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Old 12-13-2011, 03:48 AM   #1
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Default OMG the water!

So, I've been making pretty decent beer for a couple of years, but my IPAs and especially IIPAs have been missing that characteristic sharp hop bittering attack I wanted. Even my pale ales--still tasty beers--but lacking the exact hop character I was looking for.

I tried a couple of things to correct this--changed hop providers a couple times, made sure I was getting a roiling boil for full utilization, upping bittering quantities--but nothing worked. For some reason, I had avoided looking at the water, since I just assumed that my water was at least average hardness. Well, finally, I researched the city water profile of my city (Vancouver, Canada)--which, btw, for any other BC brewers, is available here. And found that our water hardness is a shocking < 3 mg/L (ppm)! Calcium and Sulphate are < 1, Mg < 0.2, and Sodium < 7. Talk about the low end of the scale. OMG of course it was the water, I tell myself.

Anyway, I downloaded the ezwatercalculator spreadsheet and got some idea about what I should add to my water for the IPA I suddenly got super excited about brewing.

Thanks again to everyone on this site for making people better brewers everywhere. Even me.

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Old 12-13-2011, 04:23 AM   #2
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Congrats on finding that out!! Makes me want to check my local water.

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Old 12-13-2011, 05:08 AM   #3
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Gypsum

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Old 12-13-2011, 05:13 AM   #4
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Yeah maybe 1/2 tsp of gypsum in the mash and the other half in the kettle during the boil should do the trick. You really need more calcium at the least regardless of style. I think the recommended minimum amount is something like 50ppm for proper yeast nutrition.

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Old 12-13-2011, 05:59 AM   #5
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Actually, according to ezcalc, I should be adding 6g of gypsum each (about 1 1/2 tsp) to the mash and sparge water, or 3 tsp total. And 8g total of Calcium Chloride and 4g total Epsom salt. Does that sound right?

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Old 12-13-2011, 07:36 AM   #6
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I'd start with 6g CaSO4 in the mash only.

What you want, more than the sulfate, is the calcium to lower the mash pH and keep your yeasties healthy.

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Old 12-13-2011, 12:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batinse View Post
Actually, according to ezcalc, I should be adding 6g of gypsum each (about 1 1/2 tsp) to the mash and sparge water, or 3 tsp total. And 8g total of Calcium Chloride and 4g total Epsom salt. Does that sound right?
I would stay away from the epsom salt- the malt should have plenty of magnesium and you can get the sulfate from gypsum.

I wouldn't add any "sparge" salts the first time, just use the mash additions.
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Old 12-13-2011, 01:51 PM   #8
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So, 6g gypsum and 6g CaSO4 to the mash only? For, say, a certain someone's 60 min IPA recipe?

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Old 12-13-2011, 01:56 PM   #9
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So, 6g gypsum and 6g CaSO4 to the mash only? For, say, a certain someone's 60 min IPA recipe?
Gypsum = CaS04 so one addition is fine.

You can add some CaCl2 also, if the calcium is still low (it shouldn't be), and the chloride is low.

I'd probably be a bit more moderate, depending on the actual sulfate level, and go with a bit less gypsum and a tad bit of CaCl2.
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Old 12-13-2011, 04:07 PM   #10
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Ahh that makes sense. Thanks, Yooper.

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