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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Just used RO water and salts for the first time... Some questions
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:50 PM   #11
billl
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"Can additional minerals account for that, perhaps make the enzymes work better somehow?
"

Not a water expert by any stretch, but the basic answer is yes.

In terms of efficiency, one of the driving factors is PH. The closer you are to optimal ph, the more effectively the enzymes will work. That is generally the #1 thing you need to consider when adjusting water. Most people use lactic acid or acid malt in conjunction with the mineral additions to get in the right range.

#2 is the flavor. These minerals help determine how you perceive the various flavors in beer. That balance doesn't have much to do with efficiency as long as you are in correct PH range. A + charge is a +charge as far as the enzymes are concerned.

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Old 04-05-2013, 02:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billl View Post
"Can additional minerals account for that, perhaps make the enzymes work better somehow?"

Not a water expert by any stretch, but the basic answer is yes.

In terms of efficiency, one of the driving factors is PH. The closer you are to optimal ph, the more effectively the enzymes will work. That is generally the #1 thing you need to consider when adjusting water. Most people use lactic acid or acid malt in conjunction with the mineral additions to get in the right range.

#2 is the flavor. These minerals help determine how you perceive the various flavors in beer. That balance doesn't have much to do with efficiency as long as you are in correct PH range. A + charge is a +charge as far as the enzymes are concerned.
Excellent, thanks. I suspected something like this, but had no way to justify my thinking.

-Rich
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:03 PM   #13
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Wanted to post an update on the IPA that was the first batch I did RO + salts for.

It's a crazy success! It was my second time brewing this recipe (EdWort's Bee Cave IPA), and it was certainly good the first time. Tasting notes for the first batch really came down to wishing that it was a trifle less sweet/malty, and a trifle "better rounded" when it came to the hop impression.

Using customized water, the hops have become much better balanced and yet more forward (which is dynamite for this IPA), and the malt was indeed more subdued. One effect I wasn't expecting was that the beer has much better mouthfeel this time around, and seemed to clarify more completely after less time.

I was a bit worried that having used chalk in the sparge water I might have had some high-pH tannin extraction, but if that happened, it's either become part of the hop character I like, or was so subtle that it hasn't impacted the beer in any negative way.

For those interested, my method is this:
* grab the ion profile I want for the recipe in question from Bru'n Water and put it into BeerSmith as a water profile
* open up BeerSmith's water profile tool and set the source water to RO and target to the Bru'n Water profile
* auto-generate the salt additions for the mash water volume and save it to a new water profile
* auto-generate the salt additions for the sparge water volume, then zero any baking soda or chalk amounts to avoid any pH problems, and again save it to a new water profile
* add the new mash and sparge water profiles to my recipe, checking that the volumes are what the recipe's mash and sparge call for, and match the volumes used to calculate the salts

I know this doesn't do any compensating for the lost baking soda or chalk, but this method is simple and reproducible enough that I'm happy doing it as each recipe requires. So far the results have been excellent.

-Rich

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Old 04-30-2013, 04:33 PM   #14
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Looks good, you learned a lot through the exercise so I'm a little late replying. What I've learned with water is that you don't need to over complicate it. Usually 1 tsp CaCl2 or gypsum or half tsp of both needs to be added to the mash and just a little phosphoric acid (like drops if you are using RO) to the sparge to ensure its acidic. Also, color is a huge contributor to pH so many times you don't need to add anything except to make sure you have a little calcium (50 ppm or so) if you are using RO. I use braukaiser's spreadsheet and really like it because it shows impacts on the pH from the grains (your tool may do this).

For any reasonably dark beers I don't add any salts cause the grains get the pH acidic enough. But I use tap water so there is enough calcium content for the mash to take place. Also as far as the enzymes are concerned, a little more acidic doesn't effect activity hardly at all (Fix) but basic pH mash results in problems. Just avoid basic salts all together.

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