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Old 09-15-2011, 12:48 PM   #1
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Default Distilled Water for Bohemian Pils

I've been reading a ton of threads on here regarding water profile for a traditional pils. Just looking for a simple answer- If someone decides not to mess with their water and just build a Pilsner water from distilled water.

So if I'm going with:

1.5 qt./lb of grain
4.5 gallons of strike water

12# pils malt
12 oz. Cara-Pils

What would be my ideal treatment additions for a great pilsner water?

Should I use distilled water and treat that also for my sparge water?

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Old 09-15-2011, 03:00 PM   #2
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Calcium chloride to get 50ppm or so of Ca. Lactic acid or acidulated malt to get the pH to 5.5. And yes, I treat all my water.

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Old 09-15-2011, 07:36 PM   #3
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That's very helpful, thanks. It's ok that making those changes raises my Chloride to 85 ppm? That won't have an impact on flavor profile at all?

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Old 09-15-2011, 08:07 PM   #4
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Calcium chloride to get 50ppm or so of Ca. Lactic acid or acidulated malt to get the pH to 5.5. And yes, I treat all my water.
That's quite a bit more calcium than goes into the traditional Boh Pils but I don't think it's excessive. What I think you really want to do here is start out with perhaps a quarter of that, derived from the chloride and then increase the quantity in subsequent brews. The very low calcium beers have a wonderful soft palate that you lose a bit of as the calcium content goes up but if you are getting it from chloride (and you certainly would not want it from the sulfate) the chloride rounds and fills out the palate to some extent offsetting the mineral character (which is, of course, very subtle even at 50 ppm). FWIW I've settled in at about 30 ppm calcium (from chloride) in RO water and that seems to work best (for me) but I want to go back to lower levels as I don't have fresh memory of how they tasted.
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:14 PM   #5
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I've found Palmer and Zainasheff's 50ppm minimum Ca rule of thumb accurate for clarity. Any less and lager yeast won't floc for crap and you're stuck with a cloudy pils unless you filter.

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Old 09-15-2011, 09:16 PM   #6
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Never had that problem. Well, I suppose it depends on how fast you want it to clear. These beers were traditionally lagered for three months and they are certainly crystal clear at that point. I hold them in the uni for a month, then transfer to kegs with lots of yeast in suspension (in order to take care of potential diacetyl/acetaldehyde). They are usually pretty clear within a month of going into the keg (exception: Kölsch) and bright thereafter. A big surprise for me was that good control of mash pH resulted in quicker clearing. Filtering is not something I'm interested in doing as it's a mess, exposes beer to oxygen (pad filters), causes loss of beer, increases risk of infection and strips out flavorful protein.

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Old 09-15-2011, 09:27 PM   #7
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Lucky maybe, or your finished beer has more Ca ions than you realize? Flocculation dependency on calcium is well characterized.

ftp://svoepivo.ru/Books/Evgen%20Book...occulation.pdf

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Old 09-15-2011, 10:05 PM   #8
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Flocculation dependency on calcium is well characterized.
I am currently reading a book on investing and one of the author's (who has never made me a nickle) main themes is that if everyone else accepts a tenet as unquestionably true that is a good indicator that you should question it. I have always brewed Pils with very low calcium levels (because that is the way it is brewed in Pilsen) and I have never had to filter it but then as they are lager beers I've always been willing to let them lager. I have never believed that 50 ppm was a hard limit simply because some of the world's best beers are brewed with calcium levels less than that. But they were brewed with the traditional 3 months lagering. I don't question that they might not clear faster if the calcium content were higher and today's commercial brewing is driven by getting the product off the loading dock ASAP so I don't doubt that a modern commercial brewery or a home brewer trying to expedite the process might not want a higher calcium level.

Most things in nature do not switch on and off at a threshold. I.e. the idea that a beer made with 30 ppm calcium will never clear whereas one with 50 will drop bright within a week is silly. That a 12 ppm beer might take 2 months and a 50 ppm beer 2 weeks is, OTOH, within the realm of possibility.

No, I don't think my beers contain more calcium than I think they do. I measure the water and measure out the calcium chloride I add to it. And I don't think it's luck as I've been doing it this way for years.

What did surprise me, as I mentioned above, is the influence of mash pH on rapidity of clearing.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
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That's quite a bit more calcium than goes into the traditional Boh Pils but I don't think it's excessive. What I think you really want to do here is start out with perhaps a quarter of that, derived from the chloride and then increase the quantity in subsequent brews. The very low calcium beers have a wonderful soft palate that you lose a bit of as the calcium content goes up but if you are getting it from chloride (and you certainly would not want it from the sulfate) the chloride rounds and fills out the palate to some extent offsetting the mineral character (which is, of course, very subtle even at 50 ppm). FWIW I've settled in at about 30 ppm calcium (from chloride) in RO water and that seems to work best (for me) but I want to go back to lower levels as I don't have fresh memory of how they tasted.
This makes sense. So I wouldn't need to worry about any other mineral additions?? All of my other numbers can be essentially zero? Just distilled water, enough calcium chloride to bring my calcium to around 30, and I'm good to go?
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:40 PM   #10
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The yeast need trace minerals for enzyme co-factors etc. but the malt will supply these in adequate quantity with the possible exception of zinc which you could get from yeast nutrient. Because of this a lot of guys blend back 5 - 10% tap water with the RO or distilled water. It's probably not necessary but I do it. I feel a little silly doing it but I do it. So yes, you are good to go mineral wise with just the calcium chloride but you will need lactic acid or sauermalz (3% of the grist) to get the mash pH down to about 5.4.

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