Water profile for Belgian Wit

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Hartwa

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Hi guys...

Need some help with bru'n water....i am using "brussels" for the target profile.

I have not paid too much attention to my water making this in the past and I want to see if there is a benefit by making some adjustments per this spresdsheets recomendations.

My well water is soft:
>ph 5.8
>ca 12 ppm
>mg 4 ppm
>na 5 ppm
>so4 6 ppm
>cl 20 ppm
>Bicarb 3 ppm
Total hardness of 46

I can't seem to manage my additions to get the alkailinity to come in without sending my mash ph too high.

6.3 gallons mash, 10lbs 2 row, 8lbs white wheat 2 lbs flaked oats...

I make 10 gallon batches.

Anyone want to recommend how I should adjust my water?

Thanks for the help...
 

Franktalk

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I make many wits for my wife, and I have soft water also. I use Bru'nwater and follow the yellow dry profile. I add gypsum for 105 ppm of so4 and just a touch of calcium chloride to bring the cl up to about 50 ppm. Comes out great; tastes just like Allagash White.
 
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Hartwa

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Thanks for the reply...seems like i get too bitter when i am that high in SO4...i want to try to match the water from the region if i can.
 

mabrungard

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Sulfate does not make beer bitter. It makes your perception of the beer, drier. If your beer is too bitter, you over-bittered it.
 
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Hartwa

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What about lactic acid? I have read that it is needed in a wit to give it the characteristic flavor. My water is already acidic and when i use bru'n water with my grain bill...i would need to add pickling lime to keep the ph above 5.2.
 

Franktalk

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I've never heard anything about adding lactic acid to a wit, nor have I ever done it. The wit yeast, 3944, will give the characteristic flavor and mouthfeel. I think you are confusing wit with Berlinerweisse.
 
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Hartwa

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The previous poster mentioned it in another post....i just ordered some it will be here tomorrow. Maybe i mis read it. Hopefully mabrungard will clarify.

Popped my yeast bag today....starter tomorrow night and hopefully brew sunday night
 

Reneauj62

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I made a great Witbier a month ago and it is fantastic. CA 16, Mg 10, Na 0, SO4 17, CL 17, HCO3 10, Alk 7.9, Hardness 14.2, and RA -6.27
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mabrungard

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All continental European beers should be brewed with some form of lactic acid. Acid malt, saurergut, or lactic acid are options.

In a Wit, the amount of lactic is going to be small unless you're starting with a very alkaline water source. Brewing a Wit with RO water is going to only need a bit of lactic to get the very pale grist of a Wit down to the desirable range. I used to make a very nice Wit when I was brewing in Tallahassee with the tap water. I think it had about 140 ppm bicarb in it and the lactic amount was not notable in the beer.
 
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Hartwa

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Thanks everyone...i think i might break my 10 gal brew day into two 5 gallon and experiment with the water a bit.
 

mashpaddled

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I think the style needs a soft water profile. A little acidity will help build structure you won't have with tannins or dryness like most styles.
 

Dancy

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All continental European beers should be brewed with some form of lactic acid. Acid malt, saurergut, or lactic acid are options.
A late question Martin - I am brewing a Witbier very soon and I read ”somewhere” one only needs to treat their RO (distilled for me) water with lactic acid. This sounds convenient but I’m a bit unsure if its really that simple. Any thoughts?
 

Dr_Jeff

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I've brewed delicious Witbiers with tap water, don't overthink it.

It is a simple beer. malted barley, malted wheat, hops and a bit of orange peel and coriander with 5 minuted to go.

Look for the recipe by @Wayne1 for Blue Moon clone, it is great with the recommended yeast and better with WLP400 in my opinion.
 

Dancy

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I've brewed delicious Witbiers with tap water, don't overthink it.
I really don’t want to “overthink it” but I already know from experience my tap water is crap.
 

mabrungard

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I've brewed delicious Witbiers with tap water, don't overthink it.
It's advice like this that causes so many brewers to have poor results. You've brewed delicious Witbiers with YOUR tap water....good for you. But that doesn't mean that any tap water can make great, or even, good Witbier. Everyone's water source is probably different from what some person, somewhere, made their award-winning XX beer with. Someone starting with a different water source is likely to have a different outcome due to their water. Applying RDWHAHB to all aspects of brewing is a way to produce beer, but its not necessarily going to be great beer.

Brewers interested in Witbier should take a look at the water characteristics of a place like Hoegaarden (see the profile in Bru'n Water) to get an idea of what brewers there MAY have been dealt with in crafting their beer. You'll see that the water has moderate levels of sulfate and chloride, but more importantly, that water has significant alkalinity. That alkalinity means that the brewers had to bump up their acidification to produce a decent tasting beer. Since they would have used techniques like acid rest or soured wort to acidify the beer, the beers likely developed more of the lactic acid flavor that we now recognize as a hallmark of the Witbier style.

Starting with RO or distilled water may not be the best option for a Witbier for the reason above. Using a more alkaline water that still has modest levels of other ions, could be a better choice. But that does mean that you'll need to understand that starting water and how to adjust it to work well for Witbier brewing. Some tap water may fit the bill. Knowing what's in your tap water is the best way to understand what you need to do for your brewing.
 

Dancy

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Starting with RO or distilled water may not be the best option for a Witbier for the reason above. Using a more alkaline water that still has modest levels of other ions, could be a better choice. But that does mean that you'll need to understand that starting water and how to adjust it to work well for Witbier brewing. Some tap water may fit the bill. Knowing what's in your tap water is the best way to understand what you need to do for your brewing.
Thank you for this Martin. I use distilled water because I live in a condominium building that treats the water with softener and based on what I’ve read about my community’s water sourceS, I’m concerned about consistency of my tap water. My speculation is a water report would capture a moment in time but it might not be reliable in the longer term. This is why I’ve opted for distilled. started using a pH meter. Other additions to my recipes have been based on recommendations on HBT or other sources. Purchasing a pH meter has been one of the best things I’ve done for my brewing. While I’d like to be more precise, I’m really pleased with outcomes of my brews but also don’t want to settle when I can improve even more.
 

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