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Old 09-17-2011, 01:31 PM   #1
makomachine
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Default First Time Water Build - Surly Furious

I'm taking on my first ever water build this Sunday with distilled water, mineral salts, and acidulated malt. I've read the water primer and done other research but still a bit 'uncertain' that I've got everything nailed down at this point. I'm brewing a Surly Furious kit from NB, and I've never had the original beer. It has been described as balanced but obviously is an IPA with a lot of hops. No information that I track down on their water profile so came up with my own with the help of some others and the EZWatercalculator spreadsheet. Any advice for me on areas that need tweaking or things that I'm clearly missing?

CA 98 ppm
MG 15 ppm
NA 22 ppm
CL 91 ppm
SO4 178 ppm
CL/SO4 ratio .51

4oz acidulated malt (2% of grain bill)

PH 5.4 (at room temp)

Additions to get to the above numbers.
5.2 g CaCL2
4.5 g MgSO4
5.6 g CaSO4
2.2 g NaHCO3



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Old 09-17-2011, 01:53 PM   #2
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You should never add bicarbonate (or carbonate) to brewing water unless you are way more experienced in tailoring water than you are at this point. It increases alkalinity which is nearly always a bad thing as alkalinity raises mash pH. You are using acidulated malt in order to lower mash pH. The bicarb will raise it. The two work against one another.

It is not necessary to add magnesium sulfate in order to obtain sufficient magnesium as malt contains quite a bit of it. Once again, a more experienced brewer might want to add some magnesium in order to duplicate a particular water profile but in general magnesium is flavor negative (bitter) so in general magnesium augmenting additions are avoided.

You are probably better off starting out in water treatment by following the advice of the Primer as opposed to trying to come up with a profile using a spread sheet. That would be step 2 as you progress. All you need for an IPA is a gram/gal gypsum and some calcium chloride if you want to round out at sweeten the beer (usually a good idea). Up to a gram per gallon of that can be used as well. 2 - 3% sauermalz in the grist will drop the pH approximately 0.2 to 0.3 pH respectively. As you didn't give a grain bill I don't know what 4 Oz sauermalz corresponds to in terms of % but each % drops mash pH by about 0.1 pH. If you are using base malt with DI mash pH 5.6, for example, 3% sauermalz would give you about 5.3 which is OK if the crystal malts are limited. With a fair amount of crystal you could drop as low as 5.2. OTOH with a paler base malt DI water pH might go as high as 5.7 and you would have 5.4 in the full mash with little or no crystal malt and perhaps as low as 5.3 with a fair amount of it.

Bottom line is: skip the epsom salts and bicarbonate and use however much sauermalz corresponds to 2-3% of the grist.

I can't write these things without mentioning that if you are going to take this next step up in brewing you will really need a pH meter. My guesswork here about mash pH is educated guesswork but guesswork nonetheless. Spreadsheet mash predictions are no better. It is really best to be certain on this as mash pH is so important.



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Old 09-17-2011, 02:04 PM   #3
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Do you think they heavily alter their water profile from St. Paul or Minneapolis tap water?

+1 to avoiding bicarbonate. High mash pH will F everything up.

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Old 09-17-2011, 02:34 PM   #4
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As expected lots of good advice here! The grain bill is as follows:

7.5 lbs - Canada Malting Pale Ale Malt
3.25 lbs - Simpsons Golden Promise
.88 lbs - Simpsons Medium Crystal
.63 lbs - Belgian Aromatic Malt
.125 lbs - Simpsons Roasted Barley

4oz - acidulated malt (2% by my math)

Definitely will drop the bicarbonate and magnesium - thanks for the input there. I missed along the way the fact that Mg additions weren't necessary and was trying to hit a level I'd heard you needed for healthy yeast.

So the question becomes what balance is right for this beer with the SO4 & CL. Any input there on the additions? I'm going to pick up some lactic acid and a PH meter to insure my PH is under control - starting with the acidulated malt and lactic on standby for adjustment if required.

