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Author Topic: Water Question  (Read 779 times)

Offline BrewBama

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Water Question
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2022, 09:30:40 pm »
True …calcium hydroxide or calcium carbonate …but I chose a while back to simplify my approach to brewing.

Oh, I had a box full of all the salts I ‘needed’ to brew to style.  (sodium metabisulfate, calcium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, ….). 

I followed water recipes from all different sources. Used various spreadsheets. Fiddling with this only to throw that off and adjust here to screw up something over there. None of the spreadsheets agreed. None of the experts agree. Mash pH was all over the map. I had to add acids or lime to control it. And on, and on. Like a dog chasin’ his tail. But bottom line: I thought the beers sucked.

So, I gave up all that crap, quit spending so much time and concern about what water was supposed to be for certain styles, and chose one simple method. This move was influenced heavily by G Strong’s book Brewing Better Beer.

I choose to restrict myself to use of the two (CaCl and gypsum) for very specific reasons, alone or in combination, in RO water to get me where I want to go. I traded in time spent on spreadsheets, the confusion, the box full of salts, and meticulously measuring them on a gram scale for a set of teaspoons and BeerSmith’s water module to report ppm. It is 10x less PITA.

Admittedly, it might not be for everyone, but I sure like the outcome and it’s so much easier for me. Bottom line: the beers don’t suck.

(Sorry for high jacking your thread Tommy).

*Disclaimer*: Any comment I add is simply the way I brew beer. I am not paid or sponsored by anyone. There are certainly other ways that can be equally effective which other brewers may contribute. This is what I’ve found that works for me using my equipment and processes so I offer this for your consideration. YMMV
« Last Edit: November 10, 2022, 06:27:51 am by BrewBama »

Offline HighVoltageMan!

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2022, 05:56:07 am »
You might want to listen to this podcast from Master Brewers Assn. It blows this whole theory of chloride not exceed 100ppm. It turns out malt contributes @ 200ppm of chloride to the beer and also brings up sulfate levels.  It also mentions that chloride levels can be as high as 500ppm, above that it can cause yeast health problems  to stainless steel corrosion. Chloride/sulfate ratio is a myth. It's likely that this ratio points more toward overall sulfate levels in the beer than any true ratio.

https://www.masterbrewerspodcast.com/066

The levels of calcium in the hot liquor are to prevent the formation of beer stone, the yeast can use it too. The levels of calcium is strictly  referring to liquor/water levels, the overall level of the calcium in the beer or wort will be unknown due to the malt contributions of calcium.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2022, 05:58:16 am by HighVoltageMan! »

Offline goose

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2022, 07:11:41 am »
Also keep in mind that pickling lime (Calcium Hydroxide)  will increase the pH of the brewing liquor.  I use it in lieu of chalk (Calcium Carbonate) since chalk getting chalk to dissolve in brewing liquor is a real PITA. Pickling lime will have the same effect on mash pH as chalk.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2022, 07:24:28 am »
Several years back there was an interview with John Keeling when he was the head brewer at Fuller's. He stated that Thier water comes from the London municipal supply. They add gypsum to get the Ca up to 100 ppm.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2022, 08:40:49 am »
Chloride/sulfate ratio is a myth.
I've bounced this around with other brewers before and I always wonder about it.  If I made a beer with RO water and added 2g of CaSO4 to it and then made the same beer with the same water and added 2g of CaCl to it, wouldn't the first one taste crisper and sharper and the second one taste smoother and maltier?  And if I added 1g of CaSO4 and 1g of CaCl to a third batch of the same beer with the same water wouldn't it end up somewhere in the middle (more balanced)?  All that said, doesn't it point to the fact that the Cl:SO4 ratio is something that brewers have to pay attention to?  I've heard people agree with what I just laid out and say "absolutely that would be true, but...".  I once made a beer with a guy who wanted to learn how to brew and I was going to add CaCl and CaSO4 to the mash water and I believe I was distracted and added ALL CaSO4.  My water already leans towards SO4 so the final beer was VERY minerally, dry, crisp and harsh.  What am I missing on the ratio?

Also, sorry for the thread derailment. 
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Offline denny

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2022, 08:46:50 am »
... premature flocculation ...
I think they have pills for that.  :D

Sorry.  So, so sorry.

