Brewing water profiles

(That's water to the rest of us!) Beer is about 95% water, so if you want to discuss water treatment, filtering etc this is the place to do it!
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timtoos
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Brewing water profiles

Post by timtoos » Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:58 am

Hi all,

I am looking to do a chocolate stout and wanted to replicate a London water profile.

What I'm confused about is the profile itself. The beersmith profile is different to Brewersfriend which in turn is different to the many other website opinions. Which profile should I use? Beersmith, Brewers friend, other????

Other profiles such as Burton are similar. How come the London profile is not consistent across the board? I realise that London must have lots of differing water inlets but thought there must be a standard London profile to use.

Cheers

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orlando
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by orlando » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:28 pm

Agh water profiles. An old chestnut that I'm sure a lot of guys on here will pour cold water on, if you pardon the pun. There is broadly some weight that can be given to certain city's having a "type" of water that lends itself to certain styles, contrast the "soft" water of Pilsen and that of say Dublin and the beers that result from it. That is not the same as getting an analysis of that city's water and brewing with that and away you go. It is not fully understood what additional water treatment any given brewery would make to its water as is. It's my view that in order to simplify your task of taking your tap water and making a "style" of beer like a Stout, you should aim for something that suits dark beers rather than trying to bend it to some mythical city's ideal profile.

So what would I shoot for?

Alkalinity of mash 150, sparge water closer to 20-30.

Calcium: 140-150

Sulphate: 100

Chloride: 300

Best tip is to have a proper brewers analysis of your water before you even start down this road (pm Wallybrew), get an Alkalinity test kit (Salifert) but first of all brew with your water as is so you can have something to judge any changes by.
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BrannigansLove
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by BrannigansLove » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:53 pm

What are you hoping to achieve from adjusting your water profile to a "London" one? Is it simply because they historically made a lot of dark beers there?

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Eric
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by Eric » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:28 pm

London profiles did vary significantly. With a layer of clay on top, some wells never got to the chalk beneath and some that did had quite a lot of salt thought to be from Thames tidal waters.

This is the sort of earth they had to dril through.

Image

And what they might find.
Image

As said, you probably might not want to brew with an original profile, they were what they had, not what is necessarily most suitable.
Without patience, life becomes difficult and the sooner it's finished, the better.

timtoos
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by timtoos » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:17 pm

Thats a really interesting read.

Yes I thought a traditional London water profile would be best for the chic stout but like whats just pointed out it may not be the best going down the total traditional route.

Have you guys tried the beersmith in-builtwater profile? If so what were your findings?

This is the profile that beer smith give.
Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 19.15.55.png
Brewers friend has the following london profile:
Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl- SO4-2 HCO
100 5 35 60 50 265

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Dennis King
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by Dennis King » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:33 pm

Have you guys tried the beersmith in-builtwater profile? If so what were your findings?

A few people have said on here and other forums some American sites/authors tend go for a lot lower mineral levels for UK styles than we actually use in the UK. Hopefully someone with more knowledge than me will clarify.

timtoos
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by timtoos » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:58 pm

No not tried as its just another water profile which is different. The screen dump I posted is the beer smith profile.

Im totally confused about a good suitable London profile - all sources seem to be different - so using one which would prove suitable is either trial and error (which as I brew on limited time) is something I can't do.

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Goulders
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by Goulders » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:21 pm

You don't need a "London Profile" as per Beersmith. I use BS for building a recipe, but I would never use it for water.
What is your own water profile? If you live in a "hard" water area your water may be suitable. But you wouldn't go far wrong with the "profile" suggested by Orlando

timtoos
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by timtoos » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:41 pm

I use a braumeister to brew - and I don't sparge - full volume mashing - its basically a BIAB.

The question I have is if I top up (require to) my BM to boil volume do I use water made up to the required water profile (including chalk) or just top up with tap water? Is the water profile only required for the mash or top up too?

Is alkalinity also known as Bicarbonate HCO3?

PS my water is very very soft.

Cheers

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Eric
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by Eric » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:04 am

I think you might be assuming the authors of those programmes are as expert in brewing as they might be in writing software.
Probably not the best assumption to make.
Without patience, life becomes difficult and the sooner it's finished, the better.

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Eric
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by Eric » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:15 am

I'm sorry if my previous posting is thought offensive, but why would you seriously want to follow any advice about water profiles from a country that doesn't and never has had one of notoriety or merit with which to have any possible experience or market testing?

I think some basic reading might help you more.
Without patience, life becomes difficult and the sooner it's finished, the better.

Dave S
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by Dave S » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:09 pm

As others have said, don't waste time trying to match your water to a particular locality. And as Eric pointed out, it's what they had, not necessarily what was best for the ale they were brewing. We don't know what they might have added to it to brew their beer. Think more about how it should be for the beer you are intending to brew.
Best wishes

Dave

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BenB
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by BenB » Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:46 pm

The other thing to remember is that nowadays "London" water comes from loads of different places depending on where in London it is- mine comes from Northampton (I think!).

Even when you go back to when it was more often well water the wells have changed. Many of the breweries are near the Thames. Initially they used quite shallow wells. Then as the Thames got more and more polluted the wells got equally full of rubbish. End result was deeper wells (sometimes new wells further away from the Thames).

So even if you assume "London water" is based upon Fullers water that's varied massively as deeper wells were cut. As Eric says we have shed load of clay for quite a depth so a shallow well will be fairly soft with sodium from the tidal Thames (allegedly). Later wells were through into chalk and pretty minerally.

I've got texts from the 17th Century in which brewers used different types of water (river vs well) and modified water for brewing. I just don't buy the notion that brewers only chose what to brew on what works with their water (and vice versa). Look at Munich- Helles and Oktoberfest have quite different requirements but come from the same place. City water profiles are IMHO BS and a distraction.
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Kyle_T
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Re: Brewing water profiles

Post by Kyle_T » Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:55 pm

Out of sheer laziness I have barely scraped the surface of water treatment and mostly just stuck to my basic tap water...sometimes I lower the Alkalinity but as I brew mostly porter at the minute I tend not to bother.

My water is:

Calcium ~100
Sulphate ~60
Chloride ~70
Alkalinity ~200
Sodium ~ 20

And everything else is fairly low. The rest is down to ingredient selection for my porters and the occasional stout.
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