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Old 09-27-2010, 10:46 PM   #21
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Ease and certainty. An acid rest takes hours, needs to be done at elevated temperature, has the lactos consuming some extract and risks spoilage. With acid you need to do calculations and measure out the acid rather precisely. If a pH meter is available, then that's a good way to go but if you are relying solely on the 1 % of grist per 0.1 pH drop rule of thumb the sauermalz seems to me the easier way to do it. In continental beers sauermalz also adds subtle complexity that actually improves the beers. It is definitely not traditional in British brewing but the more authentic alternative, CRS, is not available in the US (AFAIK).
Thanks. Going to do a common bitter for my next brew. Seems simple enough to give it a whirl. I'll have to hunt down some calcium chloride and see if the local HBS carries acidified malt though.... I've got two weeks. Should be doable...
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:05 AM   #22
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Is that sulfate number SO4-S 11 on the report or have you converted it to as SO4? SO4-S = 11 means SO4 = 33. Taking it as you have posted it the following should serve you well:

Baseline Treatment: add one tsp calcium chloride to each 5 gal of water being treated. Add 2% sauermalz to the grist.

Deviate from the baseline as follows:

For soft water beers (i.e Pils, Helles). Use half that amount of calcium chloride increase the sauermalz to 3%

For beers that use roast malt (Stout, porter): Skip the sauermalz

For British beers: Add 1 tsp gypsum as well as 1 tsp calcium chloride

For very minerally beers (Export, Burton ale): Double the calcium chloride and the gypsum.


If the sulfate was SO4-S = 11 then you will want to cut the water 1:1 with RO water when doing anything using noble hops because that much sulfate is too much for them.
Yes, the sulfate is S04-S. I'm assuming that using CaS04 in my case vice CaC03 is due to the solubility issues you discussed earlier? This brings up another question; does TH's spreadsheet, the original, use the actual S04 value or the S04-S value as is reported on a very well-known labs reports. This would be very good information to know. As you pointed out, they are vastly different. What is the conversion factor for S04-S to S04?

You mention that this amount of sulfate is way too much for noble hops, but what about IPAs using American hops? I was under the impression that sulfates accentuated hop bitterness and flavor.

And thanks for taking the time to explain this so well.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:18 AM   #23
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Both spreadsheets require sulfate as sulfate AFAIK. It's Ward Labs that's a bit out of kilter here. In the brewing and water treatment industries it's reported as sulfate. In the revised spreadsheet he has included a notice that if you have a report that lists it SO4-S you should multiply by 3. That is the conversion factor.

No, the resason for using calcium sulfate instead of carbonate is that carbonate is powerfully alkaline and increases mash pH dramatically. We are adding acid (sauermalz) to most grists to get the pH lower. CaCO3 would send it higher - exactly the opposite of what we want to do.

Again, AFAIK, all the spreadsheets want sulfate specified as sulfate. I have never used Ward Labs so I've only seen reports in places like your post where people just say SO4 11. I had noticed for some time that I never got the same anion numbers that people posted from their Ward Labs reports and could never figure it out until one day some guy cut and pasted from an e-mail report, I noticed the -S and the mystery was resolved. I can't believe I was the first guy to notice this but perhaps I was.

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Old 09-28-2010, 02:40 AM   #24
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Both spreadsheets require sulfate as sulfate AFAIK. It's Ward Labs that's a bit out of kilter here. In the brewing and water treatment industries it's reported as sulfate. In the revised spreadsheet he has included a notice that if you have a report that lists it SO4-S you should multiply by 3. That is the conversion factor.

No, the resason for using calcium sulfate instead of carbonate is that carbonate is powerfully alkaline and increases mash pH dramatically. We are adding acid (sauermalz) to most grists to get the pH lower. CaCO3 would send it higher - exactly the opposite of what we want to do.

Again, AFAIK, all the spreadsheets want sulfate specified as sulfate. I have never used Ward Labs so I've only seen reports in places like your post where people just say SO4 11. I had noticed for some time that I never got the same anion numbers that people posted from their Ward Labs reports and could never figure it out until one day some guy cut and pasted from an e-mail report, I noticed the -S and the mystery was resolved. I can't believe I was the first guy to notice this but perhaps I was.
Thanks. Yes it was Wards. Now I'm wondering how many people just plugged the value reported into the spreadsheet, as I did. That would have been good information to know, and I'm glad the revision noted it. I had a sneaking suspicion while mucking about with mineral additions that it couldn't be that easy.....I was right.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:41 AM   #25
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The problem with that approach is that it doesn't please everyone. Personal taste really comes into it.
I don’t think the people are asking for an end all be all water profile that will never need any personal adjustments. In actuality, unless they are using DI and not their own water, they will only be able to get in the ballpark anyway. What I’d like to help produce is a starting point or some target ranges for styles (or families of styles), that can then be personally tweaked on subsequent brews.

