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Old 09-07-2012, 05:16 PM   #41
ajdelange
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So should I add gypsum?

I know everyone on this thread said less is more. Most of my reading states that I need some sulfate in my water. What do you guys think?
Whether you want sulfate or not is entirely up to you. I always recommend starting out low on sulfate and working up because a lot of brewers find that they like beer better with no or low sulfate. I'd start with just the chloride. Then when the beer is ready to drink taste some and then add a little gypsum in the glass. If you find the gypsum improves your enjoyment of the beer then brew it with some gypsum next time. Do the same thing with that beer until you find the gypsum amount that gives you the most enjoyable beer.

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Lastly, if I am going to be using Distilled or RO water for all my brewing, would you buy an RO filter or just buy distilled at a grocery store?
That depends on how much brewing you are going to do, how far it is to the grocery store and how much they charge. Obviously if you intend to do this a lot the RO unit will be more convenient.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:37 PM   #42
mabrungard
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I can't imagine reduced hop expression as ever being anything but a negative consequence but I do think that tartness and increased fermentability could be positives in some cases i.e. where one wants a dry beer, quenching beer. So does this not really say that for some beers a lower than what we think of as normal limit to the mash pH range applies? I've always paused when I type 5.4 - 5.6. Isn't it really like any other parameter? IOW isn't there an 'ideal' pH for each style?

It should be obvious from this statement that I have never experienced the effects of low mash pH that I am aware of. IOW I haven't undershot intended pH....yet.
Yes, tartness and increased fermentability can be positives, excepting when you don't want that in a particular beer. Before I had a tool to effectively evaluate and plan my alkalinity adjustments, I did undershoot pH in a few beers. They were refreshing and drinkable, but they didn't have the character that I wanted in the beer. Another characteristic of low mash pH is reduction in body.

I do think there is sort of an ideal range of pH for each style. I try to mostly center on 5.4 for my beers. But I think there are styles that definitely benefit from a deviation of a tenth or two high or low from that center. Weizen and Wit come to mind for beers that benefit on the low side. Maybe stout and porter on the high side. This is quite subjective, so I don't know that I would try to assign an ideal range for styles.
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