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Old 01-24-2013, 07:18 PM   #1
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Default Sulfate to Chloride Ratio for West Coast IPA Style

I've used Bru'n Water (https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/home) to calculate my salt additions to get the right water profile to suit a West Coast IPA. I'm aiming for about 70-75 IBU with this one, but certainly don't want it to come across as overly bitter. I'm going for something like a Racer 5, Odell's IPA, Ithaca Flower Power (actually, it's intended to be a Flower Power clone).

My tap water is soft and I've got 20.3 ppm Chlorides and 21.8 ppm Sulfate. Using Bru'n Water's 'Yellow Bitter' target water profile, it's got me adding 2.7 g of Gypsum and 1 g of Epsom Salt to 5.94 gallons of strike water. This will yield a SO4/Cl ratio of 5.21. Is this about right? Too high? What is the suitable range for this sort of West Coast IPA style?

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:21 PM   #2
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I've used Bru'n Water (https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/home) to calculate my salt additions to get the right water profile to suit a West Coast IPA. I'm aiming for about 70-75 IBU with this one, but certainly don't want it to come across as overly bitter. I'm going for something like a Racer 5, Odell's IPA, Ithaca Flower Power (actually, it's intended to be a Flower Power clone).

My tap water is soft and I've got 20.3 ppm Chlorides and 21.8 ppm Sulfate. Using Bru'n Water's 'Yellow Bitter' target water profile, it's got me adding 2.7 g of Gypsum and 1 g of Epsom Salt to 5.94 gallons of strike water. This will yield a SO4/Cl ratio of 5.21. Is this about right? Too high? What is the suitable range for this sort of West Coast IPA style?

Thanks!
Don't worry about the Cl:S04 ratio. Toss out the epsom salt and use gypsum instead.

I like my S04 at about 100 ppm or so (or even less), but I know that many other brewers (including mabrungard, who wrote that progam!) like more sulfate in their IPAs.

I'd say that an S04 level of 100 ppm would be a pretty safe place to start, if you really want to enhance hops bitterness but not make it harsh.


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Old 01-24-2013, 07:44 PM   #3
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Yea, right now I'd be at 106 ppm SO4. The reason I added the Epsom is because there is basically no Mg in my water (0.7 ppm) and Bru'n Water for a Yellow Bitter profile says I should have 10 ppm. The 1 g addition would give me 5 ppm. Couldn't add more Gypsum because then the Ca would be too high (over 50 ppm). Still think I should get rid of it?
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:47 PM   #4
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Yea, right now I'd be at 106 ppm SO4. The reason I added the Epsom is because there is basically no Mg in my water (0.7 ppm) and Bru'n Water for a Yellow Bitter profile says I should have 10 ppm. The 1 g addition would give me 5 ppm. Couldn't add more Gypsum because then the Ca would be too high (over 50 ppm). Still think I should get rid of it?
Well, there is plenty of Mg in malt, so you don't need to add it. Your calcium isn't "way too high"- 50 ppm is a MINIMUM!
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:09 PM   #5
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Ok. Well Bru'n Water said I should shoot for 50 ppm of Ca for this profile, that's why I was trying to stay at that number. Guess I'll just use Gypsum then. Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:06 AM   #6
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You won't be able to keep the Ca level low as your desire for SO4 increases. As Yooper mentions, 50 ppm Ca is a minimum and there is little penalty for going higher.

I'm going to have to dispute the 100 ppm sulfate value for a hoppy ale. I just started drinking my house SNPA clone that I made with the Pale Ale profile in Bru'n Water, excepting that I reduced the gypsum addition until a sulfate content of 100 ppm was produced. All other ions (excepting Ca) were the same as indicated in the profile. All the mashing and other brewing and fermentation was the same as usual.

I've made that beer about 20 times in the past 10 years and have enjoyed its similarity to the real thing. I can assure you that this latest version is NOTHING like what I'm used to. Far too malty and it has little drying in the finish. I then added a pinch of gypsum to the beer in my glass. It definitely was an improvement, but I notice that it takes quite a while for gypsum to dissolve in cold beer! So I was probably not able to achieve the full effect. But the experiment was telling!

The bottom line is that a much more substantial sulfate presence is a REQUIREMENT in a good hoppy ale. While I appreciate AJ's and Lorena's insistence that you don't need much sulfate to brew these beers, I strongly beg to differ. 100 ppm sulfate is not very appealing to this judge that specializes in these styles.