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I don't know if you have any training in science but if you do you know that you cannot speak of optimality without having an optimality criterion. Win a ribbon, make a beer my mates like and make a beer my wife will like are distinct criteria which may result in three different water profiles for the same beer.
I’ve got a degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology which required coarse work included General, Organic, Physical and Bio Chem as well as Physics, Statistics and Calc. I’ve worked in the Biotech industry for 16 years, so yeah, I’d say I have a little science training but thanks for the condescension. I’m not saying that there is one optimal profile that will serve all cases. If you can give someone who is new to AG or is starting to adjust their water a good starting point they can adjust later on. You’ve expressed displeasure in the models that are out there and that simply relying on an RA:SRM
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The latter. I have figured out how to do this over the years but I'm always experimenting. If you ask me how to brew a style I have brewed I can tell you what to do with the water but I can't guarantee that you will agree that what I have given you is optimum. It depends, as I noted above, on your criteria for optimality.
So why not reply to my original post with “here is what I have found is close to authentic but is slightly higher/lower in x,y,z and has worked for brewing some great, to style, Bocks” followed by the disclaimer that people may need to adjust based on their initial brews? I think people would find that more helpful than the back and forth we’ve been having. It’s better to be a helper than a hater.
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Very soft water is required for authenticity in Bohemian Pilsner, for example, and very soft water makes great Boh. Pils if you use acid properly to set the pH (and this, is of course, exactly what the brewers of these beers in the Czech republic do). But suppose we added some extra chloride. Might the beer be "better". Not by the authenticity definition of optimality but perhaps by the "my wife likes" it one.
So forget what makes the best beer that I, my wife or my friends may like, but focus on what would make the best “to style” beer. These are what the general water profiles would focus one. Think about it in terms of the dog show. I have two great mutts. If I rolled up to Westminster dog show, no matter if they are the best dog in the city that day, they wouldn’t come close to winning (or even being let in the building for that matter) because they aren’t to breed. We should try to focus on what would be the most authentic to the attributes of the style without just listing city water profiles.
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The anecdote I've told here and in other fora till I'm sick of typing it regards identical Burton style ales I brewed for a water class. One was done with "authentic" Burton water and the other with much softer, much less gypseous water. Everyone who tasted them agreed that the "authentic" wate one was more authentic but the softer water one was better. That included a professional brewer who asked "how do you get that wonderful smooth hops character". I'd seen the sacks of terra alba (gypsum) at his brewery and told him to just refrain from dumping one of those into the mash tun. So again we have the question of definition of optimum. In the business optimum is defined in terms of how well it sells. Period.
Again, I think as home brewers, at least I’d like to try to get as close to the style as possible and not make the best-selling mass marketed beer that appeals to the most people. I agree that a brew pub is a different beast in that they could have the most authentic whatever but if it doesn’t sell, they’re out of business. If we can give the people the starting profile and then they can tune it to their tastes, they’re better off than trying to dump some salts and pray.

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The best brewers will understand what the effects of each ion are and will have determined by experimentation, what makes the beer that is "best" under his optimality criterion. If he wants a stingingly (to quote Dave Miller) hoppy pils he'll know that his sulfate should be, ideally 0 (i.e. chloride to sulfate ratio infinite). I chose this example because it flies in the face of hoppy beers requiring low chloride to sulfate ratio.
I don’t think the Ninkasi winners out there would really care about the profile/styles that would be posted. They understand how to brew great, to style beer and what everything does. It’s the inbetweeners out there that are looking for some guidance or people trying to get out of their brewing comfort range with new styles or water treatment as a whole.
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How does one calculate when he has no data to work with? We've established that the reports for water that you have are largely flawed and water reports you get from you water supplier are hokey too because they often represent averages or the sulfate is measured on alternate thursdays wheras the chloride on measured every tuesday. You can, of course, measure the water parameters yourself. Are you willing to do that. And you can measure true extract (quite simply actually) yourself but are you willing to do that. The same goes for color and bitterness but these take expensive equipment and time.
So then we should give up and mix some malta, sugar and Fleischman’s and call it beer then? I think you are taking it to the extreme. So if you don’t have your own lab to test the water you are about to brew with, a QC lab to test the malt shipment and hops real-time, then just throw your hands up and don’t even try to build some style parameters into your beers? I understand not everybody has ready access to nice balances, HPLCs, Spectrophotometers, microscopes, pipettes, incubators, -80C Freezer and so on but I’m not following how a good start in the right direction with a water profile for a particular style is a bad thing.

