Bru'n Water, Decoction, Mash PH

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tally350z

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So I am planning a triple decoction brew Hefe for Saturday. I use Bru'n water and is 100% RO water as my base and add in my minerals to build the beer. I will be using the Pilsen style to base it off of and according to Bru'n water I need to add 6oz of acid malt to bring my PH down into the acceptable range.

Now since I am brewing a decoction I was thinking of beginning with an acid rest around 95-99*. If I start with an acid rest can I skip the acid malt altogether or will I still need the malt to assist in lowering the PH.
OR If I just use the acid malt can I skip the acid rest and go straight into the protein rest around 122*?
 

ajdelange

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Wheat beers are a little different from all malt beers as you are using different materials (i.e. wheat). I don't have any of my notes accessible so I can't be more specific but a couple of things come to mind
1. From distilled water just add about 2 grams calcium chloride per gallon. You don't need to be any more elaborate with water treatment than that. You won't want sulfate. You don't want (or perhaps I should say I don't want) a hops edge in a wheat beer.
2. An 'acid' rest is only an acid rest if you hold it overnight at elevated temperature i.e. long enough for lactobacillus on the malt to come to life and produce lactic acid. Thus you will need 2 - 3% sauermalz.
3. There is little justification for a triple decoction mash for a wheat beer. Two is plenty but the wheat beer program is a bit atypical. As I said I don't have the chart with me but it came from Eric Warner's monograph on wheat beers. I strongly recommend that you try to find this program and follow it. The results are fantastic.

I was able to find an old post of mine with some comments on this profile. Apparently I have, based on Warner, settled in on a first decoction taking me from protein rest temperature (achieved by direct heating and infusion) to 147 °F with a pause in the decoction at 159 and the second from 147 to 158 with again a pause in the decoction at 159°.
 

mabrungard

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Acid rests are tricky to perform and should be monitored for best results. I suggest that performing just a ferrulic rest somewhere in the 105F to 115F range is valuable in a weizen if you like the clove notes in your beer. I do!

I have found the inclusion of a protein rest in a weizen to be totally unnecessary. My weizens have huge and rocky heads and I only perform the ferrulic rest.

The recommendation for a bit a calcium chloride is sound. You don't need much in the water for a weizen. Pretreated Munich water and all water in southern Bavaria has very few 'flavor' ions and there shouldn't be much need. One thing that is a characteristic of those waters is that they will ALL include a moderate amount of alkalinity that HAS TO be neutralized with lactic acid or acid malt. The lactate flavor is a characteristic of Bavarian beers. You are fortunate in Tallahassee since the tap water has just about the right amount of alkalinity and lactic acid additions helped me create fantastic weizens when I was there. Tallahassee water got my weizens to the second round of the NHC. You might want to dilute the tap water just a teeny bit with RO, but you won't HAVE to.

AJ is correct that weizens have no hop character. However, he is incorrect that having any sulfate in the water will ruin a weizen and make them hoppy or bitter. It turns out that almost all southern Bavarian waters have a bit of sulfate in them (around 20 ppm). That only serves to help dry the finish of the beer a bit and is an asset. Deleting all sulfate from almost any brewing water is rarely beneficial. Low sulfate level has its place in almost any brew. Even Dr Narziss confirmed to John Palmer that PU adds gypsum to the brewing water for their famous Boh Pils.

I was really sad to hear that my favorite pizza man, Donny Dye, passed away a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure there were plenty of NFBL members bummed about that loss.

Brew on.
 

ajdelange

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You will note the mention of the two rests in each of the decoctions at 159. Those are there (I theorize) to get plenty of long sugars and dextrines into the beer. A wheat beer is definitely not a dry beer.

Along this same line I ask how sulfate dries the beer if the hops are not perceptible or are perceptible at the viola level (you don't hear the violas in an orchestra but if they aren't there you know something is wrong).

I did not say sulfate will ruin a wheat beer. Wheat beers are made with waters of all stripes and some are better than others. What I perhaps did not say but meant to imply is that sulfate should be kept below the level where hops bite is noticeable. Weizens are often made with noble hops and it is pretty well known that sulfate and noble hops are a bad combination. I'd take a stab at 10 mg/L as a good upper limit. Munich water averages 15.5 so that's probably about as far as you'd want to go.

As is always the case here personal taste enters the equation. I recommend that anyone undertaking to brew a weizen do it without sulfate or with as little sulfate as possible and then, in experimental tasting, add increments of sulfate to the finished beer. If you like it better with sulfate, use some!
 

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