Author Topic: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout  (Read 7806 times)

Offline bendbrew

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Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« on: September 18, 2010, 03:29:32 PM »
I want to make an Oatmeal Stout (Jamil's McQuaker's Oatmeal Stout from Brewing Classic Styles).  All grain, 1.5 qt per pound and batch sparging. The water in Bend is quite soft: 

Calcium CA 6
Total Alkalinity CaCO3 42
Magnesium Mg 4
Sulfate SO4 <1
Sodium Na 8
Bicarbonate HCO3 51
Chloride Cl 2
Total Hardness CaCO3 32

I tried to use Palmer's nomograph but am not quite clicking in on it.

Any suggestions regarding what I should aim for and what additions (gypsum vs. alternatives).

Thanks everyone.

Offline Norm!

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2010, 04:10:56 PM »
I prefer the EZ water calculator, it was much easier for me to understand, It's available at the following link.
http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/
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Offline brushvalleybrewer

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2010, 04:25:40 PM »
+1 on norm’s link. Once I get my head around that, then I can see that the nomograph is telling me the same thing.

How about this for the mash... a gram each of Gypsum, Calcium Chloride, and Chalk, and two grams of Baking Soda. I think that should get you a pH of 5.2 and a balanced Cl:SO4 ratio using that recipe, but there are lots of ways to skin a cat. Play around with the spreadsheet.

Your starting Cl and SO4 are low enough that I don’t know if I’d bother adjusting the sparge.
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Offline bendbrew

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2010, 04:48:39 PM »
Brush Valley Brewer-

Thank you for those numbers.  I would assume that I would double your recommended amounts for a ten gallon batch.  I have looked over the spreadsheet and will need to spend time with it.  I am guessing I have to manually play with water additions to get the right balance.  That is my (well, one of my) weaknesses.  How do you choose between gypsum, chalk, sodium chloride and baking soda?


Offline brushvalleybrewer

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2010, 05:29:11 PM »
Yes. Double the amounts for 10 gallons.

How do I decide which to use?

First I put in the water report values.

Then I picked a hypothetical mash/sparge (5g/3.5g) size.

Then I put in the recipe values. Total grain, caramels, roasts, and color.

It’s a dark beer and will acidify your water. You’ve got really soft water and if you enter your numbers this far it will calculate a mash pH of 5.12, which is a bit on the acid side.

The other thing to notice is that you’re a little shy on Calcium. Yeast likes Calcium. Helps with flocculation.

Given those two things I looked at what raises pH. The choices are Baking Soda and Chalk. Chalk doesn’t dissolve very well, so I used some of both and more of the Baking Soda. I started with small numbers and changed them around until the pH seemed reasonable.

If you wanted a really malty stout, you could leave out the Gypsum and Calcium Chloride. The BU:GU ratio on the recipe makes me think it should emphasize the hops as much as the malt, so I wanted to get the Chloride to Sulfate ratio down to around 1. Gypsum adds Sulfate, Calcium Chloride adds Chloride, they both add Calcium. I started with 1 g of each and was happy with the numbers that resulted.

…on second thought I might bump that to 2.5 g of Baking Soda instead of 2. (I added up the grain weights wrong the last time).  :-[
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Offline Norm!

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2010, 06:56:41 PM »
The other thing I did to help myself understand was to use RO water and not rely on chemical tests or the inconsistent water supply's in my area...
RO is available at my grocery store for about 30 cents a gallon and is a very stable starting point. That being said it becomes a "constant" in your brewing experiments!
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Offline thcipriani

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2010, 06:27:15 AM »
This thread is great - we started with water that doesn't exist and a beer with an unknown SRM and we've figured out salt additions to achieve a mash pH with an accuracy of 1/100th of a unit. I see no problems with this logic.
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO

Offline bendbrew

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2010, 07:31:57 AM »
The recipe I mentioned is from Jamil Zainasheff & John Palmer's Book "Brewing Classic Styles"; pages 169-170.  The stated SRM is 35.  I don't know how to respond to you non existent water question as I listed my city's water report. 

Offline brushvalleybrewer

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2010, 07:51:39 AM »
I might guess that thcipriani put your water report into AJ Delange’s Nearly Universal Brewing Water Spreadsheet and found that it didn’t balance. That happens sometimes.

It comes down to your personal philosophy. Some people are Scientists and collect data to make theories. If the data isn’t right, the theory is worthless. Other people are Engineers who collect data to make things. If the data isn’t right you still have a thing. I assumed you were trying to make beer, not a theory about beer. I gave the best response I could with the information available using that assumption.

There’s no fault with either philosophy, without both of them we wouldn’t have either.

As I said, there’s lots of ways to skin a cat.

