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Old 06-03-2010, 01:21 PM   #1
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Default Effect of water profile during boil

I have been noticing a steady flavor in my beers regardless of whether it's dark or light. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's bitter, but in a different way than hops although it makes hoppy beers harsher and has this sourness or astringency on the back and sides of the tongue, but not like a "sour" beer. It's not overpowering, but is noticeable and after a few beers when you acclimate to the malt and hops it becomes more pronounced and starts to literally "leave a bad taste in your mouth". I thought it could be my mash water, but wasn't sure so I decided to back up procedure and reverted to extract and steeping (i.e. no mash), but I noticed it on my last beer as well. Maybe not as pronounced, but I sent off for a water report as I use a well system with a whole house oxygenation and carbon filtration system. It said...

Ca 6ppm
Mg 3ppm
Na 51ppm
S04 4ppm
Cl 9ppm
HCO3 132ppm
CaCO3 109ppm

Using a spreadsheet it gave me a residual alkalinity of a little over 100ppm and mash ph of about 5.87. This definitely lends itself to a darker beer which usually comes out better for me, but I'm wondering....

1. Does water profile affect a beer that much if not mashing and if so, how?
2. Do you see any correlation with the taste I describe and my water profile?
3. When adjusting water, how close is close? Within 2,5,10,20 ppm?
4. Trying to get the numbers to add up across the board has been hard so should I use distilled water and add something like Burton salts or just worry about getting the Mg Ca upped to offset the HCO3?

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Old 06-03-2010, 02:33 PM   #2
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Try bottled water. Taste still there? Might be oxidation, or infection (have a friend with a microscope?)

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Old 06-03-2010, 07:25 PM   #3
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Some calcium might help. Calcium is a co-factor in enzmatic reactions in the mash, and an important yeast nutrient. Most books I've read suggest 50+ PPM of calcium in "good" brewing water.

Carbon filtered is good, but what is the “oxygenation” system doing? Or should I say what is the goal? Maybe you have another mineral like iron causing an issue, did you get a full work up on the water?

I'd agree on trying bottled water, just to eliminate "water" as the source of your problem.

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Old 06-03-2010, 07:34 PM   #4
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The oxygenation simply aerates the water before going through filtration. I didn't get the full workup with iron.

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