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Old 04-13-2014, 09:41 PM   #1
SlanginDueces
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Default First Water Build

I recently moved and will be brewing with distilled water for the first time next weekend. I always just used my tap water with no additions, but I want to start making better beer.

The recipe I'm brewing calls for:
Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=16, Cl=50, S04=275

It will be a 12 gal batch (post boil). I will mash with 6.9 gal of water and then fly sparge to collect 13.9 in the BK.

How can I find what I need to add? Do I treat the mash separately and then treat the wort in the BK? Thanks for the help!

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Old 04-13-2014, 11:56 PM   #2
mabrungard
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I take it you are brewing something hoppy. Brewing with distilled water is fine, excepting that in this case, the amount of calcium and magnesium is likely to drive the mash and wort pH too low. You will likely need a little alkalinity (aka: bicarbonate) in the mashing water to help keep the pH from falling too low. An alternative is to add only a portion of the calcium and magnesium salts to the mash so that a more desirable mash pH of around 5.4 is produced. The remainder of the salts can be added at the end of the boil.

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Old 04-14-2014, 11:59 AM   #3
ajdelange
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Depending, of course, on your grist, the advice to add alkalinity is probably not sound. Assuming 80% base malt with a DI pH of 5.6, 10% of something like a Vienna and 10% Caramel 60L your mash pH, with the calcium, will be right around 5.4. If you add modest amounts of alkali you can raise that to 5.5 or so without detriment. The danger is that if your base malt DI pH is higher than 5.6 (and for most malts it is) or if your darker malts are in smaller proportion, or of lighter color or of greater DI mash pH, then your mash pH will go up too. If, for example, your base malt DI pH were 5.8 your mash pH would go up to about 5.5. That's OK but if you added alkali then you would be pushing it up even higher and now you are getting out of the region you want to be in.

Best, of course, to obtain a pH meter and know rather than guessing based on assumptions.

Unless there is some special reason for wanting to have this mineral profile (which I would think to be quite crunchy) I would start out with a half tsp of gypsum and a half tsp of calcium chloride per 5 gal treated and go from there. See the Primer (it recommends more but I really feel it is better to start out low and work your way up as less minerals generally make better beer).

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Old 04-15-2014, 12:00 AM   #4
SlanginDueces
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I am attempting to brew Kal's recipe from The Electric Brewery for his Electric Pale Ale. It is 15.5 lbs 2-row, 3.5 lbs Vienna, .75 lbs Crystal 40. All late hop additions. He recommends this water profile, and judging by the reviews, it should come out pretty well. I have a PH meter and will be taking readings. I have just never had to work up from distilled water, so I don't know what brewing salts to add in what amount to achieve those numbers, any help with that would be appreciated.

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Old 04-15-2014, 04:14 PM   #5
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People seldom ask this anymore as there are probably a dozen spreadsheets and calculators available to answer this question and people have also tended to drop the notion that they must adhere to a water recipe. Nonetheless.....

The profile you specified cannot be realized because there are more anion charges than cation. This is easily fixed by increasing the chloride to 68.8. Doing that the required salt additions are

CaCl2.0H20 69.07 mg/L (adjust for CaCl2 content of whatever you buy)
NaCl 40.67 mg/L (be sure to use non iodized salt)
CaSO4.2H2O 365.4 mg/L
MgSO4.7H2O 182.53

This gives a nearly exact match with the concentration errors all less than 0.1% (assuming no measurement or purity errors).

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