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Old 02-05-2009, 03:53 PM   #1
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Default How Important is water pH using spring water?

I just started doing AG, and I was curious how important checking the water pH is using bottled spring water?

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Old 02-05-2009, 04:03 PM   #2
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I use Zephyrhills bottled Spring Water often and got water analysis report from Zephryhills. Their Spring Water is good for light-amber to amber beers. You could go a little lighter or darker than that and probably be OK. If your Spring Water is like Zephyrhills then for really light beers you'll probably want to cut it with Distilled (and then maybe add some Calcium back in using either Gypsum or CaCl or both) and for darker beers you'll probably need more alkalinity (using CaCO3).

FWIW, Zephyrhills also sells 'Drinking Water' which is more alkaline and a tiny bit harder and it's better for slightly darker beers than their Spring Water.

Depending on the brew...I use pure Spring, pure Drinking, or a combination of Spring/Distilled or Drinking/Distilled and then add salts to get it where I want.

In a nutshell...you're probably OK with anything other than really light brews or really dark ones.

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Old 02-05-2009, 04:03 PM   #3
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Water pH is unimportant; it's mash pH that we need to be concerned with. Average water with a beer style that's not really light or dark in color with generally take care of mash pH on its own. If you're not sure about your water, your making a light or dark beer style, or you're just curious, it's a could idea to buy some pH test strips (the kind made specifically for beer). If the mash pH is too low or too high, the enzymes won't work properly and you might get unwanted flavors from the grain (things just won't go well).

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Old 02-05-2009, 06:51 PM   #4
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I was going to make a premium American lager, kind of a Heineken. I'll get some pH strips from my LHBS to check my mash pH, what should I be looking for in this style?

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Old 02-05-2009, 06:58 PM   #5
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It's always worth a check. We've had some problems at one of our brewing locations, so my friend went all-out and got one of these boys:

Milwaukee pH Meter w/ATC | MoreBeer

I also purchased a filter and we're going to set up water direct from the outside so we don't get what is flowing through the old pipes.

Water is EXTREMELY important for mashing, especially if you are trying to make a specific style. I learned this the hard way. Not quite as bad for extract beers, although chlorophenols could be a problem.

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Old 02-05-2009, 07:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
I was going to make a premium American lager, kind of a Heineken.
Did you just use 'Premium American Lager' and 'Heineken' in the same sentence? You'll need pixie dust salts.

Actually I'm kidding...a little...because if I ever had a Heiny that wasn't pure skunk it might actually be a decent beer. All I ever get is pure skunk...which MUST be by design because they STILL use those friggin green bottles. Euro-Corona imo.

For a beer that light you might want to at least cut your Spring water with Distilled. Making a GREAT light lager isn't as easy as many other styles. There's a reason pretty much nobody outside Czechoslovakia could make a light lager that could outcompete the early Pilsners...nobody else had water that soft (and low alkalinity).
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:28 PM   #7
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Deathbrewer, I'd be interested how much of a PITA the maintenance and short working life of the sensor turns out to be. It looks like such an awesome tool to have...until you read about the sensor care/working life.

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Old 02-05-2009, 07:50 PM   #8
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Water pH is also important for fly-sparging.

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Old 02-05-2009, 08:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Water pH is also important for fly-sparging.
Isn't that just part of the mash? Why would it be any more important than batch sparging or my infamous splash sparging?
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
Deathbrewer, I'd be interested how much of a PITA the maintenance and short working life of the sensor turns out to be. It looks like such an awesome tool to have...until you read about the sensor care/working life.
LOL, I'll let you know!! We're going to use it on every batch moving forward...
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