Author Topic: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?  (Read 9720 times)

Offline Wildrover

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Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« on: September 04, 2009, 08:57:25 AM »
I was thinking Burton might be the way to go but want some feedback/reassurance first?

thanks

WR

Offline stadelman

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2009, 01:11:02 PM »
An American Pale Ale should have an SRM of between 5 and 14.

So, you'd want to aim for a residual alkalinity of between -61 and 107 depending on the actual SRM and a Chloride to Sulfate Ratio that balances toward Sulfate to bring out the hops.

My (little) understanding of water chemistry comes almost entirely from John Palmer's explanation of residual alkalinity and the spreadsheet that he's provided to work through this.

Here's a link to the page where this can be found...
http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-3.html

If you're not familiar with this and have some questions let me know, I'd be glad to help.

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2009, 07:16:09 PM »
+1 on all of it.  I just brewed a blonde ale and have been struggling with the hops/bittering aspect of beers. 

I wanted to use all Glacier to kill a package, so I spread 1.5 oz around to get like 33 IBUs, slightly high for a blonde, which is supposed to be malt-leaning.  So I made sure the Chloride-to-Sulfate ratio was Balanced per the Palmer sheet, and it's amazing.  The hops are right on edge, but the beer is quite malty for a 1.052 OG. 

The other nice point on Palmer's sheet is that it gives recommended minimums for each mineral like calcium.  My water is very low-mineral so I have to add everything to meet those minimums. 

Offline switzead

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2009, 08:08:13 PM »
I liek to start at 0's by using RO water and add the minerals needed to get to where I want.  I think Burton's is a good water profile for Bitters and IPA's but not for APA's.  The Palmer reference above is the best and easiest to understand when it comes to water chemistry.  Read the Palmer book, use his spreadsheet try to make a very soft water similar to the Seattle WA profile in BeerSmith.  I am also glad to help you out with the spreadsheet if you need it.

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2009, 08:39:07 PM »
I appreciate the input from everyone.  Actually, I was making a summit extra pale clone and since they are brewed in St. Paul MN and I know they use the municipal water there, I found St. Paul's water profile online and compared it to my own and made the adjustments from there.  I use the water witch found on BYO because it will tell you exactly what you need to add to get where you need to be.

I'll let you know how it turned out when I drink it, its fermenting as we speak

Offline stadelman

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2009, 08:38:33 AM »
We toured Summit Brewery a few weeks ago.  Great brewery!  According to the tour guide, they do indeed use St. Paul Municipal water.  They may very well adjust that water, so shooting for that water may get you close, or maybe not.

Aiming for water from a specific region may get you water from that region, but it also gets you the same issues that brewers in that region struggle with.  Building Burton on Trent water for an IPA may sound like a great idea, but it's my understanding that brewers in that area struggle with their water and heavily modify it at times.


Offline stevemwazup

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2009, 02:45:16 PM »
    Great topic.
Thanks for the link to the Water Witch. What a great program.

I'm going to dial in the numbers from my local water report, with the recommended numbers for an IPA, and brew it up.
Thanks again guys.
stevemwazup

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 05:38:37 PM »
stadleman,

You might be right about them treating it or not.  I'm not sure, one of the guys at Midwest Brewing Supply told me that's what they use when I called them with some questions.  He suggested I shoot for that since he says they do indeed use the municipal water.  Whether or not they treat it?  Who knows but I figured I'd go with the information that I have since its better than no information at all.  As far as the Burton on Trent water and all the differing water sources around the world my bet is that most commerical breweries treat their water these days.  The Burton on Trent I imagine is more of a historical thing than anything else.  There is a lot more known science and technological advances around water chemistry that didn't exist 200 years ago when they had to make do with what they had.  Having said that, I like the idea of shooting for the best water profile that I can to make the best beer I can and if that means looking at it through a more historical lens, its probably a little better than just using my tap water with no adjustments at all (well, maybe my tap water is good for some beers).


Steve,

I've also been using this water calculator in conjunction with the beerwitch.  I like the one below because it will tell you if you water is within acceptable ranges for that category of beer.  I like to enter in my source and then the target in the beerwitch and then take what it suggests for salt additions and add it into the brewersfriend calculator to make sure it brings everything within the right range.  I figure if the two are in agreement then I'm probably good to go.

That's the way I do it anyway

http://www.brewersfriend.com/water-chemistry/


Offline stevemwazup

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2009, 12:59:30 AM »
    More Good Stuff.   Thanks Wildrover
I went to the Brewer's Friend site and  filled out all the Source Minerals except for (HCO3 ?).
Do you know what that is ?
Thanks again.
stevemwazup

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2009, 07:51:43 AM »
Granted, I looked at both somewhat briefly, but both seemed to be talking about the total water (liquor) amount, whereas Palmer's focused strictly on the chemicals in the mash volume, where the conversion is taking place.  Has anyone used both and seen whether you end up with the same profile? 

And the WaterWitch doesn't list calcium, which is usually cited as the first mineral to nail down for yeast performance, regardless of beer style. 

Offline stadelman

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2009, 08:01:19 AM »
Palmer does recommend running through the spreadsheet twice.  Once for mash mash water and then again to compensate for sparge water.    He recommends putting the sparge water additions right in the kettle as the mash salts will not be readily soluble in just plain water.

Granted, I looked at both somewhat briefly, but both seemed to be talking about the total water (liquor) amount, whereas Palmer's focused strictly on the chemicals in the mash volume, where the conversion is taking place.  Has anyone used both and seen whether you end up with the same profile? 

