Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

How's your beer changed since water Mods?

chemistry fermenting water

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 Humperdink

Humperdink

    Cose

  • In Memorium
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 15798 posts

Posted 14 November 2014 - 09:51 AM

I looked into water out of necessity after an early blush with trying an all RO water with no mods disaster. After that I understood that more than just H2O was needed for a successful fermentation. I later moved to a place where I had single ppm of everything, so water mods were a necessity for every batch. I've found not huge leaps and bounds different brews, but more control for styles and healthier ferments knowing what's going in.

 

Have any of you noticed major swings in the quality of your beers after water modifications?



#2 SchwanzBrewer

SchwanzBrewer

    Grand Duke of Inappropriate Announcements

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 34293 posts
  • LocationKnee deep in business plans

Posted 14 November 2014 - 10:11 AM

More malt flavor from beers that need it due to CaCl levels. More hop flavor from beers with a little extra gypsum. Less flabby beers in general when I acidify the mash/sparge for lighter/amber beers and remove the residual alkalinity. I don't futz with my water a whole lot, but it certainly seemed to get me a few extra points in competitions. Most beers I enter for comps are hitting in the low 40's now consistently instead of the mid to high 30's. So yes, it makes a difference, but it's not usually something someone can put their finger on until they've A-B similar beers.



#3 Humperdink

Humperdink

    Cose

  • In Memorium
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 15798 posts

Posted 14 November 2014 - 10:18 AM

More malt flavor from beers that need it due to CaCl levels. More hop flavor from beers with a little extra gypsum. Less flabby beers in general when I acidify the mash/sparge for lighter/amber beers and remove the residual alkalinity. I don't futz with my water a whole lot, but it certainly seemed to get me a few extra points in competitions. Most beers I enter for comps are hitting in the low 40's now consistently instead of the mid to high 30's. So yes, it makes a difference, but it's not usually something someone can put their finger on until they've A-B similar beers.

Nice, I haven't sent in any since I've made water mods for scoring, but was at mid 30's to low 40s prior to it. I think in some ways my beers are better now, but in some ways my old beers were better. I think it may have to do with the huge amount of passion I had before when I had lots of time. I always feel like you can taste the passion in beers compared to ones just churned out to make beer. Hoping the renewed interest and passion I"ve come across lately will help me get back to that intangible I had before. 

 

It could be too I have a lot more years on me and am much more critical of my beers now. Who knows.



#4 SchwanzBrewer

SchwanzBrewer

    Grand Duke of Inappropriate Announcements

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 34293 posts
  • LocationKnee deep in business plans

Posted 14 November 2014 - 10:22 AM

I add passion to mine too, but don't worry, the boil makes it sanitary. :devil:



#5 Bklmt2000

Bklmt2000

    Five Way Expert

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 10409 posts
  • LocationCincinnati, OH

Posted 14 November 2014 - 10:24 AM

My beers have all improved due to learning about water: pH, mineral levels, acidification, etc.

 

Not perfect by any means, but I can tell a noticeable improvement, especially in my hoppier/paler styles, (IPA, pils, etc.).

 

I've also noticed that when I treat my brewing water (especially w/ lactic for pH adjustments, in conjuction w/ salts), the beer usually clears up more quickly and completely than if I use just salts alone.



#6 Clintama

Clintama

    No Life

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 30244 posts
  • LocationRight Here

Posted 14 November 2014 - 10:27 AM

I initially added everything I needed according to the calculators and it seemed to help. Then I omitted everything but some gypsum and I can't tell any difference. That's all I'm adding now. 



#7 Big Nake

Big Nake

    Comptroller of Forum Content

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 45960 posts

Posted 14 November 2014 - 11:32 AM

I spent most of my water time trying to figure out what to do about bicarbonate when making pale beers. I am in the camp of not futzing with the water too much... I don't want my beer to taste salty or like Alka-Seltzer. Neutralizing bicarb, getting mash, sparge and kettle pH correct and then just leaning towards clorides or sulfates based on style. That's my strategy and yes, my beers have improved dramatically since following that.

#8 neddles

neddles

    No Life

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 15487 posts

Posted 14 November 2014 - 02:20 PM

pH control is everything. Controlling the individual ions are just gravy/minor flavor enhancments. Other than adding 600ppm of SO4 Ive never understood exactly what constitutes futzing with water "too much." You would have to have no idea what you are adding (quantity-wise)to over futz IMO.ETA:I should add that I start with RO water and add (or dont add) acid/salts for pH control first then for ionic enhancement second.

Edited by nettles, 14 November 2014 - 02:23 PM.


#9 Big Nake

Big Nake

    Comptroller of Forum Content

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 45960 posts

Posted 14 November 2014 - 02:50 PM

pH control is everything. Controlling the individual ions are just gravy/minor flavor enhancments. Other than adding 600ppm of SO4 Ive never understood exactly what constitutes futzing with water "too much." You would have to have no idea what you are adding (quantity-wise)to over futz IMO.ETA:I should add that I start with RO water and add (or dont add) acid/salts for pH control first then for ionic enhancement second.

I think I mentioned one brewer contacting me telling me that his beers were harsh and seemed to lack maltiness. Turned out his sulfates were 10 times higher than his chlorides and he was only adding gypsum to his mash which was compounding the problem. I would call "futzing with water too much" anything that appears to be overdone or unnecessary. There are still plenty of brewers adding MgSO4 (Epsom Salt) to their mash which appears to be completely irrelevant. I have also made salty beers and tasted other local brewer's salty beers which clear shows that it was overdone. I go with "less is more".

