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Old 03-23-2013, 08:48 AM   #1
jphebbie2
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Default brewing my first Pilsner with first real water report

So I just received my first ward labs report. I am planning on brewing my first true pilsner now that I have my water report. I live in Aspen CO and have very pale ale/IPA friendly water. I am wondering what water changes it will take to create a CLASSIC light pilsner. I have a medium hard water that is generally easy for most style's but I'd like something RIGHT for my first true pilsner since its more or less an easy beer to brew provided you have the right water. My question is what do I do to soften the water to my desired profile? Shouldnt be to tough now that I have the actual water chemestry! My profile is as follows:
pH 8.1
ppm 290
Na 6
K 2
Ca 77
Mg 16
CaCO3 259
NO3 0.4
SO4 48
Cl 3
CO3 6
HCO3 122
CaCO3 111
P 0.28
no phosphorus
Iron - none detectable

Cheers,
JP-

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Old 03-23-2013, 12:41 PM   #2
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Can't really help you, but curious about the responses. I'm planning my first bo pils Sunday and the current plan is to just add 75% RO water. It takes my calcium way low but I think there will be plenty from the grist/mash.

Love me some Frying Pan, btw. Headed that way late spring/early summer.
Cheers,

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Old 03-23-2013, 12:55 PM   #3
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Wow ... with that water I might start with distilled. Pilsen's water is said to be something like:

Ca 7.0
Mg 2.0
Na 2.0
SO4 5.0
Cl 5.0
HCO3 15

With ONE gallon of your water, and 10 gallons of distilled I get:

Ca 7.1
Mg 1.6
Na 0.4
SO4 0.9
Cl 0.6
HCO3 11.4

... which is pretty close with no additions.

I envy people with consistent water ... our water comes from a mix of wells and the river and changes pretty frequently. It tastes good, which is nice, but for brewing it's all over the charts. I have an RO/DI setup in my future.

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Old 03-23-2013, 02:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jphebbie2 View Post
So I just received my first ward labs report. I am planning on brewing my first true pilsner now that I have my water report. I live in Aspen CO and have very pale ale/IPA friendly water. I am wondering what water changes it will take to create a CLASSIC light pilsner. I have a medium hard water that is generally easy for most style's but I'd like something RIGHT for my first true pilsner since its more or less an easy beer to brew provided you have the right water. My question is what do I do to soften the water to my desired profile? Shouldnt be to tough now that I have the actual water chemestry! My profile is as follows:
pH 8.1
ppm 290
Na 6
K 2
Ca 77
Mg 16
CaCO3 259
NO3 0.4
SO4 48
Cl 3
CO3 6
HCO3 122
CaCO3 111
P 0.28
no phosphorus
Iron - none detectable

Cheers,
JP-
Agree with LBussy here. Your water is way too high in carbonates/alkalinity to comply with the needs of a pils. Serious dilution with distilled and/or acid additions may get you there but IMO the best thing to do is start with distilled and add a little Calcium Chloride to achieve a Ca+ ppm of 50-75.
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jphebbie2 View Post
So I just received my first ward labs report.
Ward Labs reports 1/3 the sulfate ion (that's why it says SO4 - S) so unless you have taken that into account in reporting here the actual sulfate level is 114. That's a big problem for a Pils or any beer that uses noble hops. Even 48 is too high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jphebbie2 View Post
pilsner since its more or less an easy beer to brew provided you have the right water.
I don't want to scare you off but where did you get that impression? There isn't much in a pils to cover up mistakes. I've been at it for many years and still think I can do better. It's sort of a life challenge. Getting the water right is definitely a sine qua non but it is not the whole story by any means. Selection of proper yeast strain, proper pitiching levels and oxygenation, careful management of fermentation temperature and proper lagering technique are also very important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jphebbie2 View Post
My question is what do I do to soften the water to my desired profile? Shouldnt be to tough now that I have the actual water chemestry!
It isn't tough. The answer is 'Run it through an RO system'. There are schemes you could use to get the alkalinity down to an acceptable level (but not as low as Pilsen's) and you can add some calcium chloride to get chloride up to a more acceptable level but there is nothing other than RO, ion exchange or distillation that will remove that sulfate.

Given that you get the proper water another sine qua non is the use of some acid to get the mash pH into the proper range. The simplest way to do this is to include 2 - 3% (w/w) sauermalz in the grist. See http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/bre...primer-198460/
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:17 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses. I will probably do a diluted mix. I know pilsners can be a tough process but I have a stir plate, o2 infusion setup, ferm chamber, ect... So that should really allow me to achieve good results provided I can get the water profile right. When I said it was a simple beer I was referring to grin bill mash profile hop schedule ect... The trick, as far as I can tell, is water, pitch rate and ferm schedule. I have good control over the latter 2, but just need to get the water down to where it should be.
Thanks guys!
JP-

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Old 03-25-2013, 06:27 PM   #7
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I have really hard water too - high bicarbonate. I use 80-100% Reverse Osmosis water (mash and sparge) from the store for brewing anything like a Helles, Pilsner or Dortmunder. For a dollar or two, your beer will be MUCH better off. For a beer that you are going to invest 3 months in - don't let the water be the problem - that is easy and cheap to control. Just go buy it. Out of all the beers I make, I think some of my lighter german lagers are my best - using RO water is a BIG key to that.

Do you use Bru'n water or anything like that? +1 to getting your calcium to 50 from very soft water using CaCl and CaSO4.

+1 to acid malt to. 3-4 ounces is what I use for 6 gallon batch.

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