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Old 06-05-2012, 06:43 PM   #1
jemhood
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Default Water for my next brew

I recently got an analysis of my tap water. I'm planning to brew an IPA (SRM 11.8) and I've been trying to figure out the water profile I need. I've read Palmers chapter 15 and I've been trying every calculator I've found referenced on this site but I would like some feedback to verify my conclusions.

My tap water
Calcium - 45 ppm
Magnesium - 12 ppm
Alkalinity as CaCO3 - 125
Sodium - 1 ppm
Chloride - 2 ppm
Sulfate - 2.4 ppm
Iron - .09 ppm
pH - 8

Target water profile (I'm guessing here)
Calcium - 100
Magnesium - 12
Alkalinity - 150
Sodium - 35
Chloride - 75
Sulfate - 100

According to the Palmer spreadsheet I can add (to 5 gallons)
3 g Gypsum
2 g Calcium Chloride
1 g Epson Salt
1 g Baking Soda
1 g Kosher salt

and the resulting water profile is

Calcium - 111
Magnesium - 17
Alkalinity - 156
Sodium - 36
Chloride - 87
Sulfate - 111

Effective hardness as CaCO3 - 89
RA as CaCO3 - 67
Low SRM - 11
High SRM - 16

Am I missing something? It seems too simple.

Also, is my target profile (and the resulting water profile after additions) a good one for an IPA? I know that many recommend BOT for an IPA but I don't want to get too extreme on this batch. I'll try that (or not, depending on how this one goes) later.

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Old 06-05-2012, 08:07 PM   #2
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For an IPA, I'd try the following salts added to all your mash + sparge water:
0.83 gram/gal CaSO4
0.25 gram/gal CaCl2

Approximate resulting profile:
Ca: 100 ppm
Na: no change from tap water
Mg: no change from tap water
Cl: 30 ppm
SO4: 125 ppm (Assuming tap water is 0 ppm, not stated in original post)

The tap water alkalinity will required acid to get a mash pH of 5.4-5.6 at room temperature. You'll need approximately (0.03)x(total grain weight) of Weyermann acidulated malt added to your mash (use EZ Water Calculator 3.0.1 to fine-tune all these recommendations). Dilluting 50:50 with RO or distilled water wouldn't be a bad idea and use less acid.

You probably don't need to add any more acid for batch sparging. Fly sparging would take additional acid in the sparge water because of the alkalinity.

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Old 06-05-2012, 08:16 PM   #3
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As DSmith alludes to, I'm not sure why you would need to add alkalinity to this tap water to brew an IPA. Its more likely that some acidification would be needed. When it comes to sparging water, it needs to be acidified to drop that alkalinity significantly. If you haven't reviewed Bru'n Water and the Water Knowledge page on that website, it provides guidance on acidification.

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Old 06-05-2012, 09:12 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies.

DSmith, do I not need to increase the Cl to balance the SO4? (My tap water has only 2.4 ppm sulfate, which I forgot to include in the OP).

mabrungard, I'm using Ubuntu and LibreOffice. The Bru'n Water spreadsheet isn't working very well for me. None of the comments are visible. I'm getting a message that my water report is unbalanced???

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Old 06-06-2012, 02:34 AM   #5
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I think the original plan for chloride & sulfate near 100ppm is too much of both together. I think if you said 50ppm of both then their effects may not clash. This is all personal preference but keeping them both in balance at higher levels may not work out well.

I think if you have high sulfate (>100 ppm), then you're intentionally trying to highlight hops and lowering the chloride will facilitate that further.

If you want malty or have a beer with Nobel hops, then I think no sulfate is nice and chloride can be also kept to a minimum or higher depending on preference.

One option is to brew it with about 50 ppm of each and then add gypsum to your glass and see if next time you'd prefer to brew it with more sulfate. You could even boost both chloride and sulfate to see if it's better to you that way. My recommendation for a hoppy ale (IPA) for about 125 ppm sulfate is pretty low/safe by many standards and you may really like 300 ppm.

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Old 06-06-2012, 09:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jemhood View Post
Thanks for the quick replies.

mabrungard, I'm using Ubuntu and LibreOffice. The Bru'n Water spreadsheet isn't working very well for me. None of the comments are visible. I'm getting a message that my water report is unbalanced???
Hmm. All I can say is you get what you pay for....

The Unbalanced message indicates that the ion concentrations entered from the water report indicates that the total quantity of positive ions is not very close to the total quantity of negative ions. If the water has fairly low concentrations of water ions are pretty low, then its much more likely that the ratio of those positive and negative ions can be out of tolerance. The most important thing is that the totals be within about 0.5 milliequivalents of each other.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:18 PM   #7
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:47 AM   #8
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So, according to Palmer's spreadsheet, with my straight tap water I can brew a "very malty" beer with an SRM between 12 and 17 with no water adjustment (oktoberfest, brown ale, and many others). And with what I consider minor additions of gypsum and calcium chloride I can brew an IPA between 10 and 15 SRM. Cool.

How safe would it be to assume that the pH will be okay if Palmer's spreadsheet says 10-15 and I shoot for 13? I don't have a pH meter. I do have "beer" pH strips but from what I've read they aren't worth the paper that they are. So I'm hoping that by staying in the "middle of the road" according to Palmer, that I will be okay most of the time. I've tried lactic acid adjustments based on the pH strips and the results have not been great.

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Old 06-07-2012, 01:17 PM   #9
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Can you download this and see if it works for you?

http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/

This is worth the effort over using the color based spreadsheet. I'd develope a plan with this tool and skid the beer range pH strips completely so you don't question pH on a very inaccurate piece of paper.

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Old 06-07-2012, 02:02 PM   #10
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The color of the beer really has very little to do with it. Your only real concern with this water is the alkalinity. Were you in the UK you would simply add 0.27 mL of 'Carbonate Reducing Solution' and proceed but as you are not you must deal with the alkalinity by other means. The simplest, if you have ready access to RO or DI water, would be to mix 3 parts RO water with 1 part of your water. This would knock alkalinity back to 32 which is far enough. But it would also back the calcium 4 so it would need to be supplemented. A tsp of calcium chloride or a tsp of calcium sulfate (gypsum) or half - 1 tsp of each would be plenty. I usually recommend starting with just the chloride and then adding sulfate in a subsequent brew or adding some to the finished beer to see if you really like sulfate. It is certainly part of a traditional IPA but not everyone likes it.

The advantage of working with RO is that no calculators or spreadsheets are required in order to compute the effect of the dilution. If you dilute n:1 just divide everything by (n+1). Then for the salt additions note that 1 gram/gal (about 1 tsp/5gal) of calcium chloride gives about 76 mg/L Ca++ and about 136 mg/L Cl-. Similarly, 1 tsp of gypsum in 5 gal (about a gram per gal) gives 61 mg/L Ca++ and 147 mg/L SO4--. It doesn't really have to be any more complicated than that.

See the Primer.

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