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BeerTools Discussion Forum • View topic - Understanding my Water Analysis

Understanding my Water Analysis

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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Alt/Water

Postby Legman » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:52 pm

I'm not sure if mine is Durst or Weyermann, but normally I get a lower efficiency. But not today! :D It was only 1.35% lower than usual. So I was pleased with that.

I did notice something today. When I opened the mash tun to vorlof, the wort was very clear. Normally it's rather cloudy. But this time is was crystal clear. I'm not sure if the mineral additions had something to do with it, but it's never looked that way before.

I got the Ca++ up to 48. With everything pretty much in line. :mrgreen:
It was a good brew day.
Tomorrow, English Brown Ale.
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calcium and clarity

Postby slothrob » Sun Mar 15, 2009 4:12 pm

Good deal.

One thing that calcium should do is improve clarity. I'm surprised it showed up as early as the tun, but take it where you get it.
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Adjusting Water per Styles

Postby Legman » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:23 am

After reading multiple articles, posts & Palmer's write up on water, I'm still confused. I get the concepts of what each thing does, I just don't understand how much of each does what. Seems like there are many different thoughts on where each level needs to be.

Even if I'm trying to match, say the water profile of London England. I've seem multiple variations of that same water profile. So which do you choose? :?
I guess I was looking for more of a cut and dry answer, but I don't think I'm going to find that. I want to achieve particular results for each style, but not fully understanding how much, is too much, I'm fearing less than desirable results.

I'm driving myself crazy with this. If it wasn't 6 a.m. , I'd have a homebrew! :shock:
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water for style

Postby slothrob » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:40 am

I've never seen a breakdown that says "for a Porter add 150 ppm Na" or anything like that. Perhaps it's out there. I haven't looked that hard because I figure people make any particular style with a wide range of water.

My approach has been, after first making a lot of beer with my local water, to first correct calcium levels and pH. I've been happy with the results of those beers, so now I've started to adjust flavor ions. At first I've been conservative and aimed for the low-to-mid end, around 100 ppm for most. I believe I've seen improvements with that range. Nothing has been near undrinkable or salty or anything like that.

Eventually, I'll make some with higher amounts to see what I think.
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Re: Adjusting Water per Styles

Postby ColoradoBrewer » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:50 am

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Water sources

Postby Legman » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:55 pm

Yes I realize that the water varies through out the year and that I could never exaclty match a certian water profile. I guess I was just trying to get some guideliness for each style and mineral amounts.

Not having the experience of knowing what really these additions do and to what degree, I'm just not sure what I'm looking at. The things I read, alot of them say stuff about certian levels being too high and having ill effects. But then I look at the water chemisty of say Burton water and it goes against everthing that I'm reading. I know Burton water is probably a pretty extreme example, but you can see what I'm getting at.

This is just like when you first started brewing and you're not sure what or how much of a certain grain will do in the final product. You just have to do it and find out. I guess this will be the same. :|
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Postby GuardianBrew » Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:58 am

Hey guys! Been following these threads for a while and greatly appreciate the info. I figured I should chime in sooner or later, so why not now?

I moved to the Seattle area a little over 2yrs ago, and the water here is from another world from where I learned to brew. My beers all have a very different character to them, and I'm still having a hard time adjusting. Also, I have been getting consistently low efficiency no matter what methods I use.

My water profile is:

PH: 7.8
Calcium: 17ppm
Magnesium: 1ppm
Sodium: 4ppm
Sulfate: 2ppm
Chloride: 4ppm
Bicarbonate: 18ppm

How does this profile seem to look? I've compared it to other cities, and know it's extremely low in minerals compared to just about anywhere. Would this have an effect on my efficiency? And what would these low mineral contents do in the grand scheme of things to the overall beer profile?
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Water

Postby slothrob » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:49 am

It really depends on the types of beer you're making.

I have similar water here in Boston; I think it's somewhat typical of water on the coast, where the soluble minerals have mostly been washed into the sea. It's remarkably similar to the water in Pilz, as well, which makes it nearly ideal for moderately hopped pale lagers or Blond Ales.

Flavor-wise, hoppy beers might lack a little sharpness due to the low sulfate, and malty beers might not have a roundness that comes from higher sodium and chloride concentrations. Dark beers might be a bit harsh or attenuate poorly.

Low calcium and the suboptimal pH that can come from such a low mineral content can have an effect on both efficiency and attenuation. There's a great set of experiments showing the effects of these factors on . The best place to get a good summary of Residual Alkalinity and the effects of ions on flavor is .

All that said, the overwhelming factor on efficiency seems to be the degree of grain crush, so I'd advise looking at that first to deal with low efficiency.
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different water

Postby Legman » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:58 am

More than likely, your low efficiency is caused by pH. If it's not in the ball park, the conversion of the grains will decrease. I'm still lazy about checking my mash pH, due to the fact that I get good results anyways. So I'm assuming in in the right range. The only time I've have low efficiency is when I've done a really dark beer, like porter or stout. And that is because the darker grains lower the pH of the mash, causing it to fall below the optimum range.

For a good while I was using 5.2 pH stabilizer and it did help, but it has it's limits. My water is even more void of minerals than yours. It's extremely soft. But the great thing about it, and yours too, it's easy to add brewing salts to get what you want. Getting them out, is very hard to do.

That being said, and I've only brewed 6 batches adjusting the water, my efficiency has gone up even more. I'm now hitting about 82-83%. :D
Mentioned in this post, is John Palmer's - How to Brew. It's a great source of information. You'll see us refer to it through out this forum. So read this link, and it will explain what the different minerals do and a range where they should be in. http://howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15.html

It's a bit confusing at first, so just take it a little at a time and experiment. Hope this helps. Good luck and let us know your results!
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grain crush

Postby Legman » Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:03 pm

Thanks for adding that Slothrob.
Grain crush does effect the efficiency quite a bit. When I was letting my LHBS mill my grains, my efficiency was all over the place. But since purchasing the Barley Crusher (which freakin' rocks! :mrgreen: ), my efficiency became very stable and predictable.

Slo, we must have been repling to the post at the exact same time. :lol:
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Postby GuardianBrew » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:22 am

Thanks guys! I've read through that John Palmer chapter a few times, but I'm one of those who still doesn't quite "get it." I have worked for a few breweries around here, and from what I remember, none of them modified the water at all. But then again, I wasn't that excited about their beers either. I think I'll run to the brewery down the block (who makes fantastic beer) and talk to the brewer there, and talk to my LHBS for some advice.

As far as the grain crush, the crush at the two homebrew stores that I use seems to be pretty adequate. Right now I'm in an apt and brewing 1gal batches, so investing in a mill doesn't seem practical right now.
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water

Postby slothrob » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:57 am

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Postby GuardianBrew » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:21 pm

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Double crush

Postby slothrob » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:04 pm

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Re: Understanding my Water Analysis

Postby angels45 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:17 pm

I think it was the chemistry of water as of yet and Inot really sure what looking at or what to do with it.



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