Trying the English water treatment approach

(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!
thehaze
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Re: Trying the English water treatment approach

Post by thehaze » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:19 am

Thank you. I am perfectly aware that my point of view and experience are different and skewed by the knowledge I've been gathering up to this point. I am willing to learn, which is why I'm here and I'm willing to test.

I am in the course of brewing a beer at this point. 100% Pilsner. I've used https://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/water.html to reach a profile of 115 ppm Ca, 10 ppm Mg, 10 ppm Na, 100 ppm Cl and 125 ppm SO4. I ddded the amounts of minerals to the mash water + 2.5 ml Phosphoric acid. I mashed in and started the recirculation on my Grainfather. pH sample taken at 30 minutes, cooled down to 20C and measured with a calibrated pH meter. The pH meter said 5.4 ( unfortunately my pH meter only shows one digit ). This was much better than previously experienced. I usually needed 5-7 ml Acid to bring pH down to the same range. The wort cleared nicely during recirculation. The sparge went smoothly.

I will brew a Milk Stout in a few days. A small one, maybe 4.5-4.8% ABV, with lactose, cocoa nibs and vanilla. What is a good mash water profile for such a beer? My purpose with it is to mash high and get a thick, full mouthfeel, with a lower ABV. I am tired of 8-10% ABV stouts and high ABV beers in general, which is why I want sessionable, lower ABV beers, that you can have more than 1 or 2.

Again, thank you for replying and taking the time to read the thread and answering some the questions, that I myself cannot find an answer to.

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Eric
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Re: Trying the English water treatment approach

Post by Eric » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:58 pm

Fine to hear about your brew. With another 50ppm calcium the pH would have been lower or you could have used less phosphoric acid for the same reading. Extra calcium would have brought with it more sulphate and or chloride which would also have an influence on the beers flavours. It will be interesting to learn how your beer turns out.

For a milk stout, or almost any stout, clarity isn't so important meaning one can be made with less calcium, but that doesn't mean such a beer will be as good as one made with more calcium. But the first problem you face is a shortage of alkalinity in the mash. Do you have any idea how alkaline you well water might be? It would make sense if you were able to uses some water from your well to provide the alkalinity. Extra alkalinity will not be necessary for the sparge liquor as the liquor you posted has sufficient for that purpose. If you well water is really hard I would guess that using it to make something like a third or a quarter of your mash liquor would provide adequate alkalinity for this sort of brew.

You will need lots of chloride and only a little sulphate in the liquor for your milk stout.

My beers are usually about 4% ABV and only very rarely more than 5%. That's another difference between beers in US and UK. About a year ago I brewed a beer of just 1.2%, but that was too weak.

Hope the brew went well.
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thehaze
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Re: Trying the English water treatment approach

Post by thehaze » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:48 am

Fermentation for the first and second ones started just a few hours after moving them to the fermenter. ( lagers sitting at around 16C )

I am now mashing the Milk Stout and the mash pH landed at 5.4 after 15 minutes, which is OK. I went with around 75 ppm SO4 and 175 ppm CaCl2, with 125 ppm Ca, 10 ppm Mg and probably more than 50 ppm of Na through additions of both CaCl2 and baking Soda ( only 2.5 gr ).

All in all, I am definitely happy with how the whole mash pH and chemistry went, using a bit more minerals than I used to.

I will say one thing: I've noticed right from the first use of Bru'N'Water, that it's prediction ( and yes, I know they are predictions, so I'm not being mean or anything ) for dark beers was a bit off, in terms of raising the pH back and predicting the actual mash pH when using dark and crystal malts. It always said you would far more baking soda to raise the pH and always had the pH wrong. I remember doing a hoppy Dark Lager, with only Pilsner malt, and a combo of Chocolate Wheat and Roasted Rye and the pH dropped at 5.3 ( possibly closer to 5.4 ) without any acid / baking soda added. That for me was a very smooth mash, with the chemistry taking care of its self.

I will make sure to post results when ready.

thehaze
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Re: Trying the English water treatment approach

Post by thehaze » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:57 pm

Just wanted to leave some feedback: so the last 5 beers I brewed, were brewed using a different approach, and I did like the results very much.

