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Author Topic: Help with water  (Read 815 times)

Offline Arsuf476

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Help with water
« on: October 02, 2020, 04:55:34 am »
I modify my water for a 5 gallon batch with 1 campden tab to take care of the chlorine, then 4 g of gypsum and 4 g of calcium chloride in the mash. My light colored beers come out great, but anything on the darker end has a strong sharp edge that is reminiscent of a chocolate malt flavor but in an unpleasant way. I am thinking I need to adjust the water, but I am not sure which way to go, any suggestions?

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Help with water
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2020, 05:44:10 am »
Water chemistry is a complex topic.  Do you understand the water profile of your base water?  If not, that is the first step.  You might want to have it tested by Ward Labs.

The simplest answer:

Gypsum, calcium chloride, and dark roasted grains each result in lower pH, i.e., are acidic in the mash and the beer.  When you are using all three, you might find the sharpness to be too powerful as you have experienced.  For dark beers you may find it beneficial to skip these salt additions and instead perhaps add baking soda or pickling lime, as these salts will increase the pH to balance with the acidity from the dark grains.

I do not consider myself an expert on water chemistry, and to be perfectly honest I prefer not to spend much time focusing on all the specifics, but other helpful folks in this forum will certainly provide far more detail if you are interested, and soon, I'm confident of that.

Cheers and good luck.

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Offline Silver_Is_Money

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Re: Help with water
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2020, 06:25:56 am »
For dark beers such as Stout or Porter skip the addition of Gypsum and add only Calcium Chloride.  That plus (as a Dave mentioned above) add a tad of something of an alkaline/caustic nature to raise the pH a bit.  Baking Soda or Calcium Hydroxide.  I also agree with Dave that you need a water analysis.  To get where you want to go you first need to know where you are.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 06:27:45 am by Silver_Is_Money »

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Help with water
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2020, 07:33:49 am »
Directions on water adjustment are like physical directions. You need to know where you are to determine how to proceed to the destination. You need a water report from your public utility, or if not on a public water works, get your water tested.

To see if your beer is too acidic, try mixing a good pinch of baking soda into a pint. That will raise the pH, and if it smooths out, you need some alkalinity in the water to buffer the mash.
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Offline denny

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Re: Help with water
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2020, 08:48:57 am »
For great, concise, understandable info on water go to and read the water knowledge page.
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: Help with water
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2020, 10:41:11 am »
Water is the final frontier imho, it's such a pain.

I'm the opposite, I've temporarily given up on using tap water for light beers here and just do distilled with minerals. Tap water for dark beers turns out awesome here.

BTW: I read the city reports on the nearest and actually, all the wells/pumps here, I followed those guidelines and it seemed completely off. So, I'll need to take a sample of my water and send it off or something. Maybe consider that if what you're getting isnt matching up with what reports say.