Emulating Burton On Trent Water

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Scut_Monkey

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Hello everyone. Saturday I will be brewing EdWort's IPA and I'm going to be trying my first shot at modifying the water to try to hit the profile for Burton on Trent. I'm using BeerSmith for figuring my additions. The best profile I was able to get is by using 17grams gypsum, 12grams Epsom and 12grams Chalk (These are for 8 gallons total).

This will bring me to the following profile with the Burton on Trent readings in parentheses CA=323 (295); Mg=45 (45); Na=38 (55); SO4=525(725); Cl=64(25) and HCO3=286(300). So everything is relatively close except sulfate which I read is pretty important for maximizing hop flavor. So my questions are....

1. Should I skip all the individual mineral additions and use a premixed Burton on Trent water salt addition? (I would rather not as it's ambiguous)

2. Should I still use pH 5.2 for the Mash?

3. Do these mineral additions seem correct for 8 gallons total and would I add these to the mash water before dough in?

4. Are drug store epsom salts food grade? (I know goofy question)

5. Can I use a 1/2 a campden tablet in the water prior to mash in to rid it of chlorine/chloramines even with all these additions?

Thanks all! :fro:
 

The Pol

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I use distilled if I am going to the trouble of adding salts. You didnt state what sort of water profile you are adding these salts to, so I cant check the amounts to see if they look correct. Are you starting with RO or distilled?

I still use 5.2 when I build my water, most of the time my water PH isnt in line when I build water, and 5.2 is cheap insurance.

Epsom is epsom, just as long as it isnt something crazy like lavender scented ;)

You want to add the salts before you mash in, you want this profile in your mash for sure.

Just a question, why arent you using something like Moshers Ideal Pale Ale profile?

Ca 126; SO4 281; MG 19; Na 18; Cl 48; HCO3 66

For 8 gallons you can build this with distilled water with the following additions.

Epsom 6g
Baking Soda 2g
Calcium Carb. 1g
CaCl 3g
Gypsum 11g

EDIT: I used Brewater 3.0 for this.

When I input a starting water profile of DISTILLED, and add your additions, this is what I get.

Ca 289; SO4 468; MG 39; Na 0; Cl 0; HCO3 238

I am curious as to how you got any Na, or Cl unless the water that you are starting with isnt RO or distilled... because your additions do not add any Cl or Na. My calculations are quite different from yours.
 
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Scut_Monkey

Scut_Monkey

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I guess I should have mentioned that I would be using my tap water as the base. My tap water is rather good for drinking but is rather soft although untreated by me. According to beersmith the additions I mentioned would get me to the mineral profile I listed including the sodium and chloride which are already within the water and close to my target.

I am unsure what why Mosher's ideal pale ale would be better than Burton on Trent for an IPA. I can't find much info on this water profile. Can you elaborate?

Thanks for the helpful info. I wasn't sure where to buy the epsom or if I should still use the pH 5.2. Still wondering if I should use the campden tablet for the chlorine/chloramine removal. The water tastes good here but does have a very mild chlorine taste and I know they use chloramine more in the summer months for stability. Thanks again.
 

The Pol

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Mosher and Papazian both have water profiles that are created to brighten and emphasize hop character in pale ales.

How do they compare? Never tried a Burton, I have used Moshers and really enjoyed it.
 
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Scut_Monkey

Scut_Monkey

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The Pol,

Maybe you can help me. I'm trying to figure out if I read my water report wrong. Listed below is the report, verbatim. I would like to see how you read it for calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfate, chloride and bicarb. The wording just has me screwed up and I converted some of the readings based on Palmer's conversion factors.

Calcium: 82ppm Ca as CaCO3 ............. I read this as 82ppm Ca
Magnesium: 24ppm Mg as CaCO3 ......... I read this as 24ppm
Sodium: 38ppm Na ............................ straight forward at 38ppm
Chloride: 64ppm as Cl ........................ straight forward at 64ppm
Sulfate: 56ppm as SO4 ...................... straight forward at 56ppm

The bicarb reading has me the most confused. The report states the following readings.
"Total alkalinity 40ppm total alkalinity as CaCO3"
"P. Alkalinity 4ppm P. Alkalinity as CaCO3"

From this I think that I should take the total alkalinity reading, divide by 50 and multiply by 61 to get a bicarb of 48.8. (This formula is from Palmer)

Thanks for the help.
 

