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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > A Brewing Water Chemistry Primer
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:19 PM   #441
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Only you can answer that question. The guidelines in this thread are meant to get you started down the path to better beer. It's strongly implied if not explicitly stated that you must experiment to determine what level of minerals gives you the beer you like best. I can observe that most people like beers made with low mineral water backed up with some chloride. That's the basis for the Primer's recommendation of RO water with a fair amount of calcium chloride supplement.

IMO you should brew your favorite style with the undiluted (pretty soft and low in sulfate) water and then again with diluted water. Pick the one that gives the best beer. Then adjust the calcium chloride addition until you hit your sweet spot.

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Old 08-09-2012, 01:42 PM   #442
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Can anyone smarter then me, tell me if I am wasting my money diluting my water?
In my opinion, this water has fairly low mineralization and does not require any reductions in ionic content by dilution. It should be a fairly good starting point for brewing. Adding more calcium content is a good idea to improve yeast health and flocculation. Adding either chloride or sulfate would be a taste decision left to the brewer.

If you want to have more guidance for water adjustments, use Bru'n Water and review the Water Knowledge page at the Bru'n Water website.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:40 PM   #443
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Only you can answer that question. The guidelines in this thread are meant to get you started down the path to better beer. It's strongly implied if not explicitly stated that you must experiment to determine what level of minerals gives you the beer you like best. I can observe that most people like beers made with low mineral water backed up with some chloride. That's the basis for the Primer's recommendation of RO water with a fair amount of calcium chloride supplement.

IMO you should brew your favorite style with the undiluted (pretty soft and low in sulfate) water and then again with diluted water. Pick the one that gives the best beer. Then adjust the calcium chloride addition until you hit your sweet spot.
Thanks for the reply. I think am going to do exactly what you said. I tend to gravitate towards soft water beers (pils, kolsch, etc). One of favorite beers to make is a belgian wit. I use a pretty simple grain bill 50% wheat, 50% pils, low ibu, orange, and coriander (I tend to think of wit as a soft water beer). This beer comes out good when I use the soft water suggestion from the first post, with 50% distilled water. The PH is usually around 5.35. I have never made it with 100% tap from this water supply (I moved recently and never adjusted my water at the old place).

I guess I will bottle some from the current keg and make the wit again with all tap water and compare the two.

Thanks again for the all the advice throughout this thread. It has really helped me to get started with adjusting my water.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:49 PM   #444
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In my opinion, this water has fairly low mineralization and does not require any reductions in ionic content by dilution. It should be a fairly good starting point for brewing. Adding more calcium content is a good idea to improve yeast health and flocculation. Adding either chloride or sulfate would be a taste decision left to the brewer.

If you want to have more guidance for water adjustments, use Bru'n Water and review the Water Knowledge page at the Bru'n Water website.
One of the reasons I posted last night was that it looked like if I could add calcium I could duplicate the same mineral content that Ajdelange suggests in the original post without wasting money on distilled water. How can I add calcium without adding chloride? I have heard that adding chalk is not a good idea.
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Old 08-09-2012, 06:37 PM   #445
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How can I add calcium without adding chloride?
By adding calcium sulfate or calcium lactate or calcium phosphate or... The point is that there has to be some '___ate' in there representing the anion of some acid (which can ever be water: calcium hydroxide)

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I have heard that adding chalk is not a good idea.
The acid can be carbonic in which case the 'ate' is bicarbonate or carbonate i.e. you add calcium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate (calcium bicarbonate has to be made from calcium carbonate and CO2 gas). Neither of these is a good idea (especially for light beers), nor is calcium hydroxide because all three contribute to alkalinity which represents the tendency to pull your mash pH too high.

If you use the chloride or sulfate the mash pH won't be affected as strongly (the calcium tends to pull it lower but it takes a lot of calcium to make an appreciable difference) but you'll have to deal with the consequences of higher chloride and/or sulfate levels. Chloride generally does good things to beer (to my taste at least) up to a point. Sulfate also is thought by many to improve beer up to a point but there are also many others who think it is detrimental. I am one of those. I am fascinated by the fact that USEPA limits sulfate in drinking water to 250 mg/L or less because more than that tastes bad while at the same time many brewers would consider that sulfate level to low for their beers.

Starting from low mineral water you should be able to get as much calcium as you need without going over on the chloride.

Be sure not to undershoot on the calcium chloride. Beers can be made with distilled water but tend to be thin bodied without the support of some chloride.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:06 PM   #446
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By adding calcium sulfate or calcium lactate or calcium phosphate or... The point is that there has to be some '___ate' in there representing the anion of some acid (which can ever be water: calcium hydroxide)


The acid can be carbonic in which case the 'ate' is bicarbonate or carbonate i.e. you add calcium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate (calcium bicarbonate has to be made from calcium carbonate and CO2 gas). Neither of these is a good idea (especially for light beers), nor is calcium hydroxide because all three contribute to alkalinity which represents the tendency to pull your mash pH too high.

If you use the chloride or sulfate the mash pH won't be affected as strongly (the calcium tends to pull it lower but it takes a lot of calcium to make an appreciable difference) but you'll have to deal with the consequences of higher chloride and/or sulfate levels. Chloride generally does good things to beer (to my taste at least) up to a point. Sulfate also is thought by many to improve beer up to a point but there are also many others who think it is detrimental. I am one of those. I am fascinated by the fact that USEPA limits sulfate in drinking water to 250 mg/L or less because more than that tastes bad while at the same time many brewers would consider that sulfate level to low for their beers.

Starting from low mineral water you should be able to get as much calcium as you need without going over on the chloride.

Be sure not to undershoot on the calcium chloride. Beers can be made with distilled water but tend to be thin bodied without the support of some chloride.
Okay, I get it now. I am actually planning on cutting out the distilled water and just adjusting my tap water. I cannot find packaged RO water in my area and i do not have an RO system so that is not an option at this time. I was just worried about 42ppm of chloride compared to the 16 ppm of calcium in my tap water. If I add calcium chloride it seems to increase both of them. This was the reason i was diluting with Distilled. I believe based your orginal discription of "soft water" my chloride is the only mineral with a higher ppm.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:38 PM   #447
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Be sure not to undershoot on the calcium chloride. Beers can be made with distilled water but tend to be thin bodied without the support of some chloride.
I agree there! I tasted an APA made with straight distilled water with no mineral additions. It was very thin and bland, even though the beer was made with a competent recipe and there were no other brewing faults noted. I tend to like sulfate in my APAs, but I wonder how this beer would have changed with just a calcium chloride addition? I think I'm going to have to try my next APA with only calcium chloride. I can always add sulfate post fermentation if I don't like it.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:08 AM   #448
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So, as someone who is having an embarrassingly hard time focusing on burying my nose into this thread, and learn better by attempting and having someone tell me what i'm doing right or wrong, would it be best to post a recipe and water additions in this thread or start my own?

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Old 08-14-2012, 02:23 AM   #449
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So, as someone who is having an embarrassingly hard time focusing on burying my nose into this thread, and learn better by attempting and having someone tell me what i'm doing right or wrong, would it be best to post a recipe and water additions in this thread or start my own?
To avoid it getting "lost" and not seen, I'd start a new thread. If you post your water profile, an expert (not me!) could give you some pointers.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:24 AM   #450
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So, as someone who is having an embarrassingly hard time focusing on burying my nose into this thread, and learn better by attempting and having someone tell me what i'm doing right or wrong, would it be best to post a recipe and water additions in this thread or start my own?
Post away. You have AJ and MB helping. Take advantage.
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