#10 neddles

neddles

    No Life

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 15487 posts

Posted 14 November 2014 - 03:13 PM

I think I mentioned one brewer contacting me telling me that his beers were harsh and seemed to lack maltiness. Turned out his sulfates were 10 times higher than his chlorides and he was only adding gypsum to his mash which was compounding the problem. I would call "futzing with water too much" anything that appears to be overdone or unnecessary. There are still plenty of brewers adding MgSO4 (Epsom Salt) to their mash which appears to be completely irrelevant. I have also made salty beers and tasted other local brewer's salty beers which clear shows that it was overdone. I go with "less is more".

Yeah I agree and thats not just futzing thats blindly throwing shit in the tun. Ive never understood how people do that. There is nothing reputable that I have read that ever says to do that. I am newer to brewing than a lot of you guys so maybe this comes from some old advice as to how to treat your water. Dunno. Just hard to imagine how one overtreats water in this day and age. There is a crap ton of info out there at this point that can educate you on how to do it correctly.

#11 BarelyBrews

BarelyBrews

    Frequent Member

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1631 posts
  • LocationMichigan

Posted 14 November 2014 - 03:14 PM

The PH i am still trying to understand. My bi-carbonate, is high learning how to adjust . I have my found my IPA's to be a lot better. The water test is the best thing i have spent money on in recent history. My regret is not sending my water to the lab years ago.



#12 Big Nake

Big Nake

    Comptroller of Forum Content

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 45960 posts

Posted 14 November 2014 - 03:56 PM

Yeah I agree and thats not just futzing thats blindly throwing shit in the tun. Ive never understood how people do that. There is nothing reputable that I have read that ever says to do that. I am newer to brewing than a lot of you guys so maybe this comes from some old advice as to how to treat your water. Dunno. Just hard to imagine how one overtreats water in this day and age. There is a crap ton of info out there at this point that can educate you on how to do it correctly.

The PH i am still trying to understand. My bi-carbonate, is high learning how to adjust . I have my found my IPA's to be a lot better. The water test is the best thing i have spent money on in recent history. My regret is not sending my water to the lab years ago.

A lot of people want to start playing with water without knowing what is in their water or without knowing why they're doing it. CaCl and CaSO4 can help lower mash pH which is a plus but you also need to know what 'chlorides' do for your beer as well as 'sulfates' and anything else you plan to add to your water. These things added to the mash impact flavor and pH and it's good to know what you want and then how to get there. I took a long, winding path to some very general understanding of all of this. The one part that gets me every time is how I can make a very pale beer now with my 100% filtered tap water and add maybe 3 or 3½g of CaCl to the mash and NO gypsum (putting my chlorides 3 or 4 times higher than my sulfate) and end up with a nice, crisp, gold beer.

#13 mabrungard

mabrungard

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 109 posts
  • LocationIndianapolis, IN

Posted 15 November 2014 - 08:22 AM

The most important thing that any brewer should understand is that they need to know what is in their water before delving into water adjustments. Adding minerals or acids without knowing this basic information is nearly useless. What works for one brewer may be completely wrong unless you knew the starting conditions for each water. 

 

As mentioned above, getting the mash pH into a decent range and making sure that the sparging water doesn't have too much alkalinity are the main things a brewer should focus on. Changing the mineral profile of the water should be a secondary concern. 



#14 matt6150

matt6150

    Moderately Accelerated Member

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 10257 posts
  • LocationMooresville, NC

Posted 15 November 2014 - 08:57 AM

The most important thing that any brewer should understand is that they need to know what is in their water before delving into water adjustments. Adding minerals or acids without knowing this basic information is nearly useless. What works for one brewer may be completely wrong unless you knew the starting conditions for each water. 

 

As mentioned above, getting the mash pH into a decent range and making sure that the sparging water doesn't have too much alkalinity are the main things a brewer should focus on. Changing the mineral profile of the water should be a secondary concern. 

Right on, excellent advice! This is basically what I keep telling certain members of my homebrew club but they do not want to listen. They just say they do not want to spend the money on a water report but instead just buy that ph5.2 stuff and use that and think everything is good.



#15 postSingularityHumanoid

postSingularityHumanoid

    Anti-Brag Queen

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 63274 posts
  • LocationLimbo

Posted 15 November 2014 - 11:14 AM

i'm lucky in that I have pretty good brewing water.  even with doing nothing my mash pH isn't horrendous for most beers.  so in that sense I didn't have a lot of room for improvement.

 

trying to get sulfate and chloride levels for different styles has helped though.  my IPAs get tons of gypsum and I generally avoid using it for other styles.



#16 Big Nake

Big Nake

    Comptroller of Forum Content

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 45960 posts

Posted 15 November 2014 - 03:28 PM

i'm lucky in that I have pretty good brewing water.  even with doing nothing my mash pH isn't horrendous for most beers.  so in that sense I didn't have a lot of room for improvement. trying to get sulfate and chloride levels for different styles has helped though.  my IPAs get tons of gypsum and I generally avoid using it for other styles.

IIRC, you have soft water and I would agree... you're lucky. With soft water you could make styles like Czech Pils, Helles, etc. and not worry. You could make more robust styles and add CaCl or gypsum and make good beer. I'll be honest, I used to think I had poor brewing water. After seeing so many appalling water reports, I now realize that my water is not that bad. The bicarb is quite high compared to the other numbers but that can be addressed and all of the other numbers are modest enough for me to move in various directions easily. It's only after many years (and some homework) that I realize all of this. Some of the local brewers who have created uber-fizzy and oh-so-salty beers are guys with years of experience and some medals to their credit. So... it's easy to overdo the additions and if a brewer doesn't know what's in their water to begin with, they're stabbing in the dark.



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: chemistry, fermenting, water

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users