Water chemistry for milk stout using distilled

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
I am going to brew the below stout in the next 1-2 weeks and am looking to make the best of it. My last 2 brews were decent but I was never excited about pouring a glass. I am going to try adjusting water chem to see if I can get an improvement with this batch. I can use distilled and add minerals as needed, but I've read that tap may be better for a stout. Can anyone help me out with what minerals to add and when? I will also have a ph tester.

Thank you

9 lb Pale Malt
12 oz Chocolate Malt
8 oz English Crystal Malt
8 oz Flaked Oats
2 oz Black Patent Malt
2 oz Roasted Barley Malt
I will also add 0.75-1# of lactose at 10 minutes and toasted coconut flavoring at kegging
 
Last edited:
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
How is your tap water mineral wise? Any ways I'd aim for a chloride heavy water, maybe up the sodium a bit as well. Mash PH at 5.5-5.6.
I haven't had it tested yet as I am just now getting into the water chemistry aspect. It's definitely drinkable, if that helps. With that being unknown, am I better off going with a clean slate and using distilled, and mineralizing it?
 

Sammy86

Still thirsty
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
3,038
Reaction score
1,961
I can use distilled and add minerals as needed, but I've read that tap may be better for a stout. Can anyone help me out with what minerals to add and when? I will also have a ph tester.
haven't had it tested yet as I am just now getting into the water chemistry aspect
Without having your water tested adding minerals is a crap shoot so I definitely wouldn't recommend that.

Use distilled water and build up your profile using a water chemistry tool.
 
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
Without having your water tested adding minerals is a crap shoot so I definitely wouldn't recommend that.

Use distilled water and build up your profile using a water chemistry tool.
I can brew with distilled. How do water calculators work? Do you load grains into a calculator and based on that it tells you the specific additions that you need? I tried to use brewers friend but it's not straight forward, for me at least. Any guidance is appreciated.

Or if you know of a good simplified guide to understanding/adjusting water chemistry, I'll take it.
 
Last edited:

Sammy86

Still thirsty
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
3,038
Reaction score
1,961
I can brew with distilled. How do water calculators work? Do you load grains into a calculator and based on that it tells you the specific additions that you need? I tried to use brewers friend but it's not straight forward, for me at least. Any guidance is appreciated.

Or if you know of a good simplified guide to understanding/adjusting water chemistry, I'll take it.
Here is a good primer for you thanks to the friendly folks here at HBT Water Chemistry Primer

As far as which tool to use I agree Brewers Friend isn't exactly easy to use unless you have some background knowledge. I'm a Bru'n Watwr guy myself.

Put your grains in, select your profile and add the additions until you get what you are looking for. A good video for Bru'n Water can be found here:How to Bru'n Water
 

mabrungard

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 22, 2011
Messages
6,056
Reaction score
2,014
Location
Carmel
You won’t need much in your water, but it would need to have enough alkalinity in order to keep the mashing pH from getting below about 5.5. The roast flavors can be a bit acrid and sharp when pH is that low.
 
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
I like the simplified approach of Bru'n Water/Excel , thanks for the recommendation.

How do you decide on a water profile to go with? In general, and specifically for this stout I am brewing?
 

Sammy86

Still thirsty
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
3,038
Reaction score
1,961
I like the simplified approach of Bru'n Water/Excel , thanks for the recommendation.

How do you decide on a water profile to go with? In general, and specifically for this stout I am brewing?
In general I look at what others have used if its mentioned in the recipes...if none is shared I generally go with the color of the beer and the style (IPA, Helles, Pale Ale, etc.) and use Brun' Water to help me out.

@mabrungard created the thing so I trust his opinion...keep the PH between 5.2-5.5 and you'll be good to go.

Never brewed a stout so unfortunately I can't give you anything concrete from experience
 
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
In general I look at what others have used if its mentioned in the recipes...if none is shared I generally go with the color of the beer and the style (IPA, Helles, Pale Ale, etc.) and use Brun' Water to help me out.

@mabrungard created the thing so I trust his opinion...keep the PH between 5.2-5.5 and you'll be good to go.

Never brewed a stout so unfortunately I can't give you anything concrete from experience
Is the goal of water additions strictly for ph?
 

RufusBrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2015
Messages
632
Reaction score
388
Location
Nashville
I am going to advise to ignore water treatment that you might find in a random recipe.

If they state specifically they are using distilled water or reverse osmosis, AKA RO water, then you can consider it. But double check with a water tool.

If the recipe uses a random and unknown to you water source, it does you no good to know that he add X grams of gypsum and Y ml of lactic acid.
 
