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Old 09-22-2012, 03:56 PM   #1
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Default Water Chemistry Profile for various styles

Where can I find the "suggested" (I know thats subjective) water chemistry (minerals, etc) for different syles? I tried googling but only found scattered bits and pieces.

BrunWater does have a set of profiles. They are different from other programs. I haven't looked at BrewSmith, maybe I should. AJ suggests using a minimum amount, and then adding a little bit of Gypsum to a single beer, to gauge taste. I realize there won't be one absolute answer, but it would be helpful and interesting to see suggested ranges from professional brewers.

I can reread some of the posts in this folder, but they are so scattered, it's hard to find them summarized.

(Note - I am not talking about what is the water in Dublin or Burton", I am interested in what makes a good IPA, Stout, etc.)


Also - is the only downside of hard water that it's harder to get the Ph low enough?

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Old 09-22-2012, 06:59 PM   #2
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The 'color' based profiles included in Bru'n Water are at fairly low mineralization. They were created based on the belief that the water is not the star, the resulting beer is. The relatively low ionic concentrations won't lead to minerally flavored beers while still assisting in accentuating certain flavor aspects. They contain a minimum level of calcium for yeast health and performance. They have an estimate of the level of bicarbonate (alkalinity) needed to produce an appropriate mash pH.

As alluded to in the OP, using water profiles from historic brewing towns is not always the best for beer flavor. The color-based Bru'n Water profiles are a good starting point for most brewers. A brewer's tastes can always be used to modify those profiles to suit, but those profiles won't ruin a beer. I've seen plenty of profiles from other sources that could ruin a beer. Choose wisely.

Hard water does not keep pH too high. Its alkalinity that is responsible for that. Remember...hardness is good, alkalinity may be bad.

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Old 09-22-2012, 09:27 PM   #3
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The advice I generally give is to research the style and find out as much as you can about the water it was brewed with and, especially, but this can be difficult, how the brewers handled it. It is as much a part of the style as the malt, hops, yeast and mash program. Then brew with a water with the general characteristics you determined. Don't be a slave to published profiles because many of them are in error (the ones in Bru'n water have been checked and are at least physically possible which is not the case for many of the other profiles one finds) and you don't in most cases, know what the brewery(ies) that defined the style did with the water.

Don't be afraid to fiddle with the water. You need Burton style water to brew Burton style beer but you can, depending on what your criterion of goodness is, brew a better beer with water less gypseous than Burton's. And you need soft water to brew a Pilsner Urquell-like Pilsner but you can make a better (IMO) Pils with slightly harder water.

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Old 09-22-2012, 10:49 PM   #4
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AJ, what you say makes sense. I guess I will have to experiment, but I'd rather not mess up a batch.

You said that we can add a pinch of gypsum, to see how it affects the taste.
Can we do the same with Calcium Chloride?

The problem I face is some "suggested" water profiles have more Chloride and Sufate than Martin shows in BrunWater.
I have a scale that is accurate to +/- 0.02 grams, so I guess I can experiment with "pinches" of salt.



I just got a Ward Labs report on my New Jersey Water, which I posted a couple of days ago. (Millburn New Jersey Water).


Ph 7.7
Total Hardness 176
Sodium 33
Potassium 2
Calcium 47
Magnesium 14

Sulfate (SO4 - S) 20
Chloride 69
Carbonate (CO3) <1
Bicarbonate (HCO3) 116
Total Alkalinity 95

Plus it's Chlorinated so I will use a third of a Campden tablet:
Chlorine: 0.41 - 0.67 range
Chloramine: 0.6 - 1.1 range


For now I will stick with the New York City tap water.
Some tinkering with a teaspoon of Gypsum and Calcium Chloride. And a bit of Epson salt.

pH 7.3
Alkalinity 13.7
Hardness (mg/L CaCO3) 18


Calcium (mg/L) 5.3
Chloride (mg/L) 12
Magnesium (mg/L) 1.2
Phosphate 2.09
Sodium (mg/L) 10
Sulfate (mg/L) 5.3

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Old 09-23-2012, 01:20 AM   #5
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Yes, that works equally well with calcium chloride.

I'll let Martin explain how he came up with his recommendations but I believe a good amount of research went into them.

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Old 09-24-2012, 05:31 PM   #6
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I find that keeping both chloride and sulfate at modest levels is helpful for avoiding 'mineral water' perceptions in the beer. So those concentrations are typically less than 100 ppm.

The calcium content for those profiles are typically in the 50 ppm range, while the magnesium is kept low. I feel that Mg offers a bit of bittering perception, so I bumped the Mg content a bit for balanced and bitter profiles. I also feel that a touch of sodium helps round the overall beer flavor. But, Na is still kept at a fairly low level. The low Na level is more important as sulfate rises since it gets rough tasting.

The bicarbonate content for those profiles are essentially first guesses since there is no way to assume that a color-based profile will be exactly correct for the brewer's grist. That bicarb value should be fine-tuned to produce an appropriate mash pH.

I am still of the opinion that when dealing with water chemistry, 'less is more' and 'when in doubt, leave it out' since a beer is more likely to be palatable without mineralization than with too much.

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Old 09-24-2012, 05:48 PM   #7
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>.I am still of the opinion that when dealing with water chemistry, 'less is more' and 'when in doubt, leave it out' since a beer is more likely to be palatable without mineralization than with too much.

OK, thanks. I plan on making minimal additions, to bring it the the minimum values in BrunWater. Then I can always add a pinch of this or that, to how the taste changes.


I think the grain even adds a bit of Mg, so I think I with a starting level of 1.2, it may be OK, for an (IPA and Pale Ale).
Or maybe I should add enough Epson to get the Mg closer to 10?

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Old 09-24-2012, 06:51 PM   #8
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Although the grain does add magnesium to the wort, I'm not sure its 'available' in an ionic form. The analytical testing of wort provides a total amount of an element in the substance, but does not indicate if its bound to another molecule. I'm betting that the ionic magnesium that we add to the brewing liquor does actually contribute to flavor (sometimes negatively). But that does not mean that the 'bound' magnesium is not useful to the yeast metabolism. They can decompose or otherwise extract components like that from the wort.

Mg...not needed in your brewing water, but sometimes desirable for taste.

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Old 09-25-2012, 01:03 AM   #9
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Martin,

>>Mg...not needed in your brewing water, but sometimes desirable for taste.

BrunWater shows a range of 10 or 15 for IPAs. The water I use has a value of 1.2
So should I add none, and then try a tiny tiny amount in a small glass of beer?

I have a scale denominated in 0.01 grams, accurate to +/- 0.02 grams. So I can roughly measure out a beers worth of Mg.

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Old 09-25-2012, 12:16 PM   #10
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Epsom salt is fairly soluble, so this taste test is feasible.

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