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Water for Brown Porter, Advice

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Dr. Francois

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Hello,

I'm planning a batch of Brown Porter in the next few weeks. I'm wondering if any experts or nice novices would offer opinions about my brewing water and if it needs adjustment.

I'm not salt-happy; I'd rather do nothing. But if something in my water profile indicates that I'm not going to get a soft and sweet porter, I'd love to know about it!

One note: I do treat my mash water with trace ammts of potassium metabisulfite to remove the chloramine.

Here's my water report:

Analyte / typical concentration / range
calcium 50 40-60
magnesium 40 30-40
HCO3 15 10-25
Na 44 30-60
SO4 70 40-150
C1 46 10-100
total hardness 90 85-100
Chloramine 2 1-3.5
pH pH Units 9.4 9.2-9.8

I really appreciate your input!

Thoughts?
 

mabrungard

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That water is going to be a little rough. The Mg and Na are a little high and will provide that roughness in beer flavor. The sulfate level is also high and can also produce a roughness if the beer style is not hop and dryness focused.

The bicarbonate level is nicely low and should not be a problem in light colored beers, but could be insufficient in darker beers and grists with significant crystal malt content.

Diluting this water is probably a direction that a brewer would have to go.
 
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Dr. Francois

Dr. Francois

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Thanks for the insight.

I'm planning to dillute 2:1 my water:RO water. Any advice on how to jack the bicarbonate for a dark brew with crystal and roasted malts?
 

mabrungard

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Chalk and Pickling Lime are options for adding alkalinity.

With chalk, you have to add roughly twice the amount indicated from stoichiometry to see the desired result. Bru'n water calculates the proper amount indicated by the stoichiometry, but unless that chalk was properly dissolved into the water with CO2, it won't add the desired amount of alkalinity. Adding twice the amount of chalk indicated by stoichiometry tends to produce the desired alkalinity.

Pickling Lime does not add bicarbonate, but it does add hydroxyl (OH) that can be correlated to the amount of alkalinity that bicarbonate provides. Bru'n Water provides that calculation too. The problem with lime is that it takes very little to affect mash pH and precise measurement is a requirement. If a brewer does not have a scale that can measure into the tenths of a gram or finer, you don't want to mess with lime. Unlike chalk, lime provides every bit of the alkalinity that the calculation indicates. That makes it more positive, but that comes with the caution in accurately dosing it to your mash.

Baking Soda is another option, but it comes with the less desirable sodium ion. If the starting water has low sodium, then a brewer may be able to afford to use baking soda to add alkalinity.
 

vince805

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Never heard of this Bru'n program... I will have to check this out and see how my water stacks up.
 
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Dr. Francois

Dr. Francois

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I played with the spreadsheets for a while. I'm diluting my water 2:1 with RO. I'm considering 4 grams chalk disolved in carbonated water and added to the mash.

Sound reasonable?
 

944play

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I just brewed a Brown Porter. I doughed in with 100% RO; the pH landed at 5.7; after a healthy dose of CaCl2 (5g) and CaSO4 (2g), it fell to 5.4. I'd want to verify that additional alkalinity was needed before adding it, and in my experience you probably won't need to.

One of the best beers I've ever brewed was the same recipe but with hard, alkaline Texas water and before I was paying close attention to pH. You may be just fine with what you have.

EDIT: For an update, RO + 5g CaCl2 + 2g CaSO4 (all salts in mash) is exactly how I would re-brew the Brown Porter! It's just stupid good.
 
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