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I've known John for years... He himself posted on another forum that the color/SRM thing is "nothing but handwaving". It's like the Cl:SO4 ratio thing. Guys starting out are adrift in a stormy sea (of brewing water) and grasp at straws. Wouldn't it be great if you could plan you water by looking at the SRM and the BU/TE ratio? You could put together a simple spreadsheet.... The problems come in when you go about using a rule that's based on a weak correlation between two variables with high associated uncertainties. You get huge estimation errors.
Hand waving is not great but some basic rules and ranges are better than nothing. Even though I may not know to an exact SRM/IBU what a brew will turn out to be, I still make some approximations and know that they calculated numbers are not the gospel truth. I’m willing to live with some variability and loose controls that get me in the ball park. Even though I’ll never win a gold medal on the dream team, I’ll still shoot some hoops every now and then.

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The same things happen when guys try to use the Tinseth rule to predict hops bitterness. Yes, it's a model (doubtless the best) but it doesn't fit the data very well. And when you try to predict mash pH based on Kolbach's RA based pH shift and titratable acidity of malt. You get a general idea but the result can't be expected to be accurate enough for planning. That's why you must measure/experiment.
Exactly. I’m not proposing we can come up with a model that will take into account the exact pH of a mash based on the percentages of the different types of malts/salts used. Models are always a start and can be continually improved with new data/experience/techniques/equipment. I know Rager/Tinseth aren’t perfect but it’s better than saying, F’ it and just tossing in a handful of some random hops because I’ll never know the exact IBUs I’m getting anyway; my watershed is different now than the report was so why weigh out salts, stick with a dash and smidgen, that’s good enough since I’ll never be right on anyway.

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Before you post a profile you pick up from the web, a magazine or book you should at least check the cation/anion balance. Most of published ones don't.
Sorry for at least I was trying to help and spur discussion. You could have made some suggestions as to corrections.
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Use RO water with a tsp of calcium chloride per 5 gal, adjust pH with acid and add gypsum to taste on subsequent brews.
Baseline Treatment: add one tsp calcium chloride to each 5 gal of water being treated. Add 2% sauermalz to the grist.
Deviate from the baseline as follows:
For soft water beers (i.e Pils, Helles). Use half that amount of calcium chloride increase the sauermalz to 3%
For beers that use roast malt (Stout, porter): Skip the sauermalz
For British beers: Add 1 tsp gypsum as well as 1 tsp calcium chloride
For very minerally beers (Export, Burton ale): Double the calcium chloride and the gypsum.
So this is great. Why not apply this to other styles with ranges and limits?
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:13 AM   #26
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Kind of off topic a little in this thread, but hop IBU calculations seem more variable to me because it doesn't seem like anyone has a good method of figuring out what the residual unfermentables will end up being in a beer. Isn't that what you need to balance with the IBU's? Now couple that with the sulfate levels, how?

On a lighter note, someone told me he was having trouble adjusting his well water for his IPA. I asked him if he had a report on what was in his well water and he said no.......

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Old 09-28-2010, 12:12 PM   #27
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So forget what makes the best beer that I, my wife or my friends may like, but focus on what would make the best “to style” beer. These are what the general water profiles would focus one. Think about it in terms of the dog show. I have two great mutts. If I rolled up to Westminster dog show, no matter if they are the best dog in the city that day, they wouldn’t come close to winning (or even being let in the building for that matter) because they aren’t to breed. We should try to focus on what would be the most authentic to the attributes of the style without just listing city water profiles.
Here is the disconnect.

There is almost zero information in published water reports that will help you make to style beer. Why? First, water is a secondary factor at best, maybe tertiary. It's unlikely your process and ingredients are particularly close to some historical brewery. People want to match Munich water but they don't want to use 100% Munich malt and do a triple decoction, which is the first thing they should be doing to be accurate.

Second, what do we even mean by "to style"? Almost any beer style you can describe is made in different places with different water. Do you mean historical? Do the published reports match history? If so for what particular well? Each brewery had their own.

Finally what is always missing is how the brewery treated the water (boiling, slaked lime, burtonization) and how they set mash pH (acid addition, acid rest, burtonization) and those are at least as important as the starting water.

