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Old 07-23-2010, 03:24 AM   #1
Nateo
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Default To treat, or not to treat?

I've been all-grain brewing for a few years. I've only recently gotten into water treatments. I've been using 5.2 pH stabilizer and getting (what I consider) good results for most of that time. The last few batches I've used brewing salts to alter my water. I did an ESB recently using Mosher's Ideal Pale Ale as the target. I added 1g Epsom, 1g CaCl2, and 7g Gypsum. It tastes really "minerally" to me. I did a very similar ESB a few months ago with no water treatment and it tasted a lot better.

From my water report
Denver Water:
Ca - 30
SO4 - 56
Mg - 7.9
Na - 21
Cl - 23
(carb) - 80

Mosher's Ideal Pale Ale:
Ca - 110
SO4 - 350
Mg - 14
Na - 17
Cl - 50
(carb) - 70

I've lived in CO my whole life. The tap water here is outstanding. Everywhere else I've gone, the tap water tastes awful to me. Do the water-treated brews just taste strange to me because I'm used to drinking such mineral-free water? Am I overdoing it on the water treatment? Could it be that my beer palate is based mostly on local breweries, and those breweries don't modify their water much?

In practical terms, should I only treat my water when making beers at the most extreme ends of the SRM scale, and not worry about it with copper/brown beers?



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Old 07-23-2010, 03:48 AM   #2
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brew for what you like. if it's minerally, axe the minerals.

not much help, but just stating the obvious



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Old 07-23-2010, 04:04 AM   #3
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When you did Mosher's pale ale profile, I assume you started with RO since you can't have gotten there with your water (easily).

In that case I would suggest that you never add alkalinity to water. Since I bought a pH meter and stopped adding alkalinity to my RA=12 water unless I measured too low a pH, I have added chalk to the mash to raise pH exactly once out of dozens of batches including several stouts and porters.

You certainly shouldn't be adding alkalinity for pale beers, IMO.

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Old 07-23-2010, 04:59 AM   #4
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PoB - My wife said the same thing. She's usually right.
Remilard - You're right about not getting there easily. For this particular beer, (SRM 9) I used tap water, plus Epsom, CaCl2 and Gypsum. I thought that none of those would increase alkalinity, but I got a D+ in Chemistry in college, so maybe I missed something. I suspect I should take a lighter touch to water treatment. I was working under the premise: If a little is good, a lot must be great.

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Old 07-23-2010, 05:20 AM   #5
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350 ppm sulfate is a lot. IIRC that's the absolute max Palmer recommends in How to Brew. Try brewing a hoppy style using about 150 ppm SO4 and see what you think.

Better yet, brew something with your tap water and add salts directly to a few glasses, then try them side by side. The best way is probably to add an easily measured amount, like a few grams, to a second cup of water, heat and stir so it dissolves, then add a small amount of the solution to a pint of beer. Just be precise in your measurements so that you can extrapolate to the full batch once you find the amount you like.

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Old 07-26-2010, 04:35 AM   #6
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I don't know you're exact recipe, but I'm guessing with an ESB you might be going for a strong malty backbone with a more earthy but prominent hop presence. I mean, as opposed to the crisp and bright hop flavor generally desired in a hoppy pale ale. And maybe your color was a little darker? Mosher's water profile is ideal for SRM 3-8 and most ESB's are a little darker.

I don't know about the metallic flavor, but I personally wouldn't use this profile for an ESB. I would want the sulfates low and the chloride present to assist the maltiness. I think high sulfates really brighten and crispen the hop character, so I use really high sulfates for IPA's and moderately high sulfates for pale ales, but I wouldn't do that for for an ESB.

I've heard of hops causing a metallic character, so I suppose it's possible the sulfates brought out nuances you didn't want, but I have no way of knowing what caused yours.

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Old 08-16-2010, 08:27 PM   #7
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Sorry for bumping a nearly month old thread, but I see that you have included your waterprofile, the target water profile and the amount of minerals.

There only thing missing here is the amount of water that you're mashing with.

I agree with remilard above about not adding alkalinity for the mash.

If you are interrested about water additions, there is an extremely easy sheet that you can use, the EZ water calculator.
http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/

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Old 08-17-2010, 05:59 AM   #8
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Total water was a bit more than 5 gallons. It was for a 12 liter batch.
Thanks for the link to the calculator.

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Old 08-17-2010, 12:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post
When you did Mosher's pale ale profile, I assume you started with RO since you can't have gotten there with your water (easily).
You can't get there, period. Mosher's profile is not physically realizable as it contains 2.5 meQ/L more anions than cations. Nature couldn't make it. You can't make it. You would have to either increase the calcium, magnesium and sodium or decrease the sulfate and chloride. The sulfate is way out of line for an ESB (unless Chiswick is a lot farther from London, mineral wise, than a couple of stops on the Piccadilly line) and so it seems reasonable to attack that. Reducing it to 231 mg/L would balance the profile which is still pretty high but at least you can synthesize the profile by adding, for 5 gallons of source water, 1.525 grams CaCl2.2H2O, 6.575 grams gypsum, 1.804 grams Epsom salts, 1.18 gal distilled water, 0.129 grams of chalk. You would have to bubble CO2 through the water to get the chalk dissolved and the pH down to 7. If you are willing to go to all that trouble, you can match the profile to 0.3% or better for every ion. But it certainly isn't necessary to go to all that trouble. The Denver water should make a fine ESB just as it is.

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Originally Posted by remilard View Post
In that case I would suggest that you never add alkalinity to water. Since I bought a pH meter and stopped adding alkalinity to my RA=12 water unless I measured too low a pH, I have added chalk to the mash to raise pH exactly once out of dozens of batches including several stouts and porters.
I wish more people realized this


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You certainly shouldn't be adding alkalinity for pale beers, IMO.
The golden rule of brewing water chemistry is "alkalinity = bad"
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:54 PM   #10
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The golden rule of brewing water chemistry is "alkalinity = bad"[/QUOTE]

Is that because as the pH lowers to brewing range, bicarbonate in the water turns into carbonic acid?



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