Advise needed! NEIPA water profile from distilled water; the easier the better

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Hi all-

I haven't had much luck finding the answers I need on the forum or online. I'm planning to brew an all grain batch of NEIPA tomorrow (7/17/22). This will require me to dabble in water chemistry for the first time. After hours of online research and tinkering with water calculators-- I feel like I'm going in circles. I'm looking for some advice. The easier the water profile the better, in my opinion.

This is the primary source I've been reading: The Best Water Profile for NEIPA (New England IPA) Homebrew Beer - Learning to Homebrew

Here's what I've got so far...

Grain bill for beer:
  • 5.5 lbs Golden Promise
  • 0.7 lbs Flaked oats
  • 0.7 lbs Flaked wheat
  • 0.25 lbs Carapils
    • 0.50 lb light DME added to boil for additional gravity points
OG should be 1.070. FG should be 1.014. (Not sure it matters but I'm using Citra and Azacca hops)
Batch size is 2.75 gallons. However, I'm planning to prep 5 gallons of water in total. My plan is to use the same adjusted water for the mash and sparge. (Again, hoping to keep this as easy as possible.)

Water Profile so far...
  • 100% distilled water (can't find RO in my area)
  • Targeting 100ppm Calcium
  • Targeting 200ppm Chloride
  • Targeting 70ppm Sulfate
  • Targeting 35ppm Sodium
Everything I've read online says you want a 2 to 1 ratio (maybe even 3 to 1) of Chloride to Sulfate for NEIPA. Based on Brewers Friend's water chemistry calculator, I plan to reach these target levels by using 5 gallons of 100% distilled water and adding 5.5g Calcium Chloride (i.e., 1.1g/gallon), 2.4g Gypsum (i.e., 0.48g/gallon), and 1.7g (non-iodized) canning salt.

1657987384033.png


However, as you can see above, I have 0 Magnesium and 0 bicarbonate. I've read that Magnesium isn't really needed for a NEIPA. But I'm totally unsure what to do about bicarbonate. I've read that bicarbonate isn't something you target, it "just is what it is."

To complicate matters, when I use Beersmith's water tool, it's telling me I only need 4g Calcium Chloride (aka 0.8g/gallon), 1.6g Gypsum (aka 0.32g/gallon), and 1.10g canning salt to reach the same/very similar target values.

Questions I'm hoping to have answered:

1. Is a magnesium value of 0 acceptable for this recipe? If not, what value should I target?

2. Is a bicarbonate value of 0 acceptable for this recipe? If not, what value should I target?

3. Which of these two water tools (i.e., Brewers Friend or Beersmith) should I use? The salt additions vary. (I already looked at Bru'N Water; it was over my head.)

4. Given the information above, should I be concerned about PH? (either during or after the mash?) (I have PH test strips but not a meter.)


Thanks in advance for any guidance you're able to offer!
 

hotbeer

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Now you just need to find some people that completely agree on what the best profile is for a NEIPA.


But if as your title says "The Easier The Better", then just get some bottled water or some other source that is close enough and just add one or two chemical additions to it instead of having to stockpile a laboratory's worth of chemicals.
 

11thStBrewing

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Can you get Epsom salt from the grocery store? I'm not sure how important Mg is either, but I use Epsom salt. Hopefully people with more experience can chime in. Having 3 salts total isn't too bad. I also use Gypsum and Calcium Chloride.

I haven't added baking soda to anything so far. I always end up using acid in my mash. Seems weird.

As far as the profile goes, maybe calculate what you need and add the salts to a glass of distilled water then drink it? You're going to get a bunch of different answers, as everyone has their own preferences.
 

mashpaddled

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You want a little Mg, like 10ppm, for yeast health. You can get epsom salt at a grocery store or pharmacy. You need to be aware of ph because that will affect mash efficiency, sparge tannin extraction and ultimately the ph of your beer. Your ph will probably be a little high but for hazy IPA you can probably get away with a slightly higher ph.
 
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Evan Kingsbury
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Now you just need to find some people that completely agree on what the best profile is for a NEIPA.


But if as your title says "The Easier The Better", then just get some bottled water or some other source that is close enough and just add one or two chemical additions to it instead of having to stockpile a laboratory's worth of chemicals.
Thanks for your response! It does seem like everyone has different opinions.

