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Old 11-02-2010, 04:42 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by funkswing View Post
5.2 is just a buffer. It provides sufficient ions to the solution to maintain the pH at 5.2. But I just cannot see how it doesn't effect the taste to some degree.
It is indeed a buffer made up mostly of monobasic sodium phosphate with about 3% dibasic sodium phosphate. This, in distilled water, produces a buffer of pH 5.7. I think the theory is that the malt is supposed to supply enough additional monobasic phosphate to get the pH down to 5.2. But even if that's what happens, a buffer shouldn't be designed for a pH more that 1 from one of the pK's of the acid (phosphoric) involved. The relevant pK's for phosphoric acid are 2.1 and 7.4. Phosphoric acid salts are a poor choice for a buffer designed for pH 5.2. Little buffering capacity (resistance to movement away from the design pH) is to be expected and indeed this product exhibits little buffering capacity.

As a wag noted (here I think) it works great unless you have a pH meter.

Then there's the sodium.
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:46 PM   #22
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Can someone chime in on using something besides sauermalz to add acid to the mash? What type of additive could I use? Lactic acid? Citric acid?
Lactic is a fine choice - that's what's in sauermalz. There is a little bother calculating the amount of lactic acid. The rule of thumb is 1% of grist should be sauermalz per 0.1 unit pH reduction desired. If you know that sauermalz is 1 - 2% lactic acid by weight you can work that around to the equivalent weight of lactic acid required taking into account that most lactic acid in home brew shops is an 88% solution.

I was just looking back in some old (and I do mean old) homebrewing books and apparently citric acid was quite popular in those early days though it seems to have fallen out of favor.

In either case the ultimate determination of the amount required has to be arrived at by experimentation.
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:56 PM   #23
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In either case the ultimate determination of the amount required has to be arrived at by experimentation.
And will vary with every grain bill. You need a pH meter if you really think you are having problems with mash pH. pH strips at the very least, but cool the wort down before testing the pH.
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:23 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by ghpeel View Post
"Start with 100% RO water"
"Hoppy Light beer: 1 tsp foobar, 1 tsp lactic acid (88%)"
"Dark Malty Beer: 2 tsp gypsumite sulfate, 1/2 tsp calcium something-or-other"
"Dark Hoppy Beer: eye of newt, 1 tsp calcium chloride"
See the first post of this thread.

I've noticed in reading Gordon Strong's published recipes that what he does to his water is very close to what AJ would recommend (RO + CaCl for hefeweizen, RO + CaCl and gypsum for barleywine, etc).

Gordon won the AHA Ninkasi award the last three years. Hopefully he talks about water in his upcoming book on advanced brewing.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:41 PM   #25
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Yooper - I've read elsewhere that your water is hard and alkaline. For these recommendations, did you dilute your water with RO water or use 100% RO?


Just wondering from a comparative point-of-view.

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Old 11-03-2010, 12:04 AM   #26
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Yooper - I've read elsewhere that your water is hard and alkaline. For these recommendations, did you dilute your water with RO water or use 100% RO?


Just wondering from a comparative point-of-view.
I dilute with RO, generally. For some beers, like pilsners, I use 100% RO to start. For stouts, I use 100% tap water.

For everything else, I use about 35% RO and my tap water and add CaCl2 always, and CaSO4 sometimes. It depends on the beer I'm making.
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Old 11-19-2010, 05:59 PM   #27
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ajdelange - I will read your post later (too busy), but thanks for taking the time to explain. So, "RA" is a brewing "chemistry" term and not a general chemistry theory?
Yes but alkalinity and acidity are more general. At least they are widely used in the water industry.

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That's cool, it just didn't make sense for me in theory. Mathematical of course it does, but math isn't theory or reality, its a tool.
And that's exactly what RA is.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:10 PM   #28
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It would not be impossible to provide a list of additions for each entry in the BJCP style guidelines but if someone were to do that

1. There would be conflicts because, for example, the Belgian Abbey beers are made with water ranging from very soft to very hard. Weizens are brewed all over Germany and Austria with water which is quite diverse.

2. You wouldn't learn anything if someone just laid it out for you

3. Within a given style there can be a fair amount of variation.

4. What suits your palate within a given style may not suit mine.

The guidelines were never intended to replace a cookbook nor to cover every situation. As they make quite clear they represent a starting point. You must tweak the recommendations until you are happy with the result.

If the problem is not understanding what to do with a Weizen, for example, because it is not specifically mentioned in the sticky you might try the following approach. Go to http://www.pbase.com/agamid/image/57446374 and find a city where Weizen is brewed. Munich is an obvious choice but so is Vienna and they probably brew it around Dortmund and Köln too. Identify the style that is in the sticky that is brewed in one of those cities. In this case, most are lager cities (clearly excepting Köln). Start out with the lager profile. You should also research the beer you are brewing. Though many of the AHA monographs are short on water information (in Warner's Weizen for example it isn't even mentioned). A great source is Ray Daniels "Designing Great Beers" (I think it is). And of course you can also garner information by posting questions like "I'm contemplating brewing a Weizen. How do you all treat your water for this style?" to forums like this one.

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Old 11-20-2010, 04:24 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by erockomania View Post
Thanks for the info!

Regarding the learning aspect... I learn much easier when I have the basics laid out... At least when I start out. It will give me and a lot of other folks a great foundation to start experimenting from.

I would personally be happy with with a short list, maybe 'ipa, light ale, porter and hefe'. I/we are not asking for a final answer on this... Just a starting point so we don't make 10 'dumpers' right of the bat.
The point of the original post is that he offers a starting point, and if you think about it a bit, you can see that the short list offers quite a bit of info. It covers from a 'malt forward' style to an 'assertive hops' style. To 'style or to 'taste' is your option.
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Old 11-20-2010, 04:31 PM   #30
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I would personally be happy with with a short list, maybe 'ipa, light ale, porter and hefe'.
Hefeweizen: Baseline

Baseline: Add 1 tsp of calcium chloride dihydrate (what your LHBS sells) to each 5 gallons of water treated. Add 2% sauermalz to the grist.

Deviate from the baseline as follows:


Hefeweizen: For soft water beers (i.e Pils, Helles). Use half the baseline amount of calcium chloride and increase the sauermalz to 3% (you can make great Hefe with soft water too).

Porter: For beers that use roast malt (Stout, porter): Skip the sauermalz.

Light Ale: For British beers: Add 1 tsp gypsum as well as 1 tsp calcium chloride

IPA: For very minerally beers (Export, Burton ale): Double the calcium chloride and the gypsum.

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Originally Posted by erockomania View Post
I/we are not asking for a final answer on this... Just a starting point so we don't make 10 'dumpers' right of the bat.
If you follow just the baseline without any of the deviations you won't make a 'dumper'. That's the whole idea behind the primer. Should get you a decent beer whatever the style.
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