Someone who wants to make an authentic version of some historical beer can give it a shot but:

1. You'll never know if you got it right.
2. A published water profile will either be of no value or mislead you, you need to do much more research to even get started.
3. If you aren't choosing authentic ingredients (which don't exist typically) and process, why even worry about the water (from an authenticity point of view)?

Also I think the in betweeners you talk about are exactly the people who fail to realize that adding 90 grams of chalk to the mash is astoundingly different than adding it to the water (dissolving with c02) and then heating the water up in the HLT.

That said, the information needed to get an informed and motivated home brewer on the right track to brewing with authentic water exists. There are plenty of texts about beer styles (including the Brewers Publication series, or at least some of them) that exist, so why reinvent the wheel? History hasn't changed.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:58 PM   #28
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Second, what do we even mean by "to style"? Almost any beer style you can describe is made in different places with different water. Do you mean historical? Do the published reports match history? If so for what particular well? Each brewery had their own.
According to the current BJCP guidelines for the flavor parameters of the beer.

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That said, the information needed to get an informed and motivated home brewer on the right track to brewing with authentic water exists. There are plenty of texts about beer styles (including the Brewers Publication series, or at least some of them) that exist, so why reinvent the wheel? History hasn't changed.
Yeah, let's not reinvent anything, maybe just create a single repository on the HBT to find them and all cull out the ones that are inaccurate.

I completely agree with what you are saying. It takes strong technique, ingredients and water. One without the others might not get you there.

So it looks like this thread has gone completely rogue. We've gone from what are the water profiles for particular styles to why would you want that to you can never define them. I'm sure the first poster has moved on to another topic/forum for answers by now.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:32 PM   #29
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What I’d like to help produce is a starting point or some target ranges for styles (or families of styles), that can then be personally tweaked on subsequent brews.
That's what I tried to do in #18. I think KISS is absolutely essential here. This has got to be totally bewildering to most brewers. But I doubt you'd approve of that approach because, while I suggest holding back on the sauermalz for beers with roast grains, color is not otherwise a factor nor are OG, FG, TE, or IBV.


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...which required coarse work included...
Yes, I had a couple of prof's like that too.

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...General, Organic, Physical and Bio Chem as well as Physics, Statistics and Calc. I’ve worked in the Biotech industry for 16 years, so yeah, I’d say I have a little science training but thanks for the condescension.
Certainly no condescension was intended. Perhaps I shouldn't have said "science" as a pure scientist is not so likely to be involved in optimization theory as an engineer or statistician. I apologize.

The relevant course work here is statistics. Unfortunately people use and misuse them (often intentionally) all the time and even people that have had a course or 2 are deceived. The SRM/RA thing is a perfect example. If you have used that model you should have said "whoa!" and several have (you can find their posts here and in other fora) but these are the guys with some experience who smelled a rat and questioned what they saw. Those that have less experience blindly follow along and put tablespoonsfulls of chalk in their stout.

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If you can give someone who is new to AG or is starting to adjust their water a good starting point they can adjust later on.
That is what I tried to do in #18.

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You’ve expressed displeasure in the models that are out there and that simply relying on an RA:SRM
Yes, because they have mislead so many.

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So why not reply to my original post with “here is what I have found is close to authentic but is slightly higher/lower in x,y,z and has worked for brewing some great, to style, Bocks”
Here is what I have found makes a great Pils (and vienna and kölsch and weizen and probably bock). Add enough calcium chloride to RO water to take the calcium to about 25 mg/L. Use 2.5%-3% sauermalz in the grist.


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I think people would find that more helpful than the back and forth we’ve been having.
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Well, I was the one who started this thread, and I think that this dialogue is great
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It’s better to be a helper than a hater.
Given the amount of time I have put into these forums and the number of people I believe I have helped improve their beer I suppose I should take umbrage at that but I don't. The statement is true enough. But hating stuff that leads people down the garden path can be a good thing!


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We should try to focus on what would be the most authentic to the attributes of the style without just listing city water profiles.
I have no problem with a focus on authenticity. It's just not necessarily what everyone wants. I'd say tell 'em how to make good beer and then let them adjust for authenticity if they want to. Remember that being authentic (WRT water) requires 1) having an authentic profile to target 2) being willing to do the carbonic acid thing 3)knowing how the brewers of the style used their water. We've discussed the problems with all three.

So I'd say that if you want authentic Burton ale you use the baseline recommendation with extra sulfate (perhaps some in the form of epsom salts). If you want authentic Bock you use the baseline with some baking soda. As has been pointed out in another post, there's a lot more to authenticity than just the water and when, for example, talking about Bock we have to ask whether we are talking about authentic Munich or authentic Einbeck...