And the WaterWitch doesn't list calcium, which is usually cited as the first mineral to nail down for yeast performance, regardless of beer style. 

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2009, 08:54:20 AM »
Granted, I looked at both somewhat briefly, but both seemed to be talking about the total water (liquor) amount, whereas Palmer's focused strictly on the chemicals in the mash volume, where the conversion is taking place.  Has anyone used both and seen whether you end up with the same profile? 

And the WaterWitch doesn't list calcium, which is usually cited as the first mineral to nail down for yeast performance, regardless of beer style. 

As I understand it water hardness is the summation of the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water so although the water witch doesn't ask for calcium it does ask for hardness.  My guess is that the calcium calculations are being taken care of with that number.  I have to think the people putting that spreadsheet together know the importance of calcium in brew water and wouldn't omit it in the spreadsheet and since it isn't asked for directly, it has to be there somewhere right?  Again, my guess is its the hardness cell 

If I read Palmer right you can also interpret Alkalinity as the amount of bicarbonate in the water or (HCO3).  If your water report gives you Alkalinity as CaC03 then multiply that number by 1.22 to get your HCO3 value (this is in one of the notes below the brewers friends calculator)

MaltLicker when i first found this site I had a similar question so I went digging.  Well, others also had this same question and the guy who developed the calculator answered some questions on a thread at a different brew site (Can you believe there are other brew sites? how weird) Here is a link to that thread if anyone is interested.  Below I've posted his response to the question about what volume to treat (total volume, just mash volume etc.)  it might not be the best or most detailed and specific answer but I satisfied me

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f84/new-water-chemistry-calculator-111128/

Question

This calculator is great, thanks!
One question, potentially very stupid: the water volume (pre-boil field): is everyone calculating your mash and sparge water salt adjustments separately, or do you add your mash and sparge volumes together, calculate your required salt additions, and then just split your salt additions between mash and sparge?


Reply
"As for the question on water volume, the calculator is setup to account for minerals going into the kettle before the boil. That is how it would be done if source water needed no alteration (like burton on trent water). So, yes, add your mash and sparge volumes together. For a 5.5 gallon batch, it might be somewhere around 7.5 gallons to account for boil off, dead space in the mash tun, and other equipment losses.

Right now I am batch sparging. I don't bother to add salts to the sparge water. I add all the salts into the mash (by adding to my HLT while it is warming up). I suppose a more perfect method would be do split up the salts accordingly. I think it would end up being a very minute difference, at least for levels of ions I am dealing with. It can't hurt!

In other methods, such as fly sparging, brewers do need to pay closer attention to the pH when draining to the kettle as the mash is continually dilted. In that case, I would definitely split it up."


Of course having said all that, there is just no getting away from Palmer.   I was having some trouble calculating my target hardness (or at least being sure of what i was doing) so I opened up his new spreadsheet and entered in my target for the different minerals and his spreadsheet calculated the hardness.  Then I took that number and entered it into my beerwitch when then told me how much of what to add based on my local and target water profiles.  then, just as a check, I entered those additions into the brewersfriend to see if the brewersfriend and beerwitch calculators agree.  sure enough they did so I have  alot more confidence in my additions.  Additionally, the brewersfriend will tell you what your profile, with your additions, is good for.  For example, this weekend I plan on making an American Amber so with my additions the brewers friend tells me in the Sulphite Chloride ratio that the water profile is good for "balance between malt and bitterness" why the Alkalinity and SRM cell tells me that its "good for amber beer (50-150 ppm Alkanlity)"  Of course this is exactly what I'm shooting for in the beer I'm making this weekend. 

Just for fun though if you look at Palmer's Spreadsheet it too has a Sulphite Chloride ratio which matched up with the brewerfriend (I think he got it off of Palmer's spreadsheet so that makes sense)

I think all of three spreadsheets have their goods and bads I really like the beerwitch because it will tell me what and how much of what I need to add but it can be a little confusing compared to other calculators and you need to know how to calculate the hardness or have the water profile that gives it to you. 

I like the brewersfriend because it will tell you, after you've added your additions, what your water profile is good for, not to mention letting you know if your water profile is within acceptable ranges and even give a warning if your water profile is bad for brewing but it won't tell you or suggest how much of what you need to add. 

Palmer's is great (my guess is his is the one on which all others is based) because it will calculate the things that the beerwitch won't like hardness or alkalinity based solely on the amounts of minerals but aside from letting you know the sulphite ratio is won't tell you what your water profile is good for (brewersfriend) or how much of what you need to add(beerwitch). 

Wouldn't it be great if we could get all of the goods of all three in one tool?! (Hint Hint Brad  ;))

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Is there a recommended water profile for an American Pale Ale?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2009, 05:36:31 PM »
Wildrover
Thanks for chasing that one down.  It made me verify I was using the right carbonate/bicarb number from my water report, and your last post clarifies (perhaps) why these sheets are different.  Some brewers apparently heat all their liquor in the HLT and then drain some down to the MLT.  So it makes sense to treat all of the water at once. 

Others, like me, heat the mash water first, so just that water needs to be treated to ensure the mash minerals for conversion are optimized.  Then I heat the sparge water while the mash is resting.  Plus, for me, I often don't target water profiles as much as I try to reach the recommended minimums of each brewing salt.  Then I look at the chloride:sulfate ratio for the beer style. 

Like other brewing things, one size doesn't fit all.  I am pleased to see more people looking at water chemistry.  Once a brewer has the basics down, it is worth looking into to make sure your water has what the yeast need. 

Attached is my version of Palmer's sheet.  I moved some things around so the C:S info would be visible during manipulations of the salts.