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Old 05-11-2013, 09:18 AM   #1
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Default Thoughts on Water Profile for Honey Ale

Hey Everyone,

So I'm trying to determine a good water profile for the White House Honey Ale I'm going to be making. I'll be starting with distilled water and I initially set my target water profile to London in BeerSmith. I then bumped up the calcium chloride levels to increase the calcium and hopefully bring out more of the malt flavor with the chloride.

Total Volume: 5 gallons

Salt Additions

Gypsum (CaSO4): 1.8g
Table Salt (NaCl): 2.0g
Epsom Salt (MgSO4): 1.2g
Calcium Chloride (CaCl): 3.0g
Baking Soda (NaHCO3): 3.3g
Chalk (CaCO3): 1.1g
Calculated Salt Levels in PPM:
Ca: 89.4
Mg: 6.5
Na: 88.9
SO4: 79.4
Cl: 142.8
HCO3: 159.8
Any feedback on my water profile would be extremely helpful. Thanks!
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:16 PM   #2
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The chloride is way too high. The sodium is too high, also. I think the sulfate level is higher than I'd like.

Why not use just enough calcium chloride (and/or gypsum if you like a "minerally" flavor) to get you to 50 ppm of calcium and not increase the sodium at all.

Leave out the chalk and baking soda for sure- the mash will probably not need baking soda for pH adjustment and chalk doesn't dissolve well anyway.

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Old 05-11-2013, 03:39 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response and that makes sense what you were saying. I'll forego the NaCl, chalk, baking soda, and magnesium sulfate. From your suggestions I'm now thinking the following:

Salt Additions

Gypsum (CaSO4): 1.0g
Calcium Chloride (CaCl): 2.5g
Calculated Salt Levels in PPM:
Ca: 48.3
Mg: 0.0
Na: 0.0
SO4: 29.5
Cl: 63.7
HCO3: 0.0
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Old 05-11-2013, 03:47 PM   #4
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My goal wasn't to have an overly mineraly beer (and obviously not going overboard on my salt additions) but I wanted to move the balance in favor of the malts but still having some sulfates to bring out some of the hops crispness.

I'm still really new at this but from what I understand you want to hit a minimum of 50ppm calcium and that your chloride to sulfate ratio gives you your hop and maltiness balance.

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Old 05-11-2013, 03:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soilworker View Post
My goal wasn't to have an overly mineraly beer (and obviously not going overboard on my salt additions) but I wanted to move the balance in favor of the malts but still having some sulfates to bring out some of the hops crispness.

I'm still really new at this but from what I understand you want to hit a minimum of 50ppm calcium and that your chloride to sulfate ratio gives you your hop and maltiness balance.
I've done a lot of reading about the chloride/sulfate ratio lately. I am finding that it's not really the ratio that is important, but more the total amounts.

Mabrungard and AJdelange are pretty much better situated to speak to that, as I'm no expert.

I am in the "less is more" camp for my beers, usually. I'm brewing a pale ale on on Monday and it will have a very high sulfate amount (nearly 300 ppm) but that is not usually what I do! Normally, for something like a honey ale I'd do something very much like what you've got there, but also keep a real eye on mash pH. You want your pH to be in the 5.2-5.6 area (at room temperature measurements) if at all possible for the best results.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:12 PM   #6
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The Primer was written for you and I'd suggest you begin with its recommendations which are to add a bit of calcium chloride and nothing else. I'd probably start with 1/2 - 2/3 (2.5 - 3.3 grams/gal). No one is saying that this will get you a home run the first time at bat so you will have to adjust. The point is to get you off to a good start - a single or double. When the beer is ready to drink, taste it and then taste it again with a little more calcium chloride added to the glass. If the extra improves the beer then increase the amount in the brew water next time you do it.

Now repeat the tasting of the first brew but with small amounts of gypsum added to the glass looking, again for improvement and again adding extra in the brew based on what your tasting experiments show. The beer testing experiments won't give you exact guidance but rather an idea as to whether you want to add more minerals. You will have to experiment in the brewery and it may take several iterations before you find your personal sweet spot. If you want the best White House Honey (the thought of the White House leaves a rather sour taste in my mouth at present) Ale or any other beer you have to be prepared to brew (and drink) it over and over again.

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Old 05-16-2013, 02:47 PM   #7
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Just for clarification, when you say you're making the White House Honey Ale, is this the extract recipe the White House published, or are you doing an all-grain conversion of the recipe? If you're making the extract recipe, then the water profile will be a bit more forgiving than an all-grain recipe.

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Old 05-16-2013, 11:08 PM   #8
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+1 on bdh's comment. If brewing with extract, starting with low TDS water like distilled or RO is recommended. There may not be a strong reason to add any minerals when using extract.

Trying to duplicate the London profile would not be a good idea in any case. Its not likely to produce a good beer. The reported bicarbonate content is not suitable for this beer and the baking soda is definitely not needed or desirable. The revised profile in post #3 is much more appropriate.

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