Author Topic: Beer Water  (Read 928 times)

Offline Robert

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2020, 08:25:15 PM »
I am extremely skeptical of any reported water profile for historical or famous brewing centers.  The municipal supply is quite possibly not the breweries' source,  and the brewers almost certainly amend their water.  Interestingly, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Thausing, in his monumental textbooks, published many analyses of actual, contemporary brewing waters.  It is enlightening that, for example, he provides analyses of many different brewing waters just for the several breweries at Pilsen, none of which bears much resemblance to the profiles perpetuated as gospel in homebrew circles.

The takeaway for me is that a brewer should use water that first meets the requirements for successful mashing, clarification, and fermentation in whatever systems we employ, and, secondarily, may adjust it further to elicit nuances of flavor at their own discretion.   This is precisely what the brewers whose products we are trying to emulate have done.  Unless we have actual brewhouse records detailing source water analysis and treatment, any supposed water reports or recommended profiles are meaningless.
Rob Stein
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2020, 08:26:20 PM »
Bavaria has soft water to very hard, depending on the location.


Bamberg would be due north of Erlangen. Note Munich.

Some of the well known industrial Brewers are in Hesse, soft water, but I lived in Wiesbaden, where it was hard and mineraly.
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« Last Edit: February 18, 2020, 08:34:16 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2020, 08:30:09 PM »
How about England.

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Offline Richard

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2020, 10:09:55 PM »
I am extremely skeptical of any reported water profile for historical or famous brewing centers.

I am also skeptical about the quality of historical beers. I have no way of knowing, but I just have this feeling that what seemed wonderful and popular in 1600-1700 might taste foul, or at least not particularly good, to us today.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2020, 10:20:18 PM »
I don't shoot for particular historical styles very often; instead I brew with modern techniques and ingredients, almost exclusively (a few exceptions in the English realm).  My water is RO, modified for pH and flavor by adding brewing salts (and lightly at that); I also use acidulated malt in the pale lagers and light ales.  An interesting read, however, is Andreas Krennmair "Historic German and Austrian Beers for the Hombrewer":

https://www.amazon.com/Historic-German-Austrian-Beers-Brewer/dp/1980468524

I think Denny and Drew interviewed this fellow.  Definitely worth the read for how different those beers were!
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TXFlyGuy

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2020, 10:23:04 PM »
Here is what the H2O dept. sent:

mg/liter

CA = 39.19
MG = 3.92
CaCO3 = 97.86 (Calcium)
CaCO3 = 16.14 (Magnesium)
Total Hardness = 114

No less than 24 different values were sent. I just posted the main ones.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2020, 10:31:03 PM »
Here is what came back from Ward Labs when I sent in my RO sample:

pH 6.4
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 26
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.04
Cations / Anions, me/L 0.3 / 0.4
ppm
Sodium, Na 7
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca 0.4
Magnesium, Mg < 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 < 1
Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S < 1
Chloride, Cl 1
Carbonate, CO3 < 1.0
Bicarbonate, HCO3 21
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 17
Total Phosphorus, P < 0.01
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit
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Offline HopDen

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2020, 10:33:02 PM »
Why bother with all of that? IMHO and from my experience, once I put a RO system in the brewery, I add the salts needed to make any beer style I desire.
With RO water, I've found that you do not need to add salts to the sparge water. I would recommend testing the pH as you sparge for the  first few but found that's not necessary. RO is the way to go!!

Offline HopDen

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2020, 10:35:35 PM »
Here is what came back from Ward Labs when I sent in my RO sample:

pH 6.4
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 26
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.04
Cations / Anions, me/L 0.3 / 0.4
ppm
Sodium, Na 7
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca 0.4
Magnesium, Mg < 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 < 1
Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S < 1
Chloride, Cl 1
Carbonate, CO3 < 1.0
Bicarbonate, HCO3 21
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 17
Total Phosphorus, P < 0.01
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

I posted my comment prior to reading yours. My comment was not targeting your post. :)

TXFlyGuy

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2020, 10:47:58 PM »
Ok...guess some typing is in order.

These values are in mg per liter. Looks like this is actually ppm in the values given.

