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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > RO for Light Colored beers?
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:17 AM   #1
KYB
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Default RO for Light Colored beers?

So I have realized my lighter beer styles (although rare) always suck and have some weird off flavor that is very upfront. Mainly my Cream (Common) Ales and and American Wheat I tried. Pretty sure it is my water, since I have pretty hard water (no wonder my darker beers are great).

The Pilsen water profile is pretty close to Reverse Osmosis water. Would using RO without adding anything work for lighter beers like Cream Ale and American Wheat (with noticeable hop flavor, but low bitterness)? The Wheat is going to be about half Pilsner malt and half White Wheat malt. Or what should I add? I don't know what ideal levels for those styles would be. I definitely don't want the beers to be bland due to lack of minerals.

Thanks for any help.

My water, what is available online:

Hardness levels of water leaving our water
treatment plants range from 110 (hard) to 326 parts per
million (very hard)

Sodium - 19 ppm.

pH - 7.2

Alkalinity - 84 mg/L

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Old 01-25-2010, 12:22 AM   #2
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hmmm. I too have hard water. Never noticed if my lighter beers had an aftertaste more then my darker. considering I don't often do them its not entirely impossiable. I would say that RO water would be ideal for all types of brewing not just lighter colored beers.

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Old 01-25-2010, 12:49 AM   #3
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Well, you'd probably want to add a touch of CaCl, CaSO4 and MgSO4 to your RO.

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Old 01-25-2010, 12:50 AM   #4
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Recantly, I have been using varying amounts of RO depending on the SRM of the beer. The lighter the beer, the more RO water I have to use. For my water and lighter beers, it's more than three fourths RO in very light beers.
Last brew I brewed an light ale. I didn't have enough RO on hand for my mash and when I checked the mash ph it was 5.8. Too high, even with two thirds RO water in the mash water

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Old 01-25-2010, 01:27 AM   #5
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Ca Mg Na Cl SO4 CaCO3
Mash Water Profile: 60 13 53 113 89 43

Yea I guess it would be best to add some things. How's this profile look for those beers?

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:22 AM   #6
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Too much Na and Cl, not enough SO4.

I'd like something closer to Ca 60, Mg 15, Na 20, Cl 50, SO4 150 for a nice light hoppy beer.

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:25 AM   #7
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Hard to say since I can't taste it, but usually off flavors are
caused by 1)lag times in the fermentation, (usually from using
a dry yeast rather than an actively fermenting liquid starter)
which gives bacteria and wild yeast a head start in your wort,
and 2) No temperature control and so the fermentation temp
goes too high and more crap is put out by the yeast. I don't
mean just sticking it in a 68F room, where the internal
temp of wort can go up to 80F, but either a water bath
or a temperature controlled fridge.

The effect of sulfates in the beer is to sharpen the bitterness,
if you use soft water and add NaCl, this improves the body
and makes the hop bitterness smoother, like a mildly hot pepper.
There shouldn't be any unpleasant off flavors due to ions.
Jim

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdc2 View Post
Hard to say since I can't taste it, but usually off flavors are
caused by 1)lag times in the fermentation, (usually from using
a dry yeast rather than an actively fermenting liquid starter)


Quote:
Originally Posted by jdc2 View Post
There shouldn't be any unpleasant off flavors due to ions.
Ions specifically affect RA, which in turn affects mash pH. Certainly anything over 6 will cause off flavors.
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Too much Na and Cl, not enough SO4.

I'd like something closer to Ca 60, Mg 15, Na 20, Cl 50, SO4 150 for a nice light hoppy beer.
Cool. I got something pretty close to that now. Thanks man.


Yea my dark beers are fantastic, but each of the light beers I have done have all had this weird aroma and taste to them. Looking forward to trying this water. Good thing I like and primarily brew dark beers.

One more question. It says the Chloride to Sulfate ratio will cause it to be very bitter, which isn't what I want. I want hop flavor, but not sharp bitterness. Only shooting for roughly 20 IBUs. How will this affect it? Or should I decrease the ratio?
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Ions specifically affect RA, which in turn affects mash pH. Certainly anything over 6 will cause off flavors.
If the water in the mash isn't acidic enough, you can leach tannins
out of the grain husk, but the ions themselves don't cause weird flavors.
Generally, the last thing to worry about when brewing is the water
chemistry, and normally the only time there is a problem is when you
sparge with very hot distilled water. If you mash with distilled, as long as you
let it sit in the mash at a lower temp to acidify first, it's not a problem
either.
Jim
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