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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Water Chemistry Question (sorry)
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Old 07-16-2010, 07:37 PM   #1
curlyfat
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Default Water Chemistry Question (sorry)

Alright. After so many years of brewing I'm ready to do it. I'm going to attempt to "build" my water. I've always used my tap water (325+ ppm hardness) and had some really great success, although my lighter beers are always a little off. My last batch (a wit), I used straight R/O water and it turned out great, but I understand that's not a good brewing practice either.

Generally I understand most of the brewing science, but water chemistry makes my head hurt. So here are my questions:

1. What should I expect from using "better" water? Better flavor? Better efficiency? Better fermentation? I would like to get better hop flavor. I always have problems with that...

2. Is there a good starting point, a sort of basic brewing water that can be built with salt additions from R/O Water? I have the morebeer calculator, but I'm not sure what to build my water too. I'd like a water that I can use generally for light beers, one for dark beers, and one for hoppy beers (I'm trying to start simple, for my simple mind )

3. This is a total noob one; Do I need to heat (boil?) the water to make the additions?

I'm looking to take my good beer and turn it into great beer, without going nuts to begin with. I'm not looking to "recreate" any particular location since I've never tasted anything from Burton-on-Trent, or Munich, etc. I just want that "next level" of brewing.

Please help, I'm sure this is a redundant post, but I couldn't find much basic stuff anywhere.

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Old 07-16-2010, 08:37 PM   #2
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This calculator has a universal brewing profile. I favor a lot more sulfate, and sodium is completely unnecessary IMO, but it's a good starting point.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:34 PM   #3
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I've seen this calculator before. I don't see the "universal" brewing profile. Just the usual european locales. What am I missing?

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Old 07-16-2010, 09:53 PM   #4
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You have to let us know if you're extract or all grain brewing.

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Old 07-16-2010, 10:07 PM   #5
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I like to use this one:

http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/

Same as the posted one, but the posted on zeros out if you hit enter. Annoying.

You can expect the best beers you have ever made. The water profile is what makes a beer match a style perfectly. It has everything to do with flavor and mouth feel.

I don't efficiency will change dramatically, although water with an imbalance in the residual alkalinity can adversely effect you beer. Pay very close attention to the RA and try to stay within the balanced area, and then work towards the extremes until you reach your RA.

My process is as follows. I add all of my salts to 8 gallons of water and heat it to strike temp. The water will be slightly cloudy once you add the salts. Then brew as normal. My water is 100% RO water.

What beer are you going to brew when you build your water?

m.

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Old 07-16-2010, 10:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curlyfat View Post
I don't see the "universal" brewing profile.
Hm.. for me it's called "-- Default Brewing Levels --".
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Old 07-17-2010, 01:14 AM   #7
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I wrote this about a year ago, trying to come up with a decent, short, introduction to water chemistry for brewing. Maybe it'll be helpful.

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Old 07-17-2010, 02:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 944play View Post
Hm.. for me it's called "-- Default Brewing Levels --".
Ok, I'm just retarded.

Quote:
You have to let us know if you're extract or all grain brewing.
All grain (recently improved to psuedo-RIMS)

Quote:
What beer are you going to brew when you build your water?
I'll probably do a blonde recipe since I'm shooting for "clean" beer.

Thanks for the replies so far, everyone. Sorry I'm ignorant, 944 .
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Old 07-17-2010, 02:16 AM   #9
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Here's where I'm a little amazed at: There's no chart out there anywhere that says something like, "For this profile, add this much of this and this much of that for every gallon"? Do no experienced brewers start with R/O? I suppose I could get an analysis of my super hard tap water, dilute it with distilled and go from there, but that seems even more complex than building from the ground up. Maybe I'm wrong?

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Old 07-17-2010, 02:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curlyfat View Post
Here's where I'm a little amazed at: There's no chart out there anywhere that says something like, "For this profile, add this much of this and this much of that for every gallon"?
http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-4.html
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