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-   -   Water Profile for German Hefe (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/water-profile-german-hefe-357550/)

Andromedus 09-29-2012 02:23 AM

Water Profile for German Hefe
Hello! I'm brewing my first all grain batch this Sunday, really hoping for some advice on my water profile. My source water is:

Ca: 13
Mg: 7
SO4: 27
Na: 0
Cl: 21
HCO3: 25

I've read everything I can find on a preferred profile for a Germen Hefe (think Franziskaner, or even Live Oak Hefe in Austin) and I'm hitting a lot of conflicting info. After combining everything I've read, I've come up with my guess at an ideal profile:

Ca: 70
Mg: 18
SO4: 27 (or as low as possible??)
Na: 0 (since sulfate is above 0)
Cl: 21 (really in the dark on this one, any thoughts?)
HCO3: 120

I'm brewing with the all grain kit here: http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...ducts_id=10433

5 lb White Wheat Grain, 4 lb 12 Oz German Pilsner Malt, 8 Oz Cara Pils Malt, 1 oz US Tettnang Hops (2/3 bittering at 60 mins left, 1/3 flavor at 15 mins left)

I'll be brewing two identical 5 gallon batches, one with WLP300 the other with 3068 (that's the only difference the batches will have).

I'm looking for any specific advice on the target water profile, based on experience with successfeul hefe brews if able. I will figure out the necessary additives/dilutions to reach whatever the ideal chemistry is. Minimal guessing/conjecture please since it conficts so darn much.

tom_hampton 09-29-2012 03:34 AM

When I make Hefes I target:
Ca > 50
Mg ~ 15
SO4/Cl ~ 1.0
HCO3 < 50

My carbonates are up around 95, and I dilute with DI to get them down to a manageable level. Don't know why you would be bumping them up. With HCO3 that high, your mash pH will be on the high end. I use a pH meter, and even with my HCO3 at about 45, I need a couple mL of Lactic acid to bring my pH into range.

Otherwise, your target profile looks fine (Ca > 50, Mg > 15). You could tweak the SO4/Cl back closer to 1.0, but for a first AG batch....it will be just fine. 1.3 isn't very far towards the hoppy side. Your water is pretty nice for these super light beers already. If I had your water, I'd add some CaCl to get the Ca up to 70ish, and MgSO4 to balance out the SO4/Cl ratio and leave the rest alone.

mabrungard 09-29-2012 02:38 PM


Originally Posted by Andromedus (Post 4454272)
After combining everything I've read, I've come up with my guess at an ideal profile:

Ca: 70
Mg: 18
SO4: 27 (or as low as possible??)
Na: 0 (since sulfate is above 0)
Cl: 21 (really in the dark on this one, any thoughts?)
HCO3: 120

No! A Hefe needs very low alkalinity and your tap water is well situated with that. The Calcium is a little low, but that is correctable. I suggest that the only addition you would make for that water is to boost Ca and Cl with calcium chloride. Leave the additional Mg and HCO3 out. They will not improve the flavor of this style.

I suggest you look at Bru'n Water to evaluate what the grist will do with your tap water and the CaCl2 addition. For this style, I suggest aiming for a slightly low mash pH of 5.2 to 5.3 to enhance the crispness. The low pH will also help keep the color low. I've seen too many Hefes in competition that come out darker than appropriate because the brewer used water with too high alkalinity.


Andromedus 09-29-2012 05:40 PM

Ok, so CaCl only, that I understand. What levels should I boost them to?

Right now Brun Water is telling me that my room temperature Mash Ph will be 4.8 if I use my existing water.

mabrungard 09-29-2012 05:53 PM

Check the pH if you brew with the tap water with no CaCl. It will be closer to the desirable range. If its somewhere near 5.3, I'd just reserve that quantity of CaCl that brings the Ca up to 50 ppm or thereabouts and just add it to the kettle. Don't add it to the mash or that will depress the mash pH. Live with whatever Cl level the CaCl dose gives you.

Andromedus 09-29-2012 06:01 PM

I could be inputting something wrong, but right now without the CaCl addition, Brun is telling me my Mash Ph at room temp will be 4.8. Is that impossible?

Andromedus 09-29-2012 06:13 PM

Oops! I had the wrong mash water volume. I'm using 20 lbs of grain, so I'm assuming at a water/grain ratio of 2 quarts/lb, that would be about 40 quarts, or 10 gallons. I've bumped this up to 11 gallons. My target wort is 10 gallons final product.

This gives me an estimated room temp Ph of 5.1 Much closer.

Edit: After checking the Ph of the mash if I were to add the CaCOl first (aiming for 50 ppm Ca) it hits an even 5.2 on Brun. Any problem with this?

tom_hampton 09-29-2012 08:07 PM

The purpose of the mash addition is to get the mash pH into the 5.4-5.6 range at room temp...aiming for a mash-temp pH of 5.1-5.3. As martin said, aim towards the low end of this scale for a Hefe, in order to maintain a nice light color (5.4 room-temp, 5.1 mash-temp). If Bru'n Water is telling you that your room temp pH will be 5.1, then you are still too low. 5.1 at room temp would be 4.8-4.9 at mash-temp.

Martin suggested that you simply put your CaCl directly into the boil. With your HCO3 so low, you mash may not need any extra calcium to get to the right pH.

Once your mash pH is good, the remaining CaCl is for yeast health and good floculation. So, you can just dump it straight into the boil.

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