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Old 08-08-2012, 06:34 PM   #21
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I just looked at my water report and pH is 7.8. Total Alkalinity is 59 and Bicarbonate is 72. I dont cut my water with RO because according to the spreadsheets I've used I'm able to get my mash pH in the right range by adding some acidulated, and like I've said before I add some salts (mostly gypsum) to adjust my minerals. I only add to the mash though, and I assummed that the grains would still be acidic enough during sparging, but maybe not.

Although I keep falling back on the discussion I had with a local pro brewer who said they don't add anything to their water. Of course they're probably not batch sparging either so they are not hitting the grains with a ton of high pH water all at once.

Unless anyone else has any ideas I think I'll get some phosporic acid and add it to the sparge water to try and get the pH down next time. If that doesn't work maybe I'll try cutting it with RO.

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Old 08-08-2012, 06:41 PM   #22
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Here's another idea. Try mashing at 153-156F. That may give you a little more malt forwardness on the front. Combined with the PH adjustments,it might get you where you want to be. Mine are a bit malt forward,with the bitterness right there,but then the hop flavor hits you. just a suggestion.
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:43 PM   #23
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I just looked at my water report and pH is 7.8. Total Alkalinity is 59 and Bicarbonate is 72. I dont cut my water with RO because according to the spreadsheets I've used I'm able to get my mash pH in the right range by adding some acidulated, and like I've said before I add some salts (mostly gypsum) to adjust my minerals. I only add to the mash though, and I assummed that the grains would still be acidic enough during sparging, but maybe not.

Although I keep falling back on the discussion I had with a local pro brewer who said they don't add anything to their water. Of course they're probably not batch sparging either so they are not hitting the grains with a ton of high pH water all at once.

Unless anyone else has any ideas I think I'll get some phosporic acid and add it to the sparge water to try and get the pH down next time. If that doesn't work maybe I'll try cutting it with RO.
I'd go right with the RO dilution, as I think that's the issue. It's not terribly high, but it's more alkaline than what I found gives me the firmest/cleanest flavored IPAs. "Firm" not in the sense of harsh, but with a nice firm bitterness, if that makes sense. Before I used RO water to dilute, it was sharp in the sense it was a bit harsh.

I often now use 100% RO water in all of my beers, except for my stouts, and use a minimum amount of gypsum and chloride. The result is great beer, instead of just "very very good". I always made good to very good IPAs, but using RO water took it up to a new level.
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:16 PM   #24
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Thanks Yooper, I'll definitely consider it. Just hesitant because I know the local breweries make good IPAs with water right out of the tap. I'm really wondering if bringing my sparge water pH down and batch sparging at closer to 170 than 200 might do it.

What are you thinking might be too high with my water? Alkalinity or Bicarbonate or both? I don't claim to understand how it all works together, but I do get everything to balance nicely in the spreadsheets with some acidulated and gypsum/calcium chloride additions in the mash. The only thing I can't seem to get a straight answer on is why my RA goes to about -250 on the spreadsheet. From what I've read though, it doesn't seem to matter a whole lot depending on who you talk to.

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Old 08-08-2012, 07:47 PM   #25
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I often now use 100% RO water in all of my beers, except for my stouts, and use a minimum amount of gypsum and chloride. The result is great beer, instead of just "very very good". I always made good to very good IPAs, but using RO water took it up to a new level.
Yooper, what do you consider "a minimum amount of gypsum and chloride" when you are brewing IPA's with RO water?
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:54 PM   #26
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Thanks Yooper, I'll definitely consider it. Just hesitant because I know the local breweries make good IPAs with water right out of the tap. I'm really wondering if bringing my sparge water pH down and batch sparging at closer to 170 than 200 might do it.

What are you thinking might be too high with my water? Alkalinity or Bicarbonate or both? I don't claim to understand how it all works together, but I do get everything to balance nicely in the spreadsheets with some acidulated and gypsum/calcium chloride additions in the mash. The only thing I can't seem to get a straight answer on is why my RA goes to about -250 on the spreadsheet. From what I've read though, it doesn't seem to matter a whole lot depending on who you talk to.
I'm NO water expert at all! But I would encourage you to see if you can beg/borrow/steal a pH meter and check the pH of the mash and sparge. I've noticed a harshness in lighter colored beers without diluting with RO water, but my alkalinity is higher than yours. Perhaps a question in the brewing science forum on the water chemistry would be more helpful, as the water chemistry stuff is way above my comfort level.

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Yooper, what do you consider "a minimum amount of gypsum and chloride" when you are brewing IPA's with RO water?
Pretty minimal- about 50 ppm calcium, 30 ppm chloride, 50 ppm sulfate. I've heard that some pale ale profiles are up to 250 ppm sulfate, but that only gave me a weird harshness that I didn't like.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:06 PM   #27
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[QUOTE=Yooper;4315543



Pretty minimal- about 50 ppm calcium, 30 ppm chloride, 50 ppm sulfate. I've heard that some pale ale profiles are up to 250 ppm sulfate, but that only gave me a weird harshness that I didn't like.[/QUOTE]

I don't like going for the 250ppm sulfate either. I have been cutting my high bicarbonate water with RO, but still putting additions in that bring it up to 100-150 or so on sulfate (which has dramatically improved my beer compared to using straight tap water.) But, I may try a 100% RO IPA with your method to compare in the future.

I agree on the water issue for the OP - I had all kinds of problems with my pale ales/IPA's until I started to get a handle on my water.

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Old 08-08-2012, 08:27 PM   #28
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Do you cold crash, filter, or use finings?

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Old 08-08-2012, 08:59 PM   #29
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I cold crash all of my beers for at least 3 days before they go in the keg. I typically will dry hop at term temps for 3-4 days then the carboy goes in the fridge to drop the pellet hops and residual yeast. I have used gelatin but since I've gotten my process down and my calcium upmy beers have been very bright within a week of being kegged.

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Old 08-08-2012, 09:10 PM   #30
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I think I have tasted something like this before. I had a lower IBU (~25) beer and it had this crazy bitterness that was more bitter than an IPA (side by side comparison). The bitterness was pin point sharp and didn't linger like normal hop bitterness and it just didn't make sense when you looked at the hops that went into the beer. How it got there...I have no clue.

Beta acids from hops are supposed to oxidize over time and contribute to bitterness but I have never had some sort of control sample to know what they taste like exactly. By chance do you have old hops that are stored warm and/or have a lot of exposure to air?

If your mashing / sparging technique seems fine, you can troubleshoot the malt contribution easily by doing an extract version of one of your recipes. Take the mashing right out of the equation and see what happens because there are a lot of variables that go into mashing.

I am a little baffled at the fruitiness that you explain and wonder if the two are related and point to an equipment contamination issue of some sort.
I missed this post earlier and wanted to reply because there are some valid points here. Mainly I think doing an extract beer would solve the possible astringency issue.

As for my hops I do usually buy in bulk but only a couple months worth at a time and they live in ziploc bags in the freezer.

The pinpoint bitterness you describe sounds like what I am dealing with. The bitterness is sharp and almost burns your tongue instead of being deep and steady.
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