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Old 06-29-2012, 07:05 PM   #1
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Default Oktoberfest Water Numbers

I'm brewing an Oktoberfest next week, and have fairly soft water so planning on using 100% distilled and adjusting the water up to the proper chemical levels per the EZ_water_calculator.

The recipe calls for:
5 lbs of Pils malt
5 lbs of Munich
1 lb of Munich Dark
0.5 lbs of Caramunich 46 SRM
and I am adding one ounce of Chocolate malt to up the color a little.

Mash and mash out calls for 6.61 gallons. Sparge is 2.53 gallons.

Right now my salt additions are:
Calcium Chloride 7 grams mash, 2.7 sparge
Epson Salt 4 and 1.5
Baking Soda 2 and 0

This gives me final numbers of:
PH 5.52
Effective Alkalinity 48
Residential Alkalinity -16
Calcium 76
Magnesium 15
Sodium 16
Chloride 135
Sulfate 62
Chloride to Sulfate Ratio: 2.17

Long story short, does that look like good numbers for brewing an Oktoberfest?

Listened to the Brewing Network show on the style and they recommended no gypsum, calcium level between 50-100 and low sulfate. They also said the water should be medium carbonate between 150-300, how do you determine that?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 06-29-2012, 07:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jdauria View Post
I'm brewing an Oktoberfest next week, and have fairly soft water
Actually, very soft water makes a very nice O'fest. Just add enough CaCl2 to get the calcium to around 35 mg/L.

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Originally Posted by jdauria View Post
...so planning on using 100% distilled and adjusting the water up to the proper chemical levels per the EZ_water_calculator.
That works too. Again, add enough CaCl2 to get to about 35 mg/L. Don't add any CaSO4.

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Originally Posted by jdauria View Post
The recipe calls for:
5 lbs of Pils malt
5 lbs of Munich
1 lb of Munich Dark
0.5 lbs of Caramunich 46 SRM
and I am adding one ounce of Chocolate malt to up the color a little.
You should have plenty of color without the chocolate malt. If you want more I'd use a bit of Sinamar in preference to black malt.

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Originally Posted by jdauria View Post
Right now my salt additions are:
Calcium Chloride 7 grams mash, 2.7 sparge
Epson Salt 4 and 1.5
Baking Soda 2 and 0
Skip the baking soda. It will only add alkalinity which will pull the mash pH high. You will need to pull the pH low with some sauermalz. It is best to check mash pH where colored malts are used. It may also be wise to do a test mash prior to brew day to see how much acid malt you will need. Probably 2% of grist.


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Listened to the Brewing Network show on the style and they recommended no gypsum, calcium level between 50-100 and low sulfate.
That's all spot on.

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Originally Posted by jdauria View Post
They also said the water should be medium carbonate between 150-300, how do you determine that?
John Palmer used to advocate alkalinity levels determined by the color of the beer. This level of alkalinity would not be beneficial to the beer at all. It would pull mash pH high and you will need (most probably) to pull it lower. You do not need that level of alkalinity for this grain bill in all probability but as malts vary in acid content and you are using Munich I and II there is a chance that you may need some. There is a greater chance that you will need sauermalz.
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:54 PM   #3
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Your mash water seems too much, 4.25 gal for 11.5625# of grain gives 1.47 qt/lb.

I'd do 0.60 grams of CaCl2 for each gallon of water you prepare. End water profile with 100% distilled water:

Ca: 43 ppm
Mg: 0 ppm
Na: 0 ppm
Cl: 76 ppm
SO4: 0 ppm

You would need from 0 - 2 oz of acid malt added to your mash, probably would do 0 oz and check pH with an accurate and calibrated meter if possible.

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Old 06-29-2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info! I am still clueless on water chemistry! Use the EZ_water spreadsheet and just adjust everything until all numbers in the suggested range and ratio is right for style!

I do have a mash ratio of 1.5 qt. per gallon, which is around 4.75 gallons...then a mash out too. I usually start my boil at 7.5-8 gallons due to my boil off and cooling loss experience. Need a PH meter, that's my next buy.

Now if I can get some yeast! Using White Labs 833, German Bock...just got 2 vials at brew shop, got home and realized it's 3 months old and only has a 29% viability per Mr. Malty. So much for starter starting today, need 3 more vials (for 2L starter) per Jamil's site! Will have to go back tomorrow and see what they have left!

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