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Water Profile/Mineral Additions for Barleywine

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Gustatorian

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Brewing a big barleywine this week (1.110) (100ish IBUs). Anybody have any recs on mineral additions for a beer like this? I'm working with a blank slate (RO water).
 

Kent88

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100IBUs, so that would be more of an American style barleywine.

My standard is to blend tap water (filtered to remove chlorine) 50/50 with RO/distilled, add a little CaCl for the mash. For the sparge use RO/distilled treated with a little CaCl. Because I use extract for my high-gravity beers, if I need to add a little water between the sparge and the boil I just make sure it doesn't have chlorine.

American barleywine is kind of tricky. It is bitter/hoppy when it is young which suggests that you might want more sulfates, but you might want to age it and the hop character fads after a while, so you might want more chloride. Are you planning to drink this young, or age it out, or maybe some of both? Dry hops?

I am also not a pro when it comes to altering water for brewing, or making barleywine. I have made some decent barleywine before, though.
 

mabrungard

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The recommendations above are good, but there is a place for sulfate in a big beer. Sulfate dries out a beer's finish and a big beer like this is more likely to have a very full finish and that can be overwhelming. 100 to 200 ppm sulfate is not out of the question. As an example, Burton Ale was a big malty beer that was brewed in Burton on Trent and you probably know how high the sulfate is in the water there.
 
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Gustatorian

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The recommendations above are good, but there is a place for sulfate in a big beer. Sulfate dries out a beer's finish and a big beer like this is more likely to have a very full finish and that can be overwhelming. 100 to 200 ppm sulfate is not out of the question. As an example, Burton Ale was a big malty beer that was brewed in Burton on Trent and you probably know how high the sulfate is in the water there.
What would you shoot for as far as total CaSO4, CaCL2 and S/C ratio? I assume a 5.2-5.4 pH goal is good...
 

mabrungard

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Don't think in terms of the salts. Think in terms of the ions. As a starting point, 100 ppm sulfate and 50 ppm chloride should be OK. I do like including 10 to 15 ppm magnesium in brews by using epsom salt. I would target about 5.4
 
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Had my mash pH clock in at 5.37, water additions included 7 mL LA(88%), 94 ppm SO4, 57 ppm CL2. About a week in. Looks like terminal has hit, but still needs a week/week for the flavors to round out.
 

Kent88

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So you started with RO water, and added some gypsum and some sort of chloride? And obviously lactic acid.

Be sure to follow up with your impressions when you taste this beer.
 
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Water is basically RO. It's Ozarka 100% Natural Spring Water. I sent it off to Ward Labs and the mineral content is basically negligible. Added 8g CaSO4, 4g CaCl2
 
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