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Water chemistry goals

Hi,

I’m new to the forum and have been an all grain brewer for about a year.

I’m trying to get a handle on water chemistry. Have read some good book chapters (Palmer) about the issue and am aware of some very helpful software to assist creating the water profile you desire. Also have obtained water analysis for my brew water. I am able to measure mash PH.

For me the missing piece of the puzzle is how to determine what you would like your brew water profile to be. I know that this profile will change depending on the type of beer you are making, but I would very much appreciate opinions about what your desired water profiles would look like and why? My most recently brewed beer was a belgian tripel, so that might be a good beer type to discuss as an example of desired water chemistry.

Very appreciated
Kent

I personally shoot for the SRM in regards to water profile. For example a blonde ale I’ll shoot for a blonde balanced profile, balancing SO4:Cl. For an IPA, depending on the color, I’ll shoot for a Amber hoppy profile and raise the SO4 level. For malty lower SO4 and raise the Cl.

Some choose to use “local” profiles in regards to the region of the style. I warn that even back in the days Brewers understood some form of water and altered it in someway, even as simple as boiling the water.

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This is where the brewer gets to test the waters… You could try, just adding either the SO4, gypsum, or CaCl to an already brewed beer to see what is going on… How does the chemicals change it up… When you brew, do you adjust water to a known pH, then add the grist? Why not do one gallon batches to see what you want it to taste like… I know, its alot of effort, but, isn’t that how it happens to evolve? Do one with balanced additions, then one all SO4 and one all CaCl…on an IPA, then on a blonde ale… You’re asking a question that you have to find with your palate… Not shutting you down, rather telling you, you’ll find your answer… Sneezles61

I’ve been using Bru’n water to attempt better brewing with grains. Bru’n water cautions against going with strict water profiles of the location of a brewery since there are few records of how the brewers treated the local water for brewing.

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I’ve used Brunwater for about 4 years now, and absolutely agree with flars and loopie. When I 1st started I would try and match the ‘water profile’ from the city of origin of the style I was brewing. After reading lots of posts from some very smart and trustworthy folks (including Martin), I don’t bother now. I just use the color descriptions- ie. yellow bitter, yellow malty, brown malty etc. I may add a little more CaCl2 or CaSO4 based on how previous beers have turned out, but mostly stick with the basics.

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So I don’t think the OP said he was using Brunwater. Having said that I agree with the guys above that it’s the best tool available.

As to helping you create a profile outside of brunwater, it would take knowledge of your tap water analysis as well as the grain bill you plan on using. Grains will buffer your water, affecting the pH without any additional help in some cases but it all depends on the types of grain you’re using in the particular recipe. There’s no one size fits all. If there were maybe some of the magic pH powders on the market would actually work.

All that is to say that you need to plan your water additions based on the grain bill and your specific tap water profile. WIthout knowing more about your water and the grain bill we really can’t even tell you what “salts” you should have on hand.

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Thanks for the information. Super helpful.

Kent

Well, I’m brewing today… I thought I’d try citric acid for pH adjustment to my strike water… So I put 1 table spoon in… pH went down to 4.0!! I ended up dumping out 10 gallons and adding to get back to my 13 gallon needs… Then my pH was at 5.8… After adding the grist, I ended up at 5.3… Plus an extra1-1/2 hours … I tasted the water and couldn’t tell there was any citric acid (think of sweet tarts)… Sneezles61

Sneezles61

Thanks for sharing the citric acid adventure. I would have never guessed a small amount of Citric acid would drop 10 gallons of water to a ph of 4. Hope the batch turned out after the water dilution that followed.

Kent

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Alls OK… Well haven’t taken a sample and tasted yet… In another day or so… Sneezles61

What % was the citric acid? Why 1 tablespoon?

pH of my water is 8.1… I put 1… to 1-1/2 tablespoon of Lactic/ phosphoric acid… Also, I haven’t tried citric acid, and as I had some… I like to tinker… It doesn’t say the mixture%… So in defense of my thinnin’, I really didn’t think it would do that much adjustment! … Sum up the story… I learned…:sunglasses: Sneezles61

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