Author Topic: Water Profile for IPA  (Read 6482 times)

Offline philm63

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Water Profile for IPA
« on: September 14, 2012, 08:57:30 AM »
Doing a partial mash American IPA this weekend and was wondering if there was anything special I should look for in my water profile - anything that I could or should change to make it optimal for an IPA. Currently my water report shows the following (I included only what I thought were the most relevant properties):

Chlorides are 8.3 ppm
Sulfate   is 3.2 ppm
pH is 7.30
Total Hardness is 23 mg/L
Ca Hardness is 17 ppm
Alkalinity is 21 ppm

I've also seen suggestions that where a substantial portion of the fermentables is Extract, it is advisable to use a 50/50 blend of Distilled to Spring Water (I use only bottled Spring Water for my brews currently). Does this sound sensible?
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2012, 03:49:25 PM »
Getting Ca above 75ppm would help the yeast and possibly the hot and cold break.

The sulfate is very low.  Getting that higher would bring out hops.  I like Palmer's spreadsheet, and the EZ Water calc is based on the same math.


Offline philm63

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2012, 03:48:38 PM »
Looking around; I'm seeing many versions of what folks are calling a "good balance" of Chlorides and Sulfate for an IPA, and I've come up with something that I'm just going to try to see how it works. If I could get an expert opinion; I'd very much appreciate it.

Ok, so knowing my Chlorides are at 8.3 ppm and Sulfates are 3.2 ppm in my tap water, if I just tossed in a little Gypsum, seems to me getting above 75 or so on the Cl would also result in a fairly high SO4. Do I have this right?

So; I'm thinking of shooting for around  80 or so Cl, and 120 or so SO4, and here's my plan: Using 7 gallons of my tap water passed through my charcoal filter to remove any chlorine or chloramine, I'm going to add 4.5g Calcium Chloride to get the chlorides up to just over 81 ppm, and 8.4g of Magnesium Sulfate to raise my sulfides to just over 123 ppm.

I'm hoping this will improve my malt flavor and hop "brightness". Sort of like putting salt on your steak - so to speak. Does this make sense; am I missing something/anything; and can I just toss this stuff into my boil kettle?
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Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2012, 11:59:12 PM »
Phil,

Yes, you are on the right track.  You could go even higher on the sulfate, but that is a good start.  Your water is pretty soft to start with. So, mixing with distilled isn't really necessary. 

I haven't run your numbers, but I wouldn't go any higher on the magnesium.   If you want more sulfate switch to gypsum.
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Offline philm63

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2012, 07:47:04 PM »
I've seen that some folks start with distilled or RO water then add the minerals, adjust pH for the mash, etc.

Looking at my local water profile, (soft with fairly low minerals); would it be safe to say I could just stick with my own tap water, run it through a charcoal filter for chlorine/chloramine removal, then add salts based on the style/SRM I'm brewing, or are there any major advantages (besides repeatability) to making my own water from scratch?
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 09:07:43 AM »
I use local tap (also low mineral) and add everything needed for the style, and use campden tabs to remove the chlorines. 

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 03:05:56 PM »
Just be sure that campden is potassium not sodium metabisulfite.

Phil, if you have soft water low in alkalinity you should be fine.

My water is high in alkalinity, so I dilute with distilled for srm below 10. Otherwise, I carbon filter straight tap water. 
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Offline philm63

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2012, 07:54:36 PM »
Oddly enough; I just started smelling an increased amount of chlorine in my tap water - never smelled it this bad before, perhaps the county is purging/cleansing the system - thinking of trying these campden tablets in case my filter is not quite up to snuff for this extra chlorine.

Tom - What are the advantages of potassium vs. sodium metabisulfite? I'm new to water chemistry and want to be sure I'm getting this stuff right.

Thanks,

Phil
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Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 07:49:51 AM »
It's minor.  Sodium meta will add 3ppm or so of sodium to your beer.  Not a big deal, just know it's true. I'd never calculated the sodium concentration before. It's smaller than I thought.
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Offline WoodlandBrew

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2012, 03:49:28 PM »
You have very soft water.  Many brewers would just love to work with that.  For an IPA and your water add 1tsp of Gypsum.

Stay away from the MgSO4 (Epsom Salts)  You don't need any more Mg.  Especially with sulfates (that you want for an IPA) it tastes very metallic.
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Offline samgruvr

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2013, 08:48:05 PM »
How does one get these water measurements? .. this is interesting.

Offline factory

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2013, 09:28:54 AM »
How does one get these water measurements? .. this is interesting.

Most municipalities have their water reports available on line.  Just Google your town/city/county name and "water report" or "water quality report" and see if it's available.  If not, just call your water company/provider and ask to speak to one of the QC (quality control) engineers. They can give you the data you need.  The information is available due to the Clean Water Act.

Here's an example of the Virginia Beach/Norfolk, VA reports.
http://www.norfolk.gov/utilities/quality/waterqualityreports.asp

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Offline philm63

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2013, 11:03:44 AM »
@ samgruvr -

I got a water report from my county and had been going from that info; but recently sent a sample of my tap water to Ward Labs (www.wardlab.com/) and it came back pretty close to what the county said it was but the Ward Labs report had more info I could use for brewing.

Some folks will tell you not to mess with your water if it tastes good -  personally I think it's good to know how to manipulate your water profile to obtain desired results.
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Offline factory

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Re: Water Profile for IPA
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 05:54:04 AM »
philm63 - I agree with you, knowing how to manipulate your water can take your beer to the next level, especially when you are trying to brew to style.  I use John Palmers spreadsheet, and back it up with Beersmith's Water Profile Tool. My water lacks calcium (only 20 ppm), so at a minimum, I jack up the calcium to at least 50 ppm so the little yeasties perform better.  I also do additions based on the beer being hop-forward or malt-forward.
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