one of the lead members. However, I find that adding sulfate salts to brewing water can help improve the dryness of the beer's finish and its overall impression. Sulfate does not make beer bitter, it makes it dryer.

So if you feel your Dunkel doesn't finish dry enough, then it calls for sulfate. I do include a light sulfate content in all my brewing, say in the 20 to 50 range for malty beers. 
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Offline Robert

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2033
    • View Profile
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2018, 07:34:00 PM »
I wouldn't expect that a Munich Dunkel would require alkalinity in the mashing water, so the sodium bicarb is a surprise. But if the pH prediction says it'll need it, then add it.

I know a lot of brewers rely on the advice posted on the HomebrewTalk forum in which only RO and calcium chloride are recommended for most brewing. That advice is based on an adversion to sulfate from one of the lead members. However, I find that adding sulfate salts to brewing water can help improve the dryness of the beer's finish and its overall impression. Sulfate does not make beer bitter, it makes it dryer.

So if you feel your Dunkel doesn't finish dry enough, then it calls for sulfate. I do include a light sulfate content in all my brewing, say in the 20 to 50 range for malty beers.
Bicarb was based on assumption that with RO some alkalinity is needed.  I rarely brew dark beers (in fact I may not this time, I was just thinking of shaking things up) but have found moderate alkalinity gave a good pH in the past.  And call me crazy, but I've never used brewing software, I prefer to continually upgrade the wetware. That's where your advice is much appreciated!  (If I do a pale lager this week, I intend to try the 20-50 sulfate. Thanks for confirming that. The Pils and Helles do need some more crispness.)
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19771
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2018, 07:45:08 PM »
I wouldn't expect that a Munich Dunkel would require alkalinity in the mashing water, so the sodium bicarb is a surprise. But if the pH prediction says it'll need it, then add it.

I know a lot of brewers rely on the advice posted on the HomebrewTalk forum in which only RO and calcium chloride are recommended for most brewing. That advice is based on an adversion to sulfate from one of the lead members. However, I find that adding sulfate salts to brewing water can help improve the dryness of the beer's finish and its overall impression. Sulfate does not make beer bitter, it makes it dryer.

So if you feel your Dunkel doesn't finish dry enough, then it calls for sulfate. I do include a light sulfate content in all my brewing, say in the 20 to 50 range for malty beers.
Bicarb was based on assumption that with RO some alkalinity is needed.  I rarely brew dark beers (in fact I may not this time, I was just thinking of shaking things up) but have found moderate alkalinity gave a good pH in the past.  And call me crazy, but I've never used brewing software, I prefer to continually upgrade the wetware. That's where your advice is much appreciated!  (If I do a pale lager this week, I intend to try the 20-50 sulfate. Thanks for confirming that. The Pils and Helles do need some more crispness.)

Especially for a German pils I've found a moderate amount of sulfate a must.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Robert

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2033
    • View Profile
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 08:07:51 PM »
I wouldn't expect that a Munich Dunkel would require alkalinity in the mashing water, so the sodium bicarb is a surprise. But if the pH prediction says it'll need it, then add it.

I know a lot of brewers rely on the advice posted on the HomebrewTalk forum in which only RO and calcium chloride are recommended for most brewing. That advice is based on an adversion to sulfate from one of the lead members. However, I find that adding sulfate salts to brewing water can help improve the dryness of the beer's finish and its overall impression. Sulfate does not make beer bitter, it makes it dryer.

So if you feel your Dunkel doesn't finish dry enough, then it calls for sulfate. I do include a light sulfate content in all my brewing, say in the 20 to 50 range for malty beers.
Bicarb was based on assumption that with RO some alkalinity is needed.  I rarely brew dark beers (in fact I may not this time, I was just thinking of shaking things up) but have found moderate alkalinity gave a good pH in the past.  And call me crazy, but I've never used brewing software, I prefer to continually upgrade the wetware. That's where your advice is much appreciated!  (If I do a pale lager this week, I intend to try the 20-50 sulfate. Thanks for confirming that. The Pils and Helles do need some more crispness.)

Especially for a German pils I've found a moderate amount of sulfate a must.
Ca ~65
Mg~13
Cl~89
SO4~89
Excessive for German Pils? Alternative is dropping Ca to 50, SO4 to 50, leave the others?  I'm thinking sulfate/chloride ratio which has always been way toward Cl using my natural water (RO now.)
EDIT Or, as last was 50 Ca 89 Cl 0 Mg 0 SO4  I might just start inching up Epsom and see when I like it. Start at 20 sulfate?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 08:49:36 PM by Robert »
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline mabrungard

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2452
  • Water matters!
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2018, 09:09:56 PM »
Bicarb was based on assumption that with RO some alkalinity is needed. 

A program like Bru'n Water is very helpful for estimating the likely bicarb content needed in the mash. A dunkel has only a teeny bit of roast to add color, but not much else. It probably doesn't affect pH that much.

The proposed calcium, sulfate, and chloride levels might be a bit high for G Pils. I like Jever Pils and the water there has 75 ppm SO4 and only 30 ppm Cl. The calcium is likely to be lower too. Lagers don't need ANY calcium since the malt provides all that the yeast need, but you'll probably want to have some in there for oxalate reduction.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Offline Robert

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2033
    • View Profile
Re: NaCl?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2018, 09:24:35 PM »
Bicarb was based on assumption that with RO some alkalinity is needed. 

A program like Bru'n Water is very helpful for estimating the likely bicarb content needed in the mash. A dunkel has only a teeny bit of roast to add color, but not much else. It probably doesn't affect pH that much.

The proposed calcium, sulfate, and chloride levels might be a bit high for G Pils. I like Jever Pils and the water there has 75 ppm SO4 and only 30 ppm Cl. The calcium is likely to be lower too. Lagers don't need ANY calcium since the malt provides all that the yeast need, but you'll probably want to have some in there for oxalate reduction.
Thanks, I'll likely try incrementally adding sulfate by the batch.  I do feel 50 Ca is helpful for palate reduction -- I destined equipment less often.
As I said, I'm just not philosophically inclined to use software, but I DID download Bru'n Water for kicks, and I couldn't get it to run on the mobile version of Excel.  Read only.  Any solution? If it's PC only, I'll happily stick with scratch paper and brain.

EDIT Hmm, Jever looks like 0.5g/gal gypsum and 0.2g/gal  table salt, Ca ~30.  Easy peasy.  I still remember the first Jever I had in Hamburg long long ago.  Quite an impact.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 10:43:12 PM by Robert »
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.