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Pale Ale Experiment

I’m in the process of learning water profiles/additions and have decided to brew a pale ale with modified water then a second batch of the same recipe using 100% distilled water. I’d like to be able to drink these side by side and see what the impact is with the modified water.

Here is a link to my recipe and below are the water adjustments, what do you think about the modified water targets and additions?
http://hopville.com/recipes/standard-pale-ale-3

Water profile/targets
100% Distilled water Base
Mash 3.5 gallons, sparge 5.5 gallons
Target water profile: 140ppm Calcium, 18ppm Magnesium, 25ppm sodium, 300ppm Sulfate, 55ppm Chloride, 110 BiCarbs

Mash Additions: 6.5g Gypsum, .9g Epsom Salt, .5g canning salt, .9g Calcium Chloride, .9g pickling lime.

Sparge Additions: 12.7g Gypsum, 1.4g Epsom Salt, .8g canning salt, 1.9g Calcium Chloride

Adjusted water profile: 167.4ppm Calcium, 6.5ppm Magnesium, 15.6ppm sodium, 298.5ppm Sulfate, 55.9ppm Chloride, 108.7 BiCarbs

I thought this is pretty dialed in but let me know, since I’m still new at this it’s nice to get some reassurance.

Regards,
DT

Forgot to add, room temperature mash PH is estimated at 5.4 so that would be a mash PH of ~5.1 then, right?

Making a beer with distilled water is a bad idea. Let me save you the trouble and tell you how it’ll turn out. The mash won’t work well and you’ll get low efficiency, the beer will be cloudy from starch and will taste astringent and generally suck.

If you want to do a side-by-side, think up two scenarios that will both make a decent beer. Like a soft water vs hard water, or go heavy on chloride in one and sulfate in the other. You’ll learn something from these kind of comparisons.

Thanks Tom, that’s good advice. Maybe I’ll save time and money and just brew the modified batch and see how it goes.

That works too.

Hopefully I didn’t come across as an a$$ with my comment. I just hate to see a batch wasted, and there are plenty of good comparison experimental pairs to be tried.

Not at all Tom, you just saved me from brewing an undrinkable batch and I appreciate the honest feedback. I’m just eager to see if my adjusted water profile in action and want to see if I brew “better” beer by getting this dialed in.

I decide I’m going to just brew two pale ales Sunday and use wy1450 for one and wy1272 for the other, so yes, I changed directions on this one completely!

One of the biggest improvements on my beer was dialing in water profiles. Ask around and many others will say the same. Word of advice when it comes to water profiles… skip the ‘specific city’ water profiles (such as Brussels, Munich, etc). Although a certain beer may have originated in a specific area it is likely that the water is not the same and it is unknown if they did anything special to the water.

Agree with this!

I disagree with tom Sawyer. Go ahead and brew with distilled to see what it does. You don’t need to make 5 gallons. Make a smaller batch if you are concerned. But I have not had terrible experiences with distilled like he apparently has.

Just to clarify you were going to use two different water profiles right? Both 100% distilled. One modified with brewing salts and the other with no additions whatsoever?

Dave you have successfully brewed with distilled water? I’m not speaking from experience but I wouldn’t think there would be enough calcium for decent amylase activity. I could see designing a soft water profile along with a hard one for a comparison, but I felt the distilled option would have been outside of anything considered optimal. What would it prove anyway? That you don’[t need to add any salts to get a good brew water? Then why is everyone spending all their time worrying about water profiles? This is a loaded question, and meant to start a little discussion not a criticism of your advice.

Ever heard of a little style called Bohemian pilsner? I can’t speak for the Bohemians in the 21st century, but once upon a time I heard they don’t have much calcium in their water and yet still managed to take the world by storm with this new-fangled light colored lager beer. :wink:

For what it’s worth… when I make a pilsner, I use distilled water, yet I also add just a little calcium. My purpose for this is to help with mash pH, not yeast health, although I suppose that might be a side benefit. I’m not that smart yet. More experiments are needed. Might as well let someone else run the experiments! :wink:

My intuition (and the Bohemians!) tell me that you will still get a delicious beer with 100% distilled water and no added salts. Is my intuition correct? Well, who is to say if we don’t perform experiments!? That is why I said to go ahead and try it. Someday perhaps I will run the same experiment. But my inquiring mind has a long line of other experiments to run before this one…

:cheers:

Last year I brewed a Bohemian Pilsner using (as best I could tell and emulate with my set-up) historical methods. My water is very soft, almost as soft as Pilsen water. Ca = 21 ppm.

I brewed without adding any salts, and used a long acid rest to get the pH in line (my Bicarbonate is 34).

The beer ended up being a bit harsher than I was expecting initially, and it took a long time to clear. But once it did clear, it was fantastic.

Not sure how much of what I experienced was due to water; I also used the Weyermann’s low-modified pilsner malt, did a 4x decoction for the mash, plus a very long boil. So there were a lot of non-standard (for me) things going on.

don’t bother with 100% distilled, the yeast needs the minerals from the water that distilled does not have. You could try 50% tap water and 50% distilled to see how it works with your home water.

sonex- If you are concerned about yeast health when mashing with 100% distilled water then use a little nutrient in the boil.

Of course the Bohemian pils is brewed with soft water, but not distilled water. Brewing with distilled water that you’ve added a little calcium salt to, is not breing with distilled water. I wasn’t suggesting that he not use distilled to build a water profile with. I use RO but thats just because its cheaper. You pretty much start from a clean slate with distilled.

hoppyguy, I might have missed it but where are your bicarbonates coming from?

rebuiltcellars, how long is a “long time” for your BoPils? I would think that you needed all the rests, decoctions and aging with your water to get that great beer. It’s tradition for a reason but I wonder if it all is necessary simply using different water? I’m trying to nail down my own water as well.

I use distilled water for my brewing all the time, and add whatever minerals I need to achieve the proper water chemistry for the style. I don’t know of any other way to hit a target water profile more accurately. Do you? Adding tap water to distilled water may give your mash some necessary minerals, but who knows what else you’ll be getting in there, too? Today’s municipal water can have some pretty godawful scary stuff in it, like arsenic, for one. Unless you have obtained an accurate chemical analysis of your home’s water and you know exactly what’s in it, you’re really just shooting in the dark, don’t you think?

I use distilled water for my brewing all the time, and add whatever minerals I need to achieve the proper water chemistry for the style. I don’t know of any other way to hit a target water profile more accurately. Do you? Adding tap water to distilled water may give your mash some necessary minerals, but who knows what else you’ll be getting in there, too? Today’s municipal water can have some pretty godawful scary stuff in it, like arsenic, for one. Unless you have obtained an accurate chemical analysis of your home’s water and you know exactly what’s in it, you’re really just shooting in the dark, don’t you think?[/quote]

I ment don’t use 100% distilled with no mineral additions. of coarse you can build up a water profile with R.O. and distilled water.

RO from a maintained system is pretty close, in fact distilled can have some organics that RO won’t have.

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