16 April 2014

Water Part 3 - Water and Beer Styles

From the third Brew Strong Water Show. I've been listening to the shows to try to help me understand water, and more importantly, understand the book Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements).

In Texas, the water has high residual alkalinity. So ideally I should brew stouts. I could add gypsum. It's all about the ratio, not the amounts of the minerals. I can dilute my water to brew a pale ale or a helles, but I would probably have to add calcium for good fermentation and yeast health.

After they covered what water works with Czech Pilsner, German Pilsner, Munich Helles, and Dortmunder Export, completely losing me in the process. I mean, I understood the overall picture. The minerals in the water make beers taste maltier, and the hops crisper. I still didn't know how to correct my water.

I opened the Water book and found a table that listed target water for several beer styles. Here's the profile for an IPA:

Bicarbonate  40 ppm
Calcium  50-150 ppm
Alkalinity  40-120
Sulfate  100-400 ppm
Chloride  0-100 ppm

Here's my water:

Bicarbonate  364 ppm
Calcium  83 ppm
Sulfate 35 ppm
Alkalinity 298
Chloride  81 ppm

I put these numbers into John Palmer's Residual Alkaliinity spreadsheet, and hit a brick wall. What did I need to do?

I Googled and found Brewer's Friend Brewing Water Calculator. I played around with it and learned that if I dilute my water 90% with distilled, and add 2g CaCO3, 6g gypsum, 1g CaCl2, and 1g epsom salt, I hit smack dab in the middle of IPA water.

Hmmmmm.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:00

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