To someone that is looking to create a 'west-coast' version of a pale or IPA, I'd strongly recommend that you move to 300 ppm sulfate first. Don't waste a brew with namby-pamby water character. The Pale Ale profile in Bru'n Water is long proven for pale ales and IPA's.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:09 AM   #7
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Excellent. Thanks for that info. While I've got you on this thread, which water profile do you recommend for a Sour Belgian Pale Ale, SRM ~5? We will be doing a sour mash, so I don't know if this is an exception to the norm when making water adjustments. Obviously the pH will be lower than the normal range and we'll be using Acidulated Malt.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:59 PM   #8
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Excellent. Thanks for that info. While I've got you on this thread, which water profile do you recommend for a Sour Belgian Pale Ale, SRM ~5? We will be doing a sour mash, so I don't know if this is an exception to the norm when making water adjustments. Obviously the pH will be lower than the normal range and we'll be using Acidulated Malt.
In my opinion, the best example of the Belgian Pale Ale style is Deconick's pale ale. That brewery is from the Antwerp region and there is an estimate of Antwerp water in Bru'n Water. I would say that the water would certainly be pre-boiled to reduce alkalinity, so you should look at the 'boiled' version of that profile. I see a modest sulfate content that is a little higher than the chloride. That agrees with the dryness that the style benefits from. The Yellow profile in Bru'n Water has some similarity to the character of the Antwerp profile and it has no alkalinity. The lack of alkalinity may be a benefit if you are trying to enhance the sourness of this version of a pale ale. That no alkalinity water would accentuate the pH drop, but it would lessen the amount of acid malt that you would need to sour the beer flavor. That may not be desirable if you want the lactate flavor from the acid malt. If you do want that sour flavor, then you might be better off going with the boiled Antwerp profile and adding more acid malt to get the pH right.

Enjoy!
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:10 PM   #9
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You won't be able to keep the Ca level low as your desire for SO4 increases. As Yooper mentions, 50 ppm Ca is a minimum and there is little penalty for going higher.

I'm going to have to dispute the 100 ppm sulfate value for a hoppy ale. I just started drinking my house SNPA clone that I made with the Pale Ale profile in Bru'n Water, excepting that I reduced the gypsum addition until a sulfate content of 100 ppm was produced. All other ions (excepting Ca) were the same as indicated in the profile. All the mashing and other brewing and fermentation was the same as usual.

I've made that beer about 20 times in the past 10 years and have enjoyed its similarity to the real thing. I can assure you that this latest version is NOTHING like what I'm used to. Far too malty and it has little drying in the finish. I then added a pinch of gypsum to the beer in my glass. It definitely was an improvement, but I notice that it takes quite a while for gypsum to dissolve in cold beer! So I was probably not able to achieve the full effect. But the experiment was telling!

The bottom line is that a much more substantial sulfate presence is a REQUIREMENT in a good hoppy ale. While I appreciate AJ's and Lorena's insistence that you don't need much sulfate to brew these beers, I strongly beg to differ. 100 ppm sulfate is not very appealing to this judge that specializes in these styles.

To someone that is looking to create a 'west-coast' version of a pale or IPA, I'd strongly recommend that you move to 300 ppm sulfate first. Don't waste a brew with namby-pamby water character. The Pale Ale profile in Bru'n Water is long proven for pale ales and IPA's.
So Martin, I use your brewsheet for our brewery, Cambria Beer Company (we have emailed regarding lime softening vs RO dilution for cutting Mg levels), and I find that your "predictions" with regard to pH is dead on. If the spreadsheet says 5.3 I find that we hit 5.32 to 5.28. My beers are better for it so thanks for your hard work and contributions in this area.

So now I am asking you to convince me to take my Sulfate to 300, to avoid the namby-pamby water character. I currently use a ratio of 2.0 (sO4/CL) with SO4 at 150 to 75 CL. To maintain this ratio will need to go to 300/150. Why should I do this? What will it do for my IPA? This is my living, owning a brewery, and flushing 3 BBL's of beer down the drain is not a pleasant experience, due to minerally-ness in a finished beer.

Hope the question makes sense, but I want more of an explanation than namby-pamby.

thanks in advance

Aaron
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:54 PM   #10
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So now I am asking you to convince me to take my Sulfate to 300, to avoid the namby-pamby water character. I currently use a ratio of 2.0 (sO4/CL) with SO4 at 150 to 75 CL. To maintain this ratio will need to go to 300/150. Why should I do this? What will it do for my IPA? This is my living, owning a brewery, and flushing 3 BBL's of beer down the drain is not a pleasant experience, due to minerally-ness in a finished beer.
Aaron, Thank you for the comments and confirmation of the predictions. It is good to have more field results.

You are the poster child of why the ratio needs to take a back seat to the total concentrations. By maintaining a 2:1 ratio, you are undesirably increasing the chloride. As sulfate rises to HIGH levels, chloride needs to stay quite modest or there will be antagonistic (minerally, bad, rough, unappealing, etc) flavor effects. Review the water profiles for Burton and Dortmund in Bru'n Water. Burton is known for crisp, clean dryness, while Dortmund is known for minerally character. Notice that the chloride level is low for Burton and fairly high for Dortmund. The ratio for Dortmund is 2.5 while the ratio for Burton is over 17.

Now, I'm not recommending any brewer move to the Burton profile. But do recognize how modest the Pale Ale profile is in comparison to Burton. Its ratio is 5.5. More substantial than the 2 you are using, but more importantly it keeps the chloride relatively low so you don't invoke the minerally result.

By the way, if you are a pro-brewer, the Bru'n Water version for supporters has a bunch of features that a pro would appreciate.


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