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Subject: Water adjustment
Author: Liquidplacebo
Aug 6th, 2012
1:18 pm
How many of you adjust your water? The most I have done is add 5.2 stabilizer to my mash. Just curious who does anything and who doesn't.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: brewboy_BB
Aug 6th, 2012
1:20 pm
I've played with some additions, but I really couldn't tell much difference in the beer. Now that I have a true lab report, I need to try it again.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: route66pubs
Aug 6th, 2012
2:31 pm
I've added a few water hardeners, mostly into porters and stouts. Of course I use a clarifier in each and every brew.

I did get a water report for my area once. But once I put it through the filter it changes that chemistry anyway. I may mess with it a little bit more in the future, but for now I have not seen much need aside from, as I said, porters and stouts.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: MadBrewer
Aug 6th, 2012
3:05 pm
I build my water for every batch from RO water now and what I shoot for is to get within range for what I'm shooting for...example a water profile for a malty brown Ale or a Amber colored balanced Pale Ale. For the most part what I'm concerned about is mash ph, getting the alkalinity for the SRM range of the beer and bicarbonate level which varies by style as well as the sulfate to chloride ratio. Getting a good amount of calcium for yeast heath and beer clarity...all the additions work together to bring a certain profile to the water which will gear towards what you want...as in malty, balanced, bitter all within an SRM range.

I wish I started it when I first started all grain brewing. My water as is from the tap is geared for Bitter Ales in a Amber color range. This is why all of my Pale Ales and English Bitters came out great. Use that same water for something like an Oatmeal Stout or a rich Brown Ale and the beer just ain't right from what I have experienced. I'm not claiming to know all about it, but I got a good understanding of it after some time now playing around and doing research. Enough to get me in the ballpark for what I want from the beer. To route66...what kind of filtering are you doing? If it's just plain carbon filtering your tap, that alone doesn't change the mineral profile I don't belive...if it does it's not much. The filtering removes chlorine, chlormines, odor and sediment.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: DConn
Aug 6th, 2012
3:17 pm
I adjust for light or dark colored beers. For medium (amber) colors, my water is fine and I don't need to do anything.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: BryansBrew
Aug 6th, 2012
3:19 pm
Depends on the style for me.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: brewboy_BB
Aug 6th, 2012
3:25 pm
If you're water tastes/smells good and you're getting good beer, my suggestion is to leave it alone. Screwing with it just because a few other people do, is not a good enough reason, IMO.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: TullyMountain
Aug 6th, 2012
3:30 pm
When I first started out, I thought it about, read about it a lot, and worried about it.
Never actually did anything about it though.

...and then I realized: All my beers are coming out awesome!!! any style is great, better than commercially produced beer.

So I stopped thinking about the water.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: brewboy_BB
Aug 6th, 2012
3:31 pm
Relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: TullyMountain
Aug 6th, 2012
3:32 pm
amen BB.

Unless you have a problem that needs correcting
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: brewboy_BB
Aug 6th, 2012
3:36 pm
There are many on here that have problems that need correcting, but that's for another thread.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: TullyMountain
Aug 6th, 2012
3:37 pm
lol
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: DConn
Aug 6th, 2012
3:49 pm
I thought my light and dark beers were pretty good so I tried the adjustments to see if they could be better. Sure enough, it worked. But I do the least amount of treatment I can get away with. On a few batches I went over the top with it and it definitely wasn't good. Cutting back to minimal amounts made a big difference. So, it might be worth trying to see if it works for you. If it doesn't, or you can't tell a difference, you can always go back to not treating. You won't really know til you try.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: MadBrewer
Aug 6th, 2012
4:43 pm
The thing is brewers have to know what they are working with. You need to find out the profile of your brewing water. If your water is great gor brewing that's awesome but everybodys water is different. Mine isn't so great for most of the beers I brew. But as mentioned you wont know until you do research and try it for yourself. It all depends on what you are brewing and what you are working with to start.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: TullyMountain
Aug 6th, 2012
4:46 pm
I hear ya, Mad.
If I ever have a problem where my beers, both dark and light aren't quite awesome enough, I will look into it.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: MadBrewer
Aug 6th, 2012
4:49 pm
You can always try for awesome-er.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: TullyMountain
Aug 6th, 2012
4:52 pm
I guess having the awesome-liest beer might be an admirable goal!
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: MadBrewer
Aug 6th, 2012
5:22 pm
Well I have heard some around here strive for the shittiest beers, or so they say.

