AG Brew Advice Needed - RO water - Water chemistry

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

Brad2027

Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
Hey Guys and Girls, looking for some advice.

I have been AG brewing for a little while now, maybe around 6-12 months (Extract for a few years before that), and I am looking to up my game a little. I have always produced nice tasting brews (for me anyways) but wanted to look into water chemistry and play around with things to go that “next level”

Anyways, I purchased an RO system and all the salts I need, and this weekend I will be trying for the first time trying to create a beer using RO water / building my own profile that hopefully nets a good result.

Playing around in brewfather I have come up with this recipe, I am curious for others' thoughts as I have not used all the hops before and it's my first time playing with chemicals.

Anyways, any advice would be welcome.

Cheers, Brad

 

doug293cz

BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2014
Messages
13,814
Reaction score
10,922
Location
Renton
When doing water adjustments, you should never be adding acids (lactic, phosphoric, etc.) and bases (chalk, slaked or pickling lime, etc.) to the same mash water. They work at cross purposes - acid is used to decrease pH and base is used to increase pH. Since you are using only light colored malts/grains, you should only be using acid. You should never add bases to sparge water. You can simplify things by adding all of your salts to the mash water, and just using pure RO for sparging. Since RO has no alkalinity, it cannot raise the pH during sparging.

You are also very sulfate heavy (259 ppm) I would cut that by about 100 ppm, first by leaving out most (all) of the Epsom salt, and then some of the gypsum. If you end up light on calcium, you can use more calcium chloride.

Brew on :mug:
 

mscroggi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2013
Messages
166
Reaction score
69
I am not suggesting anything is wrong, but I brew with RO water and haven't seen that many salts being suggested. A lot of the different salts have the same effect. Typically I think there are 3 that are most commonly used. - Calcium Chloride, Gypsum and Epsom salt. Did Brewfather itself suggest all of those water additions? I have been tinkering with Brewfather myself to see if I like it. Today I imported one of my recipes from Brewers Friend into Brewfather to see how it would suggest the salts. The suggestions were pretty close to what I came up with in Brewers Friend.. but it was just the one sample. I am curious how good the auto water calculations that Brewfather are.

The main goal is to hit the PH. Here is a super simple idea of which additive is increasing or decreasing the PH levels..
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot from 2022-11-26 18-54-10.png
    Screenshot from 2022-11-26 18-54-10.png
    24.8 KB · Views: 0
OP
OP
B

Brad2027

Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
Thanks for the advice guys, i did work out what i was doing wrong, brewfather was calculating adjustments based on all salts that were "default selected" and trying to use them all for a certain profile.
Vikeman, appreciate the PDF, will definitely check that out.
 
OP
OP
B

Brad2027

Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
Been playing around a little with this one, changed the salts and quantities, the numbers seem to check out in brewfather and brewersfriend.
Can anyone give feedback on below? changes, I know its still high in Sulfate but i was really going for that hoppy/dry taste.

Feedback would be welcome :)

Cheers

 

marc1

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 19, 2010
Messages
1,704
Reaction score
1,289
Location
OH
Where is the HCO3 coming from? I don't think it's enough to matter for anything, but you are starting with blank slate water and not adding any. Is that a default guess based on generic RO or was it measured?
 
OP
OP
B

Brad2027

Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
Where is the HCO3 coming from? I don't think it's enough to matter for anything, but you are starting with blank slate water and not adding any. Is that a default guess based on generic RO or was it measured?
Its just the default for RO water profile
 

brewbama

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2013
Messages
3,672
Reaction score
2,299
My advice for building RO water would be to add as little as possible to get the intended results. This is easy to overdo.

There are many schools of thought. I would use trusted sources for water profiles such as Kai Troester (minus the chalk), Martin Brungard (but he uses too many salts for me), AJ DeLange, Gordon Strong and a very few others.

Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. I use 50-100 ppm Ca in the mash as a co-factor for the amylase enzymes and to help protect α-amylase at normal mashing temperatures. Calcium in the water reacts with phosphates in the grain husks to release phytic acid, which lowers the mash pH naturally. (Ref: G Strong). Calcium also helps yeast flocculate and helps reduce beerstone. Sulfate sharpens the beer to highlight hops. Chloride softens beer to highlight malt.

DeLange says

Baseline: Add 1 tsp of calcium chloride dihydrate (what your LHBS sells) to each 5 gallons of water treated. Add 2% sauermalz to the grist.
Deviate from the baseline as follows:
1. For soft water beers (i.e Pils, Helles). Use half the baseline amount of calcium chloride and increase the sauermalz to 3%
2. For beers that use roast malt (Stout, porter): Skip the sauermalz.
3. For British beers: Add 1 tsp gypsum as well as 1 tsp calcium chloride
4. For very minerally beers (Export, Burton ale): Double the calcium chloride and the gypsum.

Strong says (per 5 gal): 1 tsp. (5 ml) CaCl2 to malty beers, 1 tsp. (5 ml) CaSO4 to hoppy beers, or 2 tsp. (10 ml) CaCO3 to dark beers (if mashing the dark grains).

Even Kai’s Pils profile is only ~1 tsp of CaCl and 1 tsp of gypsum for the intended Ca, SO4, and Cl ppm result.

I do this in the BeerSmith Mobile water module to validate mash water volume, Ca ppm, and sulfate:chloride ratio for British beers: 2:1 for bitter beers, 1:2 for milds, and 1:3 for stouts and porters. (Ref: G Strong). I use 1 tsp Ascorbic Acid vs sauermalz, lactic, or phosphoric and withhold dark grains from the main mash. I add them during an extended mash out as my hot steep so I don’t use CaCO3.

IOW, a little goes a long way. It takes about 2 min. …and I don’t need a box full of salts, gram scales, or spreadsheets.

I hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top