Water profile important for saison?
I would really like to try my hand at brewing a saison and i have been really interested in brewing chemistry lately. Is there a specific water profile that is used to create these beers or is it mostly a yeast driven style (of course i understand there should be some minerals in the water)? Using beer smith water profile creator and R/O water.
While Saison is a Belgian style with some phenolic notes, some hop bittering and aroma are typical to the style. A modest sulfate content will help dry the beer and its finish. The ionic content should be otherwise modest.
Martin, what do you consider "modest"? Especially for sulfate?
I'm finding that with a lowered sulfate content for all beer styles (including IPAs) I'm enjoying them more than ever. But maybe I went from "highish" to "modest" and that's why.
I suggest that a modest sulfate level falls between 50 and 100 ppm. I like high sulfate (300 ppm) in my PAs and IPAs. I've seen many technical references and pro brewers caution against using a sulfate level above 300 to 350 ppm to avoid sulfury notes and flavors. I can't comment on that very high sulfate validity. I've heard from Colin Kaminski who has indicated that he enjoys sulfate levels of up to 900 ppm, but his customers do not.
This very high sulfate issue is one reason why emulating historic brewing water profiles such as Burton is unwise. Most references I've reviewed, show Burton water with sulfate well above 500 ppm. That might not produce a pleasant beer. Hopefully, Yooper didn't emulate that level in the past.
With respect to any malt focused style, I strongly agree that reducing sulfate to low levels (<50 ppm) is important.
In farmhouse Ales, pg 105 Phil Markowski states, "The water of western Hainaut is hard, containing high levels of bicarbonates and sulfates." He goes on to talk about iron in the water, my water is naturally moderate in iron levels. Maybe I'll cut some of the ro with my well water.
Table 8 on pg 154
Total Hardness 454
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