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Old 10-15-2009, 07:58 PM   #1
mgo737
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Default Water Adjustment and Dark Beers

So I'm having tons of trouble getting my residual alkalinity in line for a stout. Either I use lots of Chalk and my Calcium skyrockets. Or I use lots of Bicarb and my Na shoots up. Despite these measures, my RA still falls far short...

So my question is this, when brewing a dark beer, should I just forget about RA, get everything else into line, and throw in some 5.2?

Thanks,
Mike



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Old 10-15-2009, 10:18 PM   #2
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I don't even worry about water when I'm doing darker beers. The malts tend to cover up any imperfections, and I'm just not that picky.



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Old 10-15-2009, 10:28 PM   #3
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even if you were using reverse osmosis water?

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Old 10-16-2009, 11:58 AM   #4
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What about using gypsum? Are you starting from 100% RO/DI water? A combination of salts might be in order, too.

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Old 10-16-2009, 02:13 PM   #5
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Gypsum will lower RA..

I've found empirically that I don't have to do quite as much adjustment for dark beers to get an acceptable mash pH as the calculators predict.

Maybe try have the chalk you think you need and have the other half ready, test the mash pH and stir in the other half quickly if you need to bump it up.

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Old 10-16-2009, 05:36 PM   #6
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yes, I am starting at 100% reverse osmosis water... Remilard, thanks for the suggestion.

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Old 10-16-2009, 05:41 PM   #7
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Mash Vol: 5 gal
Dilution Rate: 100%

Adjustments:
CaCO3: 3 grams
CaSO4: 0.5 grams
MgSO4: 2 grams
NaHCO3: 3 grams
NaCl: 1 grams


Results:
Ca: 70 ppm
Mg: 10 ppm
Na: 64 ppm
Cl: 32 ppm
SO4: 56 ppm
CaCO3: 172 ppm

RA: 117 (15 to 20 SRM)
Cl to SO4: 0.57 (Bitter)

Seems fine to me.

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Old 10-17-2009, 02:11 AM   #8
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Bobby, thanks for the example but that's barely halfway to the RA for my srm of 40. Which leaves me w/ my original dilemma...

I have read, and think you might have in fact said, one should not go beyond RA of 250 no matter how dark the beer. This sounds good, but like my OP, it sure seems even hard to push the salts without overloading on Na or Ca...

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Old 10-17-2009, 03:51 AM   #9
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I'm no expert on the topic but I just brewed a 40 SRM RIS and only modified to 200 RA and if anything, my mash pH was a little high. Maybe go higher on the baking soda, but not by much.



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