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clex25 06-28-2011 11:09 PM

MD hard water - what styles?
Hey All. I've been reading some tutorials and I just wanted to confirm a few assumptions I had about my water. Looks like my Ca and Mg levels are all in order, but it seems like my Total Hardness is pretty high.

It seems that I will best be suited to brewing styles with an SRM between 5.0-10.0. I also realize that my pH level is a bit high for mashing.

What styles are best for me to brew, and are there any changes I should be making to the water that would have a highly noticeable effect?

Ward Report -

pH 7.5
TDS 227
me/L 4.1/4.0

Sodium, Na 16
Potassium, K 2
Calcium, Ca 53
Magnesium, Mg 8
Total Hardness, CaCO3 166
Nitrate, NO3-N 2
Sulfate, SO4-S 18
Chloride, Cl 36
Carbonate, CO3 <1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 105
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 86
Fluoride, F 0.79
Total Iron, Fe <0.01

Nateo 06-29-2011 01:33 AM

I'd probably use phosphoric acid to knock down the bicarbonate. That should get your RA low enough to do most any paler beer. You might need to increase the RA if you brew something with a lot of roast malt, but with that water I'd say 9 times out of 10 you'll need to lower the mash pH, not raise it.

ajdelange 06-29-2011 11:44 AM

The hardness is not, in general, a problem - in fact it is beneficial from the mash pH point of view and it is the pH of the mash, not the water, which is significant. That is determined mostly by the grain bill and the alkalinity with the hardness having a secondary role. Many beers, notably Helles, and Bohemian Pilsner are brewed with very soft water and these beers are best if the home brewer follows suit. In the course of doing that many of us have concluded that low mineral water makes the best, if not the most "authentic" beers but this is a somewhat controversial position.

The water you have is fine for brewing beers from 4 SRM (the lowest a home brewer can expect to do) to as high as you want to go.

The sulfate will be high (54 mg/L as SO4--) for those beers that use noble hops but will need to be supplemented for those beers for which assertive hoppiness is desired.

The alkalinity is high enough to push mash pH into the undesirable range unless acid is added in some form to most beers or the alkalinity is reduced or both. It's easy to reduce alkalinity and sulfate at the same time by diluting the water with RO or DI. There are some guidelines in the Prime in the Stickies here.

This is very nominal water and should present few problems for you.

clex25 06-29-2011 05:20 PM

Thanks for the feedback...
One question

Originally Posted by ajdelange (Post 3045554)
The sulfate will be high (54 mg/L as SO4--) for those beers that use noble hops but will need to be supplemented for those beers for which assertive hoppiness is desired.

Did you mean the sulfate will be fine or high? If you meant high for noble, I'm not understanding why I would need to supplement it for more heavily hopped beers. Thanks for the clarification.

ajdelange 06-29-2011 05:49 PM

The sulfate thing seems to be a personal preference thing. British pale ales were brewed with waters with hundreds of mg/L sulfate in them and so "genuine" British pale ales should have high levels of sulfate. Many prefer those same beers with appreciably less sulfate so what you do here depends on whether you like them genuine or like them tasting better (or think they do taste better with the high sulfate).

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