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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Adjusting Water Profile for Steep
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:09 AM   #1
jescholler
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Default Adjusting Water Profile for Steep

I'm not sure if this is the best place for this question, but I figure the all-grainers and partial mashers know a thing or two about water profiles.

Here's my water profile (ppm):
Total Alkalinity as CaCO3: 188
Calcium: 10.6
Magnesium: 3.1
Sodium: 199
Chloride: 6
Sulfate: 162
pH: 7.4

I'm doing an extract brew along with steeping 1lb. of 60L crystal and 2oz. of 120L crystal. On Palmer's website, he says:

"Steeping the heavily roasted malts in very soft water will produce conditions that are too acidic and harsh flavors will result. Likewise, steeping the lightest crystal malts in hard water could produce conditions that are too alkaline and tannin extraction would be a problem again. In this case, the terms Hard and Soft Water are being used to indicate a high (>200 ppm) or low(<50 ppm) level of carbonates and the degree of alkalinity of the brewing water."

Based on that, I'm thinking about adjusting my water profile for my steeping to lower the total alkalinity, get a bit more calcium, and get a higher chloride to sulfate ratio. I used Palmer's spreadsheet to come up with the following (for the steep alone):

Use 1 gallon of my tap water and 1 gallon of distilled water
Add 1/4 tsp. (0.85g) Calcium Chloride

That brings the water profile to this:
Calcium: 31
Magnesium: 2
Alkalinity as CaCO3: 94
Sodium: 99
Chloride: 57
Sulfate: 81

This is my 1st time adjusting my water profile, so I just wanted to make sure I'm on the right path. I know it's not super critical for steeping, but I want to go the extra mile.

Thoughts?

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Old 04-29-2009, 12:02 PM   #2
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What kind of grains are you steeping? This adjusted water, according to Palmer's spreadsheet, is ideal for SRM 11-16, so it's best for amber color, but keep in mind that it's quite forgiving unless the water is off the charts one way or another.

What style of beer are you brewing? That's very important to your water profile, especially your chloride/sulfate ratio. If you want it very malty, you can bump up your calcium chloride even more.

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Old 04-29-2009, 01:11 PM   #3
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Water chemistry only becomes important for conversion factors in the mash, it will make no difference while steeping unless the water is basically undrinkable. That being said it won't hurt, also it will get you ready for when you go AG

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Old 04-29-2009, 01:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotbreakHotel View Post
What kind of grains are you steeping?
I'm steeping 1lb. of 60L crystal and 2oz. of 120L crystal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HotbreakHotel View Post
What style of beer are you brewing? That's very important to your water profile, especially your chloride/sulfate ratio. If you want it very malty, you can bump up your calcium chloride even more.
I'm brewing an American Amber Ale (SRM 10-17), so the adjusted profile residual alkalinity would be good for that.

As I understand it, as soon as I add the extract, the water profile will pretty much correct itself. The reason I'm adjusting the profile is so that my steeping water is within the ballpark like Palmer recommends.

I do agree that I could adjust the chloride/sulfate ratio to better suite the malty Amber Ale, but I figure the extract will pretty much do that for me.
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:27 PM   #5
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Agreed (to niquejim). I also wouldn't worry about it when you're only steeping some mid L crystals. If you were doing some dark stuff, OTOH, like chocolate, roast barley, black patent, etc., i would suggest cold steeping the night before to eliminate harshness. I've used that before with GREAT results.

When you're worried about the overall flavor, as it seems like you are when talking about chloride:sulfate, your total water profile is the important factor, not just the steeping water.

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