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Old 08-25-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
wildwest450
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Default Help me make a dark beer profile

My water makes good pale ales, pilsners, ipa's, but not good dark beers. I'm brewing a dunkel tomorrow and need some help. Yes, i've used the spreadsheets, but you can plug in an infinite combination of any salts and get workable numbers. So what's the best combination. Fwiw, my mash has never been above 5 to 5.2 according to test strips. It's a 15 srm beer.

Here's my report.



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Old 08-25-2010, 07:01 PM   #2
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wow, that's soft water. For pretty much ANY beer, I'd want more calcium in the water as it's needed by the yeast and help promote flocculation. Calcium Carbonate would be my choice there, 1-2 tsp should be sufficient. For darker beers, I'd also use some sodium bicarb as well, 2tsp would be ballpark.


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Old 08-25-2010, 07:43 PM   #3
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Very nice water! Consider yourself fortunate.

For a Dunkel an approach might be to emulate Munich water which is pretty carbonate hard but doesn't contain a lot besides that. To do that you could add about 3.8 grams of chalk to 5 gallons of water but you must bubble CO2 through the water in order get that chalk to dissolve and lower the pH of the treated water back to what is in your report. This would get you the most authentic Dunkle but it's a lot of trouble to sparge the CO2, takes a long time and uses up your gas. You will make a better beer if you do nothing to your water but add a tsp. of calcium chloride to 5 gallons. You will get a better beer still if you add the CaCl2 and perhaps 2% acidulated malt which most LHBSs seem to carry these days.

If your pH strips are telling you that you are getting pH 5 - 5.2 with this water in a pils or pale ale throw them away! Your real pH is closer to 5.7 - 5.8 unless you are using sauermalz already which is the right thing to do for sure. In that case your strips are reading the typical 0.3 low so that your actual pH is 5.3 - 5.5.

Do not heed any advice that you should, based on the color, or any other reason for that matter, add teaspoonfulls of chalk or sodium bicarbonate to your water. If you have been doing that this is the probable reason your dark beers have not been good.

Reason: Typos....
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
Very nice water! Consider yourself fortunate.

For a Dunkel an approach might be to emulate Munich water which is pretty carbonate hard but doesn't contain a lot besides that. To do that you could add about 3.8 grams of chalk to 5 gallons of water but you must bubble CO2 through the water in order get that chalk to dissolve and lower the pH of the treated water back to what is in your report. This would get you the most authentic Dunkle but it's a lot of trouble to sparge the CO2, takes a long time and uses up your gas. You will make a better beer if you do nothing to your water but add a tsp. of calcium chloride to 5 gallons. You will get a better beer still if you add the CaCl2 and perhaps 2% acidulated malt which most LHBSs seem to carry these days.

If your pH strips are telling you that you are getting pH 5 - 5.2 with this water in a pils or pale ale throw them away! Your real pH is closer to 5.7 - 5.8 unless you are using sauermalz already which is the right thing to do for sure. In that case your strips are reading the typical 0.3 low so that your actual pH is 5.3 - 5.5.

Do not heed any advice that you should, based on the color, or any other reason for that matter, add teaspoonfulls of chalk or sodium bicarbonate to your water. If you have been doing that this is the probable reason your dark beers have not been good.
Interesting. Whats your thoughts on 5.2 stabilizer. I had quit using it since I started using the ph strips. Maybe I should continue using it until I get a better method of checking mash ph.

And since my batch will almost be a perfect 5 gallons mash and sparge, do you recommend a tsp of calcium chloride just to the mash, or another one to the sparge or boil?

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Old 08-25-2010, 11:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildwest450 View Post
Interesting. Whats your thoughts on 5.2 stabilizer. I had quit using it since I started using the ph strips. Maybe I should continue using it until I get a better method of checking mash ph.
Analysis of it shows that it can't be very effective. Experimentation with it in test mashes shows that it isn't effective. No one with a pH meter has ever, AFAIK, reported getting anywhere close to pH 5.2 with it. I'd say save your money (and your beer from extra sodium).

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildwest450 View Post
IAnd since my batch will almost be a perfect 5 gallons mash and sparge, do you recommend a tsp of calcium chloride just to the mash, or another one to the sparge or boil?
I recommend treating the mash water and the sparge water the same. I treat the whole volume of water I'm brewing with on a given day at the same time. So 1 tsp in the 5 gallons you brew with and another in the 5 gallons you sparge with.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
Analysis of it shows that it can't be very effective. Experimentation with it in test mashes shows that it isn't effective. No one with a pH meter has ever, AFAIK, reported getting anywhere close to pH 5.2 with it. I'd say save your money (and your beer from extra sodium).



I recommend treating the mash water and the sparge water the same. I treat the whole volume of water I'm brewing with on a given day at the same time. So 1 tsp in the 5 gallons you brew with and another in the 5 gallons you sparge with.
Thanks so much for the advice.


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