Brewing Water Questions

Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:26 pm

I have been listening to Palmer over and over and keep asking myself the same questions. I hate overthinking this shit but good lord there is just so much yip yapping.
1. If I go down the street to my local RO water establishment (we have those all over L.A.), will that be like a blank slate? I'm sure distilled is even more of a fresh start but I don't have a place that sells 12 gallons of distilled water.

2. If I use RO, can't I just put my water in Beersmith and use a preset profile and just add some salts as recommended by beersmith?

I keep hearing people say they just use RO and add some pickling gypsum for an IPA. Any tips from ya'll?
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SoCal Surfer
 
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Re: Brewing Water Questions

Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:42 pm

You can use RO water just like it's distilled. It's not exactly the same, but for our purposes it is surely "close enough".

Gypsum will add dryness to any beer. For IPA, it's pretty much required.

Calcium chloride will accentuate malt flavors, and is recommended in any beer where you want the malt flavors to pop.

These two things do not conflict. If you think you would want both characters in your beer, then add both. Not sure how much to use? Try a tablespoon of each in 5 gallons, it will get you into the ballpark. Then adjust from there on future batches. You can even add salts in your glass or in the keg if you want to experiment. I'd mention Bru'nwater software, but... hopefully you've already heard of that. I don't use it as I have other software that works fine for me.

Cheers.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)
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Re: Brewing Water Questions

Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:08 pm

According to Ward Labs my nearest town, Shreveport, LA, has very good brew water. Low Na, Cl and CO3, and good Mg, Ca and SO4. I have been making good beer with this water since November 2008. But in 2012 I got an itch to take it to the next level. I bought an RO unit, and for the next half year or so I made up my own water profiles, and shot for the ideal APA/IPA profile. For some reason this water never made a brew equal to that of the tap water in Shreveport (soft mouth feel and no finish).

I have a very sincere looking diploma that says I have a degree in Chemistry, so I'm not struggling with a subject out of my depth. I compared my spreadsheet to Palmers. I pored over Brew Kai's website. Finally I asked the head brewer at a local brewery what to do, and he said; "Double the minerals". And I'm like, shit! That's not science!

So I went back to using my local water. It's a tad lower on Ca and SO4 than I like, so I add 3 tsp of gypsum in a 10 gal batch. But I learned a trick: Disperse the gypsum in the grain after you crush it. Otherwise it will pill up in the mash tun and not dissolve.

Charlie
"Yes officer, I know that I smell like beer. I'm not drinking it, I'm wearing it!"
Charlie
 
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Re: Brewing Water Questions

Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:43 pm

Charlie wrote:
I have a very sincere looking diploma that says I have a degree in Chemistry, so I'm not struggling with a subject out of my depth. I compared my spreadsheet to Palmers. I pored over Brew Kai's website. Finally I asked the head brewer at a local brewery what to do, and he said; "Double the minerals". And I'm like, shit! That's not science!

So I went back to using my local water. It's a tad lower on Ca and SO4 than I like, so I add 3 tsp of gypsum in a 10 gal batch. But I learned a trick: Disperse the gypsum in the grain after you crush it. Otherwise it will pill up in the mash tun and not dissolve.

Charlie


I teach chemistry but I have no desire to start titrating my tap water I was hoping to get some RO water and add some salts and acids to make magic happen. Maybe not. I think I will follow your lead and contact my local brewer. They have to know what's going on.
Thanks!
btw my local brewer had a pHD in Chemistry from Cal Tech. I should have started there a long time ago.
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SoCal Surfer
 
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Re: Brewing Water Questions

Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:32 pm

SoCal Surfer wrote:I teach chemistry but I have no desire to start titrating my tap water I was hoping to get some RO water and add some salts and acids to make magic happen. Maybe not. I think I will follow your lead and contact my local brewer. They have to know what's going on.
Thanks!
btw my local brewer had a pHD in Chemistry from Cal Tech. I should have started there a long time ago.


Please let us know how it turns out. I would like to have an answer to this mystery.
"Yes officer, I know that I smell like beer. I'm not drinking it, I'm wearing it!"
Charlie
 
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Location: Stonewall, LA (near scenic Highway 171)

Re: Brewing Water Questions

Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:43 pm

OK. So my Dr. Diego Benitez said, "LA water is terrible, it has a lot of carbonates." After reading about carbonates, that's exactly the weird crappy flavor I was trying to get rid of. I asked my buddy how I get rid of that weird "homebrew" flavor and he had no idea what I was talking about. When I got rid of my ball point pen flavor from my extract and mash-extract batches, I didn't have this problem. I think it was because I used bottled RO water. Anyway I am going to paraphrase what he said because it seems a bit creepy to post his email without his permission.

They use R-O down to 2ppm total dissolved solids and add minerals back. He also gave me 2 recommendations.
1. use purified spring water as is and adjust for mash pH within the ol 5.2-5.4 range with acidulated malt or some type of acid for light beers and sodium bicarbonate for ambers and sodium carbonate for dark beers.

2. Use distilled and built it all back from salts on profile I want to use. and then he listed a bunch of salts that were appropriate for our neck of the woods.

I think contacting him was the best thing I could have done. I am having one of his IPA's right now and it does not have that mineral water feel and it is quite delicious. My friend uses Tasty's water profile and It had too much mineral effect for me. It tastes like ... uh... tonic water with hops.

Now I am in the market for an affordable pH meter. I really don't want to spend 100 bucks. Any ideas?
Socal
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