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Kegged: Waldo Lake Amber, Notty as Helles, Vanilla Porter, Sweet Stout (nitro), NB Surly Furious Clone, Petite Saison D'ete, Le Seigle Belge Saison, BM Cream of 3 Crops, Edworts Apfelwein
Bottled: Nada!
In Process: Braggot
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makomachine View Post
So the question becomes what balance is right for this beer with the SO4 & CL. Any input there on the additions?
The answer there has to be somewhat vauge: the right balance is the balance that gives you the best result with "best" depending on your definition of what that word means and it can mean several things. The first definition is clearly the one in which best means it tastes best to you. But others could mean that it tastes best to your guests, wins lots of ribbons in contensts, is most like the target beer etc. I usually recommend that people start out with low sulfate because lots of people don't like what sulfate does to beer (and I'm one of them) but lots of others do. Then on subsequent brews you would add more and more. With an IPA, however, one would expect to find quite a bit of sulfate which is why I recommended approximately equal amounts of gypsum and caclium chloride. But you can't expect to brew the best beer the first time out so be sure to experiment with different amounts of sulfate and chloride. Don't be too taken in by the notion that a particular beer requires a particular ratio. It should be obvious that beers made with 1 mg/L Cl- and 1 mg/L SO4-- won't be at all the same as beers made with 200 mg/L of each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by makomachine View Post
I'm going to pick up some lactic acid and a PH meter to insure my PH is under control - starting with the acidulated malt and lactic on standby for adjustment if required.
Be sure you understand how to calibrate and use the meter properly. If you haven't used a pH meter before it is well worth investing some time in learning about their quirks. Practice on milk, lemon juice, baking soda solutions, baking soda solutions to which you add some vinegar etc. Keep in mind that sauermalz takes some time to establish stable mash pH so measure at dough in but then again at 15 and 20 min.

Stand by with some alkali too. Sodium bicarbonate is fine for that. There is a chance mash pH will be too low but it's not nearly as likely as that it will be too high. Should that prove to be the case add the bicarbonate in very small increments with lots of checks. You don't want to wind up chasing pH all over the place.
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Old 09-17-2011, 05:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
The answer there has to be somewhat vauge: the right balance is the balance that gives you the best result with "best" depending on your definition of what that word means and it can mean several things. The first definition is clearly the one in which best means it tastes best to you. But others could mean that it tastes best to your guests, wins lots of ribbons in contensts, is most like the target beer etc. I usually recommend that people start out with low sulfate because lots of people don't like what sulfate does to beer (and I'm one of them) but lots of others do. Then on subsequent brews you would add more and more. With an IPA, however, one would expect to find quite a bit of sulfate which is why I recommended approximately equal amounts of gypsum and caclium chloride. But you can't expect to brew the best beer the first time out so be sure to experiment with different amounts of sulfate and chloride. Don't be too taken in by the notion that a particular beer requires a particular ratio. It should be obvious that beers made with 1 mg/L Cl- and 1 mg/L SO4-- won't be at all the same as beers made with 200 mg/L of each.



Be sure you understand how to calibrate and use the meter properly. If you haven't used a pH meter before it is well worth investing some time in learning about their quirks. Practice on milk, lemon juice, baking soda solutions, baking soda solutions to which you add some vinegar etc. Keep in mind that sauermalz takes some time to establish stable mash pH so measure at dough in but then again at 15 and 20 min.

Stand by with some alkali too. Sodium bicarbonate is fine for that. There is a chance mash pH will be too low but it's not nearly as likely as that it will be too high. Should that prove to be the case add the bicarbonate in very small increments with lots of checks. You don't want to wind up chasing pH all over the place.
Thanks AJ - appreciate your inputs. I am most interested in recreating the original beer. I was able to confirm that Surly uses Brooklyn Center MN water untreated. I contacted the water dept. And they provided me numbers of 114 ppm sulfates and a chloride range of 13 to 28 ppm based on samples taken over the course of a couple of years. That seemed low to me, only considering the input that Surly does no water additions. This lead me down a different path as I'm not 100% sure of the 'no additions' comment and got that from NB, not the brewer at Surly.
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In Process: Braggot
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:13 PM   #7
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In that case go with 3.75 grams of gypsum and 0.5 - 1 gram of CaCl2 for 5 gallons. Did they say anything about alkalinity or hardness?

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Old 09-17-2011, 07:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
In that case go with 3.75 grams of gypsum and 0.5 - 1 gram of CaCl2 for 5 gallons. Did they say anything about alkalinity or hardness?
Unfortunately, no. They were as helpful as they could be but didn't have a lot of data they could share.

Also just got back from the LHBS - had a PH meter, but no solutions in stock. Will have to pick I up at a later date and will likely be a bit blind on this brew unfortunately.
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:52 AM   #9
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I'm sure you will be fine without it. Then you can familiarize youself withthe meter at leisure.

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Old 09-18-2011, 01:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
I'm sure you will be fine without it. Then you can familiarize youself withthe meter at leisure.
Thanks AJ. At a low level of CL, .5 to 1 g, will this imbalance in the CL/So4 ratio cause the hops to be harsh? Clearly IPA's can carry a much higher SO4 level than 114ppm - but given I'm new with this stuff, I'm worried that having the CL level so low will result in the beer being harsh. Do I need to RDWHAHB - or should I raise the CL level? Just not sure if the perceived harshness in SO4 is tied to level of SO4 or the balance between SO4/CL, or a little of both.


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Bottled: Nada!
In Process: Braggot
Upcoming Brews: Surley Furious Clone, Uintah Wyld
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