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Old 03-06-2014, 09:38 PM   #1
Hedo-Rick
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Default Seeking feedback for my Kolsch water adjustments

Made a Kolsch recently I wasn't too impressed with. I have been doing some research and wanted to get some feeback before I brew another.

I'm not looking to replicate Cologne's water or use RO water. I simply want to use what I have from the tap.

Grain bill for 5.5 gallon:
8.25# German pilsner
4oz flaked wheat
4oz acid malt

Starting Water (ppm):
Ca: 15 Mg: 6.1 Na: 15.7 Cl: 12 SO4: 20 HCO3: 61

Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:
CaSO4 (gypsum): 0.5 / 1.12
CaCl2 (calcium chloride): 1 / 2.23

Mash Water / Total water (ppm):
Ca: 52 / 52
Mg: 6 / 6
Na: 16 / 16
Cl: 58 / 58
SO4: 47 / 47
Cl to SO4 Ratio: 1.25 / 1.25

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Old 03-06-2014, 09:44 PM   #2
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Your tap water is pretty good. For a kolsch, don't use any gypsum at all. A little calcium chloride, enough to get your calcium to 50 ppm, would be fine.

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Old 03-07-2014, 02:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Your tap water is pretty good. For a kolsch, don't use any gypsum at all. A little calcium chloride, enough to get your calcium to 50 ppm, would be fine.
I definitely trust your opinion, because you're Yopper and you're the whip! And I did use 1 gram gypsum in the mash and 2.2 grams gypsum in the sparge water for the reported unsatisfactory Kolsch...but I still ended up with a chloride / sulfate ratio of 1.42...and to me it seems way too malty / sweet. According to the S.G. readings I had and 80% attenuation. Granted, I did use WLP001 and not the WLP029 (Kolsch yeast.)

However, using only calcium chloride would bring my chloride / sulfate ratio to 4.08. Wouldn't that make it even more malty / sweet driven?

Or is looking more like I had a poor combination of yeast and salt additions?
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:45 AM   #4
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The old thinking that mentioned that the sulfate/chloride ratio were important is just that- old thinking. I am of the firm belief that noble hops should never be accentuated by sulfate (per AJ deLange) and sulfate should be minimal in many beers such as Kolsch. I'd totally ignore the sulfate/chloride ratio. Here's why. Say you used 200 ppm of chloride and 100 ppm of sufate- that's 2:1, but it would make a terrible beer. Much more important is the actual amount, and not the ratio. Throw out any added sulfate in a kolsch, and the beer will immediately be better.

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Old 03-07-2014, 12:46 PM   #5
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Focusing on boosting the chloride content just a bit will be fine for a Kolsch. The primary problem with that tap water is it's alkalinity and that will require an acid addition. Don't try to achieve a proper mash pH by adding more minerals to the water. Lactic acid is the proper thing to employ for German styles and the very modest alkalinity of that tap water will only require a small dose.

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Old 03-07-2014, 06:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
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A little calcium chloride, enough to get your calcium to 50 ppm, would be fine.
Thanks for the advice! I look forward to trying this again.

What is the significance of having the calcium at 50 ppm? Because I've come across the same number as well as 55-60 ppm related to Kolsch water in discussions.
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedo-Rick View Post
Thanks for the advice! I look forward to trying this again.

What is the significance of having the calcium at 50 ppm? Because I've come across the same number as well as 55-60 ppm related to Kolsch water in discussions.
Yeast precipitation. Supposedly around 50 is the magic number for your beers clearing up quickly. A lot of people do perfectly fine with less, however.
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