I also have a carbon filter for my tap water. So maybe I'll try that in place of distilled water in another batch. Just add smaller additions of calcium chloride and gypsum.
 
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Evan Kingsbury
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I did find this advice on another thread that answers some of my questions. I'll drop it here in case it helps somebody else out in the future too.

Water Profile - the simple solution:
***Many people ask about a more general guide to water because they do not know what their own water profile is, or they have not made the jump to using a water profile software. I use B'run water, and the above profile. However, if you just want to get in the ballpark of something "similar" to start with..... The simplest solution is this:
100% RO water for both mash and sparge.
Per 5 gallons of mash water: 1 tsp of CaCl + 1/2 tsp Gypsum
Per 5 gallons of sparge water: 1 tsp of CaCl + 1/2 tsp Gypsum

This should bring you in around 140 Chloride and 80 Sulfate.

This does not take into account trying to get Na or Mg numbers. It ignores bicarbonate and as it is 100% RO, it should bring your mash pH in around 5.41 without any acid addition.
 

hotbeer

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If your water is from a municipal or community suppler, they'll have a water analysis you can get to base what other few additions you might wish to do. Same for bottled waters. You can for most just go to their website and pull up the analysis. Some will vary seasonally in analysis. But for waters that were distilled or RO water then re-built with mineral additions will be very consistent from one batch to the next.

I personally wouldn't use distilled water for anything but extract brewing. But if you like playing the role of chemist, then even for all-grain brewing, distilled or RO water is great stuff to begin your modifications with and can be your personal pride for your beer when you find the best mix of stuff for you.

If you like to or think you want to put your beer up in competitions, then you probably should take more notice of your water than I will ever care to.

Weekends are actually slow around the forum. Probably more people busy brewing right now. By Monday or Tuesday you'll have some better answers more direct to your question from those that actually know and do water treatments.
 
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Topic title: Advise needed! NEIPA water profile from distilled water; the easier the better
With RO/distilled water, this article may be of interest: Zinc and RO Water (link to Bru'n Water article)

1. Is a magnesium value of 0 acceptable for this recipe? If not, what value should I target?
Yes. See "Magnesium in Brewing Water" (link to Bru'n Water article).

2. Is a bicarbonate value of 0 acceptable for this recipe? If not, what value should I target?
A value of 0 is acceptable.

4. Given the information above, should I be concerned about PH? (either during or after the mash?) (I have PH test strips but not a meter.)
Yes. Many of the other numbers (including bicarbonate) are used to estimate the pH of the mash.
 

bwible

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Have you ever had your water tested? For about $40 you can send it out to Ward Labs who most of us use. They do a brewers water panel where they will give you all the numbers. I had mine tested 2 years apart, once in the winter and once in the summer. There were slight differences, nothing major.

I’m just wondering why you want to go to distilled water and add the complication and expense of buying water at the store and lugging it home for brew day. Unless you know your home water source is terrible for brewing or something.

Chloride is supposed to provide your beer “fullness”, where sulfate is supposed to accentuate or bring out the hops. We usually see higher chloride than sulfate in water profiles for lager beer. Sulfate is important in IPAs. In most IPA recipes I think you want a sulfate value at least the same as chloride (balanced) or more sulfate than chloride. Now that may be for old school IPA. Far as NEIPA, I don’t like it and I don’t brew it so I never looked at what the water profile should be. It breaks a number of other rules so I guess it wouldn’t surprise me.
 

youngdh

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Hi all-

I haven't had much luck finding the answers I need on the forum or online. I'm planning to brew an all grain batch of NEIPA tomorrow (7/17/22). This will require me to dabble in water chemistry for the first time. After hours of online research and tinkering with water calculators-- I feel like I'm going in circles. I'm looking for some advice. The easier the water profile the better, in my opinion.

This is the primary source I've been reading: The Best Water Profile for NEIPA (New England IPA) Homebrew Beer - Learning to Homebrew

Here's what I've got so far...

Grain bill for beer:
  • 5.5 lbs Golden Promise
  • 0.7 lbs Flaked oats
  • 0.7 lbs Flaked wheat
  • 0.25 lbs Carapils
    • 0.50 lb light DME added to boil for additional gravity points
OG should be 1.070. FG should be 1.014. (Not sure it matters but I'm using Citra and Azacca hops)
Batch size is 2.75 gallons. However, I'm planning to prep 5 gallons of water in total. My plan is to use the same adjusted water for the mash and sparge. (Again, hoping to keep this as easy as possible.)

