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Water Questions

So I continued reading How To Brew (online) and got to the water part. I believe I understand this fairly well. It’s the mashing jargon that gets a little deep for me.

I’ve been doing partial mash/partial boils for maybe a year (BIAB), and because I didn’t understand water as I hadn’t read much about it and so I had just bought RO water to dilute what I knew to be somewhat hard water. So for a dark beer I used 1 gal and for lighter beers I used 2 gals.

Recently I received an extra 5 lbs of 2-row as an error was made, and so I figured I’d try my hand at my first all-grain beer (amber).

According to my water report:
Ca 38
Mg 21
SO 25
Na 22
Cl 37
HCO 192

For my all-grain amber I will dilute my water by 1/3 with distilled Ozarka water. And if I understand this correctly I’ll be adding 2.5 g gypsum, 2 gal calcium chloride, 0.5 g epsom salt, and 1 g of canning salt, which would give me:

Ca 75
Mg 16
SO 87
Na 32
Cl 94
HCO 129

My recipe is (5 gal partial boil):

5 lbs 2-row
3/4 lb honey (FO)
1 lb victory
3/4 lb crystal 40
3/4 lb crystal 75
1/2 lb soft white wheat berries
1/2 lb carapils

3/4 oz Perle @ 60/20 mins
1/2 oz Perle @ 5 mins


5.3% ABV
35 IBU’s
13 SRM

I have a 5 gal pot, and boil 4 gals ending in about 3 after an hour boil. I know I need to treat my strike and sparge water, but do I need to treat my top off water as well?

And then there is my 6 gal partial mash/partial boil (and a small test pale and brown)…

For this I intend to dilute my filtered tap water with 3/4 distilled water to bring down the bicarbonate. Then adding 5 g gypsum, 1.5 g calcium chloride, 3 g epsom salt, 4 g canning salt to give me:

Ca 79
Mg 18
SO 180
Na 75
Cl 147
HCO 48

That diluted profile looks fine excepting that you will have to neutralize the remaining alkalinity (bicarb) in the mashing and sparging water. You will almost certainly have an undesirably high mash pH and possibly extract tannins and silicates from the grain.

Visit the Water Knowledge page on the Bru’n Water site to learn more about alkalinity reduction and acidification. Bru’n Water software has the tools to assist you in figuring how much acid to add to each water.

Your second attempt still does not resolve the too high bicarb content. In addition, the chloride level is at least 2 times too high.

I’ll check it out. Thanks!

Does my top off water also need to be dealt with? I wonder as extract kits don’t seem to matter.

By diluting it (IPA) with 3/4 distilled water should drop it (bicarb) down quite a bit, no?

personally I think the bi carb(hco) is fine at 129. you should try it and take a mash PH check. the SO looks high to what I brew with, it needs to be about 40-70 imo. not 180. I would just put 1.5 grams of canning salt.

I agree that using a water with 129 ppm bicarb is OK for a starting point. There isn’t much need to dilute the bicarb any further. Adding acid to neutralize that level of bicarb in the mashing and sparging water is no big deal. Even when using lactic acid, the flavor is not going to be apparent. If you are a supertaster and can taste that level of lactic, then move to phosphoric acid.

Yes it will. brunwater will tell you exactly how much. It’s a great tool. A bit intimidating at first but read the instructions and the water knowledge.

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