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Old 02-12-2013, 03:37 AM   #1
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Default Just need some opinions...water for stout

Hey guys I put together this water profile using Bru'n Water's Black Balanced Desired Water Profile. This is for a Dry Irish Stout using 100% dilluted RO water calcs. Just need some opinions on the final numbers. Thanks

Calcium - 80
Magnesium - 8
Sodium - 12
Sulfate - 53
Chloride - 46
Bicarbonate - 169

Hardness - 234
Alkalinity - 140
RA - 78
SO4/CL Ratio - 1.15
pH - 5.5

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Old 02-12-2013, 04:08 AM   #2
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For Dry Irish Stout as typified by Lewis's (Ashton) recipe in Lewis's (Michael) book in the AHA series that is too much alkalinity. I brew that recipe with tap water with alkalinity of about 80 and come up with a mash pH which is a little high (5.5 or so). I don't think you need to add acid here if you back off on that alkalinity. I'd guess 50 would be just about right based on my experience.

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Old 02-12-2013, 11:59 AM   #3
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For Dry Irish Stout as typified by Lewis's (Ashton) recipe in Lewis's (Micahel) book in the AHA series that is too much alkalinity. I brew that recipe with tap water with alkalinity of about 80 and come up with a mash pH which is a little high (5.5 or so). I don't think you need to add acid here if you back off on that alkalinity. I'd guess 50 would be just about right based on my experience.
Thanks. Would you say 5.5pH is pretty standard for a darker/malty beer? Also, I have searched around to try and gain some knowledge on the sulfate to chloride ratio but have not really come up with anything showing the way that it is displayed in Bru'n Water. If it is 1.1 is that balanced? If it is 1.65 what is that? What if it's 2.45 or something to that nature? I understand the effects of each mineral and what they do...I don't understand the way it's portrayed I guess. Thansk again.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:13 PM   #4
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Yes, I think 5.4 - 5.5 is the 'sweet spot' for most beers with perhaps ales at the lower end and lagers at the higher and I think you can go outside that range without too much detriment.

I don't place much stock in the sulfate/chloride ratio thing. If I want dry, prominent, harsh bitterness I add sulfate. If I want round, mellow, sweetish beer with good mouthfeel I add chloride. The ratio comes out to be whatever it comes out to be (which is 0 in most beers I brew but that's my personal taste). I know that if I have to brew with water that boasts 200 mg/L sulfate I can't 'fix' it by supplementing the chloride to the 200 mg/L level. I know I have to get rid of the sulfate.

Thus I don't understand the ratio thing either. The chemistry of brewing water and the mash tun are very intricate and brewers often grasp in desperation at things that they think might simplify this aspect of their brewing. Setting RA according to color was one of those and this ratio is another. Of course if I tell you x and y or x and y/x I am giving you the same information so the ratio may be a useful piece of information for you. Just don't use it as a design parameter.

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pugs13 View Post
Thanks. Would you say 5.5pH is pretty standard for a darker/malty beer? Also, I have searched around to try and gain some knowledge on the sulfate to chloride ratio but have not really come up with anything showing the way that it is displayed in Bru'n Water. If it is 1.1 is that balanced? If it is 1.65 what is that? What if it's 2.45 or something to that nature? I understand the effects of each mineral and what they do...I don't understand the way it's portrayed I guess. Thansk again.
I know you didn't ask me. Anyways, I don't know about standard pH for darker beers, but I've seen some people say they prefer a slightly higher pH (e.g. 5.5, compared to 5.4) for darker beers because they feel it mellows the roasty edge a bit. Also, as far as the chloride to sulfate ratios, don't worry about those too much. Certainly don't worry about specific ratios like 1.1 or what not. I go by the general rule of adding only calcium chloride for malty or balanced beer, and a little calcium chloride (25-50 mg/L chloride) and a quite a bit of calcium sulfate (100+ sulfate) for a hoppy beer.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:41 PM   #6
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I know you didn't ask me......
No, he didn't but what makes these boards interesting and valuable is that multiple people post their experiences, procedures, opinions etc.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:54 PM   #7
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I was asking whomever had an explanation, procedure, experience or opinion. I appreciate the help. The problem I am having with this is that I cannot get my pH up to where I want it without having at least 75-80 in my alkalinity. When I fall within the target water for black balanced the pH is not where I want. Does RA really play a role here? The profile I posted above was pretty close to London on the Water Charts that Bru'n Water provides...do they really use that water in London, not sure but...it is what it is I guess...

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Pugs13 View Post
I was asking whomever had an explanation, procedure, experience or opinion. I appreciate the help. The problem I am having with this is that I cannot get my pH up to where I want it without having at least 75-80 in my alkalinity. When I fall within the target water for black balanced the pH is not where I want. Does RA really play a role here? The profile I posted above was pretty close to London on the Water Charts that Bru'n Water provides...do they really use that water in London, not sure but...it is what it is I guess...
Well, as AJ stated, he brews his dry stout with 80 alkalinity, so perhaps you want to try that.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:58 PM   #9
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I've gone up to about 95-100 alkalinity for an oatmeal stout I brewed recently, that had a large amount of specialty grains. It turned out with a good background of that coffee flavor AJ often mentions when he talks about his stout.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:15 PM   #10
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The problem I am having with this is that I cannot get my pH up to where I want it without having at least 75-80 in my alkalinity. When I fall within the target water for black balanced the pH is not where I want.
How are you measuring pH? Strips tend to read 0.3 low and I'd guess they are even harder to read with a dark colored mash. The inexpensive meters home brewers use tend to be unstable (but you can beat that with frequent cal checks and, if required re-cals).

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Does RA really play a role here?
RA was another one of those straws home brewers have grasped at. RA is very useful for its intended purpose: comparing water supplies but takes a back seat to alkalinity which is the main 'enemy' of the brewer. The reason for this is that the phytin calcium reaction usually produces only a small portion of the acid required to set proper mash pH. The majority either comes from roast or caramel malts (or barley) or is added by the brewer.

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The profile I posted above was pretty close to London on the Water Charts that Bru'n Water provides...do they really use that water in London, not sure but...it is what it is I guess...
I'll leave it to Martin to fully explain the philosophy behind the profiles he chose to include but I believe the intent is to give a profile which is physically realizable (many published profiles aren't) and that is reasonably representative of the associated region. This profile seems entirely suited to stouts and porters but should probably have the alkalinity reduced for a dry stout. I don't speak to the other types because I don't brew them.
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