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Old 11-10-2013, 01:57 PM   #11
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Good catch there. I should have the carapils set differently - it didn't change the whole scenario much.

I only added alkalinity as a safety net should you fall below 5.2. You could use baking soda instead, but I doubt you will need it.

Agreed that seems a lot of gypsum. First time I used that much yesterday - so hoping it will come out nice and perky. Best advice might be to brew with your additions, and add gypsum to a finished pint later to see if it improves in your opinion. You can dilute gypsum in RO water - I use 1 gram in 100 ml so I can scale the results out for the next batch.

I have used Bru'n water to build my last 6 or so batches with good effect however. Best of luck!

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Old 11-10-2013, 02:07 PM   #12
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I added the extra gypsum. Sparge additions are going i boil. We will see. I have to trust the spreadsheet and the knowledge and experience the author has which is tons more than I have! It will make beer and that's how you learn. Thanks for your help.

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Old 11-10-2013, 02:09 PM   #13
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If it helps, I have done two big IPAs with 15-17g gypsum additions and the results were great IPAs. Seeing that much weighed out to go in your strike water and boil kettle feels like a lot but it doesn't come through in any kind of bad/minerally way. Most recently, after adding all of my strike water additions I HAD to taste the water because of the amounts of 'salt' additions I had made, plus acid. The water tasted very close to normal - every so slightly different but nothing bad at all.

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Old 11-10-2013, 02:30 PM   #14
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I just need more experience. I just started playing with RO last few batches. Big additions just scared me. My pumpkin ale got second place in a small competition so it must be working!

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Old 11-10-2013, 06:55 PM   #15
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Yeah keep brewing with the spreadsheet.

Remember, you are first choosing the mineral additions for flavor, then leveraging the additional benefit of acid and alkaline contribution to help mash pH. So since this is about flavor - you really need to consider what you like. For some people, that 300 ppm sulfate isn't nearly enough - for others, too much.

Like stpug, been dubious staring at all of the additions some times - but the results have been pretty good for me. Report back and let us know how it worked out!

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Old 11-10-2013, 07:51 PM   #16
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Out of the kettle, it might have been too much gypsum, but we will see. If you want me to send you some West Coast, pm me your address and I will take care of you for helping me understand. The notes in your signature were very good.

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Old 11-10-2013, 08:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewsncrabs View Post
I just need more experience. I just started playing with RO last few batches. Big additions just scared me. My pumpkin ale got second place in a small competition so it must be working!
Big additions scare me too!

I've tried several things, and maybe you can learn a bit from my experience.

Some beers I love (including IPAs) with minimal additions, including gypsum. But there are a couple that I love with 250 ppm of sulfate (just a couple, though!).

For most IPAs and APAs, a more modest addition is to my taste. But- that's exactly the thing! It's to your taste!

What I would do next time is this- be much more modest in sulfate additions, say, 100 ppm. That's still a lot, but not too much. If you find the IPA/APA a bit bland, then try adding a pinch of gypsum to your glass. If it's better, you know you desire a higher sulfate rate.

My favorite IPA recipe (the DFH clone recipe on this site) is awesome with RO water and just a wee bit of sulfate. I added 300 ppm this last time, because I've been experimenting with higher sulfate and liking it- but it was too much. The character of the beer changed, becoming a bit harsh and no longer so quaffable to me. That's the only thing I changed!

Yet, my "summer pale ale" recipe (also in this forum) "popped" and became bright and alive with 278 ppm of sulfate.

You can see that even a standard profile isn't the be-all and end-all. I think the type of hops (perhaps the amount of cohumulone?) plays a part in the balance with sulfate as well.

You will have a good beer in the end. It may not be perfect, but it may be outstanding. Only one way to find out- wait!
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:21 PM   #18
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That sulfate experiment that Chris Colby promoted and Basic Brewing Radio investigated is an easy thing for any brewer to do to test the effect of sulfate in their beer. Of course, this is most useful in hoppy and bitter beers. Denny Conn did an interview with the Basic Brewing folks last week. Do listen to the podcast and you'll get the gist of what they found. More sulfate is good, but the desirable upper limit is debatable. I have enjoyed 300 ppm for years and found that 100 ppm was totally uninspiring. But I haven't toyed with 200 or 250 ppm.

In the right beers, sulfate is certainly your friend! Do the test for your self...in the glass.

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Old 11-10-2013, 11:45 PM   #19
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Yooper, you make a good point, and something I don't think was discussed in the "Water" or "Hops" book...

I have heard that noble hops suffer from high sulfate levels, and then assume traditional British hops benefit from high sulfate (Burtonized). It seems that there are various opinions on the uber-alpha varieties from US and NZ.

Example, just did a Nelson Sauvin saison, almost no sulfate, chloride to 50ish. I got a very smooth character, not the bright gooseberry or grape many people report. Definitely unlike any other hop I have used before.

I can think of an experiment, blind tasting, but the sample rate would have to be tremendously large, well beyond homebrew scale to have any real value. It would be a twist on Martin and AJ's add gypsum to a finished beer experiment. Got the wheels churning again.

Brews - I hope that beer turns out well! Wish I had brewed today... It was beautiful outside.

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Old 11-10-2013, 11:59 PM   #20
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I am definitely NO water authority, and so on those matters I defer to mabrungard and AJdeLange. I totally respect them, and everything I know (what little has stuck in my peabrain) came from them.

But aside from knowledge comes preferences. I have learned from those two water experts that the "best" water profile is the one that makes the beer you like best.

Aside from a few certain beers, I prefer a lower sulfate level. It appears that AJdeLange does also. I brew many American IPAs and APAs, while AJ is more of a continental lager guy. Mabrungard loves American IPAs with a higher sulfate level, and pale ales also. I have a couple of recipes where a higher sulfate is really great- but for most, even my American IPAs, I prefer a more modest amount.

I think that all of us are correct.

Here's the thing- if the sulfate is too low for your taste, the worst that can happen is the beer is a bit bland. It's still a good beer, but the hops bitterness doesn't "pop". I am paraphrasing mabrungard here, and I love the way he explained it. I believe he even used the word "insipid". I hope I did justice to his description.

But if the sulfate is too much for your taste, the beer becomes objectionable. At least to me. So my way of thinking, after learning so much from those water guys, is that "less is more". It's like salt. Undersalted food may not be as awesome as it could be- but it is 10 times better than oversalted food. A little bland, at least for me, is better than too salted in both food and in my beer. You may find yourself totally disagreeing with me of course- and I think that's a good thing as we all have different opinions on what makes something "good".

I do tend to brew according to BJCP style guidelines, with no "weird" or unusual ingredients, if that tells you anything about how boring (or tradition, depending on how you look at it) I am.

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