Water Profile so far...
  • 100% distilled water (can't find RO in my area)
  • Targeting 100ppm Calcium
  • Targeting 200ppm Chloride
  • Targeting 70ppm Sulfate
  • Targeting 35ppm Sodium
Everything I've read online says you want a 2 to 1 ratio (maybe even 3 to 1) of Chloride to Sulfate for NEIPA. Based on Brewers Friend's water chemistry calculator, I plan to reach these target levels by using 5 gallons of 100% distilled water and adding 5.5g Calcium Chloride (i.e., 1.1g/gallon), 2.4g Gypsum (i.e., 0.48g/gallon), and 1.7g (non-iodized) canning salt.

View attachment 775040

However, as you can see above, I have 0 Magnesium and 0 bicarbonate. I've read that Magnesium isn't really needed for a NEIPA. But I'm totally unsure what to do about bicarbonate. I've read that bicarbonate isn't something you target, it "just is what it is."

To complicate matters, when I use Beersmith's water tool, it's telling me I only need 4g Calcium Chloride (aka 0.8g/gallon), 1.6g Gypsum (aka 0.32g/gallon), and 1.10g canning salt to reach the same/very similar target values.

Questions I'm hoping to have answered:

1. Is a magnesium value of 0 acceptable for this recipe? If not, what value should I target?

2. Is a bicarbonate value of 0 acceptable for this recipe? If not, what value should I target?

3. Which of these two water tools (i.e., Brewers Friend or Beersmith) should I use? The salt additions vary. (I already looked at Bru'N Water; it was over my head.)

4. Given the information above, should I be concerned about PH? (either during or after the mash?) (I have PH test strips but not a meter.)


Thanks in advance for any guidance you're able to offer!
I follow the Chloride:Sulfate ratio of 2:1 for NEIPAs per Martin Brungard in his article on this topic in Zymurgy May/June 2017 pg 35. As for bicarbonate level of zero, you need some bicarbonate to buffer pH. I run a bicarbonate level around 20ppm. The yeast need magnesium as a nutrient. I never worry about it as the grains and yeast nutrient you add will provide plenty.
 
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Evan Kingsbury
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Have you ever had your water tested? For about $40 you can send it out to Ward Labs who most of us use. They do a brewers water panel where they will give you all the numbers. I had mine tested 2 years apart, once in the winter and once in the summer. There were slight differences, nothing major.

I’m just wondering why you want to go to distilled water and add the complication and expense of buying water at the store and lugging it home for brew day. Unless you know your home water source is terrible for brewing or something.

Chloride is supposed to provide your beer “fullness”, where sulfate is supposed to accentuate or bring out the hops. We usually see higher chloride than sulfate in water profiles for lager beer. Sulfate is important in IPAs. In most IPA recipes I think you want a sulfate value at least the same as chloride (balanced) or more sulfate than chloride. Now that may be for old school IPA. Far as NEIPA, I don’t like it and I don’t brew it so I never looked at what the water profile should be. It breaks a number of other rules so I guess it wouldn’t surprise me.
Thanks for the suggestion. I will definitely check out Ward Labs for a water test. I've got good municipal water so I'd prefer to use that vs buying distilled.
 
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Evan Kingsbury
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I follow the Chloride:Sulfate ratio of 2:1 for NEIPAs per Martin Brungard in his article on this topic in Zymurgy May/June 2017 pg 35. As for bicarbonate level of zero, you need some bicarbonate to buffer pH. I run a bicarbonate level around 20ppm. The yeast need magnesium as a nutrient. I never worry about it as the grains and yeast nutrient you add will provide plenty.
Thanks for your response. I did end up adding a little Epsom salt which gave me about 8ppm of Magnesium. (I also added yeast nutrient during the boil to help with fermentation.) I wish I had added something for bicarbonate. My mash PH was only about 5.0 today. Oh well, there's always next time!
 

CascadesBrewer

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Thanks for your response. I did end up adding a little Epsom salt which gave me about 8ppm of Magnesium. (I also added yeast nutrient during the boil to help with fermentation.) I wish I had added something for bicarbonate. My mash PH was only about 5.0 today. Oh well, there's always next time!

You used RO water without adding acid and your mash pH was down at 5.0? I would not expect that low of a pH from a typical NEIPA grist. How was that measured?
 
