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Old 06-19-2014, 06:05 PM   #1
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Default Brewing Water Help

Hello,

I have been brewing with bottled water up until this point. That's expensive, and I'm ready to stop. I also feel I am missing out by not dialing my beers in with some chemistry adjustments. However, I always get intimidated by the topic of water chemistry. From what I have read in Palmer's book, I may want to add some Sulfate to my water, but I am otherwise good to use it. Does this sound right? Could you guys give me some advice based on my local water authority's water report? My location is the green column. Thanks!

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Old 06-19-2014, 10:02 PM   #2
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No, afraid not. You will have to determine what your alkalinity and hardnesses are. Most people get this info by sending a sample to Ward Labs but some do tests themselves.

The usual advice I give to beginners is to just follow the recommendations in the Primer. This is based on doing this for so long that I have concluded you don't need to do much 'dialing'. Hitting mineral content broadly is more than sufficient.

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Old 06-20-2014, 07:04 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info AJ. I re-read the primer, and did a little further reading. I sent away for a free water report through home depot a long time ago and never got any results. I plan to look into this further.

I did find a more detailed water report for my area. So, going off that for now, I plugged those numbers in to the Brewer's Friend calculator. It says to achieve appropriate a mash pH of 5.55 and an appropriate flavor profile for this beer, 3 tsp of gypsum will get me there. Does this look right?

http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-ch...or/?id=PJRJ503

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Old 06-20-2014, 07:17 PM   #4
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In that link, it says the projected pH is 5.64, which is a bit too high. If you dilute your tap water with some RO water, or use some lactic acid or phosphoric acid in the mash (and the sparge water- you definitely want to acidify your sparge water), you should be able to easily hit a mash pH of 5.5.

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Old 06-20-2014, 07:26 PM   #5
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Could you look at the link again? I don't think I saved it with the right value of gypsum before. Now, it should have 12 grams of gypsum, which dropped my pH to 5.55. That serves the same purpose as the acids, correct? Or should I also pick up some acid, and use that instead?

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Old 06-21-2014, 12:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordzilla View Post
Could you look at the link again? I don't think I saved it with the right value of gypsum before. Now, it should have 12 grams of gypsum, which dropped my pH to 5.55. That serves the same purpose as the acids, correct? Or should I also pick up some acid, and use that instead?
12 grams of gypsum? How high did that take your sulfate level?

Use acid for lowering pH, gypsum for flavor. Gypsum is like salt in food- a little is great for flavor but you don't use it to adjust the pH of the mash.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:00 AM   #7
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I see your point. That put my Sulfates at 260 ppm, which is in the range, according to Palmer, for "very bitter beers". I don't think that's what I want for my Zombie Dust. I was planning to brew very early tomorrow morning, but I guess I will have to wait until the LHBS opens if I want to nail down this mash pH thing.

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Old 06-21-2014, 02:05 AM   #8
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I see your point. That put my Sulfates at 260 ppm, which is in the range, according to Palmer, for "very bitter beers". I don't think that's what I want for my Zombie Dust. I was planning to brew very early tomorrow morning, but I guess I will have to wait until the LHBS opens if I want to nail down this mash pH thing.
I know that many brewers like up to 300 ppm for IPAs. You may be just fine with that level, if you like a higher sulfate level in your IPAs.

Check out the information on Bru'n water. Even if you don't use that spreadsheet to predict mash pH and stick with Brewer's Friend, there is a ton of helpful information on what/why and the pale ale profile in there may be right up your alley!
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