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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Chicago Water/Light colored beer(s)
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #1
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Default Chicago Water/Light colored beer(s)

I have read through as many of these water threads as I can find, and have played with the water calculators to where I think I am on the right track, but am looking for a little reassurance, I guess.

I live in Chicago and want to brew a light colored beer without resorting to dilution-if possible. Profile is below, and water is treated with campden tablet the night before brew day.

Calcium 37.5
Magnesium 13.3
Sodium 10
Sulfate 30.4
Chloride 18.8
BiCarb 128.6

Tot Alk 106
Total Hard 147/Permanent 42
PH 7.8

In summary, it appears that additions of .4 grams per gallon of both, Gypsum and Calcium Chloride, as well as about .5 Milliliters of Lactic Acid per gallon (Mash and Sparge) water gets me where I am trying to go.

I've taken this as far as I can go on my own, and thanks to all for any help or suggestions.

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Old 08-05-2012, 06:12 PM   #2
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Running your numbers through EZ water calculator 3.0...for a 5.5 gallon batch of beer...and if the grain was 10 pounds of 2-row and I wanted a pH of around 5.4, I'd add the following:

2g Calcium Chloride to the mash
5g Epsom Salt to the mash
4ml lactic acid to the mash

1.6g Calcium Chloride to the sparge

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Old 08-05-2012, 06:20 PM   #3
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Not terribly far off of what I was thinking except for the epsom salts, for some reason I thought i read to try to avoid epsom, but after everything I have read over the last couple of weeks, I could be wrong. Do you not treat your sparge and mash water with the same salts, and in this example, would you not add LA acid fto the sparge as well?

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Old 08-05-2012, 06:43 PM   #4
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Different spreadsheets and calculators will give you different answers. That's because they are using different models and putting different data into them. Don't be too concerned about this. All the answers/additions.... should not be dramatically different from one another. You will want some acid to neutralize the bicarbonate and to establish the proper mash pH. Lactic is a common choice because of its wide availability. Phosphoric is also popular because it is also readily available and flavor neutral.

It is best to take the amount recommended by the calculator/spreadsheet and measure it out but then add it incrementally to the mash while monitoring pH. This protects you from undershooting pH.

There is no reason in particular to avoid epsom salts nor is there generally any reason to include them. Magnesium is not, in general, flavor positive.

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Old 08-05-2012, 06:51 PM   #5
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Thank you both for your quick responses, I must be getting closer because neither of you seemed shocked by my additions. For the most part, I have been treating both my sparge and mash water similarly (in the case with very light beers) with salts and Lactic Acid-which is what I have on hand. Any thoughts about this..?? Tanks again

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Old 08-05-2012, 07:27 PM   #6
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Just curious - why do you want to avoid diluting the water ? I've recently brewed a lager with half Chicago tap water , half distilled water from Walgreens. It turned out great.

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Old 08-05-2012, 07:27 PM   #7
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Just curious - why do you want to avoid diluting the water ? I've recently brewed a lager with half Chicago tap water , half distilled water from Walgreens. It turned out great.

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Old 08-05-2012, 07:54 PM   #8
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Just the challenge of it I guess, frankly I half expected to be told here that was the only way to go, which I would have been fine with. Where in Chicago are you?

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Old 08-06-2012, 12:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPFuller View Post
Just the challenge of it I guess, frankly I half expected to be told here that was the only way to go, which I would have been fine with. Where in Chicago are you?
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:12 PM   #10
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18 hour day at work yesterday and didn't see your post, i'm at Irving and Central so I will probably see you there! My son and I are thinking about joining a homebrew club, do you belong to one in the area?

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