Reversing Sulfate : Chloride Ratio in IPA

I was reading about some brewers experimenting with high amounts of chloride (150-200ppm) and low amounts of sulfate (75-100) in east-coast IPAs, focusing on late hop additions and a smooth, richer mouthfeel than the ultra-dry west-coast IPAs. The idea is to reduce the harshness and mineral character that large amounts of gypsum provide.

Anyone try this and have any feedback? I’m tempted to try it out on an all-Centennial IPA I’ll be making in the next couple of weeks.

I have not tried it, but I have tried a lot of beers that use the technique. IMO, they weren’t very good, but that’s subjective. The flavor was very muted.

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Interesting, thanks! That’s kind of what I would expect, but not having tried it myself wanted to see other people’s experiences. I may still try it, but might increase total amount of hops considerably (won’t last forever in the freezer anyways!)

Based on what I know and have tasted, more hops will only make a bigger impact on flavor, not bitterness.

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Makes perfect sense to me since pushing the sulfates up definitely highlights the bitterness. Having said that it sounds like something I may try on a batch soon too. I wonder what impact, if any, it would have on aroma? I really prefer more flavor and aroma over just sharp bitterness. When I got the sulfates up in the 300 range it was too bitter and drying for me. Last few I’ve tried to keep it closer to 200.

Ratios are a load of crap. If you want to accentuate malt, use a lot of chloride. If you want to accentuate bitterness, use sulfate. If you want both, use both. If you don’t care, use neither. That’s it!


Well I picked up an AG dead ringer kit a few months back when they were on sale for $20 each, and I think I’ll play around with it this weekend. I’ll probably move the late hop additions to a 30-minute whirlpool at 180F and bump them up by an ounce or two, and reduce bittering charge to 1/2oz FWH. Or just leave the bittering charge out entirely. That should keep the overall IBU the same as the original while preserving as much aroma and flavor as possible.

Finished water profile will be Calcium 122, Magnesium 15, Sodium 50, Sulfate 75, Chloride 150, and mash/sparge pH 5.3.

This will get fermented with a large starter of TYB Lochristi brett, and I’ll toss in at least 2oz dry hops just as fermentation slows down. I’ve had really good luck with using brett to minimize the degradation of hop flavor and aroma from oxidation, so here’s hoping for something that will last more than a month…

I agree Dave. I found my best PA/IPA using Bru’n water simply by the good ol’ SRM (yellow hoppy, Amber hoppy, etc).

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I guess what I meant by “ratio” is a 50,000-foot view of brewing with low sulfate and high chloride, versus high sulfate and low chloride. Not the much-maligned “SO4/Cl” ratio, which I agree, is kind of a pointless measure for brewing.

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Ended up brewing this on this past Saturday. I adjusted the mash and sparge water with only calcium chloride and gypsum, so it ended up with calcium at 160 and sodium at only 3ppm. The wort was brilliantly clear going into the fermenter, even with all the flameout hops. Gave it a good 60 seconds of oxygen, a large slug of brett slurry, and it was already chugging away last night about 28 hours after pitching. Good quick start for an all-brett beer!

Forgot to update this thread. This past weekend I dry hopped this beer in primary, but I pulled a sample to check gravity (ok, really just to taste). Gravity went from 1.063 to 1.007, so it didn’t quite dry out as much as I expected it would with a brett primary. No complaints, though! The hydro sample was really nice - I have to say, it was remarkably smooth with a decent hop presence. But I’ll be damned if it wasn’t awfully cloudy! Not added-flour-to-the-boil cloudy (why oh why would a self-respecting brewery do that???), but it was quite hazy. I’ll withhold judgement on that, because brettanomyces does not floc well, but yeah, really cloudy.

That being said, I think I’m happy with this beer so far! And 4oz centennial in a dry hop is going to be awfully happy…

Would you suspect a high AA hop to bring in more aroma than lets say, cascade fer dry hopping? I may be wrong but was under the impression AA brings bitterness, BA is where the floral aroma comes from… Correct me ifn i’m out of line… Sneezles61

I really don’t know, but I’m not aware of a relationship between aromatics and alpha or beta acids… I believe they’re different compounds. But I could be completely wrong there.

Nope, you’re correct.