Somebody makes that joke every time. This time it was your turn!
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Offline denny

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2022, 08:49:00 am »
Chloride/sulfate ratio is a myth.
I've bounced this around with other brewers before and I always wonder about it.  If I made a beer with RO water and added 2g of CaSO4 to it and then made the same beer with the same water and added 2g of CaCl to it, wouldn't the first one taste crisper and sharper and the second one taste smoother and maltier?  And if I added 1g of CaSO4 and 1g of CaCl to a third batch of the same beer with the same water wouldn't it end up somewhere in the middle (more balanced)?  All that said, doesn't it point to the fact that the Cl:SO4 ratio is something that brewers have to pay attention to?  I've heard people agree with what I just laid out and say "absolutely that would be true, but...".  I once made a beer with a guy who wanted to learn how to brew and I was going to add CaCl and CaSO4 to the mash water and I believe I was distracted and added ALL CaSO4.  My water already leans towards SO4 so the final beer was VERY minerally, dry, crisp and harsh.  What am I missing on the ratio?

Also, sorry for the thread derailment.

I am much more concerned with the actual numbers than the ratio
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Offline Megary

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2022, 09:12:30 am »
Chloride/sulfate ratio is a myth.
I've bounced this around with other brewers before and I always wonder about it.  If I made a beer with RO water and added 2g of CaSO4 to it and then made the same beer with the same water and added 2g of CaCl to it, wouldn't the first one taste crisper and sharper and the second one taste smoother and maltier?  And if I added 1g of CaSO4 and 1g of CaCl to a third batch of the same beer with the same water wouldn't it end up somewhere in the middle (more balanced)?  All that said, doesn't it point to the fact that the Cl:SO4 ratio is something that brewers have to pay attention to?  I've heard people agree with what I just laid out and say "absolutely that would be true, but...".  I once made a beer with a guy who wanted to learn how to brew and I was going to add CaCl and CaSO4 to the mash water and I believe I was distracted and added ALL CaSO4.  My water already leans towards SO4 so the final beer was VERY minerally, dry, crisp and harsh.  What am I missing on the ratio?

Also, sorry for the thread derailment.

I am much more concerned with the actual numbers than the ratio

I agree that the actual numbers are most important, but the ratio is a good guide as to where to set those numbers, give or take.  Just my opinion.

Offline Cliffs

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2022, 10:00:29 am »
sometimes it seems we make water chemistry alot scarier and confusing than it needs to be.

I start with RO:

 for malty styles of beer I use equal parts calcium chloride and calcium sulfate to get to about 30-40ppm calcium

for hoppy or dry styles of beers, I use calcium sulfate to get to about 120ppm sulfate and calcium chloride to get to about 30ppm chloride.

I adjust my mash ph with lactic acid or baking soda depending on which way I need to go.

thats it. I havent found a reason to make it any more complicated than that.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2022, 10:31:18 am »
I went to using acidulated malt for pH adjustment and then add very minimal salts, but along the lines of 3 grams each of both CaCl and CaSO4 for most lagers that I brew - occasionally a more malty style will be adjusted toward CaCl and a crispier style adjusted toward CaSO4.  Like others, I adopted a simplistic approach to water and live with it in all but truly rare occasions when I am seeking something unique for a particular reason.
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Offline HighVoltageMan!

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2022, 11:49:28 am »
Chloride/sulfate ratio is a myth.
  I once made a beer with a guy who wanted to learn how to brew and I was going to add CaCl and CaSO4 to the mash water and I believe I was distracted and added ALL CaSO4.  My water already leans towards SO4 so the final beer was VERY minerally, dry, crisp and harsh. 

I often brew German Pils with all calcium sulfate, no chlorides, but the addition is restrained to give me 50-60 ppm of calcium. The beer is very good. As Denny has already mentioned, it's the overall amount that is added that counts. The malt itself brings chloride, sulfate and calcium. So you add too much off anything it can have a negative impact.

