I saw on CNN that Martin Brungard is a member here now so I thought I would throw some work his way.
Okay, so I try to make various pale lagers with my water which looks like...
pH: 6.6Total dissolved solids (TDS): 264Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm: 0.44Cations/Anions, me/L: 3.3 / 3.4Sodium: 13Potassium: 2Calcium: 34Magnesium: 12Total Hardness: 135Nitrate, No3-N: 0.4Sulfate, SO4-S: 9Chloride: 21Carbonate, CO3: <1Bicarbonate, HCO3: 138Total Alkalinity, CaCO3: 113
On a style like this, I usually use about 90% distilled water and then add CaCl back to reach about 50ppm of Ca. My results so far have been hit and miss. I did make an exceptional pilsner this way but I have had plenty of whiffs too. I happen to have an "American Wheat" on tap right now where I used 50% distilled water, about 3.5g of CaCl, about 5 AAU of Cascade for bittering and about .25 oz that were left added with 5 mins left. Yeast was 1056. Grain bill was 5 lbs Canada Malting pale ale malt and 4 lbs white wheat and that's it. This beer is clear, smooth and very nice. When I make a lager that is this pale, I use more distilled water and usually noble hops like Tettnanger, Hallertau, Mittelfruh, Spalt or Saaz. Even though I use more distilled water and the sulfate and bicarb are lower, I often end up with lagers that are harsh-tasting in the finish. I pay VERY close attention to mash and preboil pH, especially on these pale-colored beers. Is it possible that my issue is Noble hops? Why would a 50% diluted pale beer be smooth (with Cascades and 1056) but a 90% diluted beer (with Nobles and lager yeast) be harsh-tasting? Thanks & cheers.
Edited by KenLenard, 27 September 2013 - 08:48 PM.