The Pol

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Calcium: 82ppm Ca as CaCO3 ............. I read this as 82ppm Ca
Magnesium: 24ppm Mg as CaCO3 ......... I read this as 24ppm
Sodium: 38ppm Na ............................ straight forward at 38ppm
Chloride: 64ppm as Cl ........................ straight forward at 64ppm
Sulfate: 56ppm as SO4 ...................... straight forward at 56ppm

I dont understand the Magnesium thing...

24ppm as CaCO3? Where is the Magnesium?

I am not a pro at reading water reports, my water is so bad that I cannot even correct it, so I just use distilled.

Wish I could be of more help.
 
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Scut_Monkey

Scut_Monkey

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I dont understand the Magnesium thing...

24ppm as CaCO3? Where is the Magnesium?
Me either. The wording for the magnesium reading, calcium and bicarb have me confused. I'll try posting it to see if someone can decifer it. Thanks for the help.
 

jescholler

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Hi mnm,

I did an ESB a couple of weeks ago, so my strategy is still fresh in my head. I've heard from Palmer that you don't want to emulate the water of BOT as it is too over the top. You do however, want to take a few key points away.

1. You want to have a high sulfate to chloride ratio. I don't have much experience with exactly how much, but I would say 3:1 or 5:1 would be good numbers. In any case, you want to keep your sulfate concentration below 350ppm.

2. Because you will have a high sulfate concentration, you want to keep your sodium as low as possible so that the bitterness is not harsh.

3. You want your residual alkalinity to be appropriate for the color beer you are brewing.

4. For the rest of the minerals, I would shoot for these target numbers regardless of the style (let your residual alkalinity be the driving factor):
Calcium: 50-150ppm, Magnesium: 10-30ppm

If you haven't already, I would recommend reading How to Brew chapter 15:
How to Brew - By John Palmer - Understanding the Mash pH

There's a lot of good information in there, and Palmer gives a spreadsheet to help you design your water profile. That's what I use.

To answer your questions:
1. I wouldn't do that. You don't really know what's in there, and it takes the fun away.

2. It won't hurt, but it shouldn't be necessary if you get your residual alkalinity correct.

3. You need to calculate your salts based on the amount of water you use, not the volume going into the fermenter. Your trying to emulate the conditions in the brewing city. Palmer recommends a good approach to mashing and sparging. He says to adjust your mash water with salts to get the desired profile. You then sparge with distilled water (or similar) because the salts aren't readily dissolved in the sparge water itself. You need the grains. When sparging with distilled water, the grains will bring the pH from 7 down to the desired range for sparging. You then add the salts to the boil that you would have added from sparging. Does that make sense?

4. Yes. but make sure they don't have any added ingredients.

5. Don't know the answer to this one.
 
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Scut_Monkey

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So I went with the Mosher's Pale Ale water profile by using 6.0g Gypsum and 2.0g Epsom along with 4gallons of tap water in the mash. According to Palmer after you have collected the wort and are starting into the boil you should add the minerals for the volume of sparge water used which came out to be the same mass of minerals for 4gallons of sparge..... so I added the same amounts again.

Everything seemed to go smooth except I now have no thermometer that I can rely on. I was using a floating thermometer but it and all my other thermometers were giving very erratic readings. Anyways I had to use 3 thermometers in the mash and needless to say it was a PITA and the opposite of precise. But I think I was near my mash temp of 153 throughout. The iodine test showed complete conversion at 35minutes but my starting gravity was low again. I am plagued with low effeciencies with this one at 67%. Oh well..... I'll figure it out some day and just spend a few more bucks on grain until then.

Thanks for the help guys.
 

