Author Topic: Oktoberfest water profile  (Read 4303 times)

Offline glastctbrew

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Oktoberfest water profile
« on: April 06, 2011, 05:38:43 AM »
Hi All,

I'm set to brew up my Oktoberfest this weekend but I haven't settled my water profile.  I'm planning to use the Amber Malty water profile in Martin's Brew-N-Water.  While I'm confident this is a reasonable profile to use, would I be better off using the Munich, Munich (Boiled) or some other profile?

Any thoughts and/or suggestions?

Thanks
Scott
Still Hill Brewery

Offline chezteth

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2011, 06:21:48 AM »
I don't necessarily think that the use of the Munich profile would be better than the amber malty profile.  It's probably a matter of personal preference.  I guess I would say to use the one that is closest to the profile of the water you use for brewing.  Perhaps others are of a different opinion.  I'm not exactly sure about the use of the "boiled" profiles.  As far as I can tell the calcium and bicarbonate levels are lower due to the boiling of the water.  Perhaps Martin could shed some light on this for you (us).

Offline bluesman

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2011, 06:46:58 AM »
A water profile that will balance malt /hops is best. You'll have to experiment with profiles but here's one that I like.

Ca      70
Mg      15            sufficient Ca and Mg to ensure good lager ferm.
Na       <30
Cl       70
SO      55          C:S ratio in the 1.1 to 1.3 range, balanced to low malty.

Palmer's profile for Oktoberfest.

Ca      109
Mg       21
HCO3 171
SO      79
Na        2
Cl        36
 

« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 08:36:27 AM by bluesman »
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2011, 08:21:14 AM »
There is a lot to be said for the Munich profile.  It is a water that is full of temporary hardness and little else.  The alkalinity level is too high to brew a decent amber or lighter beer and that would have to be reduced.  Boiling is an historic option for treatment of temporary hardness.  Both sulfate and chloride are quite low and their concentration is not affected by the boiling treatment.  After boiling, most of the temporary hardness is gone which leaves little calcium.  Probably too little.  So that profile may not really be a good way to go. 

I lean in the direction of keeping flavor ions low unless they are needed for a particular nuance in the beer.  That boiled Munich profile certainly meets that description.  The Amber profiles are more middle of the road with respect to flavor ions and the other color coded profiles in Bru'n Water aim to provide a minimum level of calcium too. 

Through conversations with AJ DeLange, its clear that he favors keeping flavor ions low too.  I think I detect the same sentiment from Gordon Strong also.  In AJ's case, he is a strong proponent of keeping sulfate low when noble hops are used.  I say the same applies when dealing with a more malt focused style such as O'fest.  Sure the sulfate/chloride ratio says a water might be in the malt accentuating range, but its even better to keep both of those ions relatively low.  In the case of O'fest, I'd somewhat aim for the boiled Munich profile, but add calcium chloride to bump the Ca to around 50 ppm.   

Bru'n Water has customizable rows in the water table (scroll way down the sheet) where you can create your own profiles. This would be a case that it will be useful.
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Offline glastctbrew

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2011, 09:26:36 AM »
Through conversations with AJ DeLange, its clear that he favors keeping flavor ions low too.  I think I detect the same sentiment from Gordon Strong also.  In AJ's case, he is a strong proponent of keeping sulfate low when noble hops are used.  I say the same applies when dealing with a more malt focused style such as O'fest.  Sure the sulfate/chloride ratio says a water might be in the malt accentuating range, but its even better to keep both of those ions relatively low.  In the case of O'fest, I'd somewhat aim for the boiled Munich profile, but add calcium chloride to bump the Ca to around 50 ppm.   

Bru'n Water has customizable rows in the water table (scroll way down the sheet) where you can create your own profiles. This would be a case that it will be useful.

Thanks for the info! 

My base water profile is
Ca  41
Mg  5
Na  24
SO  15
Cl  42

If I nudge the Ca up to 50 with some Gypsum I get

Ca  50.2
Mg  5
Na  24
SO  37.1
Cl  42

Do you think the flavor ions are to high in this profile? I suppose I can dilute to 50% with distilled, use Pickling lime for Ca and Epsom Salt for Mg and then use Lactic acid to adjust ph.  Would that be a better course?
Scott
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Offline chumley

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2011, 09:33:05 AM »
Quote
In AJ's case, he is a strong proponent of keeping sulfate low when noble hops are used.

