Quantcast

Kolsch water profile advice needed

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Saint_Vitus

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2016
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
I'm working on making a Kolsch and would like to get some advice on a proper water profile.

This is my tap water profile:

Ca: 20
Mg: 13
Na: 21
SO4: 9
Cl: 64
HCO3: 60

Ph: 8.2


I'm using Bru'n Water software to make my adjustments. I see there is a Cologne profile but I also see Martin talk about using Yellow Balanced or Yellow Malty. The current version of Bru'n Water does not have Yellow Malty as an option. My mild type-A-ness is driving me nuts trying to hit all the levels just right to match the Bru'n water profiles.

I've seen advice to have low to no Chloride and Sulfate, although I saw somewhere Martin suggested Sulfate around 20-30. What is considered "low" for Cl and SO4 and what is a good target for a Kolsch? I've also seen advice to use absolutely no Gypsum but I can't hit 40Ca without it and if I try to add Pickling Lime it sets off the warning about using acid and alkaline additions at the same time (plus I thought I read someplace to minimize alkaline for a Kolsch). Are Ca, Cl, and SO4 the main targets to hit?

It's my first Kolsch so it's making me more nitpicky, especially considering the lagering commitment. :) I'd like to hit it as on point as possible but w/o getting into the weeds for the unnecessary stuff.

Any advice is appreciated.
 

dmtaylor

Lord Idiot the Lazy
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
4,340
Reaction score
2,477
Location
Two Rivers, WI
It just doesn't matter. Add some calcium chloride if you want to accentuate the malt. But no need to add anything. You have good water for a Kolsch.
 
OP
S

Saint_Vitus

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2016
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Thanks. I was playing with putting in CaCl to get the Ca up to 40ppm for beerstone/yeast health but it starts driving my Cl up. What is the target for Cl in a Kolsch and what is considered as an upper limit?
 

BigEd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2004
Messages
2,892
Reaction score
390
Over the last twenty years I think I've seen the CW of the homebrewing community morph from "don't worry about the water, just brew the beer" to borderline obsessive-compulsive disorder. Don't over-think it. Dave's advice is sound, as usual. Kolsch wants a low mineral, fairly soft water and you already have that. If you want to add more Ca+ without adversely affecting anything else, dilute your tap water 50/50 with distilled then add some Calcium chloride and Calcium sulphate to get the number back up. I'd go easy on the gypsum, however. You do not want much (<20ppm) SO4 in a Kolsch. Personally I wouldn't add any.

My .02, if you post a brewing water question it is probably a good idea to let us know where the water source is. Chances are there will be somebody in your vicinity on the board who has earlier experience with the local brewing water.
 

SoCal-Doug

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2017
Messages
885
Reaction score
617
Location
Earth
I start with RO then build to Ca 57, SO4 33, Cl 75. Three different batches have taken two best of show's and a 2nd. The biggest tricks with a kolsch are (1) keeping it simple and (2) keeping it clean. WLP029 or Giga-021 at 59F, then a D-Rest, then crash it hard. Give it some time in the keg after that to make nice (or just leave it crashing for a couple weeks).
 
OP
S

Saint_Vitus

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2016
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Thanks for all the input everyone! Greatly appreciated.

As I'm new to chemistry and Kolsch brewing. Can anyone give me some ideas on what a target range for Chloride in a Kolsch should be? I know it affects the maltiness of the beer but at this point I don't know what the significance is between 20, 40, 60, 80, 100ppm in regards to a Kolsch.

Over the last twenty years I think I've seen the CW of the homebrewing community morph from "don't worry about the water, just brew the beer" to borderline obsessive-compulsive disorder. Don't over-think it. Dave's advice is sound, as usual. Kolsch wants a low mineral, fairly soft water and you already have that. If you want to add more Ca+ without adversely affecting anything else, dilute your tap water 50/50 with distilled then add some Calcium chloride and Calcium sulphate to get the number back up. I'd go easy on the gypsum, however. You do not want much (<20ppm) SO4 in a Kolsch. Personally I wouldn't add any.

My .02, if you post a brewing water question it is probably a good idea to let us know where the water source is. Chances are there will be somebody in your vicinity on the board who has earlier experience with the local brewing water.
Thanks for the input on the Sulfate levels. I'll take that into account.

Yea, I try to cage myself and not go off into the weeds on things like this but when I really don't want to screw it up I struggle with not over-thinking it. :)

My water source is Oahu, Hawaii. I had the water from my tap recently tested at Ward Labs. My apologies for not giving the water source. I was thinking the source wasn't as important as the actual profile of the water.
 

thehaze

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2017
Messages
2,131
Reaction score
921
Location
Iasi, Romania
To raise Ca, you can use a bit of gypsum. If you do not want to raise it, it will still be fine.

I have brewed Kolsch beers both with more Chloride than sulfate and viceversa. I like both, although for hoppier reiterations, I do like a bit more sulfate than Cl.
 

couchsending

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
2,685
Reaction score
1,646
When you see how much So4 and Cl malt adds to the final beer you’ll realize that wringing your hands over small additions makes little difference. Target a specific Ca level (personally I’d use Gypsum for Kolsch with your water) and adjust pH with acid and you’re set. Don’t bother adding the Ca salts to the sparge water either. Just adjust that with acid to a target pH and add those Ca salt at the end of the boil. That way they actually make it into the FV.
 
Last edited:

Lefou

Danged rascally furt
Joined
May 1, 2016
Messages
2,244
Reaction score
1,128
Location
East of Filthadelphia, south of Nyack
Kolsch brewing water is "soft" water.
I would add nothing more than calcium salts - 1/2tsp CaCl2 and 1/2tsp CaSO4 per 5 gallons.
A little extra calcium helps with mash pH and enables yeast. Water with a tad more sulfate will tilt the bittering ratio to hops and a balance of Cl:SO4 would still be OK. It's a mild style that favors hops and is up for personal interpretation, so run with it.
I gave friends a sampler of my Kolsch-styled ale and they remarked it was much like a lager ... so it was a success, IMO.
 
Top