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Old 08-20-2012, 02:43 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Johnnyboy1012 View Post
So I feel the general consensus of this thread is to
1. use RO water or at least dilute
2. use EZ water calc for proper mash pH of all grains other then the dark grains and add brewing salts and lactic acid to hit proper pH
3. add dark grains to the mash during recirculation

What are thoughts on proper mineral levels for an imperial stout? Ca, Mg, Cl, SO4? I would like my chloride to sulfate ratio to be balanced to the chloride side to give the perception of maltiness.
I would like something like this: Ca= 100ppm, Mg= 15ppm, Cl=150, SO4= 50....does this look about right? Should I increase the Cl even more and would that give more perception of a maltier beer? I want to try to at least hit minimums and I would split the additions up as per EZ water calc between the mash and the boil. Thoughts?
NO! The primary problem with your tap water is the sodium is a little high. So dilution may be desired, but using straight RO would not be. A 1:1 dilution might be desirable, but not necessary. You may need the alkalinity to balance the crystal and roast malt content. Reserving the roast malt can be a good technique for reducing the need for alkalinity when the tap water has little.

I suggest that the ion concentrations in the proposed water are too high. First of all, chloride should generally be kept to less than 100 ppm unless you want a minerally perception. The sulfate level can be reduced proportionally. I also suggest that if the desire of this beer is to focus on malt, then adding magnesium is unnecessary and undesirable. The calcium level is also higher than necessary for fermentation and yeast health and can be reduced if the chloride and sulfate levels are reduced.

I have to comment on AJ's contention that darker beers are not more successful for new brewers. Considering that on the order of 3/4 of the US has a water supply with significant alkalinity, I can assure you that brewing a darker beer is more likely to meet an acceptable taste result than a lighter beer with those waters. Since a new brewer is less likely to be adjusting their water, that acidity from the darker grist is going to produce a better beer in those more alkaline waters.

I can only assume that AJ is also advocating that any new brewer use RO water for that first batch. Under that condition, his advice is sound.


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Old 08-20-2012, 05:52 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Johnnyboy1012 View Post
So I feel the general consensus of this thread is to
1. use RO water or at least dilute
You have two options
a) Fix your water to make it suitable
b) Build suitable water (from RO or DI)
Option b) always works and is advantageous in that you don't need to know anything about your water except that your RO system is working. It does require that you know what kind of water you want to build but so does b). Dilution with RO under a) a definitely a possibility and in fact a probability as it's the only way to reduce the content of an ion i.e. by diluting it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnyboy1012 View Post
What are thoughts on proper mineral levels for an imperial stout? Ca, Mg, Cl, SO4? I would like my chloride to sulfate ratio to be balanced to the chloride side to give the perception of maltiness.
I would like something like this: Ca= 100ppm, Mg= 15ppm, Cl=150, SO4= 50....does this look about right? Should I increase the Cl even more and would that give more perception of a maltier beer? I want to try to at least hit minimums and I would split the additions up as per EZ water calc between the mash and the boil. Thoughts?
Do yourself a favor and forget you ever heard about chloride to sulfate ratio. Brew the beer with no sulfate and then add some gypsum in the glass. If you think it improves the beer then use some gypsum in the water in successive brews.

As a general rule the fewer minerals in the water the better people like the beer. For a first shot here I'd advocate the equivalent of 1/2 to 1 tsp of calcium chloride in 5 gallons of RO water (option b)) or 38 - 76 mg/L calcium and 67-134 mg/L chloride if you are using option a). By withholding the dark malts you will require some acid to get the base malt mash pH low enough for proper conversion and then when you add the dark malts you will get their acids too. This is one of the reasons I'm not a big exponent of withholding the dark malts. If you put them in at the same time as the base malt you should not need acid (or base) most probably but you would do well to have a pH meter and acid and base handy.


