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-   -   Vancouver, BC HBTers! Water treatment? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/vancouver-bc-hbters-water-treatment-137581/)

Nugent 09-19-2009 11:33 PM

Vancouver, BC HBTers! Water treatment?
Having been on HBT for a year now, I know that there are a lot of Vancouver HBTers out there. I am going local for a local brewing element.

What do you do to treat your water; if anything, that is?

Leave it and use it straight up? Let it sit overnight? Campden tablets? What type of mineral additions do you do, if any? Why or why not?

For context, I am wanting to brew British bitters. WorryWart has been kind enough to chime in on my post in Recipes/Ingredients. He, and others, recommended adjusting Vancouver's high-ish pH and low mineral content water. I'm looking for technique and thoughts on the subject of treating our water.

Please let me know what you do for the treatment for Vangroovy's water as it relates to your philosophy/technique for brewing the styles of beer that you enjoy.

Thanks as always. Maybe see you at Dan's.

Nugent 09-20-2009 03:43 PM

Help a brother out?

Specs 10-01-2009 03:29 AM

Vancouver has one of the cleanest water supplies around. I've never had any problem with taste or other issues.
I say use it straight up.

blue800 10-04-2009 02:05 AM

Our water is ridiculously soft (few minerals). I've been using RO water because I have free access to it. But am planning on brewing tomorrow with tap water left out overnight...because they do use chlorine.

I would recommend adding some gypsum because it is so soft.

I would check your pH too. My aquarium water (untreated) always comes out on the acidic side (5.8)... Never checked straight out of the tap...

blue800 12-30-2009 07:22 AM

So Ive been looking into water a lot recently, and looking at the water report there is virtually nothing in our water...and yes the pH is a bit low (but you know all that). FWIW I briefly asked Dan about water treatments today and he said he only worries about pH (He suggested that even chlorine should dissipate before the mash is finished) . I'm just moving into all grain and I am also concerned about the mineral profile and low pH as I prefer darker beers.

Nuggent, have you been doing anything for mineral treatments?

Nugent 12-30-2009 04:38 PM

Actually I haven't done much lately, blue.

I occasionally use 5.2 buffer, but can't recall the effect, if any, that it has had on my beers. I haven't really experimented enough with it. Theoretically, this would solve the pH problem. Dan has a pH meter and said that half of the recommended amount will buffer the mash water to 5.2 - which is good, as the stuff is fairly pricey.

I have added a tsp. of gypsum to 5 gal. batches where I want the hops to really shine, like an IPA. I was reading another HBT post on Portland water (which is quite close to Vancouver - in terms of chloride/sulfate ratio) and they were talking about adding calcium in some form to deal with the lack of dissolved solids. I'm going to buy another tub of 5.2 and try it out again.

Realistically, I regard water treatment as a step beyond my ability to harness well unless I have really looked into it more. Palmer's look at water treatment in How to Brew makes sense, but I still don't feel confident enough. I just bought Fix's Principles of Brewing Science from Chapters, so I'll see what it says. I have been focusing/fixating on pitching rates and fermentation temperature lately.

Let's keep this thread going to keep each other up-to-date on our progress.

Cheers and Happy New Year.

gbx 07-09-2011 07:43 AM

this is an old thread but I've been wondering about water lately. I did a pale ale about a month back that was 90% Gambrinus ESB pale malt, 6% Crystal 60 and checked the pH and it was 4.9. A couple weeks ago I did an IRA and mashed only the 11lbs of base malt as I was a bit worried about the acidity (I steeped the specialty grains separately) but I had a similar pH. I added about 8g of chalk to the mash but the effect was minimal and I didn't want to go too much more on a 5gal batch. Has the water changed recently? Are my pH strips defective? According to the last water report, its practically RO water coming out of the taps. According to How To Brew and the various water adjustment spreadsheets, 2g each of Gypsum, CaCl and Epsom should put the water to acceptable brewing levels but will not help a low pH problem. What are people in vancouver doing about the water these days?

nufad 06-18-2012 04:28 PM

Hey gbx (and fellow Vancouverite) - I've recently started brewing all grain, and have done some reading on appropriate water parameters for mashing and different flavour profiles. After talking with a few folks at Dan's, they didn't seem to have much useful information on whether it would be necessary to adjust sulfate/Mg/Ca levels in the mash and sparge water. However, reading through John Palmer's book (link), and using the ezwatercalculator, our water is deficient in many mineral nutrients required for maintaining healthy yeast. It's also low in sulfate, making it impossible to make a properly bitter IPA (i.e. they tend to be sweet and fruitier than expected). If you haven't read the Vancouver water report, the 2011 summaries for our water sheds are here (pdf). You can use these tables for calculating gypsum, epsom, and calcium chloride additions with the help of ezcalculator (along with predicted mash pH).

gbx 08-20-2012 04:36 AM

I've come to the decision that Palmer's book has about as much useful information on how to treat your brewing water as you will get from the folks at Dan's. ...actually the book as worse as it will get you worried and cause you to mess up Vancouver's water - dan is pretty much right when he says "vancouver has perfect water, just brew". If you are doing all grain (not partial mash), your mashes will be in range without doing anything to vancouver tap water and that is the single most important consideration when messing with your water. Residual Alkalinity and other over complicated things like that don't apply to our super low ion water. My problem was from using pH strips, despite what you may have heard on a 4 hour podcast, pH strips do not work on beer (they essentially become SRM strips). I bought a cheap meter and realized I didn't actually have a mash pH problem. I also learned that EZ water calculator is terrible at predicting mash pH with our water. It will have you adding chalk to increase the alkalinity when a pH meter is telling you to add acid to get it in range. With the mash pH dealt with, all that's needed is to just bump up the Ca, Cl and SO4 to taste. Lately I've just been adding CaCl (get it from bosa or gourmet warehouse) and Gypsum depending on beer style but never more than a tsp of each per 19L batch. Add more gypsum if you want but never never never add carbonate based on the advice of a spreadsheet - if you aren't measuring pH with a meter, don't mess with chalk or baking soda. (If you aren't doing a partial mash that is 50% crystal, your pH will be fine anyways) For all other nutrients, I just add yeast energizer.

This is the single greatest source for water info you'll find on the internet - http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/bre...primer-198460/ ...and it deals with brewing with RO water which is essentially what we do in vancouver.

Nugent 08-20-2012 05:52 AM

Lately, I've been adding 5g of gypsum and 5g of calcium chloride to my mash water. My reckoning is that it ups the Ca for the yeast health and is fairly balanced in the SO4:Cl ratio. I used the calculator on Beersmith and it didn't change the chemistry drastically.

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