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Old 06-25-2013, 02:18 PM   #11
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Just trying to help. I guess this post was for VIP's only. My bad...
No, I wasn't trying to say it was for VIP's. I was just letting you know that AJ isn't pulling these bicarbonate numbers out of his posterior. I actually personally prefer 70-100 alkalinity for my really dark porters or stout (lots of crystal/dark malt).
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:51 PM   #12
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No, I wasn't trying to say it was for VIP's. I was just letting you know that AJ isn't pulling these bicarbonate numbers out of his posterior. I actually personally prefer 70-100 alkalinity for my really dark porters or stout (lots of crystal/dark malt).
Your preference aside I've read plenty that recommend higher bicarbonate for dark beers. I realize there's always different approaches that will work, but that doesn't change the common wisdom...
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:59 PM   #13
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Your preference aside I've read plenty that recommend higher bicarbonate for dark beers. I realize there's always different approaches that will work, but that doesn't change the common wisdom...
Have you checked your mash pH with a calibrated meter? AJ has done so for his dry stout and gotten a reading of 5.5 with water that had 60 for a bicarb value. Granted, some base malts (e.g. rahr) might have a lower DI mash pH.
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:00 PM   #14
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Your preference aside I've read plenty that recommend higher bicarbonate for dark beers. I realize there's always different approaches that will work, but that doesn't change the common wisdom...
Ah, but the "common wisdom" has changed greatly since Palmer wrote "How to Brew" and he has often said that even the Third Edition needs to be updated. Even Palmer is working on this new book (going to be released in October?) to update the things he said that he "got it wrong" in the past.

Mabrungard and AJdelange know far more about this than I do, and I wouldn't be quick to disregard their advice. They are the experts in this field, actually.
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:29 PM   #15
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...new book (going to be released in October?) ....
Yes, I think it will be. The writing and tech edit are complete and, as I understand it, it's 'in production'.

Really the bottom line on all this is that if the mash pH is correct the alkalinity level is correct given the grist components and acid and alkali additions (if any). I and others have found that the fact that a beer is dark does not necessarily mean that it will require that supplemental alkalinity be added. OTOH we also now know from Kai's work that some caramel malts supply more acidity than the roast malts so that a lighter colored beer, with lots of caramel malt may require supplemental alkalinity. We have also found out some interesting stuff about how the commonly added alkalis work.

Yes, much of the common 'wisdom' has fallen by the wayside and the tablespoons full of chalk or bicarbonate in every stout (which, IMO, has ruined more beer than any other piece of wisdom) was, I thought, finally dead.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:42 PM   #16
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So, assuming you guys are legit, how would you "build" your water from scratch starting with 0 in all values? Please answer for pale, mid-amber and dark for an appropriate range. Thanks!

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Old 06-25-2013, 07:00 PM   #17
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Personally, I'd start by getting my calcium up to 50ppm. Usually I'd use calcium chloride for the majority of the calcium, unless I'm brewing a pale ale or IPA, then I'd use mostly gypsum (to get my sulfate to about 150 or so...others like higher). For a pale beer as a general rule I'll have zero alkalinity and a bit of acid. For my ambers, 0 alkalinity with no acid tends to work out for me. For dark porters / stouts (lots of dark malt and crystal) I tend to use an alkalinity of 75-100 (I dilute with my 214 alkalinity tap water). If I didn't dilute I'd use some pickling lime to up the alkalinity and add calcium. I do this all based off of the Bru'n Water spreadsheet and then verify proper pH with a meter (though I haven't recently, since I tend to brew similar beers pretty often, so I know what's about right). One should note that I normally use Rahr 2-row which has a DI pH around 5.55. Others will require more acid if their base malt has a higher DI pH.

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Old 06-25-2013, 07:04 PM   #18
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For hop forward beers (American IPA, Pale Ale, Amber, etc) I usually go with something like this:

Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=16, Cl=50, S04=275

(Basically Randy Mosher's ideal Pale Ale numbers with slightly less Sulphate).

For light coloured lagers, blonde ales, wheat beers, Helles, and other balanced beers:

Ca=49, Mg=10, Na=16, Cl=69, S04=69

(Hit minimums on Ca and Mg, keep the Cl:SO4 ratio low and balanced).

For British Pale Ales, ESB, etc:

Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=17, Cl=49, S04=92

(Basically Randy Mosher's ideal Pale Ale numbers with slightly less Sulphate and a Cl:S04 ratio of 1:2 - we're not making a hoppy American beer here so I go a bit easy on accentuating bitterness).

More S04 makes the bitterness 'sharper'. Less makes it more 'rounded'.

YMMV

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Old 06-25-2013, 07:44 PM   #19
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And bicarbonate? That pretty much the same as alkalinity right? What are your numbers for that?

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Old 06-25-2013, 07:54 PM   #20
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And bicarbonate? That pretty much the same as alkalinity right? What are your numbers for that?
Roughly 1.22 * alkalinity.
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