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Author Topic: Building the ideal water profile for an English Pale Ale (8B--Special Bitter)  (Read 21777 times)

Offline richardt

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I'm looking to build the ideal water profile for an EPA (8B--Special Bitter).
I'm not looking for alka-seltzer water nor am I looking for super-high sulfate levels (as I detest the taste), so "Burton" water is out.

Hop-wise, I do realize that EPA's do emphasize bitterness over flavor and aroma (according to BJCP style guidelines), but I'd like to have moderate levels of hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma.  In other words, I do not want the balance to be "decidedly bitter," I want it to be flavorful and complex, yet remain a refreshing and drinkable sessionable beer.

What I am especially looking for is the ideal water profile that allows the malt and hop flavors to be appreciated w/o being distracted by minerally taste.

I'd appreciate any helpful comments.

Offline mabrungard

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The Pale Ale profile in Bru'n Water is a balanced version of Mosher's Ideal Pale Ale profile.  I use it for all my pales and hoppy styles.  Definitely not a minerally flavor to the beers.  The malt still shines through if the hopping isn't overboard.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:

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Offline richardt

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Fantastic.  Can't wait to give it a try.  I was hoping I could get away with brewing a great EPA w/o it tasting "minerally."
I've been happy with "balanced" water profiles (Cl:SO4) in my APA's and AIPA's so far. 
Good to know EPA's can be brewed with the same water profile.

Offline richardt

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I've finally had a chance to look over the various Bru'n water profiles. 
The various profiles are:
                                    Ca     Mg     Na    SO4      Cl    HCO3     RA    SO4/Cl
Burton                          275    40     25     610     35       270      3        17.4
Pale Ale                        165    18       5     300     55       180     20        5.5
London (boiled)              42      6      15      40     38         80     33        1.1
Yellow Bitter                  50     15       5      85      35        70     13        2.4
Yellow Balanced             50     10       5      55      45        65     12        1.2
Amber Bitter                  55     20     15      95      40      115     44        2.4
Amber Balanced             55     10     15      55      45      110     46        1.2

Martin, you recommended the pale ale profile and stated it had no minerally quality.
I'm still somewhat leery as I don't like harshness or minerally flavors.

I'm leaning towards using London (boiled). 
Would this still work for a Best Bitter (English Pale Ale, BJCP 8B)?

Again, I'd like to avoid any minerally taste and be able to appreciate medium levels of hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma in a Best Bitter with a SRM = 11. 
Malts are Crisp Maris Otter (83.5%), Aromatic (5.5%), C-60 (5.5%) and C-80 (5.5%).
Admiral and WGV hops are being considered.  Though I'd also consider First Gold and/or Progress hops if I can get them.
Two different hopping schedules are being considered as well:  traditional (bittering, flavor, aroma/steep additions) and all-late-hopping technique (i.e., all hops used within the last 20-35 minutes of boil to minimize harshness).
WY1882 [Thames Valley Ale II] and WY1968 [London ESB Ale] are being considered, as well

I'd love any feedback from anyone who has brewed and/or professes an understanding of many English Pale Ales. 
Am I straying too far outside the style?

Offline hopfenundmalz

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On a recent trip to London, the wife and I had many beers that ranged from low mineral taste to high. Many had a nose that I can say was high in SO4.  Some were not high in SO4 at all.

Toured the Fuller's brewery.  The guide said they did not do much with the water other than add gypsum to Burtonize.  Not sure I trust that, but listen to the interview of John Keeling on the Brewing Network for corroboration.

Think of what you want in your beer, and treat the water as you want the beer to come out.
Jeff Rankert
AHA Lifetime Member
BJCP National
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline thcipriani

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I've brewed some award winning Scottish ales with the Mosher Ideal Pale water recipe. A modified version of that water is what Mike McDole seems to use for all of his beers - he's doing OK(!).

That being said, I've also listened to the lecture that AJ Delange has up on his site. He's the only person of whom I've heard trying the same recipe side-by-side the only thing changed is water profiles - this recipe was a Special Bitter. Everyone in attendance at the lecture got some to try. The overwhelming consensus seems to be a preference for the beer treated solely with CaCl2.2H2O vs water with a Burton-esque profile.

HAVING SAID THAT I'm starting to lean towards gypsum rather than CaCl2.2H2O in my water adjustments. This was after dosing finished beers with solutions of CaCl2 and CaSO4 - tasting blind (really my bias probably would have leaned more chloride anyway) I preferred the beer dosed with calcium sulfate most of the time so I'm going to try that for a while and see if I like my beers better. So far I've only done a mild that way and that's not kegged so I don't have any data-points currently - it's just what I'm ruminating on as far as water is concerned.
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO

Offline richardt

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"Burton Pale Ale -- A toned-down, "idealized" profile. Enough sulphate to bring out the hops without overdoing it.
Low alkalinity helps ensure proper mash pH. Model: Moshers 'Ideal Pale Ale".
1 gram baking soda, 1 gram canning salt, 3.5 grams Epsom salt, 9 grams gypsum.
Ca=111, SO4=337, Mg=18, Na=35, Cl=32, CO3=38, Hardness=352, Alkalinity=31.

English Ale -- More or less a London water profile. Model: A. J. deLange's "Ale" from HBD1965.
2 grams Epsom salt, 2 grams chalk, 0.3 gram canning salt, 0.8 gram gypsum.
Ca=52, SO4=65, Mg=10, Na=6.2, Cl=9.6, CO3=63, Hardness=173, Alkalinity=106."

I wonder if both couldn't be used?  I'm tempted to go with the boilded London water profile and brew the base beer.  Then add gypsum post-fermentation, like Tyler describes above, to see if makes any difference in taste or preference. 

Offline rakader

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The profiles in this link are not balanced between anions and kations; therefore they must be wrong.