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Old 01-09-2012, 08:38 AM   #1
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Default Looking for Tripel Water Profile answers

I have been unable to locate a triple water profile I am happy with. I plan to brew a beer similar to Delirium Tremens using 100% doctored distilled water. Can anyone point me towards a reliable source for a nice dry Belgian water profile. (Need Ca,Mg,Na,SO4,Cl,HCO3)
I have chalk,gypsm, table salt, Epsom salt, calcium chloride, baking soda, and acidulated malt available. I'm just not sure which water I should shoot for (I hate that beersmith doesn't take acid malt into consideration in the water profile tool)

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Old 01-09-2012, 01:39 PM   #2
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As I recall from some book dedicated to the brewing of Belgian ales (and if I could remember which it was I'd tell you) some are brewed with pretty low mineral water and some with quite high. Given that and the availability of DI/RO water I'd start out KISS and follow the Primer.

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Old 01-09-2012, 02:05 PM   #3
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Bru'n Water has a collection of Belgian City water profiles that may be useful. They have been researched and verified, but there is no guarantee that the breweries in those locations use that water. So you're still left a bit in the dark.

One thing that you might decipher out of the profiles is a trend in the flavor ions that are present in a certain locale. The rest of the water profile (Ca and alkalinity) should be tailored to suite the grist.

In general, I suggest that Ca be kept in the 50 ppm range and the alkalinity be limited to produce an acceptable mash pH. The recommendations of the Primer are fairly well suited to brewing a Tripel, but you might want to vary the flavor ions to suit your tastes.

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Old 01-09-2012, 09:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
As I recall from some book dedicated to the brewing of Belgian ales (and if I could remember which it was I'd tell you) some are brewed with pretty low mineral water and some with quite high. Given that and the availability of DI/RO water I'd start out KISS and follow the Primer.
I suppose this would be the cleanest approach. That was what was overwhelming me was the vast difference in water profiles (and how acid malt isn't taken into consideration).
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:30 AM   #5
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This is basically exactly what I was looking for as well in our other thread discussion. I'm brewing only one beer that is a golden strong/tripel. Bru'n does have many entries like Achouffe, Orval, etc that should certainly help. They are pretty different though, there isn't really one great profile for a tripel.

For me, the sticking point has been how to get the sulfates down. The only way I know of is to dilute overall. I was hoping to find another way, but it doesn't seem to work like that. Sulfates may react with noble hops, which lots of golden strongs and tripels have for bittering and late additions.

Why only noble hops? I don't get that.

EDIT: I've since learned that the one thing that is different about noble hops is that their Alpha/Beta acid ratio is about 1:1. Beta are considered harsher and more course. Other hops tend to have a 2:1 ratio.

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Old 01-10-2012, 12:29 PM   #6
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Why only noble hops? I don't get that.
That's a good question. I wish I had a good answer. The best I can offer are some musings not backed up by anything I can recall from the literature, experiments I've done etc.

Noble hops are called noble (and priced accordingly) because their bitterness is very "fine" as opposed to other cultivars where it is "rough" or "coarse". I'm not even sure what those terms mean except that the coarse stuff sort of grabs you in the back of the throat and, for me, elicits a reaction somewhat like gagging. Sulfate is said to "sharpen" hops or render them "more assertive". To me this means it coarsens the bitterness and it does this to noble varieties as well as to the others. Because the bitterness from noble varieties is fine brewers can use more of them to get to higher levels of bitterness without the unpleasant effects that would ensue if those levels were attained with other varieties. If one takes a recipe that uses high levels of noble hops and adds sulfate he converts fine bitterness to coarse and, not only has he thrown away the premium price he paid, but may have coarseness at the unpleasant level.

After reading that last paragraph one may well ask "Shouldn't it work the other way? If I reduce the sulfate in my British beers, shouldn't they be more pleasant to drink?" I think the answer is "yes". I don't use anything like the recommended sulfate levels in the few ales I do and I don't do many largely because I don't care for the hops qualities. This is largely a matter of my personal taste. I know there are lots of guys reading this who will completely disagree and who purposely push the sulfate to get the hops qualities they like and I hope some of them will chime in.

Another interesting observation here concerns the guy that brews at the brewpub not far from here. The biggest sellers are his very hoppy ales and I do mean very hoppy but they are loaded with hop flavor and are not assertively bitter. I know he uses a lot of hop oils in his brewing and I think this is how he gets the hop flavors and aromas without the harsh bitterness. The water around here is pretty low in sulfate and I don't think he adds anything to it (having been taught by Michael Lewis at UCD).
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:23 PM   #7
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AJ,
Just the other night, I came top the exact same conclusion you did in your second paragraph. Beers that use them tend to use them for bittering and late additions, meaning more hops. But, something still doesn't make sense to me. There are many other beers that use WAY more hops and should have cringing bitterness . . .makes me think there's something more than just a higher sulfate connection.

OT:
For me, I'm pretty much convinced that my issue wasn't with this but with my higher Ph dunk/sparge extracting tannins from my BIAB crush. With my hamfisted approach, I have no idea how high the Ph is going when I bring the mash in a bag over to the kettle for a good rinse in the 9.1 water. Plus, with a really fine grind I'm probably bringing all kinds of crap in there. I plan a 'dunk water' acid reduction just to see if that may be the cause. At that point I'll be able to pin point crush or Ph (or both).

I'll also be able to give some concrete gelatin/tannin removal feedback in a day or so.

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