So this year I will be continuing with the same. One of the 6 beers I will soon brew will be a sort of a hoppy saison: 90% Bestmalz Pilsner + 10% Bestmalz Chit. Around 35 IBUs from a combo of Motueka, Taiheke and Wai-Iti. No dry hopping this time, as I want the saison part to be there. As for the water in the mash, I was thinking something like around 150 ppm Cl / 250 ppm SO4 / 10 ppm Mg / 15 ppm Na and whatever Ca is there, most likely something like 150-170 ppm. Mash pH should land at 5.4, whcih for me would be perfect.

What do you think? Would that water profile work for this particular saison?

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Eric
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Re: Trying the English water treatment approach

Post by Eric » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:08 pm

thehaze wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:57 pm
Just wanted to leave some feedback: so the last 5 beers I brewed, were brewed using a different approach, and I did like the results very much.

So this year I will be continuing with the same. One of the 6 beers I will soon brew will be a sort of a hoppy saison: 90% Bestmalz Pilsner + 10% Bestmalz Chit. Around 35 IBUs from a combo of Motueka, Taiheke and Wai-Iti. No dry hopping this time, as I want the saison part to be there. As for the water in the mash, I was thinking something like around 150 ppm Cl / 250 ppm SO4 / 10 ppm Mg / 15 ppm Na and whatever Ca is there, most likely something like 150-170 ppm. Mash pH should land at 5.4, whcih for me would be perfect.

What do you think? Would that water profile work for this particular saison?
Thanks for the update, all was very good to read. Go with that water profile, choose your yeast with care.
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thehaze
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Re: Trying the English water treatment approach

Post by thehaze » Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:21 pm

Another update, just if anyone would be interested. I really liked how my beers changed - for the better and of course for my personal taste - using more minerals in the mash. I noticed a tendency for the beers to clear up more than before, even those styles where more hops were used and the yeast wasn't the best at flocculating and with poor sedimentation in the bottle. I assume is partly due to more Ca in the mash. I just wanted to say that it is a welcome result.

I will be brewing 8 more beers in the next 30 days or so. Some Farmhouse Ales, Kolsch, Golden Ales, a dark one and a pale Bitter. These batches will be brewed using German grown hops: Cascade, Comet, Centennial, Chinook, Amarillo and Brewers Gold - all crop 2019, as part of an experiment, and also because the price was very good. All beers will be treated properly just as last time. The mash water profile will look something like this:

Ca: 200 ppm / Mg: 10 ppm / Na: 15 ppm / Cl: 150 ppm / SO4: 300 ppm - shooting for a mash pH of 5.4, more or less, but definitely less if I had to adjust it further. I am looking forward to these brews and sharing my thoughts after ramping up the SO4 in the water and subsequently, Ca.

Cheers.

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Eric
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Re: Trying the English water treatment approach

Post by Eric » Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:14 pm

thehaze wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:21 pm
Another update, just if anyone would be interested. I really liked how my beers changed - for the better and of course for my personal taste - using more minerals in the mash. I noticed a tendency for the beers to clear up more than before, even those styles where more hops were used and the yeast wasn't the best at flocculating and with poor sedimentation in the bottle. I assume is partly due to more Ca in the mash. I just wanted to say that it is a welcome result.

I will be brewing 8 more beers in the next 30 days or so. Some Farmhouse Ales, Kolsch, Golden Ales, a dark one and a pale Bitter. These batches will be brewed using German grown hops: Cascade, Comet, Centennial, Chinook, Amarillo and Brewers Gold - all crop 2019, as part of an experiment, and also because the price was very good. All beers will be treated properly just as last time. The mash water profile will look something like this:

Ca: 200 ppm / Mg: 10 ppm / Na: 15 ppm / Cl: 150 ppm / SO4: 300 ppm - shooting for a mash pH of 5.4, more or less, but definitely less if I had to adjust it further. I am looking forward to these brews and sharing my thoughts after ramping up the SO4 in the water and subsequently, Ca.

Cheers.
Of course we are always interested in any information of progress.

Calcium is vastly important for many aspects of brewing, but clarity is probably the most immediately noticable change. A great deal of the calcium you add is lost in the mash and boil, depositing with matter that form hazes and other unwanted products. It also helps many yeasts to flocculate better, although at times we seem to be in a phase where non-flocculating types are in demand to cloud beers that could otherwise be clear.

Pleased to learn of your achievements.
Without patience, life becomes difficult and the sooner it's finished, the better.

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