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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Brown Ale Water Profile?
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:48 PM   #1
briggssteel
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Default Brown Ale Water Profile?

Hey guys. I was wondering if anyone has a tried and true water profile for a brown ale. I'm going to start building my water from RO water since I can't use the softened water. I was playing with a calculator earlier and settled on adding I think .5 tsp of baking soda, 1 tsp calcium chloride, .5 tsp gypsum, .25 tsp Epsom salts. tIIs should give me calcium=67, mag=5, sulfates=74, chloride=79, sodium=30, total alkalinity=62.

My recipe is 5.5 gallons

10lbs 2 row
.75lbs crystal 60
.5lbs victory
.5lbs carapils
6oz American chocolate malt

Mash in with a ratio of 1.5 at 154 for an hour

I want to hit around 5.3 to 5.4 PH. Do my carbonates seem high enough for that? Like I said if anyone has a great water profile for something like this I'd be open to trying it.

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Old 08-15-2012, 10:57 PM   #2
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Depends. What kind of Brown Ale are you brewing? I like pretty aggressive hopping in my American Browns, so I tend to err on the side of a profile closer to something suited for pale ales/IPAs. What I've used for my last ones is roughly:

Ca: 125
Mg: 20
Na: 50
SO4: 275
Cl: 50
HCO3: 150

SRM is about 23. If you aren't too big on hops in your Brown Ales, you could easily just drop the SO4 way down.

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Old 08-16-2012, 01:38 PM   #3
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I think you should be fine with:

Ca: 60-120
Mg: 10-15
Na: 10-20
SO4: 75-150
Cl: 40-65
HCO3: 30-60

It's safe and not exactly going overboard in any area. I've hopped a lot of IPAs with a somewhat similar range (even the sulfate) and they always come out nice and hoppy, smoothly but highly bittered and comparable to the great commercial examples. You could even go a bit lower in the SO4 and Cl areas for a brown ale.

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Old 08-16-2012, 01:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phenry View Post
Depends. What kind of Brown Ale are you brewing? I like pretty aggressive hopping in my American Browns, so I tend to err on the side of a profile closer to something suited for pale ales/IPAs. What I've used for my last ones is roughly:

Ca: 125
Mg: 20
Na: 50
SO4: 275
Cl: 50
HCO3: 150

SRM is about 23. If you aren't too big on hops in your Brown Ales, you could easily just drop the SO4 way down.
That's very similar to Tasty McDole's water used for Janet's Brown.
http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/for...php?f=&t=25260

If the brown is English, I bet it would be a safe water plan to use just CaCl2 with (50-75 ppm) chloride and maybe 30ish ppm sulfate from CaSO4. I'd skip the sulfate.

I'd also skip Baking Soda and Epsom Salt no matter what and just focus on Ca, Cl & SO4.
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phenry View Post
Depends. What kind of Brown Ale are you brewing? I like pretty aggressive hopping in my American Browns, so I tend to err on the side of a profile closer to something suited for pale ales/IPAs. What I've used for my last ones is roughly:

Ca: 125
Mg: 20
Na: 50
SO4: 275
Cl: 50
HCO3: 150

SRM is about 23. If you aren't too big on hops in your Brown Ales, you could easily just drop the SO4 way down.
I am doing an American brown. I'm mostly going for flavor and aroma from the hops though as opposed to a ton of bittering. I'm only going for 35 IBU's on it so I was going for more of a balance between the sulfates and chlorides.
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:56 PM   #6
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Deleting any alkalinity producing mineral additions will still allow a brewer to make beer with RO water, it just won't be good beer. A brown ale grist is definitely acidic enough to REQUIRE some alkalinity in order to avoid having the mash pH drop too low. Keeping the pH in the proper range smooths brown and black beer flavor. If the pH isn't controlled, those beers end up sharp and tart.

I don't really like baking soda as an alkalinity supplier, but its more reliable than chalk. The best alternative is pickling lime. Baking soda is OK as long as the sodium content is kept low.

Unless the OP's brown ale is going to be a hop forward or aggressively bittered beer, I would not bother with the epsom salts either.

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Old 08-16-2012, 03:18 PM   #7
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Using a portion of your tap water for your mash only is a good way to keep the mash pH from going too low, as long as your tap water has high alkalinity.

I've got browns mashed with 100% RO that measured 5.45 and 5.48 pH at room temperature (after 15 min) and no base added. These could have been in the 5.5 pH range at room temperature if 25% tap water was used.

Other than just getting into the acceptable pH range, I've tried to tailor ligher beers to the lower range of mash pH and darker beer to the higher range. A good solution would be to measure pH with a calibrated & accurate meter and have slaked lime on-hand.

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Old 08-16-2012, 04:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
Deleting any alkalinity producing mineral additions will still allow a brewer to make beer with RO water, it just won't be good beer. A brown ale grist is definitely acidic enough to REQUIRE some alkalinity in order to avoid having the mash pH drop too low. Keeping the pH in the proper range smooths brown and black beer flavor. If the pH isn't controlled, those beers end up sharp and tart.

I don't really like baking soda as an alkalinity supplier, but its more reliable than chalk. The best alternative is pickling lime. Baking soda is OK as long as the sodium content is kept low.

Unless the OP's brown ale is going to be a hop forward or aggressively bittered beer, I would not bother with the epsom salts either.
Right. I did know some alkalinity was necessary after my last stout I did. The water had 40 ppm of total alkalinity. I came in at 5.1, added a half teaspoon of chalk and nothing. This is why this time I'm using baking soda instead of chalk and why I'm adjusting my water to 62 ppm total alkalinity. Do you think I'd need to be any higher? It says I'll be adding 30 ppm of sodium which from what I've heard so far is totally acceptable.

As for the epsom salts, I thought magnesium was important for yeast health? Do you mean epsom salts would better suit a bitter aggressive beer because of the sulfates that come along with it? If so I've taken those into account by balancing my sulfates with chlorides.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:37 PM   #9
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5.1 pH at mash temperature = about 5.4 pH at room temperature. Very similar pH results to a popular mash pH calculator for your grain bill & 100% RO. What pH meter, 2 point calibration with fresh buffers?

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Old 08-16-2012, 04:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
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5.1 pH at mash temperature = about 5.4 pH at room temperature. Very similar pH results to a popular mash pH calculator for your grain bill & 100% RO. What pH meter, 2 point calibration with fresh buffers?
Yea it's a Milwaukee 55 or something like that and it's maybe 2.5 months old. Yea 2 point calibration with 4.0 and 7.0 buffer packs that I only open right before I use it. I Also keep the meter sitting in a pack of 4.0 solution to keep it working well.
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