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Old 07-29-2009, 01:22 AM   #1
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Default Beer needs more maltiness. Treat water?

I've been allgrain brewing for about 10 batches. I consistently have dark beers that taste thin and hollow. They lack the richness of good commercial beers. I don't think it's my recipes because I pretty much pull them straight out of Brewing Classic Styles. It only seems to be darker beers, say 12srm and darker.

I've pretty much gotten all the other variables of brewing down, and now I want to get a good handle on water treatment. I'm wondering if treating my water will help fill out my beers.

I only have part of my local water report. I guess I'm going to have to call the city to get more details, but this is what I have. What do you guys think?

Ca2+ 30ppm
Mg2+ 45ppm
Na+ 35ppm

sulphate and carbonate not tested.

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Old 07-29-2009, 01:51 AM   #2
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How thick/thin is your mash?

From what I've read a thick mash (1 qt water : 1 lb grain) at higher temps (153-158F) will produce a maltier wort and a thin mash (1.5 qts water : 1 lb grain) at lower temps (148-153F) produces a more fermentable wort (making for a relatively dry beer, low FG).

If I'm wrong, please someone correct me.

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Old 07-29-2009, 02:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chase View Post
I've been allgrain brewing for about 10 batches. I consistently have dark beers that taste thin and hollow. They lack the richness of good commercial beers. I don't think it's my recipes because I pretty much pull them straight out of Brewing Classic Styles. It only seems to be darker beers, say 12srm and darker.

I've pretty much gotten all the other variables of brewing down, and now I want to get a good handle on water treatment. I'm wondering if treating my water will help fill out my beers.

I only have part of my local water report. I guess I'm going to have to call the city to get more details, but this is what I have. What do you guys think?

Ca2+ 30ppm
Mg2+ 45ppm
Na+ 35ppm

sulphate and carbonate not tested.
I think you're right. You need to get a complete water report. Without knowing what's there to begin with you cannot know what adjustments may be needed or verify that some of your beer's problems do stem from the water.

The calcium is pretty modest but it is somewhat unusual that the magnesium has a higher ppm. Carbonate content and residual alkalinity are of topmost importance when determining adjustments, in particular for dark beers. So, in short, do what you have to do to get a complete water report.

Lack of "maltiness" could be from a number of factors. Telling us more about what styles and recipes you are brewing as well as the specific ingredients would be helpful in providing better answers to your problem. Not all beer styles are "malty" and some malts are lots "maltier" than others. Frankly, IMO, just because a recipe is in a book doesn't automatically mean it's good. There are plenty of lousy recipes out there so I don't think you can assume at this point that there is no possiblity of that being a factor in the problem.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:00 AM   #4
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It might be a pH issue. I might suggest 5.2 if you don't use it already.

I'd need to know more about your water to tell you for sure. But if it's low in bicarbonate that could effect both conversion, body and flavour profile when you brew dark beers, since higher SRM values can drop the pH.

The 5.2 is kind of a no-brainer, you really don't need to know your whole water profile. Maybe worth a shot.

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Old 07-29-2009, 06:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEd View Post
Lack of "maltiness" could be from a number of factors. Telling us more about what styles and recipes you are brewing as well as the specific ingredients would be helpful in providing better answers to your problem.
Agreed... would be helpfull to know your grain bill, mash temp, yeast type, etc...

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Old 07-29-2009, 06:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by WorryWort View Post
It might be a pH issue. I might suggest 5.2 if you don't use it already.

I'd need to know more about your water to tell you for sure. But if it's low in bicarbonate that could effect both conversion, body and flavour profile when you brew dark beers, since higher SRM values can drop the pH.

The 5.2 is kind of a no-brainer, you really don't need to know your whole water profile. Maybe worth a shot.
5.2 only corrects the pH, not the ions that are responsible for the malty, fullness, hoppyness being brought out in a beer.

It could be your water, it also could be your mash temp or your recipe, or a combination of all of the above.
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:45 AM   #7
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Cl:SO4 ratio would help, too. Get that water tested.

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Old 07-29-2009, 01:20 PM   #8
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Carapils.

Mash @158.

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Old 07-29-2009, 05:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z987k View Post
5.2 only corrects the pH, not the ions that are responsible for the malty, fullness, hoppyness being brought out in a beer.
Please read my full post. I am aware it only corrects the pH, which is why I proposed it as a solution to what I said might be a pH issue.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorryWort View Post
Please read my full post. I am aware it only corrects the pH, which is why I proposed it as a solution to what I said might be a pH issue.
how does pH effect maltyness?
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