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If we can give the people the starting profile and then they can tune it to their tastes, they’re better off than trying to dump some salts and pray.

...

..I’m not following how a good start in the right direction with a water profile for a particular style is a bad thing.
It isn't. I'll propose what I posted #18 as a straw man and I'll do that because that's essentially the advice I give to the dozens who post "Here's my Ward Labs report. What do I do?". In response to one of those someone e-mailed me saying that he had seen an article in BYO in which a professional brewer had made essentially the same recommendations.


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Hand waving is not great but some basic rules and ranges are better than nothing.
Ick! The SRM/RA is a perfect example of no rule being better than a bad rule. Blind application of that rule has ruined a lot of dark beer in this country (and probably elsewhere too). Perhaps that's a little strong - let's say has kept a lot of dark beers from being what they could be. With trepidation I mention the egregious misapplication of principal components analysis by Michael Mann which led to the famous (or rather, infamous) "hockey stick curve". Application of that erroneous model could have had disastrous consequences - even worse than bad porter. Of course there are still those vigorously promoting that model but let's not go there.

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I’m willing to live with some variability and loose controls that get me in the ball park. Even though I’ll never win a gold medal on the dream team, I’ll still shoot some hoops every now and then.
If models weren't of some value we wouldn't bother to make them. But when the models are statistical one needs to understand the implications and shortcomings and few, including, unfortunately, professional scientists such as the aforementioned Dr. Mann don't. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he isn't a statistician. It took a couple of statisticians to figure out what he had done (though it was pretty obvious) wrong.


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Models are always a start and can be continually improved with new data/experience/techniques/equipment.
I have an investment that's tied to Moody's seasoned Baa and lose bigtime if that goes up (as it's bound to do). So my advisor says we need to protect against that but no one trades futures in Baa but they do in LIBOR so we should see if there is a correlation between LIBOR and Baa and if there is hedge with LIBOR futures (if you think I have any idea what the hell he's talking about here you give me more credit than is my due). Well, they're both interest rates so they should correlate, and they do Baa = 6.317 + 0.332*LIBOR. But r = 0.6. You can see the data at http://www.pbase.com/agamid/image/127869369. Would you bet on that model? I woudn't. Sure, I could hit a home run but the chances of losing are there too in which case I'd be eating dog food for the rest of my life (I'm retired - no paycheck).


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I know Rager/Tinseth aren’t perfect but it’s better than saying, F’ it and just tossing in a handful of some random hops because I’ll never know the exact IBUs I’m getting anyway;
I check the IBU's on all my beers and would conclude that one might almost just as well say "F' it" and throw in what feels right. Given that I have the data I have the luxury of being able to go back and find the parameters to stick in the Tinseth model which give me the best fit to my data. The results aren't terribly impressive. For brew planning I use the model (with adjusted parameters) and it is of value but a long career using models (professionally and in hobbies) has given me perspective on them that people that haven't had my experience simply don't possess. I'm sure that reads arrogant as hell but the point I'm trying to make is that if you are going to offer a model to people without an extensive background in modeling it had darn well better be robust!


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Sorry for at least I was trying to help and spur discussion.
Well you did that certainly and at least one reader has benefited from them to the point he said so. I hope you've gotten something out of the discussions. I know I have.

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You could have made some suggestions as to corrections.
I looked at a couple of the profiles and found the usual problem with profiles - imbalance. When I see imbalance I don't know how to correct because I don't know whether anions have been underspecified or cations underspecified or both. So I don't know how to fix them. I also noted in the case of the profile recommended for Bock that the sulfate is way out of whack. I can, of course, look at each and every one in some detail but that's a lot of work especially when a sample says I don't have good clay to work with.

That doesn't mean that I'm unwilling to help if I can. Perhaps if you picked a couple in particular you' like me to look at I could do that.


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So this is great. Why not apply this to other styles with ranges and limits?
I think I've got most of the styles covered there though I'm sure some refinements could be worked out and I guess one could do a table in which all the categories were listed against which of the deviations, if any, go with that style. Is that what you have in mind?
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:57 PM   #30
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ajdelange
This all seems to make sense to me. Take a clean base, mineral free water, and adjust it to maximize the sweetness of the residual unfermentable malt sugars and then use hops to balance? Do you ever adjust the calcium chloride levels or do you stick with 1 tsp per 5 gallons regardless of doing an American Light Lager or a Barley Wine?

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