Author Topic: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale  (Read 1723 times)

Offline richardt

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Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« on: April 25, 2011, 02:25:10 PM »
I'd like to build the ideal water profile for a Belgian Pale Ale from scratch using RO water and brew salt additions. 
Any suggestions from those with experience?  I'd like to mimic a De Koninck.
I've not tried using Martin's new Bru'n Water program for this task, yet.  But I will when time permits.

Offline denny

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2011, 02:30:17 PM »
I just used Martin's program last weekend for a BPA.  I just chose the light color malty profile and went from there.
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Online jeffy

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2011, 02:49:56 PM »
I just used Martin's program last weekend for a BPA.  I just chose the light color malty profile and went from there.

Did the salt additions turn out to be any different than the additions on a similar recipe from your past?
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline denny

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2011, 02:51:47 PM »
I just used Martin's program last weekend for a BPA.  I just chose the light color malty profile and went from there.

Did the salt additions turn out to be any different than the additions on a similar recipe from your past?

Well, since in the past my usual regimen was to do nothing, or maybe add a random amount of lactic acid, yes!  :)
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Online jeffy

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2011, 03:07:41 PM »
I just used Martin's program last weekend for a BPA.  I just chose the light color malty profile and went from there.

Did the salt additions turn out to be any different than the additions on a similar recipe from your past?

Well, since in the past my usual regimen was to do nothing, or maybe add a random amount of lactic acid, yes!  :)

Well, then, let us all know if it tastes better!
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline denny

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2011, 03:17:46 PM »
I started using Martin's spreadsheet last winter during pilsner brewing season.  My light beers became immensely better because of it, and I'm assuming this one will, too.  But I can dickchimp just about anything....I'll let ya know how it goes!
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Offline richardt

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2011, 07:27:36 PM »
This is my first time using Bru'n water.  Following Denny's comments, I selected the "yellow malty" and put in various values and came up with this:

10 gal batch volume
9 gal mash water volume
8 gal sparge water volume
7 = est SRM
Mash pH = 5.3 (est), RA = 12, SO4/Cl = 0.63
18 lb grist weight
water/grist ratio = 2.0 (qts/lb)

RO water (17 gal total)
Brew Salts used:                                        Mash water addition:                            Sparge water addition:
Gypsum (CaSO4)                               0.8 gms                                               1.3 gms
Epsom Salt (MgSO4)                          1.8 gms                                                1.6 gms
Calcium Chloride (CaCl2)                    3.6 gms                                                4.3 gms
Chalk (CaCO3)                                    1.3 gms                                                not recommended

I welcome any and all feedback from those who have more experience using this program. 

Offline nateo

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2011, 09:25:10 PM »
Chalk dissolves really poorly in the pH range for beer. I probably wouldn't add any, because it won't do much. Anywhere from 5.2-5.6 is acceptable for a mash pH. Even if you're on the low end, you'll be fine. Kai actually listed a number of benefits from mashing at 5.2 on his website http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/How_pH_affects_brewing
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Offline denny

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2011, 08:41:22 AM »
Your water must be very different from mine.  I did a 25% distilled water dilution, then a couple gr. of CaCl2 and a bit of lactic acid.  I'm surprised to see all the sulfate your adding.  That's something I tried to avoid for this style, but maybe my sulfate is higher than yours to start with.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2011, 10:45:22 AM »
Denny--Yes, my water profile (Jacksonville, FL) is quite different from yours; I posted my water report on this forum last year (see "post your water report"), if anyone is interested.  The one-liner is that my tap water profile is excessively ladden with sulfates and bicarbonates.

So, I chose to build the "yellow, malty" profile with 17 gallons of RO water and brew salt additions.  No tap water.  It is also for a 10 gallon batch.  It may be why the salt additions seem high for you.  I'll try to post the final mg/ml figures for each ion when I get home tonight.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2011, 11:08:49 AM »
Belgian Pale Ales are amber, not yellow, if that makes a difference in your additions.

If you want my recipe, it's on p.205 of my book.  If you don't want to buy my book, I understand Zymurgy is going to print it as part of an excerpt in an upcoming issue.

I use RO water with 1/2 tsp each of CaSO4 and CaCl2 in the mash for this style, 5.25 gal batch.  I think I use similar additions for a Kolsch, even though (gasp) they are different colors.  Both are good enough to win medals. YMMV.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2011, 12:24:57 PM »
Gordon--thanks for the tip.  I had my wife buy me the book the first day it became available.  It is sitting on my nightstand but hasn't been read cover to cover yet.  I will head straight to that page you mentioned when I get home tonight.

Tsp = unit of volume, while gram = unit of weight.  Assuming 4.2 gms per tsp of a granular substance (like sugar), this means you're using about 2 gms each of CaSO4 and CaCl2 for your 5.25 gallon batch. 

My initial use of the bru'n water program gives a result of 2.1 gms (1/2 tsp) of CaSO4, 3.4 gms (almost 1 tsp) of MgSO4, 7.9 gms (almost 2 tsp) of CaCl2, and 1.3 gms (around 1/4 tsp) of CaCO3.  Again, this is for a 10 gallon batch.

Does this seem OK?

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2011, 01:36:19 PM »
See p.148-149 for approximating weights of salts with volumes.  It's a rough approximation, and can vary based on a few factors like moisture content and grain size.  Weighing will always be more accurate.  Just like in baking.  But that's assuming you care that you have a precise measure within the margin of error that approximating will give you.  I don't.

Hope you like the recipe.  It was my take on De Koninck, so see what you think.

Jamil also has a recipe in Brewing Classic Styles.
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Offline denny

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2011, 01:39:33 PM »
Belgian Pale Ales are amber, not yellow, if that makes a difference in your additions.

Damn you for being right again....;)

Although the one I made (a Patersbier, maybe not your typical Belgian pale) was all pils malt, so it's as yellow as a pils.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2011, 07:22:13 PM »
Well, I'm home in front of my notes and my recipe (used BeerSmith) yields an estimated SRM of 11.7 (right in the middle of the style).  But, I'll just stick with the "yellow and malty" bru'n water calculations for now.  Using the amounts previously mentioned earlier in the thread, it yields
Ca 50 ppm
Mg 5 ppm
Na 8 ppm
SO4 35 ppm
Cl 55 ppm
HCO3 61 ppm

est Mash pH of 5.3 and RA of 12.
In terms of Alkalinity and Hardness, Martin's graph pegs this water profile as similar to Dusseldorf.
When I went to create the new water profile in brewsmith, brewsmith's formula yields a significantly lower bicarbonate (24 ppm) level and slightly higher (by 5 ppm for SO4, and 10 ppmfor Cl, yet proportionally the same, so the "SO4/Cl ratio", as Martin calls it, should be unchanged). 

I am a little puzzled by why Martin's spreadsheet lists the "SO4/Cl Ratio" (sulfate to chloride ratio) when most of the information out there talks about the "Cl/SO4 Ratio" (chloride to sulfate ratio).  Just an inconsistency that I've noticed; it doesn't bother me much--I can do 1/x to get the ratio I'm used to seeing.

We'll soon see how it turns out.  I plan to do it this weekend.

Gordon, I also read your section on BPA.  Great info.  I "blended" a few ideas from your book (BBB) as well as JZ and JP's book (BCS) and Drew B's "Seeing the Light:  Belgian Session Beers" article in Zymurgy (May/June 2009).

Great advice by everyone.  This is truly a "collaborative" effort.