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Old 10-07-2013, 05:41 PM   #1
Pelican521
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Default Mods for Poland Spring-This sound right?

Hi all, one of my brewing books has a section in the back for water modifications based on water hardness/softness. It seem to be very useful, but I'm wondering how accurate it is?

I brew with Poland Spring water (most recent water analysis attached), and from what I'm reading it's very soft. I like IPAs, brown ales and Stouts, here are the water additions for these styles.

For American IPAs the additions for "soft" water are: 2-tsp Gypsum, .25-tps non-iodized table salt, and 1-tsp Epsom salt.

For Oatmeal Stouts, the additions for "soft" water are: .25-tsp Gypsum, .125-tsp non-iodized table salt, .125-tsp chalk.

For English/Irish Brown Ales, the additions for "soft" water are: .33-tsp Gypsum, .5-tsp non-iodized table salt.

The definition of "soft" water is <50 Carbonate CO3 and <50 Sulfate SO4.

Based on the attached water analysis of Poland Spring, are these additions fairly accurate, or should they be altered seeing how soft Poland Spring water is?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:15 PM   #2
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Assuming the numbers are all ppm that is soft water.

The additions look fine to me, but there is quite a variety of opinions on use of some of those salts. For example you may hear not to use Calcium Carbonate because it's not going to dissolve well. You may hear not to use NaCl because it just tastes salty, use CaCl instead. You may hear the avoid MgSO4 because too much leaves a metallic taste and the yeast don't need much Magnesium at all. You may hear not to attempt to adjust flavor with salts, all you need to worry about is alkalinity and the effect on mash pH.

Here is my two cents:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...chemistry.html
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:22 PM   #3
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That water is similar to RO quality and is well suited as a basis for brewing water. The addition of minerals is highly recommended for performance and flavor reasons. I don't know what those teaspoon measures will produce in terms of ppm, but they seem reasonable. I prefer to work with weight measures since they are more accurate.

Assuming that all those mineral additions result in modest ion concentrations, there is no reason not to include them. I routinely include epsom and table salt in my brewing water for their flavor effects.

Chalk is not an effective way to add alkalinity to mashing water. It dissolves slowly...even in the mash. A suggest you read the Chalk none up for Chalk article on the Bru'n Water Facebook page for a better description of why you shouldn't use chalk.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:10 PM   #4
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Thank guys, for the helpful info.

I've heard the same thing about chalk not dissolving well and swapped it out in my last brew with baking soda. Is that ok to do, and have the same effects as chalk?

I think I used too much BS (unfortunately) in my Oatmeal stout, my ph shot up to something like 5.8 or something. Not sure what sort of effects it will have...

Should I have added gypsum to my mash to try and correct it?
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:22 PM   #5
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Here is how I deal with mash pH:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/2012/10/mash-ph.html
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelican521 View Post
Thank guys, for the helpful info.

I've heard the same thing about chalk not dissolving well and swapped it out in my last brew with baking soda. Is that ok to do, and have the same effects as chalk?

I think I used too much BS (unfortunately) in my Oatmeal stout, my ph shot up to something like 5.8 or something. Not sure what sort of effects it will have...

Should I have added gypsum to my mash to try and correct it?
How did you decide how much baking soda to add? It does sound like too much was added if the pH went to 5.8. Baking soda can be a useful way to add alkalinity as long as the sodium content of the starting water is very low.

I would not chase pH by adding gypsum. That could be a tail-chasing activity.
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:26 PM   #7
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I don't remember exactly. Like all the info I end up using, I got in from info I've read online. Since there's so many variables in peoples water/brewing practices, I try to get a range of opinions and go from there.

Not ideal, I know. That's why I was hoping the info in the brewing book would be more accurate to follow so I can eliminate my guesswork.

Can you recommend a decent ph meter for around $30?
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:23 PM   #8
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How about triple that. There are no decent meters for that price. Milwaukee MW-101 has proven to be a trooper for me.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:16 PM   #9
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yep, I was afraid of that. Maybe someday I'll bite the bullet and buy one.

Otherwise, I feel like I'm on the right track!

So, I'll go ahead and treat my bottled water as described in my OP and then if I need to raise my mash ph I'll use baking soda (sparingly), and if I need to lower my mash ph I'll use Lactic Acid.

Thanks for your help guys!
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:05 PM   #10
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This is low mineral water. Your additions are not unreasonable except that chalk should not be used as it is ineffective (see http://www.wetnewf.org/pdfs/chalk.html - warning: fairly technical) at its intended purpose, may do damage to the beer later in the brewing process (does not contribute alkalinity when it is supposed to but may release it later on) and alkalinity isn't required in a many stouts anyway. There are lots of ways to work with water like this. The Primer here gives one set of recommendations (not that unlike what you are already doing) and there are lots of spreadsheets and calculators that will advise on how much of what to add for which style of beer. In choosing one keep in mind that chasing profiles (i.e. trying to simulate Chiswick water to brew something like the Fuller's beers) is not often profitable.

Just as an side note: 'softness' is defined by the calcium and magnesium content of water - not it's sulfate or bicarbonate levels.
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