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Old 08-21-2012, 01:27 AM   #23
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Wow so much good info from both of you guys. I feel like I've been on the wrong path when it comes to brewing water. I guess the feeling was the more I add in of chloride the maltier the beer would taste and the more sulfate the better the hop crispness. So are palmer's recommendations too high and we should be striving for the lower end of what he suggests? Reading how to brew and listening to the water shows on the brewing network I got the feeling that the beer should still taste good when hitting the upper limits of his recommendations. So are the minimum amount of ions for a specific style of beer more recommended? thank you guys for the help!
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:25 AM   #24
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Many people will tell you what you should or shouldn't do but what you should or shouldn't do depends a lot on what your goals are in brewing. With the fairly recent advent of affordable RO systems and pH meters a whole new world of possibilities is open to the home brewer. I do suggest that you start out with a low mineral profile emphasizing chloride but I also try to make it clear that this is a starting point. It may well end up being the end point too but then it may not and whether it does or doesn't depends in large measure on your personal tastes and those of your 'customers'.
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:19 PM   #25
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This is just another reference point for building water for stouts. I've been experimenting with adding baking soda to my beers to see how I like the added Cl- and don't have an opinion yet. I hope to by the time I brew a pseudo-imperial cream stout.

http://www.madalchemist.com/archives...t-sweet-stout/
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:30 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by pvtschultz View Post
This is just another reference point for building water for stouts. I've been experimenting with adding baking soda to my beers to see how I like the added Cl- and don't have an opinion yet. I hope to by the time I brew a pseudo-imperial cream stout.

http://www.madalchemist.com/archives...t-sweet-stout/
Huh? Baking soda doesn't have any Cl- in it.
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:43 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvtschultz View Post
This is just another reference point for building water for stouts. I've been experimenting with adding baking soda to my beers to see how I like the added Cl- and don't have an opinion yet. I hope to by the time I brew a pseudo-imperial cream stout.

http://www.madalchemist.com/archives...t-sweet-stout/
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It adds salty flavor, and chalky flavor, and raises the mash pH a bit.

To see if you like it, you can add a tiny bit to your glass of beer. Most people don't like it.

As was mentioned, though, it does NOT bring any chloride.
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:16 PM   #28
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I want to either use 100% RO water or at least dilute 1:1 and build up from there. Where can I find RO water? Would a regular grocery store carry this?

So the beer I am looking for is a malt forward beer. Would the low amount of IBUs (about 49) and the high gravity of about 1.096 leave the beer too sweet if I don't mash the roasted grains? I'm thinking that mashing the roasted grains would add some bitterness to the beer as apposed to cold steeping and adding the liquid of that to the boil. This make sense? I mean the name of the beer I am cloning is Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout....and I'm sure some of the perception of bitterness comes from the roasted grains and not all from the chocolate. But I could be wrong...

If I build up from 100% RO water, what should my mineral numbers look like?
Ca= 50, Mg= 0, Na= 0, Cl= 75, SO4= 0? Should I not worry about sulfate for this beer or is it still important but just at lower levels?
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:22 PM   #29
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RO is often available from vending machines at grocery stores in areas with poor drinking water quality. Distilled water is always available from grocery stores in the water aisle.

If the beer is going to be that big, be sure to mash at the low end of the alpha range (say mid to upper 140's). The wort needs to be fermentable since its unlikely that the yeast will be able to take the gravity very low. You may not want to cold steep the roast malt for the reasons mentioned above. Adding the roast at the end of the mash may provide more of the roast bitterness you may desire in the beer.

The sulfate is not necessary. Add it only if you like the flavor impact. Having a little in there wouldn't matter much.
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:35 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
If the beer is going to be that big, be sure to mash at the low end of the alpha range (say mid to upper 140's). The wort needs to be fermentable since its unlikely that the yeast will be able to take the gravity very low. You may not want to cold steep the roast malt for the reasons mentioned above. Adding the roast at the end of the mash may provide more of the roast bitterness you may desire in the beer.
So are you suggesting leaving the roast grains out of the mash completely and then adding them to the mash right before recirculation?

The recipe I'm following says to mash at 150 so I was going to be shooting for that. I'm also going to be using WLP 002, English Ale Yeast...which I know isn't the best attenuator but I'm brewing a clone


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