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Pilsen H2O profile

What is the recommended method to achieve a “healthy” Ca2+ level of 50, without getting the SO4+ and Cl- levels too high?

B-water seems to imply that lower Ca2+ levels are ok if you decoct. I do not plan on decocting though.

Very low or no calcium in your brewing water can be OK. There are a few problems with brewing with low Ca, but they are surmountable. The main thing is that the yeast won’t flocculate as well and you won’t be removing oxalate (beerstone forming stuff) from your wort.

For some yeast, low calcium is desirable.

[quote=“mabrungard”]Very low or no calcium in your brewing water can be OK. There are a few problems with brewing with low Ca, but they are surmountable. The main thing is that the yeast won’t flocculate as well and you won’t be removing oxalate (beerstone forming stuff) from your wort.

For some yeast, low calcium is desirable.[/quote]

Ok, Thank you. I’ve got WY2124.

With a touch of CaSO$ and CaCl added to RO water I can get:
Ca: 21
SO4: 23
Cl: 23

Sound good?

oxalate (beerstone forming stuff) beer stone, well now, I have learned something new, today is going to be good. thanks!

If you decide to go with low calcium brewing water, just be aware that oxalate can cause kidney stones and might promote gout.

Seriously??? So urologists and rheumatologists must make a killing in Germany!

Anxious to read Martin’s Ca article, but remember malt contains Ca, maybe even enough to reduce oxalates in beer. I also think lagering helps too.

Seriously??? So urologists and rheumatologists must make a killing in Germany![/quote]
About 6 times higher rate of kidney stones in Germany than US, in 2000, from what I found. There are a lot of variables, though, so I don’t think you can really blame it on the beer. I don’t know that German breweries use particularly low calcium levels, either. Certainly not Burton water, though.

As far as I know, German brewers are not allowed to add minerals to their brewing water due to the Reinheitsgebot. The waters of Bavaria can be reduced to very low calcium content with pre-boiling.

Doesn’t that bottom out near 40 ppm Ca? or can it drop down near 25 ppm with a Bavarian water profile?

Is it true that German brewers don’t use salts? I thought that there was a Rheinheitsgebot dodge where they couldn’t add salt to a mash, but if they added the salt to water, then just added the water to the mash, they were still within the guidelines.

As to Pilsen, someone told me once that they saw bags of gypsum in the Urquell brewery when they took the tour. I’ve never been able to confirm this or find out how much they (might) add.

[quote=“Slothrob”]
Is it true that German brewers don’t use salts? I thought that there was a Rheinheitsgebot dodge where they couldn’t add salt to a mash, but if they added the salt to water, then just added the water to the mash, they were still within the guidelines.[/quote]
Here’s a quote I found from the Reinheitsgebot (via Ron Pattinson’s Shut Up About Barclay Perkins):
“3.1.3. The brewing liquor, according to the Beer Law, includes every water to be found in nature. A pretreatment for the elimination of iron, of suspended particles or colloids by precipitation and filtration is allowed as is the addition of calcium sulphate and calcium chloride provided that the water does not have a different composition to natural waters. In particular, the neutral reaction must not be changed or varied. The salts mentioned must be added to the water, not to the mash or to the wort. The addition of any inorganic or organic acid is prohibited.”

Very interesting. Thanks for searching that out. I knew that they could perform all sorts of water treatment outside the brew house. The most common treatment used to be lime softening. I expect that most large brewers have moved on to RO or nanofiltration to give them a semi-blank slate for brewing.

With regard to the minimum Ca content you can achieve via boiling: It depends on the starting chemistry, but you can get the Ca content as low as about 12 ppm.

Interesting points made.

I am really most curious about how to go about building the best water profile for a Bo Pils. Should I just go with Ca/SO4/Cl levels all in the range of 20-30? Should I worry too much about trying to get the Ca higher? As stated above, I do not plan on performing a decoction mash. I am going to use approx 90% pils malt, and 10% vienna give or take (open to suggestions). OG ~1.050 and IBU ~40. WY 2124.

Thanks for any suggestions!

I keep hearing that the presense of too much sulfate in a pale beer like this is not acceptable. This may just be AJ DeLange’s angle on it but when I brew a Kolsch, Helles, Pils, Blonde Ale, American Wheat, etc., I only use CaCl to raise the calcium and I dilute the water 50% with distilled which leaves my sulfate level at a lowly 14 or so while my chlorides might be in the 60s or 70s.

AJ’s go-to water recipe is 20 ppm Ca and 35 ppm Cl for his light lagers. That seems reasonable for malt focused styles. The Jever water supply has 75 ppm SO4 and 30 ppm Cl. That is for a nicely bittered and dry G. Pils.

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