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Old 11-27-2010, 12:08 AM   #1
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Default H2O Treatment for Porter recipe

Hey All - Wanted to run by my plans for a brew tomorrow. Want to make sure I get the water treatment reasonably correct. If you wouldn't mind taking a look and giving your opinion I would very much appreciate it.

Porter Recipe:

8lbs Pale
1lb Munich
.5lb Crystal 60
.5lb Crystal 80
.75lb Chocolate
.25 Carapils

1.060 OG
33.5 IBU's
32 color

My water profile:

Ca-69.2, Mg-48.7, Na-3.3, Cl-1.5, SO4-9.9, Alk-345

One plan:

dilute with 50% distilled (4.15 gallons Mash, 3.125 Sparge)
add 1 gram of Calcium Chloride to the mash and .8 to the BK

End up with - Ca-52, Mg-24, Na-2, Cl-31, SO4-5, RA-121, PH-5.21

Other plan (try to match closer to London):

dilute with 50% distilled
.5 gram Gypsum, 1 gram Calcium Choride, 3 grams Baking Soda, and 1 gram non-iodized salt to the mash and same additions (smaller quantities) to the BK

End up with - Ca-59, Mg-24, Na-79, Cl-70, SO4-23, RA-229, PH-5.33

My concern with the first plan is the low levels of Sodium and Chloride. In Daniels Designing Great Beers book he states that the Sodium level of 100 and Chloride level of 60 contribute to palate fullness. The concern with option two is the higher RA.

Any help/opinions would be appreciated. I've been playing with water chemistry (mostly using Palmer) and have been less than successful in my opinion. Feel like I've learned a lot here on the forums recently, but it's a lot to take in over a short period of time. For what it's worth, the last brew I made seemed too thin. It was a 42 gravity APA, but tasted much too thin for what I was looking for. Here is what I did to the water at that point (same original water profile) - 1tsp of gypsum and .5 tsp of cal cl to the mash and .75 tsp of gypsum and .33 tsp of cal cl. This was done before I had the EZ water spreadsheet.

If you think a different plan for my water profile is in order please don't hesitate to suggest.

Thanks ahead of time.

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Old 11-29-2010, 09:51 PM   #2
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ajdelange - any chance I could get your opinion on this one? I ended up brewing this over the weekend. Decided to go somewhat in between the two options posted (1 gram gypsum, 1gram cal chl, 2 grams bak soda, and 1 gram salt (non-iodized)).

Everything went well, however, the ph in the MT was high 6.2+. Ended up adding an additional gram of cal chl to try and bring it down, but really only made it to about 5.7 or 5.8. Missed my target gravity, but adjusted the hop profile prior to boil so the beer should still be good.

Would love to hear your opinion (or others as well). Really trying to better understand water profiles better. Wanted to make sure I had the chloride and sodium levels higher for mouthfeel per the Designing Great Beers book. Do you think that was necessary or should I of stuck with my first option above in the original post?

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Old 11-30-2010, 12:34 PM   #3
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There are 2 factors responsible for the high mash pH: the natural alkalinity of the water (which is appreciable) and the bicarbonate which you added. Every 61 mg/L bicarbonate ion (84 mg/L sodium bicarbonate) adds 50 ppm alkalinity (as CaCO3).

My recommendation can be found at http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/brewing-water-chemistry-primer-198460/. More specifically for this case I would dilute more than 1:1 because of the huge alkalinity. I'd probably go to 4:1 which would get the RA down under 50 (just) and then add the standard 5 grams/5 gal. CaCl2 which would drop it a bit more (to 39). That ought to be low enough for the colored malts to pull mash pH into a reasonable range but, as always, I recommend a check.

This would be a starting point. For more hops assertiveness, add some gypsum. For fuller, sweeter rounder beer, add some calcium chloride. If you want to see the effects of sodium chloride try adding some to the finished beer just before you drink it and if you like the results add some sodium chloride to the next batch.

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Old 11-30-2010, 05:50 PM   #4
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Thanks much for the reply, really appreciate it. I've been over the brewing water chemistry primer thread numerous times. I'm learning of course and hearing a specific response to the beer I just made is very helpful.

