Author Topic: Water profile for pale ales  (Read 1350 times)

Offline jimrod

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Water profile for pale ales
« on: February 07, 2011, 07:42:02 AM »
I've not been able to figure out how to modify my water to produce a better light colored beer, say SRM 7-14.

My profile reads as follows; Ca 65 ppm, Mg 26 ppm, Sodium 93 ppm, Sulfate 220 ppm, Chloride 07 ppm, Bicarbonate 135 ppm Hardness is 26 grains per gal or 230 mg/l.   pH 8.1

I usually get an average tasting beer but there are some other flavor that are not desirable like a very harsh, bitter taste on the hops and a thick malty aftertaste that stays in your mouth longer than you want. I like the beer to finish smoother and cleaner.

Can anyone help me or give me the tools to figure it out on my own?  I have been trying to use the BeerSmith calculator with limited success. Thanks.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 08:53:50 AM by jimrod »
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Offline johnf

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Re: Water profile for pale ales
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 07:54:40 AM »
I've not been able to figure out how to modify my water to produce a better light colored beer, say SRM 14-20.

My profile reads as follows; Ca 65 ppm, Mg 26 ppm, Sodium 93 ppm, Sulfate 220 ppm, Chloride 07 ppm, Bicarbonate 135 ppm Hardness is 26 grains per gal or 230 mg/l.   pH 8.1

I usually get an average tasting beer but there are some other flavor that are not desirable like a very harsh, bitter taste on the hops and a thick malty aftertaste that stays in your mouth longer than you want. I like the beer to finish smoother and cleaner.

Can anyone help me or give me the tools to figure it out on my own?  I have been trying to use the BeerSmith calculator with limited success. Thanks.


SRM 14-20 is amber to maybe light brown.

In either case you have a crap ton of sulfate which probably explains the harshness of the hop bitterness.

Another problem may be high pH and this might cause the aftertaste problem (it tends to cause a muddying or dulling of flavors). That's kind of a shot in the dark though.

Offline jimrod

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Re: Water profile for pale ales
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 08:54:59 AM »
Yes, a lot of sulfates .... but what to do??
Cut with Distilled water or add ______?
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Offline idbrew

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Re: Water profile for pale ales
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2011, 11:02:53 AM »
I have similarly hard water but without so much sulfate, magnesium and sodium.

I would add calcium chloride since you already have a ton of sulfate and would consider using lactic acid and/or diluting with distilled water to combat the hardness. The high-ish sodium and magnesium in your water might contribute to the flavor problems but I can't say for sure. I don't know that the high amount of sulfate would cause problems in a pale ale.

I've been brewing mostly English-style pale ales lately - I've been treating my water with gypsum & CaCl to get around 180ppm Calcium and about a 2:1 ratio of sulfate to chloride and using Kai's water calculator to figure out lactic acid additions (usually ends up being 1-2ml in the mash and 1.2 or so in the sparge). I don't have a pH meter to check my results but the beers have been pretty good and have had good clarity.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 11:07:02 AM by idbrew »

Offline a10t2

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Re: Water profile for pale ales
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2011, 03:52:22 PM »
Here's my process: http://seanterrill.com/2009/08/08/water-water-everywhere/

For your water, I would start by cutting it 50/50 with distilled or RO water, then add 0.25 g/gal CaCl2. That gives you:

Ca 49 ppm, Mg 13 ppm, Na 46 ppm, SO4 110 ppm, Cl 34 ppm, HCO3 68 ppm, and an RA of ~10 ppm CaCO3. That should be fine up to maybe 10 SRM; if you're going much darker than that add a little chalk. 0.5 g/gal CaCO3 would bring your RA to ~40.
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Offline kerneldustjacket

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Re: Water profile for pale ales
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2011, 03:57:38 PM »
+1 to what Sean says...as it's what I wanted to say.
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