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Water Profile for Vienna Lager

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Kaz15

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Greetings! I'm fairly new to this forum, although I've lurked and gotten great insight from you all for most of the last 3 years. I recently made the jump from carbon filter to an RO filter and building my water from there.

So as the title suggests, I'm curious to know if any of you have a preferred water profile for brewing a Vienna lager? I have a Vienna lager recipe I've tweaked a few times and it turned out amazing last year. So I'm simply looking to fine tune this brew with a complimentary water profile.

The biggest question mark for me is the sulfate to chloride ratio? Based on the water profile I obtained from our local water supplier, both are fairly low at 32ppm and 24ppm respectively. The sodium of our local supply is 54ppm. It's fairly alkaline and has a HCO3 of 126. With all that in mind, and based on the fact that my Vienna turned out so well last year, I'm thinking building water with less HCO3 and enhancing either the sulfate or chloride. This is what I was thinking for a 10 gallon batch:

Water Profile: Ca 50 Mg 4 SO4 36 Na 21 Cl 73 HCO3 44

RO water additions: 2g Gypsum, 8g CaCl,2g Epsom salt, 4g Baking Soda

The biggest conflict I have in my head is whether I should shift the balance toward higher sulfate or balance the two evenly?

Thoughts?
 
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Kaz15

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Thanks for this. I have actually read this thread before. Seeing as it’s from 2011, I’m hoping perhaps some members on this forum have some more recent experience and anecdotal thoughts to offer. Surely a couple folks have brewed a Vienna lager with water adjustments in the last 8 years. :)
 

BigEd

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I think you're fine the way it is although without seeing the recipe it's more of a guess. Viennas aren't known for their hoppy edge so I would not add any SO4. Chloride, Magnesium, Sodium, and Calcium are OK, you definitely do not need more Mg2 or Na so lay off the baking soda and Epsom salt.
 

mabrungard

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Thankfully, sulfate doesn’t equate to “hoppy”. It takes hops to achieve hoppy. Viennas are actually a bit drying and including a bit of sulfate is a good idea.

Reviewing the Vienna water profile shown in Bru’n Water will give you a view of what their water is like. The important facet is the sulfate and chloride content. Generally ignore the rest of the profile and be sure to acidify the mash adequately. Don’t try and add alkalinity unless the pH projection says pH will be far too low. In other words, no baking soda.
 
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Kaz15

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Thank you for the replies.

That is great info about the baking soda.

My recipe has one 60 min hop addition of Hallertau MF for around 27 IBUs.

The aspect of dry finish is one thing I’ve been concerned with. So now I’m thinking perhaps I should shift the balance a shade toward the sulfate. Perhaps make the sulfate around 50-75, and keep the chloride Around 30-40?
 

BigEd

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Thank you for the replies.

That is great info about the baking soda.

My recipe has one 60 min hop addition of Hallertau MF for around 27 IBUs.

The aspect of dry finish is one thing I’ve been concerned with. So now I’m thinking perhaps I should shift the balance a shade toward the sulfate. Perhaps make the sulfate around 50-75, and keep the chloride Around 30-40?
The dry finish of Germanic beers is best achieved through mashing technique IMO. I would keep the SO4 where it is. If you wanted to bump up the chloride to 75ppm or so that wouldn't hurt. I'd also pull the IBUs back about 15% (22-23) help keep the malt out front. Try a lower temp main mash ~148F to get the clean, dry finish that always seems to be missing in American versions of German-style beers.
 

brewbama

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Thanks for this. I have actually read this thread before. Seeing as it’s from 2011, I’m hoping perhaps some members on this forum have some more recent experience and anecdotal thoughts to offer. Surely a couple folks have brewed a Vienna lager with water adjustments in the last 8 years. :)
If it ain’t broke...
 

hottpeper13

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I also RO my water because of high alkalinity. When I need to raise my pH I dilute the RO with filtered house water and use that alkalinity to my advantage.
 

Queequeg

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Thankfully, sulfate doesn’t equate to “hoppy”. It takes hops to achieve hoppy. Viennas are actually a bit drying and including a bit of sulfate is a good idea.

Reviewing the Vienna water profile shown in Bru’n Water will give you a view of what their water is like. The important facet is the sulfate and chloride content. Generally ignore the rest of the profile and be sure to acidify the mash adequately. Don’t try and add alkalinity unless the pH projection says pH will be far too low. In other words, no baking soda.
Hi Martin, as I understand it the water profile for boiled Vienna in brun' water is an historic profile based on Danube River water. I know there has been some debate in the past regarding breweries in the region using alpine spring water which is much softer.

I have made a Vienna a few times and much prefer it with a softer water profile low in sulphate with a moderate chloride content.

I understand sulphate improves dryness perception but ime it also makes the bitterness courser on the palette which is fine for IPA's and barely wines but for a delicate beer like a Vienna it really sits out of place imo.

Instead I prefer to mash lower and use simply base malt and nothing else. This keeps the beer dry and the soft water profile keeps it delicate.

This is just my personal experience using my own palette and thought I would share and highlight the notion that what is historical is not always what produces the best results.
 
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Kaz15

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Thank you all again for the replies. I will make some tweaks to my water profile from what I had originally posted. I would love to do a water profile split batch, but I know from experience that doing two unique batches in one day in far too time consuming. (I don’t need or want a second kettle)

Planning to brew my vienna recipe this weekend. I love making split batches, so for this go I’m going to run two different fermentation profiles. One using my standard, traditional cool fermentation schedule. For the other I’ll run a warm ferment under pressure. Going to give the new Fermzilla conical a try, but that’s a discussion for a different thread.

Cheers
 
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