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Evan Kingsbury
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You used RO water without adding acid and your mash pH was down at 5.0? I would not expect that low of a pH from a typical NEIPA grist. How was that measured?
I measure it with a test strip. I don’t have a ph meter. Here’s what it looked like about 15 or 20 seconds after dipping into wort from my mash.
 

IslandLizard

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I will definitely check out Ward Labs for a water test. I've got good municipal water so I'd prefer to use that vs buying distilled.
Before sending your water out for a test, (a snapshot, really), call your domestic water supplier's quality control dept.
They have the mineral content of your water, everything we brewers are interested in, and also know the variations, or how stable it is, with the seasons.
This is not the typical yearly mandatory EPA quality report they put online for consumers, although that may have those numbers in it. Look it up first. Call for the rest.

There's a decent chance your water is good enough for most brewing, just treat with Campden to remove Chlorine or Chloramines. And add the minerals you'd need to meet your beer styles' water profile.

I like using Brew'n Water's spreadsheet, it's free. There are many others.
 
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To sort of close out this discussion, I thought it'd be nice to share my results. As previously stated, this was my first attempt at brewing a New England style IPA, and my first attempt with adjusting my water profile. All things considered, I quite happy with how the beer came out. Here's a photo:
unnamed.jpg


Prepping the water. Everything went to plan with the exception of the Calcium Chloride. I was surprised to find that Calcium Chloride made my water cloudy and would NOT dissolve fully no mater how hot I got the water or how long I stirred it. I don't think it hurt anything but it's worth mentioning. As previously mentioned in this thread, my Mash PH reading was only about 5.0 which leads me to believe I would have benefitted from adding some baking soda, instead of starting with 0 bicarbonate.

I used flaked adjuncts for 20% of my grist. The finished beer is soft and medium bodied, but it lacks the creamy/thick body of a lot of commercial NEIPAs. I think if I were to brew this again, I would bump it up to 30% flaked adjuncts.

I used Voss Kviek yeast and fermented at 100F. I was blown away at how fast Kviek works at these high temperatures. I hit my final gravity target in about 26 hours. I dropped 2 additional points over the next 48 hours.

I used equal parts Azacca and Citra hops. One small boil hop addition for 15.5 IBUs. A large whirlpool addition for another 25 IBUs. Then double dry hopped. I did my first dry hop addition about 12 hours after my yeast started working; approximately 8 points above my target final gravity. This first dry hop addition stayed in until packaging (about 4 days total). I added my 2nd and larger drop hop addition after about 2.5 days. The second dry hop addition stayed in the beer for about 1.5 days before I transferred to my keg.

Both Azacca and Citra are high alpha acid hops. This beer is very bright and citrusy. Fermenting Voss Kviek hot is supposed to add tangerine like esters. I think this just adds to brightness of the hops. If I were to brew this again, I might consider adding a third hop variety for another flavor dimension, or perhaps just cutting the boil hop addition altogether. That creamy element that many NEIPAs have would be a welcome addition here.

I force carbonated to about 2.2 or 2.3 volumes. I was able to go from grain to glass in just one week, which made this process a lot of fun.

Water used:
5 gallons of 100% distilled water.
Added: 3.75g Calcium Chloride, 1g Gypsum, 1.10g non-iodized salt, and 0.85g Epsom Salt.

Adjusted water profile:
Calcium = 99ppm
Chloride = 197ppm
Sulfate = 70.2ppm
Sodium = 34.1ppm
Magnesium = 6.6ppm
Bicarbonate = 0.0ppm
 

CascadesBrewer

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As previously mentioned in this thread, my Mash PH reading was only about 5.0 which leads me to believe I would have benefitted from adding some baking soda, instead of starting with 0 bicarbonate.

I doubt your mash pH was 5.0. I would not trust the measurements from the strips, and I would not make adjustments based on that reading. I use tap water that has more buffering than distilled, but I have to add quite a bit of dark malt to get close to 5.0. Plugging in a similar recipe to yours into BeerSmith using Distilled water I get a predicted mash pH in the 5.4 to 5.6 range (depending on which model I pick). That is the general range I would expect based on your added Calcium, a light grain bill, and using Distilled water.

I would trust the predicted mash pH from any reputable brewing software or water calculator before I would trust the paper strips.

BTW, I cannot see your pic of the strips above. It just has a message "You need access."
 
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