Boy, do I ever agree with that. Once I tried brewing a "Dormunder Export" by brewing my standard pils recipe bumped up to an OG of 1.055, and adding some gypsum to the boil.  Yuck!  Saaz hops and sulfate are not a good combination.

Offline chezteth

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2011, 10:21:41 AM »
There is a lot to be said for the Munich profile. 

------------- snip -----------------

Thanks for the feedback Martin.  I am rather new to the water adjustment camp.  There definitely is a lot to learn.  Any, and all, information I can get from your posts as well as others who are much more knowledgeable about water adjustments is great for me.  That's what is so great about this hobby.  There is always so much to learn.   :)

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2011, 11:08:08 AM »
Through conversations with AJ DeLange, its clear that he favors keeping flavor ions low too.  I think I detect the same sentiment from Gordon Strong also. 

Fair characterization.  AJ just helps explain what I've always done.  I basically don't trust published water profiles as what brewers actually used, so I take those with a grain of salt (heh).

That said, for those who want to fine tune their water, I have nothing against all these tools.  Martin, AJ, and Kai clearly know their stuff.  My advice is simply to understand what they're doing and how to use them and don't just accept results blindly.  Misusing tools and models is what gives you beer that tastes off.  Validate that the model you're using actually works.  And then understand how to use it and use it properly.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2011, 11:28:56 AM »

Thanks for the info! 

My base water profile is
Ca  41
Mg  5
Na  24
SO  15
Cl  42

If I nudge the Ca up to 50 with some Gypsum I get

Ca  50.2
Mg  5
Na  24
SO  37.1
Cl  42

Do you think the flavor ions are to high in this profile? I suppose I can dilute to 50% with distilled, use Pickling lime for Ca and Epsom Salt for Mg and then use Lactic acid to adjust ph.  Would that be a better course?


Given your existing water profile and assuming 122 ppm bicarbonate to balance, your water isn't too bad for an O'fest.  It might need a slight adjustment to help the mash pH into the right range, but I would brew with it.  Do remember to acidify the sparge water to knock some of the alkalinity out.  Otherwise its pretty good for your intended beer.  I wouldn't mess with dilution and alkalinity addition with your water.   
Martin B
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Offline glastctbrew

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2011, 11:48:06 AM »


Given your existing water profile and assuming 122 ppm bicarbonate to balance, your water isn't too bad for an O'fest.  It might need a slight adjustment to help the mash pH into the right range, but I would brew with it.  Do remember to acidify the sparge water to knock some of the alkalinity out.  Otherwise its pretty good for your intended beer.  I wouldn't mess with dilution and alkalinity addition with your water.   
[/quote]

Thanks Martin.  I'll go with my water straight up and use the lactic to adjust ph and acidify the sparge water.  Btw, your assumption was right there, Ward has the bicarbonate at 120ppm.

Gordon, that's sage advise and one of the beauties of this forum.    We can pose questions and gather the information we need to understand all the processes and interactions involved in brewing.
Scott
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Offline Tristan

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2011, 02:35:17 PM »
This is a great thread!  Glad to hear most are keeping their water pretty soft and balanced as far as sulfate:chloride ratio and using acids to adjust pH for mash and sparge water. 

I read a few months ago that Vienna and Oktoberfest grain bills can be very similar with exception of the water profile.  I can't speculate on the accuracy of this statement, but apparently, a softer mineral profile for Vienna lagers and slightly harder mineral profile for Oktoberfest.
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Offline Pi

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Re: Oktoberfest water profile
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2014, 07:24:04 AM »
Ok, ive been trying to understand water chemistry, but only get a headache. So ill put this question in as simple terms as i can.
Brewing an oktoberfest using RO water; 10.5 gallons mash and 5 gallons sparge. what should i add to each?
I am using 17.5lbs Munich2 and 6.5lbs Vienna
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