No harm. No foul.
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Offline bendbrew

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2010, 08:18:17 AM »
Once again, thanks Brushvalleybrewer.  The water in Bend, OR is incredibly soft but I would assume with those numbers, fairly easy to manipulate.  I will be practicing with the spreadsheet and Palmer's nomograph.  Then back to Palmer's book and the Water episodes of Brewstrong. 

I have had some tell me that they add chalk to the grain bill prior to mashing in as that is one way to get the chalk to dissolve. 


Thanks for your help.


Offline brushvalleybrewer

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2010, 11:43:20 AM »
Don’t forget the corresponding episode of the Jamil Show (2/11/08).

I really enjoyed this beer, though I made it as a partial mash.

Let us know how it turns out!
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2010, 11:37:03 AM »
For the case of brewing a darker beer with a soft water (which includes RO and distilled water), I recommend increasing the alkalinity of the mash water to avoid excessively low mash pH. 

Since the brewer is aiming to create an Oatmeal Stout, I think that a rounder and fuller perception of the malt sweetness is preferred.  For that reason, I would not be inclined to add gypsum to boost sulfate content.  The main things I would aim for is alkalinity for the mash and chloride for flavor roundness.  Some sodium could be welcome too. 

Since this stout would probably end up in the 30 to 40 SRM range, I'd aim for a residual alkalinity of at least 100 to keep the mash pH in a reasonable range.   You could also push this RA to as high as 180, but that may not be necessary.  At a RA of 100, the mash pH might end up a little low and the fermentability of the wort may be higher than desired, possibly producing a thinner and more alcoholic result.  Bumping up the RA will smooth the mouthfeel and reduce the wort fermentability.

For the soft water this brewer has, adding about 0.6 to 0.8 grams of chalk per gallon of mash water will produce a RA within the range above.  I do not recommend that any chalk be added to the sparge water since alkalinity is not desirable there and it would be tough to dissolve in the sparge water anyhow.

Another option would be to use baking soda, but this brewer's water is already lower than desired for Ca content and yeast health and hot break performance might suffer.  Please note that chalk adds slightly more alkalinity per gram than baking soda (1 gm/gal of chalk = 188 ppm RA increase while 1 gm/gal baking soda = 156 ppm RA increase). Adding a bunch of baking soda would also push the sodium content kind of undesirably high.

I do recommend adding a combination of table salt and calcium chloride to the sparge water to create an appropriate flavor profile for the water.  I would add about 0.5 gram of CaCl per gallon of total wort runoff.  Add all of the CaCl to the sparge water volume since adding that calcium to the mash water would reduce the RA and be counterproductive to the work done with the chalk.  I would add about 0.1 gram of table salt per gallon of wort runoff too in order to further round the flavor.  The salt could be added to either the mash or sparge water since it doesn't affect the RA.

Don't get too carried away with high accuracy with respect to these recommendations since there are plenty of variables at play here. But, do be able to measure what you add to your beers and write it down so you can assess what changes you would make next time. 

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Offline zorch

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2010, 03:42:31 PM »
I do recommend adding a combination of table salt and calcium chloride to the sparge water to create an appropriate flavor profile for the water.  I would add about 0.5 gram of CaCl per gallon of total wort runoff.  Add all of the CaCl to the sparge water volume since adding that calcium to the mash water would reduce the RA and be counterproductive to the work done with the chalk.  I would add about 0.1 gram of table salt per gallon of wort runoff too in order to further round the flavor.  The salt could be added to either the mash or sparge water since it doesn't affect the RA.

When adding salts for flavor/"seasoning" purposes (as opposed to mash pH purposes), is there a reason not to simply toss them directly into the boil kettle, instead of adding them to the sparge water?

Offline brushvalleybrewer

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2010, 03:59:23 PM »
When adding salts for flavor/"seasoning" purposes (as opposed to mash pH purposes), is there a reason not to simply toss them directly into the boil kettle, instead of adding them to the sparge water?

Typically you would indeed add these salts to the boil kettle. The amount of the addition is based on the amount of sparge water, since the mash water is already salted, hence they are called sparge additions, even though you add them in the boil.

Also, I agree with everything mabrungard said. Personally, my wife and I are hop heads, so I tend to lean away from malt emphasis. Also, I don’t need any more sodium in my life, but I recognize it has a similar flavor contribution to Chloride.
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Offline bendbrew

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Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2010, 06:11:35 PM »
Excellent advice.  Let me follow up by stating, in case I didn't earlier, I batch sparge.  I tend to add 12 gallons to the mash resulting in approximately 8 gallons in the kettle.  I then sparge with 7 to 7.5 to bring up total of 14 with an eventual 6 gallons going into the primary.  (Still working on whether I need a 14 gallon preboil or 13 with an eventual 5.5 in the fermentor).

I am also a hophead; however not in this style.

I have tried to use the Window's based calculator on my Mac-not great. 

Would the above information (i.e. batch vs continuous) alter the additions?  I have tended to add half to the mash and half to the kettle.

Thanks,

Bill