AL = .027
NH3 = .552
BICARBONATE = 91.78
CALCIUM = 39.19
CaCO3 = 97.86
MG = 3.92
CaCO3 -= 16.14
TOTAL HARDNESS = 114
CHLORIDE = 16
FLOURIDE = .24
IRON = .14
pH = 7.3
SODIUM = 22.9
SULFATE = 33
TOTAL ALKALINITY = 92
POTASSIUM = 5.31

Are these numbers bad, good, or it does not matter?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2020, 10:50:44 PM by Myron Oleson »

Offline Robert

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2020, 01:37:47 AM »
I am extremely skeptical of any reported water profile for historical or famous brewing centers.

I am also skeptical about the quality of historical beers. I have no way of knowing, but I just have this feeling that what seemed wonderful and popular in 1600-1700 might taste foul, or at least not particularly good, to us today.

Here's a nifty tidbit.   Best practices recommended (see the Wahl-Henius Handybook) for American lager brewers at the turn of the 20th century  -- mind you, the bulk of our modern brewing science and technology was in place at this time, and we're talking light, adjunct lagers -- included the addition of 50 lbs of common salt (NaCl) per 100 bbl in the boil.  This was said to improve the break, and improve the flavor of the beer.  Yep, that's a lot:  0.254 oz/gal, adding 748 ppm Na+ and 1154 ppm Cl-.  Can I just say, yikes?

Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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TXFlyGuy

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2020, 02:22:44 AM »
I am extremely skeptical of any reported water profile for historical or famous brewing centers.

I am also skeptical about the quality of historical beers. I have no way of knowing, but I just have this feeling that what seemed wonderful and popular in 1600-1700 might taste foul, or at least not particularly good, to us today.

Hard to tell, as we were not there. The brews of the 1850's through the 1930's were probably pretty good, if you could get a fresh example.

But the Bud Light crowd would definitely turn their collective noses up at any pre-prohibition beer from any of the American breweries.

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2020, 04:14:58 PM »
Ok...guess some typing is in order.

These values are in mg per liter. Looks like this is actually ppm in the values given.

AL = .027
NH3 = .552
BICARBONATE = 91.78
CALCIUM = 39.19
CaCO3 = 97.86
MG = 3.92
CaCO3 -= 16.14
TOTAL HARDNESS = 114
CHLORIDE = 16
FLOURIDE = .24
IRON = .14
pH = 7.3
SODIUM = 22.9
SULFATE = 33
TOTAL ALKALINITY = 92
POTASSIUM = 5.31

Are these numbers bad, good, or it does not matter?

Actually, that's not bad at all
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Offline goose

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2020, 04:45:34 PM »
Ok...guess some typing is in order.

These values are in mg per liter. Looks like this is actually ppm in the values given.

AL = .027
NH3 = .552
BICARBONATE = 91.78
CALCIUM = 39.19
CaCO3 = 97.86
MG = 3.92
CaCO3 -= 16.14
TOTAL HARDNESS = 114
CHLORIDE = 16
FLOURIDE = .24
IRON = .14
pH = 7.3
SODIUM = 22.9
SULFATE = 33
TOTAL ALKALINITY = 92
POTASSIUM = 5.31

Are these numbers bad, good, or it does not matter?

PPM is mg/l.
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Offline goose

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2020, 04:56:01 PM »
Why bother with all of that? IMHO and from my experience, once I put a RO system in the brewery, I add the salts needed to make any beer style I desire.
With RO water, I've found that you do not need to add salts to the sparge water. I would recommend testing the pH as you sparge for the  first few but found that's not necessary. RO is the way to go!!

Agreed.  I just adjust the pH of my sparge liquor (RO water) to closely match the pH of of the mash (or at least to get below 6.0).
Full disclosure:  Usually the mash will also buffer the sparge liquor to keep the pH during the sparge from rising too high but I am a bit anal retentive and have always acidified my sparge liquor to be safe.
I then calculate the difference between the mash volume and kettle full volume and add any additional salts needed to he kettle to "season" the wort in the kettle.  It works for me.
Goose Steingass
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Wayne County Brew Club
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