MarsColonist

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But I think I was near my mash temp of 153 throughout. The iodine test showed complete conversion at 35minutes but my starting gravity was low again. I am plagued with low effeciencies with this one at 67%. Oh well..... I'll figure it out some day and just spend a few more bucks on grain until then.
FWIW, do you batch or fly sparge? How long does it take for you to collect preboil volume. The reason I ask is that if you go too fast in a fly sparge (maybe a batch sparge too, but I fly), your efficiency will get hammered. It depends on the manifold layout/false bottom, but 45 minutes for 7 gallon preboil collection isnt unheard of.
 
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Scut_Monkey

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I batch sparge and have tried many things pH, longer sparge time, high temp sparge, longer mash, tiny crush, iodine testing...... probably other things too. I don't seem to have reproducibility which I think is something more important for me right now then bumping my effeciency 10 points. Although I am open for suggestions. I thought I had it taken care of but now I'm not sure at all what is wrong.
 

jescholler

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So I went with the Mosher's Pale Ale water profile by using 6.0g Gypsum and 2.0g Epsom along with 4gallons of tap water in the mash.
Sounds good. I've never seen Mosher's Pale Ale water profile before, but it looks great. You'll have to let us know how this turns out.

As far as the efficiency goes, can you tell us a bit more about how you mash. Maybe some pictures of your mash/lauter tun. Consistency is really difficult since there are so many factors that play into it. Maybe you are getting different numbers because you're doing different mashes (temperatures of 150 and 154 as just 1 example).
 
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Scut_Monkey

Scut_Monkey

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jescholler,

I will let you know how it turns out. I tasted some of the wort post boil and it seemed to taste good but this probably has little to no bearing as to how the beer will taste in the end. Right now it is bubbling about once a second or more down in the basement at a stable 68 degrees with the Safale 05. Kind of sucks that yeast now costs almost 4 bucks cause I like it.

Anywho.... the efficiency. Like I said I batch sparge in a 48 quart cooler and prior to this batch I sprayed inside the top lid with expanding foam to help insulate better which did help. It seemed to hold the mash temp very well but I'm not exactly sure what temp I was at. I just happened to check the floating thermometer that I usually use and it seemed to be way different compared to 3 other thermometers I had around the house that I would consider less accurate. Anyways I mashed with three thermometers in the mash and long story short I took the averages of all of these and it seemed to be around 153 throughout the mash which was my target. Not a scientific approach but the only solution I had that day.

This was also my first batch using my new corona mill which seemed to give me a very similar crush compared to the barley crusher I used at the LHBS. They always look at me strange and tell me I crush to fine but I do not and this is compared to pictures from Palmer. In fact I'm crushing finer next time and I'll still be adding the same amount of rice hulls. It will only be a slightly smaller gap next time as I already get quite a bit of flour.

Anyhow, my pH was fine throughout. My temp was fine. My crush was "fine". The water minerals were fine. I mashed long enough at 70 minutes and starch conversion was complete at 35 minutes according to the iodine test. The only thing that was slightly different was that my sparges did not quite get me to 168F like I had before which did not make any sense according to my beersmith calculations and my previous batch sparge experience. I feel that this might be my Achille's heel and will be the area where I focus more next time. I will blast the crap out of it next time with near boiling water and will let it sit for 5 minutes like I usually do. I'm also going to try to drain it slower although I don't think this will make much difference. If this dosen't work I might consider switching to a braided hose as I currently use a copper manifold designed exactly to Palmer's recommendations for fly sparging. Again I don't think this will make any difference.

I have had effeciency in the high 80 percent before but now I question if the grain weighed by the LHBS was inaccurate. Also, this batch that I'm speaking of had corn and rice adjuncts which possibly were rinsed more easily of the sugar.

Let me know what you think and I'll keep you posted. Like I mentioned I'm more concerned right now with consistency because I don't mind paying a couple extra bucks in the short term for more grain but at least if I do I want to be near my designed SG for the 6 hours I spent brewing. Thanks and sorry for the long post. :D
 
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