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Old 04-25-2013, 05:05 PM   #1
Savage06
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Default Water Modifications for Brewing

So I haven't really delved into any water adjustments for brewing. I am planning on doing a Dry Irish stout and was thinking of modifying the water to get closer to this profile.

I picked up a package of Burton salts for cheap but it seems that the profile would be VERY different from Dublin

I am running the water through a charcoal filter beforehand. So essentially I need to add Ca, HC03, and a bit of SO4.

So I would need to get some Gypsum, Chalk, and Epsom Salt. I'm a bit fuzzy on the calculations of how much I need to add to hit the profile.

Would the calculations have to be based on just the volume of mash water or do you take into account the sparge water as well?

Is there anywhere you can pick these up outside of a homebrew shop?



Burton On Trent, UK

Calcium(Ca): 295.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 45.0 ppm
Sodium(Na): 55.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 725.0 ppm
Bicarbonate(HCO3): 300.0 ppm
PH: 8.0 PH

Dublin, Ireland

Calcium(Ca): 115.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 4.0 ppm
Sodium(Na): 12.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 55.0 ppm
Bicarbonate(HCO3): 200.0 ppm
PH: 8.0 PH

New York, NY

Calcium(Ca): 13.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 4.0 ppm
Sodium(Na): 11.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 12.0 ppm
Bicarbonate(HCO3): 29.0 ppm
PH: 7.2 PH

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Old 04-25-2013, 05:42 PM   #2
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A number of things here:

1.) go to the brew science forum and check out the sticky note for the water chemistry primer. The first entry is a good start.

2.) Palmers book "How to Brew" chapter 15 - it is on line if you don't have it.

3.) You don't want to just start adding stuff without knowing exactly what all of your own water numbers are..... you listed NY numbers - are you sure that is what is coming out of your tap? Water softener? Vary by wells?

4.) Easiest thing to do until you know for sure is to use RO/Distilled water and the information in the Water chemistry primer noted above.

5.) Bru'n water is what many folks on here (including me) use with a great deal of success. Seems overwhelming at first.... but it is not if you take a little time and set aside an afternoon to work through it.

6.) The "historic" water profiles are not always all that great to use.... Just because that is what the water was, does not mean that is exactly what was going into brew kettles..... that water may have been boiled or treated. I prefer to go with Bru'n water profiles like "pale ale" or "Black Malty" or "Amber Hoppy"

Gypsum and Calcium Chloride are the two main things you will deal with. Also, perhaps some acidulated malt, maybe some lactic acid, some epsom salt.

Don't just dump the "burton salts" in your water and assume that you are going to get what you are looking for...... might be ok, might be terrible.

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Old 04-25-2013, 05:42 PM   #3
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Check out Bru'n Water or EZ Water spreadsheets. I prefer Bru'n water, but it can be intimidating at first. Both of these spreadsheets will give you ideas of how to treat the mash and sparge water. I have found that duplicating water for certain areas isn't always going to make that style of beer better, it is better to make sure that there are enough minerals to keep the Ph in the proper range and we don't really know what breweries in those areas do to treat their water anyhow.

Edit: Braufessor beat me and makes great points.

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Old 04-25-2013, 05:49 PM   #4
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Bru'n Water is the best. Martin has a way of explaining things that just make sense. Plus, if you're on the AHA forum ever, ask a question about water and he'll respond. Sometimes in 20 minutes.

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Old 04-26-2013, 01:31 AM   #5
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NB: My water (from a well) is unusable due to extremely high levels of dissolved iron and calcium, so I am an RO brewer all the way.

I have a Masters' Degree an found the aforementioned spreadsheet incomprehensible. I then had recourse to the simple instructions in the sticky (authored by Yooper) on water treatment, and all has been well. Most of the beers I brew respond very well to 1 tsp. of calcium chloride and 1 tsp. gypsum per 5 gal. batch.

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Old 04-26-2013, 01:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rico567 View Post
NB: My water (from a well) is unusable due to extremely high levels of dissolved iron and calcium, so I am an RO brewer all the way.

I have a Masters' Degree an found the aforementioned spreadsheet incomprehensible. I then had recourse to the simple instructions in the sticky (authored by Yooper) on water treatment, and all has been well. Most of the beers I brew respond very well to 1 tsp. of calcium chloride and 1 tsp. gypsum per 5 gal. batch.
I just have to correct that. I did NOT author that primer. It was authored by AJ deLange, who is noted for his work with brewing water chemistry, and has written many papers on this subject. He authored, and I posted it for him. I just wanted that to be clear, that I am NOT a water chemistry expert, and the information comes from AJ deLange.

Martin Brungard (mabrungard on this forum) also contributes greatly to our forum and is the source of much of my water information. He is the author and source for Bru'nwater and the information on his site is second to none.

Both of these smart guys help out by answering questions in the Brew Science forum, and are the ones I trust to give me information.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:57 AM   #7
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One thing to be aware of with AJ's excellent advice is that he brews pretty much only light lagers and sometimes his sulfate recommendations are kinda off the mark. As has been pointed out, using city based water profiles is not usually the best way to go. The sulfate level listed for Burton above is insane. Higher even than others I've seen listed, and I thought those were insane! Also, it may not be a good idea to start messing with your water unless you have an analysis and know what your starting with.

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Old 04-26-2013, 01:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rico567 View Post
NB: My water (from a well) is unusable due to extremely high levels of dissolved iron and calcium, so I am an RO brewer all the way.

I have a Masters' Degree an found the aforementioned spreadsheet incomprehensible. I then had recourse to the simple instructions in the sticky (authored by Yooper) on water treatment, and all has been well. Most of the beers I brew respond very well to 1 tsp. of calcium chloride and 1 tsp. gypsum per 5 gal. batch.
Gee, I never finished college and I have no trouble with it. Did take a bit of learning, but it's not that hard.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny View Post
Gee, I never finished college and I have no trouble with it. Did take a bit of learning, but it's not that hard.
Maybe you need a degree; I don't need another one. I find AJ deLange's formulaic approach simple, and its application productive in my brewing. That's about it.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:52 AM   #10
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Try this if Brun seems over your head:

http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-chemistry-and-brewing-water-calculator/

Once you get the hang of it, try Brun again and it might seem more managable

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