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Old 09-07-2009, 11:28 PM   #1
agroff383
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Default Adding Gypsum would Affect Flavor?

For some reason my first 7 brews I added 1 tsp of gypsum in an effort to make sure I had correct mineral content I guess? Once again info I got from a book and just did it for the sake of adding the gypsum. Today I made an Irish Red and did not add gypsum. But then I read on here in a post that perhaps sometimes there is too many minerals already included in brewing water AND in the extract, and that would cause off flavors? I have brewed with liquid extract exclusively, all from online suppliers except my last brew, an IPA.

For example I am drinking a cream ale that I bottled on 7-12-09. It is good but it just has this forceful off flavor and I can't put my finger on it.

I met a member on here, stevea1210, one of my first brews, an Irish Red, and he noticed that this flavor, I guess it is a twang, got less apparent as the beer warmed up. Like it is more obvious when it is cold.

So I would like some help, because I seem to have this flavor with all of my brews, but my Red Ale used Nottingham and the cream ale used US05. Sorry I know I am rambling but I know I am being patient, I mean this Cream Ale is all but 2 months in the bottle!


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Old 09-08-2009, 12:02 AM   #2
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With extracts, and no useful water report, it's better to NOT add anything. You'd actually be better off using pure distilled because extract already has all the ions you'd need.


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Old 09-08-2009, 12:10 AM   #3
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Gypsum hardens the water, if you have hard water all ready it's probably best not to use it. I only use gypsum in my British style ales to simulate their very hard water.
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:16 AM   #4
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So it can definitely affect flavor? I am just going to eliminate using it until I find a real need for it in a particular recipe, or get a water report sometime in the future.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:02 AM   #5
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There's really no reason why you'd need to add anything unless you're brewing all grain. You might already have hard water, you're adding more hardness, then using malt extract that has even more ions already in there. A good way to test if your water is "good enough" is to duplicate a previous recipe and cut your water 50/50 with distilled or RO water. If it tastes about the same, your water is good. If it tastes a lot better, you might want to get a water test.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agroff383 View Post
So it can definitely affect flavor? I am just going to eliminate using it until I find a real need for it in a particular recipe, or get a water report sometime in the future.
It can absolutely affect flavor. Especially lighter beers.

Another way it becomes evident is that it can make hops bitterness come through as harsh.

Also, the chances that you have plenty of minerals in your water already is much better than you not having enough.

I do the opposite of you and add a couple gallons of distilled water to my sparge to reduce the native amount of minerals in my water.

And like Bobby's been saying (and you read on another thread) there is never a need to add minerals when you are doing extract because there are definitely plenty there already.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dontman View Post
It can absolutely affect flavor. Especially lighter beers.

Another way it becomes evident is that it can make hops bitterness come through as harsh.

Also, the chances that you have plenty of minerals in your water already is much better than you not having enough.

I do the opposite of you and add a couple gallons of distilled water to my sparge to reduce the native amount of minerals in my water.

And like Bobby's been saying (and you read on another thread) there is never a need to add minerals when you are doing extract because there are definitely plenty there already.
Wrong.

And to that I add, No No No No No. Please stop the insanity.

OK, maybe that was a little overdramatic - but I have been on the receiving end of this bad advice. Let me get started.

your water profile is important for both AG and extract. Every recipe has an optimum mineral profile. This is not only true for optimizing mash pH but also for optimizing flavor profile. While it is true that you do not have to worry about mash pH when doing extract, you do have to think about flavor profile when doing either - so your water always matters.

Now, knowing that even extract recipes have to think about water profile I am not sure why there is an assumption that the probability of having an adequate water mineral profile is greater than the probability of not having it? If anything, without any indications I would say its 50/50 - in other words there is a 50% of having acceptable water parameters for your beer. Which means there is also a 50% chance of not having acceptable water parameters. (Of course, we can argue over what acceptable means - I will make the statement that acceptable water is water that does not interfere with the intended flavor of the recipe, but may not necessarily enhance it.)

I will argue that your water profile should be considered as one of your primary ingredients since it can add or detract flavor as much as any other ingredient.

Let me illustrate the significance of water in this way - I guarantee you that I can give you water that will make your particular recipe taste like crap. I can also give water that will make your recipe taste great. Now, why is it that we are assuming that he is getting the good kind (or at least, not the bad kind?).

Unless everyone who brews beer is really lucky I would not assume that you don't have to worry about your water. On the other hand while I would not randomly add stuff to it, in my opinion randomly adding stuff to it (in reasonable ammounts) its just as hit/miss as not adding anything. That is an important point.

To repeat myself for emphasis, not knowing your water profile is just as bad as randomly adding stuff to your water - there is no difference - both as random and unknown. My advice would be to always consider your water profile with respect to your recipe. That way instead of not adding when you should, or adding when you shouldn't, you are doing it right. Its the only way to go.

And remember, water profiles are all recipe specific.
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Old 09-09-2009, 01:16 AM   #8
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Well, wouldn't you also have to get a mineral profile of your extract as well?
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Old 09-09-2009, 03:45 AM   #9
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I guess that's one more reason why extract brewing suxors.

Really though, what minerals would you assume were being contributed by the extract? Would you assume it is neutral and base correction on your water?
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:45 PM   #10
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There was a thread that looked into that a little bit.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f37/atte...rtaste-128731/

If you could know the contribution from the extract it can only be helpful, but I also think it would be difficult to know and difficult to calculate the effect.

Yes I agree it could be seen as a limitation. Although I would assume that at the very least any flavor contribution from mineral profile of the extract would be neutral. If there was some inherent unbalance then I would guess that brand would quickly earn a reputation for making crappy beer.


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