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Old 10-29-2009, 03:35 PM   #21
MattHollingsworth
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You said you're getting hop bitterness that's harsh, right? That can be from too much sulfate. But your water doesn't have too much sulfate, so that's what I was commenting on.

Adjusting water is to get the right mash pH and the right mineral concentrations for both flavor perception and yeast helth. Your water has too much bicarbonate to make a pale beer and have it fall into the right pH. Read Palmer's info on pH to get a better understanding:

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-3.html

I personally think you should adjust your water.

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Old 10-29-2009, 03:48 PM   #22
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From that link:

Quote:
...This residual alkalinity will cause an all-base-malt mash to have a higher pH than is desirable (ie. >6.0), resulting in tannin extraction, etc. To counteract the RA, brewers in alkaline water areas like Dublin added dark roasted malts which have a natural acidity that brings the mash pH back into the right range (5.2-5.6).
You can end up with harshness from grains if your pH is too high.
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:47 PM   #23
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This is awesome Matt. Thanks for your help man. Now I see why my lighter beers haven't been very good and my dark ones have turned out really nice. The lowest SRM I could brew with my current water would have been a 15.

This makes so much sense now. So I messed with this for my Special Bitter and this is what I came up with.

I think I did this correctly. I'm going to dilute 65% with distilled water and add 2 grams of chalk, gypsum, and calcium. This will give me:

Calcium 148
Magnesisum 7
Alkalinity 131
Sodium 7
Chloride 74
Sulfate 91

Est. SRM 7 (low) 12 (high)

Chloride - Sulfate ratio - Balanced

Hopefully I did this right but it's exciting to know that you can adjust and try to make the beers that much closer to style.

So the est. RA for this SRM was 12(low) 71(high) with a 41 avg.

The adjustments I just stated bring me to an RA of 22. Should I shoot more for the average or am I ok inside the limits??? Thanks again.

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Old 10-29-2009, 07:20 PM   #24
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Glad to help. I'd have to look at this closer and busy at the moment. BUT, by adding chalk, you are undoing the work of diluting with distilled water. Chalk is calcium carbonate. You're distilling to remove that. If I were you, I would definitely not be adding chalk. Just dilute less if you can, instead. It's like you add distilled water to remove that, then you add it back in. Makes no sense.

I guess you'd be okay inside those limits, but I always aim for the average myself and have good luck. This is all something that doesn't have to be super precise, as long as you get in a good range everything will take care of itself.

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Old 10-29-2009, 07:24 PM   #25
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Just reread your recent post and you said "harsh bitterness". Sorry, my mistake. I was thinking that you musta meant more from hops. But I'm guessing you mean more from astringency, which is very likely from your hard water leeching tannins.

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Old 10-29-2009, 07:24 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattHollingsworth View Post
Glad to help. I'd have to look at this closer and busy at the moment. BUT, by adding chalk, you are undoing the work of diluting with distilled water. Chalk is calcium carbonate. You're distilling to remove that. If I were you, I would definitely not be adding chalk. Just dilute less if you can, instead. It's like you add distilled water to remove that, then you add it back in. Makes no sense.

I guess you'd be okay inside those limits, but I always aim for the average myself and have good luck. This is all something that doesn't have to be super precise, as long as you get in a good range everything will take care of itself.
Gotcha. That makes sense. 1 more question. I just talked to the owner of my LHBS and he suggested just using Starsan 5.2 PH stabilizer. He said that this takes care of all of these issues by adding this to the mash.

Would this take care of my water issues or would I still need the distilled water and salts??
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:31 PM   #27
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So for a "Special Bitter", do I want my Chloride to Sulfate ratio to be bitter or balanced??

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Old 10-29-2009, 07:49 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryHood1 View Post
Gotcha. That makes sense. 1 more question. I just talked to the owner of my LHBS and he suggested just using Starsan 5.2 PH stabilizer. He said that this takes care of all of these issues by adding this to the mash.

Would this take care of my water issues or would I still need the distilled water and salts??
That's your call. I don't use that stuff. Even if you *do* decide to use it, you need to consider chloride/sulfate ratio and mineral amounts.

I don't use it because I don't see the need, personally. It's *easy* to adjust your water once you're used to it. Plenty of people DO use it though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryHood1 View Post
So for a "Special Bitter", do I want my Chloride to Sulfate ratio to be bitter or balanced??
Also your call. Personally, I would go for bitter. But if you like more maltiness balanced in there, you can try balanced too. I use bitter for my APA and it comes out great.
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:56 PM   #29
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So can I adjust to where I need to be by messing with just the distilled water dillution and gypsum salts?? You said not to add chalk and I understand why you're saying that.

Do I need to tinker with anything other than the dillution level and gypsum level?? My LHBS doesn't have calcium chloride.

I guess what I'm asking is what are the main variables (salt wise) that you actually adjust?

Thanks again for your patience to these basic questions.

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Old 10-29-2009, 08:06 PM   #30
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No problem.

If you just add gypsum, you'll eventually get a lot of sulfate and no chloride to balance it. I use both gypsum (calcium sulfate) and calcium chloride myself (along with dilution). If I were you, I'd mail order some. Loads of places have it and it's not heavy for shipping.

Also, on the 5.2 stabilizer thing: It's my opinion that if you learn how to adjust your water, that you're learning something about the process of making beer that can only help you. It's not ONLY about the pH, but that's a big part of it. But if you take some time and learn this stuff, it's worth it, I think. And it's not difficult once you get your head around some things. If you just throw stabilizer in there and don't do the learning, I feel you're at a disadvantage. If I were in your position, I would learn this stuff then see how you feel about it. Then if you opt to use stabilizer, you're doing it from a point where you understand a bit more about your water and how it affects your process and the final beer. Like I said, loads of people use it and a i bet it's okay.

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