Of course it takes more than the water to brew decent beers, but if a couple small additions help it along for the better I'm all in. I hate to sound like I'm preaching in the forums, hard to hear someone's point in text format. It works for me, I guess that's all can add, and try to help.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: Oly
Aug 6th, 2012
5:54 pm
My tap water has < 10ppm of any of the brewing minerals. In particular I need more Ca (~60ppm) so I add minerals to achieve the required Ca. While doing that, I balance the SO4/Cl ratio for the particular beer, and try to target appropriate mash pH. But I use the least additions I can get away with.

I don't make a lot of dark beers, but I do think my IPAs benefit from the additions. One thing that noticably improved is fermentations, the FG I achieve now are very predictable (based on the yeast strain and grainbill/mashtemp, the FGs are more consistent & predictable).
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: route66pubs
Aug 7th, 2012
2:25 pm
@ Mad - I'm doing it the old-fashioned Brita pitcher carbon filtering way. (Yes, one pitcher at a time starting the day before I brew!) I'm in the Northeast Los Angeles area and have checked the water profile here a while back. There was nothing that stood out at me as problematic at that time. There were a couple of minor issues which I don't even remember at this time, but it was my understanding that using the carbon filter took care of those specific concerns. I would have to go back and find that information again to determine what they were.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: JimRod
Aug 7th, 2012
3:56 pm
route66....no no no....filtering your water is good and I recommend it but you need to correct for high and out of balance minerals.

I've lived and brewed in LA for many years and that water is terrible, very hard, Very high sulfate over 220 ppm, high chlorides over 100 ppm, very high Bicarbonates. .....At the very least you need to cut your water with distilled or RO on all your light colored beers.

Do yourself a favor and download and learn "Bru'n Water" to help you balance and/or correct some of the high ion content of your water. You can make you beers taste "bright" when you want, or distinctively bitter if you want, or add an exclamation mark on a malty Oktoberfest, or just remove that muttled after taste that lays on the roof of your mouth long after the beer is finished.

Get a water report. All LA water is not the same they are served by a couple of water sources. You can probably find it online or just call them and they will send it to you. Or send a sample to Ward Labs to get an independent analysis. Do not trust previously published reports found in some water programs, they are years and years old and I have found very inaccurate.

Many brewers start with pretty good water and they think the whole water chemistry is for the birds. I know we need to treat for many styles of beer.

Or you can do what they did in the old days which was to just brew the kind of beer that your water can make.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: mpbrewer
Aug 7th, 2012
10:05 pm
i started checking my water 4 times a year, towards middle of each season. there actually is a difference. i can brew without any water adjustments or slight gypsum additions for all light srm beer styles. once the beer color gets past amber i begin to get off flavors if i do not adjust. i live in marin and it is easy to get the water data from the water district, but their report do not account for your plumbing and/or hoses so i send in a sample from the tap seasonally. if i only brewed pales, ipas, kolsch, etc. i think i would be fine winging it with gypsum and/or pickling lime but, i break out the water calc for the darker shades of beer.

to each their own, but i think its worthwhile

Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: brewboy_BB
Aug 7th, 2012
10:35 pm
I may have to dust off my EZ Water program.
Subject: Re: Water adjustment
Author: folly
Aug 8th, 2012
12:58 am
So far my water adjustments are to add 2gal of distilled to my tap water when I make light beers. I'm in OKC and the water works well so far. I haven't gotten a real water report, but my light beers are better when I cut the tap water a little. I do have a couple of spreadsheets and I'm doing the research on the chemistry behind the additions, but I haven't tried it yet.

If you've already gotten the rest of the processes down, then unless your water is horrible, it really is an extra step, and not necessary for good beer.

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