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Old 01-30-2013, 01:02 AM   #1
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Default How to adjust this water for brewing a light lager or Kolsch?

Hello,
Here are my numbers from Wards

I live in Missouri and the water is supposedly a river sourced supply...63376
These numbers are fairly close to what I expected based on local water company reports.

pH 8.5
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 419
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.70
Cations / Anions, me/L 7.0 / 6.5

ppm
Sodium, Na 84
Potassium, K 3
Calcium, Ca 29
Magnesium, Mg 21
Total Hardness, CaCO3 160
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 25
Chloride, Cl 123
Carbonate, CO3 6
Bicarbonate, HCO3 74
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 70

When I put these numbers a light lager and Kolsch recipe into EZ water (and have not tried BrunWater yet) it showed I needed to lower the Ph and my calcium level was a bit low and my chloride/sulfate ratio was on the malty side.

What is the best way to adjust these?

To Note -
I do BIAB with 8.5 gallons of water to start with and no sparge, etc.
I carbon filter my water and add on campden tablet to it.
The water I used for the Wards test was straight from my tap.

thanks for your help in advance
Kevin



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Old 01-30-2013, 01:09 AM   #2
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[QUOTE=haeffnkr;4842023
What is the best way to adjust these?
[/QUOTE]

I'd use RO water and either use 100% RO water, or dilute significantly with it. That much Na is way too high!



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Old 01-30-2013, 04:09 AM   #3
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Thanks for the help Yooper.
I am trying to understand your reasoning of using other water though...

With the addition of 3 grams of gypsum and 3 ml of Latic Acid that puts my mash at 5.52 with a recipe of
9 Pilsner
.5 Vienna
.5 Munich

My numbers all all balanced on the EZ sheet.
I guess I want very low Na numbers for a lager though?

John Palmer said this... At levels of 70 - 150 ppm it rounds out the beer flavor... re Na.
I see though that a lot of the lager beer city water profiles he notes have single digit Na numbers though.

I thought I have made pretty good light beers so far with this water so far.
I also was not expecting this high of a number based on some of the local reports area reports I found in my area.

thanks Kevin

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:46 PM   #4
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Yooper isn't talking about the pH level. She feels the Na is too high.

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:15 PM   #5
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Agreed with yooper. There are a lot of mineral contents too high in your water for a clean lager or Kolsch. RO would be the best way to go. With the amount of dissolved solids you have adding more isn't going to help for a light style beer.

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Old 01-30-2013, 03:42 PM   #6
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thanks for the replies thus far -

I understand that it is easy to adjust the Ph down and that would just add more minerals to my water.
I also get that Pilsen type water has way less minerals than my city water does.

I guess I am trying to understand what flavor or off flavors I would get from this water vs what the same beer would taste like made with all RO water.

I thought I made a good Kolsch thus far and my first Lager seemed to be a success also but since I have been basically using the same water and same filter/campden/5.2 stabilizer/brewing process for a few different styles of beer over about 15 batches... maybe I am immune to the possible off flavors in my beer that my water is producing.

Does that make sense?

thanks Kevin

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Old 01-30-2013, 03:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haeffnkr View Post
thanks for the replies thus far -

I understand that it is easy to adjust the Ph down and that would just add more minerals to my water.
I also get that Pilsen type water has way less minerals than my city water does.

I guess I am trying to understand what flavor or off flavors I would get from this water vs what the same beer would taste like made with all RO water.

I thought I made a good Kolsch thus far and my first Lager seemed to be a success also but since I have been basically using the same water and same filter/campden/5.2 stabilizer/brewing process for a few different styles of beer over about 15 batches... maybe I am immune to the possible off flavors in my beer that my water is producing.

Does that make sense?

thanks Kevin
Good is 'good enough' until you have had 'better'. It could be that your water suits YOUR needs perfectly but you come here for the 'collective wisdom'. You are free to use, or not use, the advice as suits your individual taste. There is not much point in asking advice if you don't really want it though.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:59 PM   #8
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I think you could get by with a 1:1 dilution with RO or distilled water. The Na and Cl are both too high for a delicate beer like Kolsch. The sodium levels that John quotes are not appropriate for brewing many styles. In addition, when high sodium is included along with high chloride and/or sulfate, the water is likely to have a 'minerally' flavor.

And do yourself a big favor and drop the 5.2 in your trash can and count it as a learning experience. That is not the way to go. Maybe you are sodium insensitive? You should have tasted the strong 'salty' flavor if using that product at its recommended dosage in this tap water.

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Old 01-30-2013, 09:35 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies.

Using RO water was not the answer I was expecting but as I continue to read more about it seems like a good way to go.
The whole idea of a blank slate decorated as I want it = RO water and additions to suit the style of beer I want to brew.

Yes... mabye I am insensitive to the mineral/salt taste... The description of what the extra minerals would taste like in my beer is what I was after.

I will definately start over on my next Kolsch brew and see if I can taste the difference with my current beers vs ones made from RO water.

thanks again
Kevin

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Old 01-31-2013, 11:40 AM   #10
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Hooray! Martin to the rescue. Kevin, there is a meandering & winding conversation about Kolsch HERE including some information from a chemist from Cologne (or Germany anyway) and maybe something in there will help with your Kolsch. Cheers.



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