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Old 05-05-2009, 06:34 PM   #1
dstar26t
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Default Dark Dark Stout water?

I'm working on the recipe for a Founders Breakfast Stout and need some water advice. I've modified my water for light hybrid ales, pale ales, and IPAs before with no problem. Never tackled anything this dark though.

-Do I worry about matching the color to the residual alkalinity or do I wuss out and use 5.2 buffer? Would 5.2 buffer even handle it?

-Should I instead throw the dark grains in at the end of the mash (to eliminate the SRM/residual alkalinity problem) or will that lead to an empty tasting stout?

-Do I shoot for a chloride to sulfate ratio for malty, balanced or bitter?

My residual alkalinity is 11 and I would need 468 (as CaCO3) for an SRM of 46. Seems like that would take an awful lot of modification.

My brewing water:
Bicarbonate - 44
Ca - 27
Mg - 10
Na - 30
SO4 - 7
Cl - 87
pH - 7.1
(all in ppm)

Recipe:
Founders Breakfast Stout Clone
Batch Size: 7.25 gal
Boil Volume: 9.35 gal
Boil Time: 90 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 85%

Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
16.50 lb Briess 2-row (1.8 SRM) Grain 78.31 %
1.50 lb Oats, Flaked (2.5 SRM) Grain 7.12 %
1.13 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 5.36 %
0.81 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 3.84 %
0.63 lb Debittered black malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 2.99 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 2.37 %
0.75 oz Nugget [13.70 %] (50 min) Hops 19.4 IBU
0.75 oz Williamette [4.90 %] (30 min) Hops 5.6 IBU
0.75 oz Williamette [4.90 %] (0 min) Hops -
2.20 oz Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Nibs (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
2.90 oz Kona Coffee (ground) (Secondary 1.0 weeks) Misc
2.90 oz Sumatran coffee (ground) (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
3.65 oz Dark Bittersweet Baker's Chocolate (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs WLP001

Beer Profile
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.083 SG
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.020 SG
Estimated Color: 46.1 SRM
Bitterness: 25.0 IBU
Alpha Acid Units: 14.0 AAU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 8.34 %

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Old 05-05-2009, 06:53 PM   #2
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I brew with well water with very high bicarbonates - 289 ppm. This water is ok for stouts right out of the tap. But I have found that the stouts taste better if I dilute with 10-40% distilled water. I believe that John Palmer recommends keeping bicarbonates at 300 ppm or less, even with dark beers like stouts. I would add bicarbonate to the 200-250 ppm range for your beer and leave it at that.

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Old 05-05-2009, 07:41 PM   #3
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i have similar water to you, and am planning a stout for this weekend. I'm going to add a few tsp of calcium carbonate and use 5.2 in the mash. even if the 5.2 could handle it, i've heard of others having off flavors when bicarbonates are too low even using the 5.2, so i'd figure both would be best. we'll see though.

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Old 05-05-2009, 08:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstar26t View Post
My residual alkalinity is 11 and I would need 468 (as CaCO3) for an SRM of 46. Seems like that would take an awful lot of modification.
Note: If you're using Palmer's spreadsheet to figure out your required RA, he recommends that you stop at 250 RA (it's not on the spreadsheet, it's from an article I read). I'd need a similar modification to yours using my water for stout like this, but stopping at 250 using CaCO3 puts my mash pH in the right range. If you adjust to 468, your mash will be too alkaline.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:42 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your input...
I'm thinking about holding off on the debittered black malt and stirring it in during the last 5 minutes of the mash. Cutting it out will reduce the color from 46 to 35 which should help the pH right? The debittered is only for color as far as I know.

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Old 05-06-2009, 01:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzzCraft View Post
Note: If you're using Palmer's spreadsheet to figure out your required RA, he recommends that you stop at 250 RA (it's not on the spreadsheet, it's from an article I read). .
Whoa! that is important info. Thanks for posting. Lucky for me I have an experienced AG'er who advised using a "lighter hand" with the baking soda / chalk additions. So far all my stouts have had great conversion and great taste even though I wasn't matching the exact RA in Palmer's speadsheet. Maximum 250 RA makes good sense to me.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny9 View Post
Whoa! that is important info. Thanks for posting. Lucky for me I have an experienced AG'er who advised using a "lighter hand" with the baking soda / chalk additions. So far all my stouts have had great conversion and great taste even though I wasn't matching the exact RA in Palmer's speadsheet. Maximum 250 RA makes good sense to me.
Here's the article I was referring to:
http://www.craftbrewer.dk/misc/Optimum%20Mash%20Ph.pdf

Seems like this guy communicated with Palmer to figure out why his pH was so high on a dark beer when he followed the spreadsheet recommendation and Palmer responded to stop at 250. A pretty good read, esp if you're just starting to fiddle around with the spreadsheet.
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:19 PM   #8
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I had a similar experience and came to those conclusions myself. I use RO water and add 100% of the minerals I need. The calculator told me to get to 398 Alkalinity. That seemed crazy high to me and I thought surely wouldn't taste right. So I upped the NaHCO3 a bit at a time and tested pH... it took much less than 398. probably somewhere in the low 200's.

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Old 05-07-2009, 02:11 PM   #9
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I'm super psyched about this stout. The last one I made a year ago tasted very acrid and I'm sure it was due to the mash pH since I wasn't playing with water back then.

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Drinking: Tropicale Thunder v2, Lambic, Brett Trois IPA, Brett Blonde, Kriek, Saison, Sour Blonde, RIS v1 & v2, Barleywine
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:58 PM   #10
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I e-mailed Palmer, he wrote:

"If you are adding alkalinity to achieve an RA of 225, then I would not worry about adding some of the dark malt late. Like I've said, I brewed a really dark beer with lots of black malts with an RA of 200 and it came out very smooth. The acidifying affect of dark malts seems to taper off after 35 SRM. They arent really acids, they are buffers, so they are only going to pul the pH down so far.
Just try it with the RA and then make an adjustment on the next batch."

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Next: Oktoberfest v5
Fermenting: Conan DIPA, 1830's English Mild @ Earth - Bread + Brewery, Dopplebock, Cider, Rye Berliner Weisse, Barrel Fermented Dreg Lambic, Brett Trois Helles, Sauerkraut Fermented Gose, Carrot Blossom Cedar Mead
Drinking: Tropicale Thunder v2, Lambic, Brett Trois IPA, Brett Blonde, Kriek, Saison, Sour Blonde, RIS v1 & v2, Barleywine
Barrel aged: RIS, Rye Barleywine, Tripel

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