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Old 12-04-2012, 08:45 PM   #1
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Default Another Dump My Brew Thread Water Chemisty Edition

In 2 years of brewing I have never dumped a beer. I have replied to dumper threads to not dump your beer, just give it more time. Alas, I am considering dumping this one.

This is my 12th all grain batch, 30th batch overall so I am not completely inexperienced. Until now, all of my beers have been drinkable to very good but not great. I make alot of APA's and IPA's and I have just never got the kind of hop profile both aroma and flavor that I was looking for. They just didnt pop.

I am confortable my process is good as I have had alot of good results. I have done some reading on water chemistry but it made my head hurt so I havent done anything with that. I did read that you should not use softened water and that is what I had been using so I thought I might be able to improve my beer by bypassing my softener. This was the first batch where I used unsoftened tap water. That is the only thing I did differenty from previous batches.

The brew is Yoopers DFH 60 minute IPA. Here is the recipe.

#25 Dog Fish Head 60 Minute IPA
American IPA
Type: All Grain Date: 9/12/2012
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal Brewer:
Boil Size: 7.00 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Kettle and large mash tun
End of Boil Volume 6.46 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal Est Mash Efficiency 79.5 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:
Ingredients


Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
15 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (4.0 SRM) Grain 1 97.5 %
6.1 oz Amber Malt (22.0 SRM) Grain 2 2.5 %
0.75 oz Warrior [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 3 30.2 IBUs
1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] - Boil 35.0 min Hop 4 18.9 IBUs
0.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 5 13.4 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 6 -
1.0 pkg American Ale II (Wyeast Labs #1272) [124.21 ml] Yeast 7 -
1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] - Dry Hop 10.0 Days Hop 8 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 10.0 Days Hop 9 0.0 IBUs

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.071 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.065 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.018 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.008 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.0 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 7.5 %
Bitterness: 62.5 IBUs Calories: 216.3 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 7.7 SRM
Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 15 lbs 6.1 oz
Sparge Water: 4.54 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 19.23 qt of water at 165.9 F 154.0 F 60 min

Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.79gal, 3.75gal) of 168.0 F water


The brew went well. I mashed at 153 for 60 minutes. I used a starter per mrmalty.com. It fermented dryer but all my beers seem to.

Here is my unsoftened water chemistry.
Calcium (ppm) Magnesium (ppm) Sodium (ppm) Sulfate (ppm) Chloride (ppm) Bicarbonate (ppm)
58 24 8 9 38 222

What I have is a beer that I have been sampling every week from 6 weeks to 12 weeks. The color is right. It is clear. It has a nice white head and lacing. It has a nice hop aroma. It has a nice bitterness on the tongue at first and then it has this really awful taste. I do not know what exactly astringincy is but I am guessing this taste is astringent. It is kind of a chemical taste. It hasn't got any better with age and it is now 3 months old so I am not holding much hope out for it.

In doing research I know that my water is very alkaline and that is a problem but is it enough of a problem to ruin a beer? Does the softener reduce the alkalinity? Is that why I havent had this problem using the softened water?

I know I have to address water chemistry and thanks to the fine folks here I have learned alot and I have the Brunwater spreadsheet and I think I have it close to figured out. I am just curious if the alkalinity can ruin a beer and does anyone think more age will help this beer.

Also, i brewed this beer using the same unsoftened water and while it isnt great it's not bad. I am not picking up any of that astringent flavor in this beer. I am guessing the reason this beer is better is because it uses darker grains which arent hurt as bad by the alkalinity. Here is the recipe.

2012 Winter Ale
American Amber Ale
Type: All Grain Date: 10/4/2012
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal Brewer:
Boil Size: 7.00 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Kettle and large mash tun
End of Boil Volume 5.50 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal Est Mash Efficiency 79.5 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:
Ingredients


Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
12 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 81.4 %
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 2 6.8 %
12.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 3 5.1 %
8.0 oz Munich Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.4 %
4.0 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 5 1.7 %
4.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 6 1.7 %
1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 38.7 IBUs
0.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 8 10.9 IBUs
0.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 6.5 IBUs
1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 10 4.7 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 11 7.2 IBUs
1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] - Aroma Steep 0.0 min Hop 12 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [124.21 ml] Yeast 13 -
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Dry Hop 10.0 Days Hop 14 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 10.0 Days Hop 15 0.0 IBUs

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.067 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.069 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.018 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.5 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 7.8 %
Bitterness: 68.0 IBUs Calories: 231.5 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 17.3 SRM
Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 14 lbs 12.0 oz
Sparge Water: 4.66 gal Grain Temperature: 68.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 68.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 18.44 qt of water at 168.8 F 156.0 F 45 min

Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.91gal, 3.75gal) of 168.0 F water


Thanks in advance!

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:06 PM   #2
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Sorry, I'm sure the water chemistry experts will chime in, I can't say whether this is fixable. But this thread had some decent info on treating alkaline water, some mention with lime. Others just suggest using RO water to dilute. Plus have you looked at Brewersfriend.com? They have a decent online water chemistry calculator that can help you hit certain water profiles, or just a "balanced" profile.

