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Old 07-24-2011, 06:59 PM   #1
el_loco
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Default Water profiling for American Wheat beer

I'm getting the recipe set up for an Honey Wheat beer. Here's what I've got so far:

Batch Size: 6.5 gallons
O.G.: 1.054
Est. F.G.: 1.010
Boil Time: 60 min
SRM: 5.1
IBU's: 19.7

49.4% (Pale Malt (2Row) 7#
42.3% Wheat Malt 6#
5.3% Honey Malt .75#
3% Sauermalz .43#

Nugget Whole (11%AA) FWH : .50 oz
Centennial Whole (8.8%AA) 10 min.: .50 oz
Cascade Whole (4.5%AA) 0 min.: .50 oz


Looking at the Water Profiler in Promash, my water is very close to the Pilsner profile, except that HCO3 in my water is, according to the Bru'n water adjusting calculator for HCO3 ppm, 33.8 ppm where the guidline for Pilsner is 9.0. Even though my water is still soft at 33.8, wondering if I would be better off addressing this. If I dilute with distilled then my calcium and mag. will be pretty low, I suppose I could then supplement with calcium chloride per the primer?

Looking for some input, thanks!

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Old 07-24-2011, 10:29 PM   #2
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You are better off with adding a little calcium chloride to decrease the residual alkalinity and boost the calcium content. You may also find that the quantity of acid malt can be decreased with the calcium addition. Don't go too high with the CaCl though. If you bump the water to about 50 ppm calcium, it will be fine. This beer will be fairly delicate in flavor and it will be good to avoid over doing it with the water profile.

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Old 07-25-2011, 06:15 PM   #3
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And if I were to omit a Cal Chloride addition and stick with the 3% acid malt addition in the grist, will I still benefit from the acid but not get the added calcium? Any harm in keeping the 3% sauermalz in the bill AND adding a little Cal Chloride?

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Old 07-26-2011, 12:03 PM   #4
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If the pale malt is pilsner malt then the DI water mash pH will probably be about 5.75 and perhaps a wee bit higher with your water given its alkalinity and dependent on whether you dilute with DI or not. . A modest calcium addition (to 50 ppm) might shift that to around 5.70. Then 3% sauermalz would take you to 5.45 - just about right. All these numbers are approximate and will depend on the particular pilsner malt and particular sauermalz.

OTOH if the pale malt is a pale ale malt the DI water mash pH could be as low as 5.6 (and a little higher with your alkalinity). Calcium at 50 ppm would lower this to perhaps 5.55 and 3% sauermalz to nominally 5.25. That's acceptable (especially if your alkalinity carries it up to 5.3) but getting low enough to the point where you ought to be relying on a pH meter rather than calculations. I'd feel more comfortable with 2% sauermalz in the case of pale ale malt unless a meter pH reading showed that 3% was required to get to 5.4.

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Old 07-29-2011, 03:51 AM   #5
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I've already purchased the grain and I'm locked in to a 3% sauermalz ratio. Would I be better off skipping the calcium chloride addition (would rather not skip).

This brings up another question I had: How do you make pH corrections mid-mash? Are you dissolving an acid in water and stirring it into the mash?

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Old 07-29-2011, 11:59 AM   #6
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Brewers with water like yours are envied by other brewers because, while it is true that calcium is beneficial in many ways and chloride almost always makes a beer more palatable, some of the finest beers in the world are made with Pilzen like water. So you could certainly skip the CaCl2 if you wanted to but most brewers would probably go to the 50 ppm recommendation on calcium for this beer.

