Water Profile - Help!!!

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by tommouk, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. Dirty Horse

    Dirty Horse New Member

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    Hi,

    In my 3rd year of homebrewing, moved from extract, to all grain BIAB and now onto a grainfather. At a recent local homebrew meet up, a suggestion to improve my beer was to look at my water profile.

    Apparently where I live the water is lacking in minerals and can contribute to 'flat' tasting beers.

    I have my water profile from Yorkshire Water, which annoying ommits the Sulfate and Bicarbonate measurements - will this be a big issue?

    So what am I comparing it too and aiming for? I realise the target will vary on the style of beer, so lets say I'm predominantly making pale ales and ambers - up to SRM 16.

    I have played around with the Water Profile calculator on this site and can see that if i choose "Balanced Water Profile" I am lacking in Calcium, Sodium and Chlorine. If i change this to "Burton Water Profile" the deficiency increases massively.

    Next Question is - what do i use to redress this balance and how do i know how much to use?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Here is A good read for understanding how water affects brewing. There are a couple of chapters specific to your questions on how to treat water and how it affects mashing. I am just beginning to grasp it all myself so welcome to the rabbit hole. Once you dive in it's not as deep as it looks.
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    "Flat" beer is a result of too high finished pH, otherwise stated, not enough acidity in your finished beer. Both sulfate and bicarbonate are critical to brewing, sulfate for flavor, bicarbonate for alkalinity. I'm assuming you're trying to brew a light beer out of very hard water? Two ways to address this: Either reduce the alkalinity in the water (boiling, lime precipitation) or add acidity to the mash. If you have a pH meter, you want to hit a mash pH of around 5.4, a pH of around 5.2 in the boiled wort and around 4.3 in the finished beer. Before the flames start, there's a range around all of these numbers that will produce good beer.

    Water is a complex topic so here's what I'd recommend: Take a sample of your beer and put a drop or two of acid, lactic or phosphoric are good choices, and see how that affects the flavor. If the beer's still flat, add a drop or two more. You'll notice the beer will become "brighter" to a point, then it will begin to become tart. If this happens, your water has too much alkalinity for the beer you're brewing. From there, it's a matter of finding out how much of an adjustment you need next time.
     

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