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Old 09-24-2011, 05:34 AM   #1
bierhaus15
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Default Munich Dunkel Water Profile

I've spent the last two hours scouring the web and a stack of old brewing books for a tried and true water profile for this beer and I still haven't found anything that seems remotely applicable. Most of what I've found is just the standard Munich profile, though I can't imagine it could be right for a dunkel with such a high sulfate/chloride ratio...?

Anyone have a water profile for a dunkel they would care to share? I'm going crazy here trying to come up with something that looks right.

Thanks!

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Old 09-24-2011, 12:27 PM   #2
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You don't need to over-think this and you don't need to replicate a historical Munich water profile. As a dark beer a higher carbonate level is OK and some chloride for fullness and flavor is appropriate IMO. My suggestion would be to use a combination of calcium carbonate and calcium chloride to achieve a Ca+ number in the ~100 ppm range, CO3- of ~100-150 ppm and Cl- of 50-75ppm.

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Old 09-24-2011, 03:36 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response.

How does something like this look? I don't have any chalk at the moment.

Ca - 60, Mg - 9, Na - 25, Sulfate - 42, Cl - 71, Bicarb - 126, Hardness - 192, Alk - 104

Estimated mash PH, 5.3.

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Old 09-24-2011, 07:47 PM   #4
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I can see that your search did not lead you to Bru'n Water. It includes the most researched and verified water profiles anywhere. The Munich profiles included in that software show very modest Cl and SO4 content so you'll find it suitable for a Dunkel.

Enjoy!

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Old 09-24-2011, 11:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bierhaus15 View Post
Thanks for the response.

How does something like this look? I don't have any chalk at the moment.

Ca - 60, Mg - 9, Na - 25, Sulfate - 42, Cl - 71, Bicarb - 126, Hardness - 192, Alk - 104

Estimated mash PH, 5.3.
That should be fine.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:44 AM   #6
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PS BigEd: those sulfate and chloride levels are FAR too high for a Dunkel. Not so fine.

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Old 09-25-2011, 02:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
PS BigEd: those sulfate and chloride levels are FAR too high for a Dunkel. Not so fine.

They are a lot higher than I would use myself but I doubt it's going to make a terrible beer.
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Old 09-25-2011, 03:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
I can see that your search did not lead you to Bru'n Water. It includes the most researched and verified water profiles anywhere. The Munich profiles included in that software show very modest Cl and SO4 content so you'll find it suitable for a Dunkel.
You know, I've been using Bru'n Water for a few months now with great success and I never even bothered to look at the Munich profile on the water adjustment. I just assumed it was the same very high sulfate/chloride one that is posted all over the web and on the other spreadsheets. Now I know better...

Also, your Munich profile is more like what I was expecting it to be - though I still am a bit confused. First, how necessary is it to have such high bicarbonate (295) and alkalinity (244) in a beer like this, so long as I can get an appropriate ph with softer water? Lastly, I had assumed this style would benefit from a higher cl:so4 ratio than what is listed, though is there a point where the cl:so4 ratio doesn't really matter with the ppm levels so low? Is a beer with 36 s04/16 cl any more different than one at 18/8?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 09-25-2011, 04:14 AM   #9
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Other than bicarb and the attendant hardness (calcium) Munich water is pretty low in mineral content. Chloride/sulfate ratios may be applicable in brewing British beers but they are definitely not applicable in brewing most lagers as the desireable chloride to sulfate ratio for most of them in infinite sulfate as low as possible. Thus low sulfate water is really what is desired for dunkles and while the chloride is also low for Munich water most beers benefit from a modest amount of chloride.

You ought to be able to make a pretty fine dunkles by using RO or other low mineral water with a bit of calcium chloride and nothing else. Acid should not be needed as the dark malt should supply enough in most cases. As with any other style you should check mash pH with a recently calibrated meter as where the actual pH falls can vary dramatically with the amount and type of dark malts employed. Should your water resemble Munich's i.e. if it is high in bicarbonate this is especially important.

You should definitely not add chalk to brewing water. This is difficult to do properly and more trouble than it is worth. Chalk (or another alkali) can be added to the mash should the mash pH come in too low. This is not likely, even with RO water, given the amounts of dark malt required to produce a good dunkles.

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Old 09-25-2011, 03:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bierhaus15 View Post
Also, your Munich profile is more like what I was expecting it to be - though I still am a bit confused. First, how necessary is it to have such high bicarbonate (295) and alkalinity (244) in a beer like this, so long as I can get an appropriate ph with softer water? Lastly, I had assumed this style would benefit from a higher cl:so4 ratio than what is listed, though is there a point where the cl:so4 ratio doesn't really matter with the ppm levels so low? Is a beer with 36 s04/16 cl any more different than one at 18/8?

Thanks for your help!
Recognize that pre-boiling and decanting the brewing water is and was an effective treatment option for highly alkaline water like Munich's. The high levels shown are the current levels reported for Munich, but please recognize that the brewer now and historically reduced the alkalinity for their brewing. That is why Bru'n Water also includes a relatively conservative estimate for the Munich water profile after it has been boiled (Munich (boiled) profile).

That post-boil water Munich profile may be more appropriate for a Dunkel, but they may have also included a small percentage of unboiled and decanted water in the mash to avoid creating too acidic a mash for their tastes. That unboiled Munich profile would probably not make a very good Dunkel or many other beers. As AJ says, avoid adding alkalinity unless its absolutely necessary. Don't try to recreate a Munich profile, aim for the boiled version.

I agree with AJ that at the low Cl and SO4 levels in Munich water, there wouldn't be much effect from the SO4/Cl ratio. Don't worry about the ratio, but do make sure that the levels are relatively low. I am a proponent of AJ's contention that sulfate is not a good component of European Lagers.

Enjoy!
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