Offline BrewBama

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Water Question
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2022, 12:15:10 pm »
I went to using acidulated malt for pH adjustment and then add very minimal salts, but along the lines of 3 grams each of both CaCl and CaSO4 for most lagers that I brew - occasionally a more malty style will be adjusted toward CaCl and a crispier style adjusted toward CaSO4.  Like others, I adopted a simplistic approach to water and live with it in all but truly rare occasions when I am seeking something unique for a particular reason.
This reminds me of the simplified method AJ DeLange recommends:

Baseline: Add 1 tsp of calcium chloride to each 5 gallons of water treated. Add 2% sauermalz to the grist.

Deviate from the baseline as follows:

For soft water beers (i.e Pils, Helles). Use half the baseline amount of calcium chloride and increase the sauermalz to 3%

For beers that use roast malt (Stout, porter): Skip the sauermalz.

For British beers: Add 1 tsp gypsum as well as 1 tsp calcium chloride

For very minerally beers (Export, Burton ale): Double the calcium chloride and the gypsum.

— break —

A while back I mixed a 5000 ppm solution/suspension of chloride and one of sulfate using CaCl and Gypsum. I poured three beers and began dosing at 50 ppm of each while maintaining a undosed control.

I didn’t begin tasting anything until 150 and really began noticing at 200-300 ppm.

However, the CaCl dosed beer seemed to become ‘softer’ as the gypsum dosed beer began to become ’sharper’  ...but like I said, those changes weren’t evident to me until 150 ppm and even then just slightly.

Of course, I am the one pouring, dosing, and tasting so my play time was far from any kind of legit study.

Based on that, I concluded for me, salt additions may not be detectable until they meet a perception threshold.

Of course this breaks the ‘100 ppm chloride rule’. Depending on who you ask, the upper limit can be anywhere between 100-400. I was at 150 before I even noticed a change.



*Disclaimer*: Any comment I add is simply the way I brew beer. I am not paid or sponsored by anyone. There are certainly other ways that can be equally effective which other brewers may contribute. This is what I’ve found that works for me using my equipment and processes so I offer this for your consideration. YMMV
« Last Edit: November 10, 2022, 12:40:18 pm by BrewBama »

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2022, 02:04:44 pm »
I forgot to note also that my starting point is RO water that I obtained a Wards Lab report on indicating a very clean starting slate.  But everyone probably already assumed that....
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2022, 03:06:45 pm »
You might want to listen to this podcast from Master Brewers Assn. It blows this whole theory of chloride not exceed 100ppm. It turns out malt contributes @ 200ppm of chloride to the beer and also brings up sulfate levels.  It also mentions that chloride levels can be as high as 500ppm, above that it can cause yeast health problems  to stainless steel corrosion. Chloride/sulfate ratio is a myth. It's likely that this ratio points more toward overall sulfate levels in the beer than any true ratio.

NO! Not even remotely close.

There are all kinds of chemical elements contained within grain that also end up in the wort.  But they are BOUND to the organic molecules that make up the alcohols, sugars, carbs, and other components in wort and beer.  They have little to do with the effect that the IONIC elements do within the water.   Those ionic elements and molecules like chloride, sulfate, magnesium, sodium, etc, are what are free within the water to interact with your palate and you taste them.  Those bound elements are part of other taste and texture perceptions in the beer like malt and body. 

The presence of those bound elements in wort does not affect yeast health or steel corrosion since they aren't free to interact as ions in the wort. 

At least the comment on SO4/Cl ratio is well-founded, but even it has "some" use in brewing, when you know to take it with a grain of salt.

PS: I just listened to that podcast and have additional comments.  While I applaud the effort that the brewer expended in looking at the content of their test brews.  The HUGE problem that they made that makes all of their findings moot, is that they mistakenly assume that the elements that the ICP tested, are in their IONIC form in the wort and beer.  The Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) analytic method takes the sample and literally tears all the molecules in that sample into its individual elements.  So those results from the ICP testing are presenting the sum of each of those elements, even though the majority of those elements aren't ionic or available to a beer drinker's palate. 

The other fallacy presented in that podcast is that they state that you can analyze anyone's beer with ICP analysis and deduce what their water profile was.  Since malt contributes WAY MORE of those various elements to the ICP analysis and malt constituents vary by year and place of origin, there is little chance that you'll be capable of assessing what that original water profile was. 

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« Last Edit: November 10, 2022, 03:27:28 pm by mabrungard »
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Water Question
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2022, 07:30:48 am »