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Water for an American Lager

My base tap water is high in alkalinity , HCO3+100, so I’m going to dilute with RO and add salts to get a profile like this:
Ca 50, Mg 9, Na 7, Cl 57, SO4 63, and alkalinity of 34. Am I on the right track here?

And while I’m at it, would that profile be OK for a German Lager? All Pils malt with 10% Munich.

Thanks for comments. :cheers:

i use soft water filtered through a micron filter. if that helps. no idea what the make up is.

I’m in the same boat. Check out THIS
article. It has some good stuff in it.

My alkalinity/bicarb is 138 (Lake Michigan water) and I have been playing with using RO/distilled water and building up. BryanH (who is on this board frequently) has schooled me about bicarbonate and sulfates when it comes to beers in this style. You want them low. Bicarbonate can be 50ppm or lower and some people say the lower the better, including zero. You need calcium so calcium chloride is good because it brings out a softer mouthfeel. I still need to play with it a little bit. My last one was good with nothing added to the RO water except for maybe 4 or 4.5g of CaCl. So the water was “okay” on calcium, high on chloride (which I understand is okay), very low or zero on magnesium, sodium, sulfates and bicarb/alkalinity. I just made a very light colored Oktoberfestbier where I used 5g of CaCl and 2g of CaCO3 in the mash and 100% RO/DI water. It’s in primary so no results yet. I also have a water page on my site (link below) as well as a few blog entries on water (same site, under BLOG). Also, if you do a search here for either “WATER” or my screen name, you may find a lot of water threads because I’ve been looking into it quite a lot. Good luck.

Ps. Quite a few people have said that gypsum is not suitable for beers in this style because it’s calcium sulfate and sulfates are a no-no.

More water stuff:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=105308&hilit=kenlenard viewtopic.php?f=1&t=104384&hilit=+kenlenard

thats probably a little harder than mine and i don’t do anything to my lager water profile.

Ken, Thanks much for the info and links. I made some changes to the water before I brewed yesterday. Had to dodge the rain showers but got it done. I got the sulfates down to 40 and kept the alkalinity down to 30. Should be in the right direction and definitely better than what I have done in the past. Particularly, the CL:SO4 ratio, this time it is reversed (malty instead of bitter). So I’m looking forward to this one getting finished.

For the next lager along the German theme with mostly pils and some munich, I’m going to dilute more with RO to get evrything lower and then bump up the calcium with with CaCl. Should be OK?

Cheers :cheers: and brew on.

Also, when looking at things like EZ_Water where the Cl:SO4 ratio is shown on the screen, I have heard from many people (and learned myself) that this is a bunch of nonsense. There is some validity to it depending on the water and the style shown but it is not something to lose sleep over or continually adjust to get it ‘balanced’. One of my recent beers had a Cl:SO4 ratio of 9.32 (leaning way to the malty side) but it was clearly a step in the right direction. Another beer had a ratio near 20! But when you’re making a style that suffers from too many sulfates, the ratio is not going to be balanced. I was paying too much attention to the ratio when making beers in this style and I was adding things like magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) or calcium sulfate (gypsum) just to get the ratio balanced and I ended up ruining those beers. Eventually I’ll post a water profile that I used to make the perfect gold lager. If this batch comes out nicely for you, please post the exact water mods here or even PM me with it. Beers like this are some of the toughest to nail down and I think water has a lot to do with it… much moreso than a style like pale ales, amber ales, IPAs, etc. Cheers.

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