That has a small effect on pH shift (0.05) and so you would, ceteris paribus, need 1/2% less sauermalz. With a traditional pilsner malt you would be fine with the CaCl2 and 3% sauermalz. With pale ale malt you might well wind up a bit lower than desired but not so much so as to ruin the beer. So the question really is "What is the DI mash pH for the pale malt?" Described as "pale malt" it is probably not pilsner malt but rather intended for making pale ale in which case 3% sauermalz is probably a bit too much. I'm not sure why you are "locked in" to 3% but I think a prudent brewer would grind 3%, add 2% to the mash tun, check pH and add the rest if the pH meter reading was too high with only the 2%. Keep in mind that when using sauermalz there is a lag time. The initial meter reading will be low (perhaps alarmingly so). For example, in the last wheat beer I did the dough in pH was 5.08 - that's too low. Forty five minutes later the pH had settled in at 5.35 and an hour later it was at 5.40. That's the target. Given this the best thing to do is use 2% and brew the beer. If the pH settles in too high then next time you brew this beer use the full 3%.

Mid mash corrections are to be avoided if possible because of the danger of over shoot followed by over correction for the overshoot followed by... If you wind up with a pH that is wildly off however addition of acid (diluted in a little water) or base (diluted in a little water) with vigorous stirring is the only way to go. This is why I so strogly recommend a test mash for purposes of sauermalz or other acid determination. It only uses a little grain and may save your brew. You must still check in the mashtun, however.

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Old 07-29-2011, 04:47 PM   #7
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Im "locked in" at 3% because it's a grainbill mixed up in one bag. I can, however, reformulate the bill by increasing the amounts of all malts except for the sauermalz until the sauermalz is only 2% of the total, and increase the volume of the recipe to keep OG the same.

What is a test mash? Using a small quantity of the grainbill in a small mash and taking readings? Could you give me a little more info on this?

THanks for all the help!

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Old 07-29-2011, 07:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el_loco View Post
What is a test mash? Using a small quantity of the grainbill in a small mash and taking readings? Could you give me a little more info on this?
You are exactly right - take a portion of you grain bill and a proportionate amount of your strike water and mash away.
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el_loco View Post
Im "locked in" at 3% because it's a grainbill mixed up in one bag. I can, however, reformulate the bill by increasing the amounts of all malts except for the sauermalz until the sauermalz is only 2% of the total, and increase the volume of the recipe to keep OG the same.
You are indeed locked in! Never thought of that explanation. To increase everything else to get to 2% would require half again as much of everything else but then you would get half again as much beer. Not a bad thing.

I think you will be OK with 3%. It's going to make a difference of 0.1 pH or so with an estimate of 5.25 for even a base malt with DI pH of 5.6. That's OK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by el_loco View Post
What is a test mash? Using a small quantity of the grainbill in a small mash and taking readings? Could you give me a little more info on this?
Yes, that's what it is. Make sure the grist is well mixed (or draw proportionate fractions of each of the grains, grind and mix them, put them is a small container, preferrably made of metal, add a proportionate amount of your treated water, lower the beaker into hot water, stir and let the mini mash come to your first planned mash temp. Let it sit for half an hour to 45 minutes (important if you are using sauermalz as you are here), pull off some of the mash, cool to room temperature and measure pH with a freshly calibrated meter. This pH reading will be close to the one you will get with the full up mash.
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
You are indeed locked in! Never thought of that explanation. To increase everything else to get to 2% would require half again as much of everything else but then you would get half again as much beer. Not a bad thing.
Pretty good explanation, huh? I was sweating it a little until it occured to me that I could lower the sauermalz ratio by increasing everything else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
I think you will be OK with 3%. It's going to make a difference of 0.1 pH or so with an estimate of 5.25 for even a base malt with DI pH of 5.6. That's OK.
Cool.

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Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
Yes, that's what it is. Make sure the grist is well mixed (or draw proportionate fractions of each of the grains, grind and mix them, put them is a small container, preferrably made of metal, add a proportionate amount of your treated water, lower the beaker into hot water, stir and let the mini mash come to your first planned mash temp. Let it sit for half an hour to 45 minutes (important if you are using sauermalz as you are here), pull off some of the mash, cool to room temperature and measure pH with a freshly calibrated meter. This pH reading will be close to the one you will get with the full up mash.
Killer.
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