If you wouldn't mind another question or two - Do you think the water treatment/high Ph I did/had will have any adverse effects on flavor (in your opinion of course)? If so, what should I be looking for in the flavor and what do you feel would be the culprit? Or, is the profile/high Ph really only going to be affecting the yield from my mash (with any flavor issues stemming from a crap recipe ?)

Sorry for the questions. Really appreciate you taking the time as it really helps.

cp

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Old 11-30-2010, 08:26 PM   #5
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It's not so much that high mash pH leads to bad beer as it is that proper mash pH leads to noticeably better beer. It's all subjective, of course, but the usual response I see is that the flavors are so much brighter when the pH was right. One can also expect higher yields but that isn't really what we are after relative to the flavor.

Beers with made from water with high mineral content tend to taste of minerals to some extent and this is an important aspect of the style in some beers (Export comes to mind) while in other cases they have a negative effect - not so much again because the beer is ruined as because a minerally Bohemian Pils is more like an Export than it is like a Bohemian Pils.

Dark beers tend to be more forgiving. I've heard some reports of "chalky" tasting stouts when the brewer used chalk to the extent recommended by some of the spreadsheets but I'm sure the beers were drinkable.

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Old 11-30-2010, 09:02 PM   #6
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Thanks again aj, really appreciate it.

Does the higher RA have any effect on the flavor or does that really reference the high mineral content issue you discussed?

Have you ever come across a beer with a gravity of 42 or greater tasting thin? I recently made an APA with a great flavor profile, but was much too thin for my liking. Wondering if my water treatment may have contributed to it. In this type of case would I be looking to increase chloride or sodium to help with the mouthfeel possibly? Anything else you can think of that may have contributed to this (had carapils in the recipe along with crystal malts)? Maybe too low carbonation (I kegged rather than bottled that batch).

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Old 11-30-2010, 09:10 PM   #7
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High RA leads to high pH and it is through that mechanism that beer quality is effected. Note that if you load up water with calcium chloride and calcium sulfate it will taste minerally even though it has a negative RA (think Burton).

Thin body is usually mostly caused by low mashing temperature leading to a highly fermentable wort. Usually cara and crystal contribute some higher molecular weight sugars and offset this but I guess if conversion were at low enough temp it could happen. Also, of course, low conversion efficiency so that not much starch is turned into sugar could do it too.

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Old 11-30-2010, 09:29 PM   #8
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Excellent, that makes sense.

"Thin body is usually mostly caused by low mashing temperature leading to a highly fermentable wort. Usually cara and crystal contribute some higher molecular weight sugars and offset this but I guess if conversion were at low enough temp it could happen. Also, of course, low conversion efficiency so that not much starch is turned into sugar could do it too."

That last sentence I'm having a little trouble with. If I have a 42 gravity beer that I hit dead on vs. a 42 gravity beer that was supposed to be a 50 gravity beer shouldn't the mouthfeel (thin body) be about the same (assuming both are mashed at the same temp)? I'm assuming the second beer is what you mean by low conversion efficiency so that not much starch is turned into sugar? I'm sure I'm missing something here.

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Old 11-30-2010, 09:34 PM   #9
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Excellent, that makes sense.

"Thin body is usually mostly caused by low mashing temperature leading to a highly fermentable wort. Usually cara and crystal contribute some higher molecular weight sugars and offset this but I guess if conversion were at low enough temp it could happen. Also, of course, low conversion efficiency so that not much starch is turned into sugar could do it too."

That last sentence I'm having a little trouble with. If I have a 42 gravity beer that I hit dead on vs. a 42 gravity beer that was supposed to be a 50 gravity beer shouldn't the mouthfeel (thin body) be about the same (assuming both are mashed at the same temp)? I'm assuming the second beer is what you mean by low conversion efficiency so that not much starch is turned into sugar? I'm sure I'm missing something here.

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Old 11-30-2010, 09:42 PM   #10
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I think you've got it. What I mean to say is that if you were planning for a 52 point beer and got a 42 point result the body would be thinner than you would expect for a 52 pointer.

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