Originally Posted by Joshua618
I am just getting started with water adjustments and would like some help and opinions about brewing an IPA with 7 SRM and around 65-70 IBU.
Here is what I have so far:
Starting Water (ppm):
I don't know what the CaCO3 number means exactly but if I add enough carbo to a water with the other ions to get it to balance electrically I wind up with an alkalinity of 44 so I'm guessing, for the rest of this, that this means you have alkalinity "as CaCO3" of 40.5. On that basis this is decent water from which you could make an IPA without doing anything. The mash pH would be high, probably around 5.8, but you'd still get a decent beer. This is because of the alkalinity and low calcium. Also this style is associated with a powerful hop punch that is often associated with high sulfate. My advice with this water would be to supplement the calcium with the chloride, brew the beer and then do it again at a later date with augmented sulfate. To get mash pH correct you will need acid. Traditionally, British brewers seem to use hydrochloric or sulfuric acid (or actually a blend called CRS which is available to home brewers over there). I don't recommend that to home brewers because these acids are hard for them to obtain in food grade (you can easily get them at the hardware and auto parts store but would you want acid made for cleaning concrete and for batteries in your beer?) and they can hurt you if you don't know how to handle them. That leaves lactic acid available in 2 forms: liquid in a bottle from your LHBS and acidulated malt. The former has to be measured out carefully and should really be done with a pH meter available to check that the proper pH has been reached. To get 5 gallons of this water to pH 5.3 would require 1.4 mL of 88% lactic acid. A bit more would be required to get the malt and the water to pH 5.3 but don't worry about the extra - you don't want to undershoot (pH too low).
Originally Posted by Joshua618
Mash / Sparge Vol (gal): 5.25 / 4.2
Dilution Rate: 0%
Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:
CaCO3: 1 / 0.8
CaSO4: 5 / 4
CaCl2: 0 / 0
MgSO4: 4 / 3.2
NaHCO3: 0 / 0
NaCl: 0 / 0
HCL Acid: 0 / 0
Lactic Acid: 0 / 0
Why would you want to add calcium carbonate? You have a problem with high mash pH, not low. Adding calcium carbonate will only make this worse. Let's come back to this and look at the other additions first. They will increase your calcium to 63 mg/L and magnesium to 21 and in so doing move your RA from 40 to -12 meaning a potential drop in mash pH from around 5.82 to around 5.73 and that's a good thing. The sulfate will be pretty high at 226 and this may render the beer harsh but it's up to you to decide whether you like that or not. If you don't, then use calcium chloride instead of the sulfate. Forget what you see about chloride/sulfate ratios. Decide how much sulfate to use based on your tastes and preference. Be aware that even in Britain, where the chloride sulfate ratio thing got launched, panels gave higher scores to beers with lower sulfate and more chloride.
Back to the carbonate: If you added 51 mg of calcium carbonate to a liter of your water (the amount that corresponds to 1 gram for 5.25 gal) it wouldn't dissolve. But if you took it to an analyst and told him to ignore that and measure the alkalinity he would get 45.1 ppm (I'm using the value that balances your profile at pH 7 rather than the value you reported) from your water and another 51 from the chalk (there's a reason why alkalinity is reported in ppm as CaCO3) for a total of 96.1. The RA would increase by a like amount less 7 for the added calcium i.e. a net increase of 44. The -12 RA you achieved with the other additions would be completely wiped out and your new RA would be +32, not much better than where you started (40). Skip the chalk!!!
Originally Posted by Joshua618
Mash Water / Total water (ppm):
Ca: 82 / 82
Mg: 20 / 20
Na: 34 / 34
Cl: 28 / 28
SO4: 226 / 226
CaCO3: 65 / 65
RA (mash only): -5 (5 to 10 SRM)
Cl to SO4 (total water): 0.12 (Very Bitter)
Based on the discussion above the RA would not be -5 but rather +32. But RA really applies to solutions - not suspensions. Yes, we can ask the analyst to carry out the titration with undissolved material and give us an alkalinity number but he'd probably think we were nuts. Now if we emulate nature and dissolve your gram of chalk with carbonic acid, using enough to bring the water pH to 7, the RA would be 24.5 (alkalinity 96). But, if we used hydrochloric or sulfuric (much stronger acids) the RA would be -6. Apparently whatever you are using to do the calculations makes the assumption of some strong acid which is neither sulfuric nor hydrochloric because if it were HCl the chloride would go to 49 and if it were H2SO4 the sulfate would go to 254. So it would have to be lactic or phosphoric. But those don't have quite the punch of hydrochloric or sulfuric. Lactic would give an RA of +1 and phosphoric +3.
Assuming you leave the chalk out your mash pH will still be too high. Earlier I calculated that it would take 1.4 mL of lactic acid to move the raw water to pH 5.3. For the water with your proposed additions (without the chalk) it would take about 1.5 (adding even the neutral salts makes a small difference). Note that if you added the chalk you would require 3.4 mL. The end result would be 20 more mg/L calcium and a bunch of lactate you don't need.
I mentioned having to measure out the lactic acid and the need to check pH. There is a safer (safe from pH undershoot - in terms of hazard to life and limb lactic acid is pretty innocuous stuff) way to add lactic acid based on a rule of thumb which seems quite robust. That is to add acidulated malt (sauermalz) in the amount 1%, by weight, of the grist, for each 0.1 pH unit you would like to drop pH. As I'd expect a mash pH of around 5.73 for the treated water (without the chalk) you'd want 2 - 3% to get you to 5.53 - 5.43 or so. This is how German brewers do it and sauermalz works great for lager beers not only getting the pH into the right range but adding subtle flavor notes that enhance the complexity of the beer. By "subtle" I mean there is no impression of sourness but clearly you can over do it. The only problem I have with recommending this for an ale is that British ale brewers (who bother) traditionally use CRS (or something similar) as their acid source. But lots of home brewers control pH with lactic and I guess there is no reason you shouldn't either. It's kind of unconventional advice and I don't like giving unconventional advice to guys just starting out.
To summarize my recommendations:
1. Make your proposed mineral additions but skip the calcium carbonate.
2. Add 2-3% sauermalz or 1.5 mL of 88% lactic acid (per 5.25 gal).
3. Brew the beer again but with less gypsum and more calcium chloride keeping the total calcium the same. See which of the two best meets your goals (best tasting and most authentic are not the same).