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
I am going to advise to ignore water treatment that you might find in a random recipe.

If they state specifically they are using distilled water or reverse osmosis, AKA RO water, then you can consider it. But double check with a water tool.

If the recipe uses a random and unknown to you water source, it does you no good to know that he add X grams of gypsum and Y ml of lactic acid.
The recipe does not mention any type of water conditioning, I am just trying to make beer that tastes good.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

"We the People" - Kid Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
3,176
Reaction score
2,108
Location
"North Coast" USA
Last edited:
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
I'm going to go with the Black Full profile with distilled and call it a day. I am going to try to figure this out in Bru'n Water.

The goods came in this afternoon. Do the oats get milled?

Chocolate Stout recipe from Austin homebrew/Adventures in Homebrewing, and a Cereal Killer mill. I will not use the maltodextrin, and will instead use 1# of lactose @ 10 minutes.

PXL_20211207_033514793.jpg PXL_20211207_033639306.jpg PXL_20211207_033759236.jpg PXL_20211207_033913936.jpg
 
Last edited:

RufusBrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2015
Messages
632
Reaction score
388
Location
Nashville
The recipe does not mention any type of water conditioning, I am just trying to make beer that tastes good.
I understand. It looks as if you a bit of a newby to homebrewing and water. I was giving you some general rules of thumb on the topic.
 
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
I understand. It looks as if you a bit of a newby to homebrewing and water. I was giving you some general rules of thumb on the topic.
Roger, and thank you. Yes I am fairly new. I've done a handful of extract batches back in 2017, took a 4 year hiatus and decided to come back to brewing and do all grain.

From a water perspective I am a 100% newb. My brews have always came out decent but nothing I was really excited to pour a glass of so I'm going to see if water chem can help.

Can anyone help me out with distilled water additions for this batch? It'll be a 5 gallon batch and I will do batch sparging. Or if you have time and can walk me through brun water in discord or something that would be awesome
 

hout17

MY pH LOVES TO MASH
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
693
Reaction score
1,783
Location
North of Denver
What's your water to grain ratio you are planning on mashing in with? Also what's your boil off rate? One more question do you have any unrecoverable deadspace in your tun and what volume is it?
 
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
I'll mash in with 3.5 gallons and sparge ~5 gallons, per the instructions.

Boil off is usually 0.5-0.75 gallons

My kettle and mash tun are each 10 gallon, so I have some space.
 

hout17

MY pH LOVES TO MASH
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
693
Reaction score
1,783
Location
North of Denver
I'll mash in with 3.5 gallons and sparge ~5 gallons, per the instructions.

Boil off is usually 0.5-0.75 gallons

My kettle and mash tun are each 10 gallon, so I have some space.
Mash tun wise I'm talking about any liquid that is left after completely draining. This is your dead space.

Also you might want to mash in with a greater volume of water to help out your mash pH so something like 1.5 qts/lb or 4.13 gallons.
 
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
That I am not sure about, how would you determine that? It's a 10 gallon home Depot cooler with bazooka tube.

Ok, I can do 1.5 instead of 1.25
 
Last edited:
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
304
Reaction score
149
Location
NJ
I came across this where they mention using a mix of spring and distilled, upping the % of spring for darker beers. Thoughts?

 

hout17

MY pH LOVES TO MASH
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
693
Reaction score
1,783
Location
North of Denver
I came across this where they mention using a mix of spring and distilled, upping the % of spring for darker beers. Thoughts?

Just stick with distilled. Also the bazooka tube I'm going to add in at least .25 gallons for losses.
 

tracer bullet

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
896
Reaction score
736
Location
Minnesota
I'll mash in with 3.5 gallons and sparge ~5 gallons, per the instructions.

Boil off is usually 0.5-0.75 gallons

My kettle and mash tun are each 10 gallon, so I have some space.
Try Bru'n water.

Water tab basically = left alone, 0's for the minerals and 7.0 for the pH will be right.
Sparge acidification tab = same thing, 5.6 is a good target and the rest I think is right already as well.
Grain bill input = straightforward
Water adjustment = choose Black Full and then play with the additions to see what you get. Start with like 0.1 increments and go from there. Do the upper section first, then look at those that bump the pH last (keeping in mind they'll still add Ca and Na).

And don't worry about hitting the numbers exactly. The Bru'n water site has an FAQ page. At a minimum check out the recommended ppm's for those varying additions to help with the "close enough" decision.

Someone please make sure I'm not way off here. I use the spreadsheet but haven't set it up from scratch in a very long time.
 
Top