[EDIT]I know brunwater et al are great tools but sometimes they seem overwhelming, and I suggested the above tool because it's not.

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Old 12-05-2012, 01:38 AM   #3
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That is quite alkaline water. It would be difficult to brew a pale colored beer with that water. The softened water would be no better. One thing that is not described is if there is any iron or manganese in your tap water. Those are ions that the softening would take out. Is the beer flavor metallic?

I note that the information above says the mash pH is 5.2. How was that measured? I would be surprised if that grist could come anywhere near 5.2 in RO water and it sure isn't any more likely in this water or the softened water. I don't see any mentions of acid additions that would be very necessary with this water.

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Old 12-05-2012, 01:46 AM   #4
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If there's one thing that seems common about astringency from all grain, its that alkaline water can cause it. Between that flavor and the potential metallic flavor, i could see that being a problem.

If you can, get a hold of some test strips and see where your water comes out - would be interesting to see actual PH.

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Old 12-05-2012, 01:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
That is quite alkaline water. It would be difficult to brew a pale colored beer with that water. The softened water would be no better. One thing that is not described is if there is any iron or manganese in your tap water. Those are ions that the softening would take out. Is the beer flavor metallic?

I note that the information above says the mash pH is 5.2. How was that measured? I would be surprised if that grist could come anywhere near 5.2 in RO water and it sure isn't any more likely in this water or the softened water. I don't see any mentions of acid additions that would be very necessary with this water.
I think the 5.2 mash ph is just beersmith default. I have no idea what the mash ph was for this brew. The iron is 410 and manganese is 316. Yes i think you could call the flavor a bit metallic. I made no additions to this water at all.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:22 AM   #6
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Yeah thats alot of iron. I have a lot of iron too but mine will filter out with a .5 to 1 micron filter(undissolved iron I think). You could try that and have the water tested again, but you alkalinity is still too high.

I just started down the same path as you only I have very little cations and ok alkalinity My mash ph has been a little high but fixable. I suggest you look into RO and buy a PH meter and read about water. Not really in that order though

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Old 12-05-2012, 12:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phuff7129 View Post
I think the 5.2 mash ph is just beersmith default. I have no idea what the mash ph was for this brew. The iron is 410 and manganese is 316. Yes i think you could call the flavor a bit metallic. I made no additions to this water at all.
Since the water would be unpalatable if those values were reported as ppm, they are probably ppb. So that converts to 0.4 ppm Fe and 0.3 ppm Mn. Those are still more than high enough to create metallic taste. This is certainly a problem. Removal of those ions is necessary to protect the household plumbing and pipes. The problem is that an ion-exchange softener replaces those ions with sodium or potassium. If there was no other hardness ions in the raw water, the low level of Fe and Mn removal would add only minor concentration of either Na or K. But the Ca and Mg reported for the tap water suggests that the softener is probably adding about 110 ppm Na to the water. That is pretty high. But considering the Fe and Mn impacts, it would be better to brew with the softened water.

A better bet would be to dilute that water substantially or totally with RO water. I would seriously consider getting a RO unit for your home. It could serve your drinking water and brewing needs.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:34 PM   #8
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So i have more issues than just high alkalinity? The next brew I am planning on diluting it in half with distilled water and then I am going to use your spreadsheet to figure out what else I would need to add. I have purchased gypsum, calcium chloride, and acidulated malt.

If I do the above would you suggest that I still bypass the softener? Will the dilution take care of the iron and manganese?

I do plan on adding an RO unit and a PH meter. They are just not in the budget right now so it sounds like my best bet is dilution and using your spreadsheet to get the right additions to my water.

On a personal note. I have read many of your water chemistry threads and your water knowledge and your spreadsheet and it is really great that you so freely share your expertise with us. It is much appreciated.

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Old 12-08-2012, 04:27 PM   #9
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If your brews were fine with the softened water I would use the softner since it is removing the iron. Your water is very similar to mine which I had tested with and without the softner on. It raised the sodium from 14 to like 50ppm. I'm not saying all softners and salt used are equal, but 50ppm sodium is not the end of the world. Your pretty low to start with at 8ppm.

I'd suggest you use 100% distilled on your next batch instead of 50/50 following the advice of the primer sticky thread just to see what happens. I just did this and the taste of the beer was markedly different. Do a recipe you've done before so that the difference is more noticeable.

Dillution would lower the ppm? of your iron. But even if you cut it in half it is 0.2 which will still present a flavor.

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Old 12-09-2012, 12:20 AM   #10
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A 50% dilution would just bring the iron and manganese to near their taste thresholds, but that would still be iffy. For the softened water, the 50% dilution will bring the sodium to about 55 ppm which is marginal, but managable.

Another treatment option for the unsoftened water is a greensand filter that removes the Fe and Mn.

To tell you the truth, dilution is probably an easier solution.

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