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Old 11-23-2011, 08:15 PM   #1
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Default Imperial Pilsner and Water Profile

I'm thinking of brewing an Imperial Pilsner this winter. Give it a good lager time in the garage

However, the problem lies in the water! With that much pilsner malt and no dark malt to lower the pH i'm curious about water additions

I'm using EZ Water Calculator 3.0.1

My profile is (given by ward labs)
pH - 8.9
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est - 306
Electrical Conductivity - .51
Cations/Anions, me/L - 4.9/4.6

Sodium, Na - 58
Potassium, K - 10
Calcium, Ca - 11
Magnesium, Mg - 19
Total Hardness, CaCO3 -107
Nitrate, NO3-N - .9
Sulfate, SO4-S - 13
Cloride, CL - 73
Carbonate, CO3 - 9
Bicarbonate, HCO3 - 77
Total Alkalinity, CACO3 - 78

I have a 10 gallon batch, with 27 lbs of pilsner malt giving me a pH of 5.75. Using lactic acid (or acid malt) and all the other water additions I can get it into a good 5.55 pH range, but my Residual Alkalinity is -180 something. is this a problem? Is this something I shouldn't even consider?

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Old 11-23-2011, 09:09 PM   #2
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It's really no different from a regular Pils WRT to water. You will need the usual 3% sauermalz or equivalent in lactic or phosphoric acid. Also, don't know what kind of hops you plan to use but that sulfate is up there a bit.

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Old 11-24-2011, 11:21 PM   #3
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Ok...so

I'm thinking I should dilute with some distilled water, that would help the sulfates. Make sure the hope bitterness out of the beer

However...I'm still concerned with the RA...is negative ok?

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Old 11-25-2011, 03:52 AM   #4
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That's probably a good idea. It would help get the sodium down by half too. But it will push the calcium pretty low. You might want to supplement with a gram per 5 gallons of calcium chloride. That would bring the RA to +20 meaning that the mash pH would be little shifted relative to the DI water mash pH. The 3% sauermalz addition would drop mash pH from approximately 5.7 to approximately 5.4 which is just about right. But I'd hope you'd check this with a pH meter.

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Old 12-07-2011, 09:17 PM   #5
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Try using about half RO water, that will bring your pH down as well. Typically pilsner water is extremely soft, less than about 10 ppm of everything.

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Old 12-07-2011, 09:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgmartin000 View Post
Try using about half RO water, that will bring your pH down as well. Typically pilsner water is extremely soft, less than about 10 ppm of everything.
I did a decent amount of research and saw that you can find water profiles out there..and wow, I will definitely be adding RO for almost 75% of my water. Then i'll add just a touch of a few things to bring it into normal range. I guess I was just confused because my RA is negative! ...oh well, people seem to tell me that as long as my pH is low enough I shouldn't worry too much about my RA
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:38 PM   #7
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Do not worry about the hardness of the water. Unless you're decocting the mash, you should not use unadjusted soft water to brew with. The water in Pilsn is suitable for brewing because they decoct the mash and release calcium from the malt. For anyone else, do try and keep the calcium concentration at 40 to 50 ppm for good yeast growth and flocculation performance and beerstone reduction.

As was pointed out, the sulfate is a little higher than desirable for noble hops. In addition, the sodium and magnesium are a little higher than desirable. Dilution is a necessary option for this water. Do bring the calcium content back up to the limits I suggest above. Calcium chloride is your best option for that addition.

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Old 12-08-2011, 09:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
Do not worry about the hardness of the water. Unless you're decocting the mash, you should not use unadjusted soft water to brew with. The water in Pilsn is suitable for brewing because they decoct the mash and release calcium from the malt. For anyone else, do try and keep the calcium concentration at 40 to 50 ppm for good yeast growth and flocculation performance and beerstone reduction.

As was pointed out, the sulfate is a little higher than desirable for noble hops. In addition, the sodium and magnesium are a little higher than desirable. Dilution is a necessary option for this water. Do bring the calcium content back up to the limits I suggest above. Calcium chloride is your best option for that addition.
Interesting. I made a California common two weeks ago and tried to mimic the water profile in designing great beers, which gives a Ca concentration of about 27ppm.was that a mistake? Typically I know you need at least 50 ppm. I think I supplemented with about 3 grams cacl2.

It took about 3 days for fermentation to really get going . I thought that was due to the CA lager yeast, or that I crashed the starter for 30 hours. I didn't consider the Ca may have been an issue.
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:18 PM   #9
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I doubt the low calcium level was the cause of a slow start of fermentation. Calcium's effects are more recognized at the end of ferment by underattenuation and poor clearing of the finished beer.

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Old 12-10-2011, 02:08 AM   #10
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Awesome, good to know, thanks!

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