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-   -   Water Profile for Russian Imperial Stout (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/water-profile-russian-imperial-stout-138029/)

Bobby_M 09-22-2009 08:41 PM

Water Profile for Russian Imperial Stout
I'm fully equipped with every brewing salt there is and I'm brewing a big RIS at 38 SRM this weekend.

I know I need a lot of RA to combat the acid.

Should I be using a Dublin profile?

conpewter 09-22-2009 08:58 PM

I don't tend to target a certain city anymore. I'd use the calculators to target your RA to the 38 SRM (though that correlation is in itself a bit of hand waving, but works for the most part). I'd also make sure your sulfate/chloride ratio is right. I'd make it balanced for an RIS I imagine, don't want to suppress the hops but they are not the star of the show either. Other than that I'd make sure you have enough calcium and magnesium for yeast health and there ya go

I have heard that for really dark beers you still shouldn't go for a ridiculously high RA, I can't find the reference where Palmer said that though.

Can't really find it, I wouldn't go over 250 RA though.

Bobby_M 09-22-2009 10:37 PM

So far I've only tuned it to like 25 SRM because I can't keep my Na levels low if I go nuts with the baking soda and chalk goes too far on the Ca.

HotbreakHotel 09-23-2009 05:52 AM


I have heard that for really dark beers you still shouldn't go for a ridiculously high RA, I can't find the reference where Palmer said that though.
I actually heard him say it on a podcast just today -- Brewstrong Radio Water Chemistry IV (fourth of a series they did) http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/513

He said he wouldn't go over 250 for a dark beer, and for a really big imperial stout maybe 300.

IMO the whole series is well worth listening to.

conpewter 09-23-2009 12:25 PM

Hmm, unless there is a way for you to remove calcium without removing carbonate I think you may want to just get rather close with your salt additions then just put some phosphate buffers in the mash to get you the rest of the way. I haven't had a lot of experience trying to make hard water, I have plenty if you want me to ship it to ya ;)

jescholler 09-23-2009 12:34 PM

Hi Bobby,
I had the same problem about a week ago when I did an oatmeal stout. I also heard that you don't want to go above an RA of 250 for the mash. I targeted 220 and my mash pH came out high actually, 5.6 (but I was using the cheap strips, so I take that with a grain of salt). I built my profile from distilled water, and here's what I did:

Mash Water Profile:
2.68 gallons total (100% distilled), 1 tsp. Chalk, 1/8 tsp. Calcium Chloride, 1/8 tsp. Epsom Salt, and 3/4 tsp. Baking Soda

Calcium - 83ppm
Magnesium - 5ppm
Sodium - 89ppm
Chloride - 20ppm
Sulfate - 22ppm
RA: 219
SRM: 23-28

Sparge with distilled water.

Salts added to the boil:
2 tsp. Chalk, 1/8 tsp. Calcium Chloride, 1/4 tsp. Epsom Salt, and 5/8 tsp. Baking Soda

Total Water Profile (6.15 gallons):
Calcium - 103ppm
Magnesium - 7ppm
Sodium - 71ppm
Chloride - 18ppm
Sulfate - 28ppm
RA: 191
SRM: 21-26

I was also concerned about the high sodium level and that I didn't have enough sulfate (Palmer says 50ppm is the minimum). It's difficult, because with the sodium relatively high, you want to keep the sulfate low to prevent a harsh bitterness.

I'm glad to say that I took a gravity sample last night after 9 days of fermentation. The beer was awesome. The hop presence was low (possibly due to the low sulfate level), but that was how I intended it to be per the recipe. No harsh bitterness at all.

Just wanted to give you my experience.

Bobby_M 09-23-2009 07:01 PM

I appreciate the input. Since I'm using like 11 gallons of strike water, I really can't back out to distilled. Well I can, but I'm a cheapskate.

What do you guys think of this:

Starting Water:
Ca: 30 ppm
Mg: 10 ppm
Na: 28 ppm
Cl: 53 ppm
SO4: 15 ppm
HCO3: 73 ppm

Mash Vol: 11 gal
Dilution Rate: 0%

CaCO3: 10 grams
CaSO4: 0 grams
CaCl2: 0 grams
MgSO4: 4 grams
NaHCO3: 10 grams
NaCl: 0 grams
HCL Acid: 0 ml
Lactic Acid: 0 ml

Ca: 126 ppm
Mg: 19 ppm
Na: 94 ppm
Cl: 53 ppm
SO4: 52 ppm
CaCO3: 321 ppm

RA: 219 (23 to 28 SRM)
Cl to SO4: 1.01 (Balanced)

conpewter 09-23-2009 08:00 PM

Looks fine to me, 94 Na is not high enough to cause any issues

Sodium (Na+1)
Atomic Weight = 22.9
Equivalent Weight = 22.9
Brewing Range = 0-150 ppm.
Sodium can occur in very high levels, particularly if you use a salt-based (i.e. ion exchange) water softener at home. In general, you should never use softened water for mashing. You probably needed the calcium it replaced and you definitely don't need the high sodium levels. At levels of 70 - 150 ppm it rounds out the beer flavors, accentuating the sweetness of the malt. But above 200 ppm the beer will start to taste salty. The combination of sodium with a high concentration of sulfate ions will generate a very harsh bitterness. Therefore keep at least one or the other as low as possible, preferably the sodium.

Bobby_M 09-23-2009 08:09 PM

Yeah, I backed off on the baking soda additions which of course brought the RA down too. I'm hoping it's enough to keep my mash pH over 5.

humann_brewing 09-23-2009 08:15 PM

That looks good Bobby, just keep things like lactic acid and baking soda or star san around to adjust ph if necessary after you have added everything.

I did a porter recently that I over estimated and had a ph of 6.1 or something. A couple drops of lactic acid took care of it really quick. I have heard starsan would work too.

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