That's not really a job for salts. Calcium and magnesium do effect mash pH but to control it you should be using acids.All I've been doing is adding enough salts to soft (RO) water to get my mash PH right,
I haven't killed myself chasing 'water profiles' and I'm not convinced it's necessary.
Touring the Guinness brewery I saw this about their water during the tour ( see last paragraph in attached photo). This is contrary to everything I've read about brewing dark beers and using higher mineral content waters and why dark grains are used.
Unfortunately, you may be reading too much into the fact that dry stouts are more successfully brewed with low alkalinity water to produce their characteristic crisp acidity. Other stouts and porters are more often better with higher alkalinity water.
That's not really a job for salts. Calcium and magnesium do effect mash pH but to control it you should be using acids.
You shouldn't be adding minerals in order to play with the pH. Add acids for pH; add minerals for flavor.I do understand that. I'm not piling in the minerals, just adding 'enough' by bru'n water's calculations to get the calculated mash PH as close to 'right' as I can.
Haven't been able to decide on a PH meter, which I'll assume is necessary for acid additions so as to avoid over-acidifying the mash.
It seems there are mixed bag reviews for nearly all of the meters, and I'm not in the market for a $200+ PH meter... Limits my options a bit.
I doubt that the syrups used by Coke and Guiness are similar except in the broadest sense (no coca leaf in the Guiness, for example) but perhaps you meant that the process of mixing the extract in is similar. I have no idea whether all the dark beer color and flavor in international Guiness come from extract but it is possible. By making farbebier and extracting low molecular weight fractions one gets a flavor extract and from the high molecular weight fractions a color extract. I do note that the Guiness sold by Phoenix in Mauritius does not taste much like a stout but more like a very strong ale (think its 8 or 9%). But we do 'drink with our eyes' as Bamforth likes to say. I've described elsewhere here an experiment in which I gave samples of the same beer with Sinamar in one to experienced judges and asked them to describe the difference. The dark one was richer, maltier (nose and taste) etc. to most of them (some of whom still aren't speaking to me).I cannot cite anything but I recall exported Guinness is brewed without dark grains and a syrup much alike Coke or Pepsi is added later in the process to give it the dark color and "tang". I recall the syrup and its the formulation is proprietary and secret (OOOOHH!) and only a limited number of folks with access to it. Apparently they use the syrup in different ratios for each beer. More in the exported bottles, less in the exported draft or nitro cans. I also recall that Guinness made locally Ireland is made old school with dark grains from the old water source etc and is supposedly a magical tasting beverage.
The home brewers knowledge of this subject has advanced a great deal in the last 20 years. The advent of computers and affordable pH meters and RO machines has made this possible.It has taken a better part of 2 decades for me to distinguish the horses mouth from the other end with regard to historical water quality and proper water treatment for homebrewing.
More and more commercial operations are using the 'blank sheet of paper' that homebrewers are also adopting. As an example of this there is a picture of the 'water softener' at s brewery in LAncaster, CA in the Water book (p183). Sitting in front of the other components is an RO skid.The crafty germans can do quite a bit with water treatment which is contrary to a layman's interpretation of Reinheitsgebot. I suspect the Guinness we drink here in the USA is actually brewed with soft water since it is a pale beer until the syrup hits it, so there could be truth to them using soft water.
If your water is really, really hard that might lower pH and extra 0.1 or even a bit more to the extent that some alkali might be needed but otherwise you generally will not need alkali (or acid) in brewing an Irish stout for typical north American mains water (hardness and alkalinity ~ 100 each). At least that has been my experience but others have noticed the same thing. With such water and nominal (10%) roast malt content mash pH seems to come in at around 5.55 - 5.6.All that being said, unless you are using some really hard water odds are that you need additional alkalinity from the dark grains when brewing a stout.
If you get above 20% on the roast and/or use a lot of dark crystal/caramel in a stout you might indeed need some alkali and lime and bicarbonate are the best ways to get this.Pickling lime is a great tool for this.
These days, I am aiming a tad higher in the mash (5.5-5.6) to great effect on dark beers. But, this is all coming from a guy that prefers Murphy's over Guinness.
Agreed; homebrewer knowledge is still in its infancy here. Even if 5.3-5.5 optimizes mash conditions, that doesn't make it the best pH -- like you say, it's all about flavor. I suspect yeast is a big factor here; even given the same wort, a different yeast may need a different pH. And even worse, yeast HEALTH may also have a big impact -- my favorite yeast seems to reduce the pH (pre- to post-fermentation) at unpredictable amounts....
We all go about proclaiming that pH 5.3 - 5.6 is the ideal range for mash. That may not really be true. The ideal pH is the one that produces the best tasting beer. It is entirely possible that within that range there exists, for each beer, and optimum pH. It is also possible that ultimate beer quality is relatively broad. I don't have enough brews behind me to tell.
I cannot cite anything but I recall exported Guinness is brewed without dark grains and a syrup much alike Coke or Pepsi is added later in the process to give it the dark color and "tang". I recall the syrup and its the formulation is proprietary and secret (OOOOHH!) and only a limited number of folks with access to it.
If Wicklow Mtn water is unusually low in minerals (which we don't doubt) then it is going to be low in alkalinity but that chart also shows very low alkalinity water for most of the US. The highest band is > 400 µEq/L. Now they don't say how much higher but 400 µEq/L is 20 ppm as CaCO3. Water in equilibrium with air and limestone is at 1000 µEq/L alkalinity. I don't live in a < 50 band according to the chart but my alkalinity runs from 1000 - 2000 µEq/L. So something is fishy about that chart.Since the Wicklow Mountain water has very little mineralization and alkalinity, it would differ from most water supplies in the world. Looking at the Total Alkalinity of Surface Waters map of the US https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge, you can see that alkaline waters (light yellow on that map) are the predominant condition.
With out knowing for sure I am nevertheless confidant that the pH of the 'mash' used to prepare the extract is controlled to give them the properties they want. Any road the tartness of the finished product is probably determined mostly by the choice of yeast.Brewing GFE with those waters would not produce the crisp acidic flavor that their dry stout is known for.
This stuff isn't for extract. It's for color and or flavor (depending on how they fractionate it if at all).They might put a little pale malt in there for some diastatic power since roast barley does provide some extract. I don't know that, though.
Are you saying that your fermented beer made with that yeast finishes over a wide range of pH's?
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