Thoughts on Calcium?

Brewing water, and water profiles

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mchrispen
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Thoughts on Calcium?

Postby mchrispen » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:41 pm

Just tapped a spund keg of BoPils. It was intended to be a test batch using a portion of VIMA with the PIMA, and a touch of CaraFoam and CaraHell. Came out fantastic, although the recipe might need an adjustment (I chilled way too long as the chilling water was too hot and I ran out of ice). This is also the first time I did NOT add any Calcium Chloride, using just pure RO with a 35 ppm SMB+BB. Measurements were spot on. Used Imperial Urkel and fermented at 48F. No issues at all.

Here's the thing - I am 6 weeks to the day on the lagering at 32F and there remains a stubborn chill haze. I am speculating this is from the lack of calcium. But the super soft mouthfeel, even with the tiny bit of sulfate, is amazing. I am also wondering if the BB harmed here. Wort was gorgeously clear. I am guessing it will drop bright in a few more weeks - it's ok now, but haze is annoying. Haven't tapped the second keg - so it is likely to be far clearer in a month or so when this first keg kicks.
Techbrau
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Re: Thoughts on Calcium?

Postby Techbrau » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:23 pm

Hmm, I haven't gone lower than about 30 ppm Ca on any LoDO beer yet. In theory, too low levels can increase chill haze and inhibit flocculation.

I've settled on trying to keep both Cl and SO4 in the 50-70 ppm range, and calcium in the 40-50 ppm range.

I sometimes had flocculation problems when doing the cold fermentation that involved a ramp down starting at 50% attenuation. It was like once the yeast got too used to working cold, they didn't want to drop out. Nowadays I am just fermenting at 8 or 9 c the whole way through, sometimes dropping by 1 or 2 c right before I rack to lager. My lagering schedule involves holding at whatever temp I racked at until I hit FG, then dropping down to 3c.

I get pretty good clarity 3-4 weeks after racking and after 6 weeks the beer looks like it was filtered.

Recipe formulation is so much fun nowadays. I think the most important step is to find a pilsner malt you like because e.g. Best Malz is very different from Avangard. But really, everything is fair game when you come right down to it. Between pilsner, vienna, munich, all of the caramel malts, and roasted malt you have a lot of knobs to turn. Just using helles as a single example, I think you can make a great beer by blending a little vienna and munich into your pilsner malt base, or you can take a completely different route and use pilsner + caramel malt and still get a great beer, or you can do something in between.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
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Weizenberg
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Re: Thoughts on Calcium?

Postby Weizenberg » Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:25 pm

Techbrau wrote:Recipe formulation is so much fun nowadays. I think the most important step is to find a pilsner malt you like because e.g. Best Malz is very different from Avangard.


That's a point made a long time ago, and isn't it fun? This is the emphasis with our style: Malt composition and impeccable fermentation.

Focusing too much on the process can prevent one detecting the "wood from the trees".

Not that process doesn't have a role. But the art of brewing is in how the style is interpreted. Thankfully there are quite a plethora of possibilities, which is why beer is so much more interesting than, for argument's sake, wine.

For the hallmark German, Bavarian, Austrian and Bohemian styles, you really want that excellent and unique malt signature, paired with a subtle hop schedule (ie no grassy or light-struck flavours) together with flawless fermentation practices.

That's where the emphasis lies.
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bjanat
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Re: Thoughts on Calcium?

Postby bjanat » Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:37 pm

Weizenberg wrote:
Techbrau wrote:Recipe formulation is so much fun nowadays. I think the most important step is to find a pilsner malt you like because e.g. Best Malz is very different from Avangard.


That's a point made a long time ago, and isn't it fun? This is the emphasis with our style: Malt composition and impeccable fermentation.

Focusing too much on the process can prevent one detecting the "wood from the trees".

Not that process doesn't have a role. But the art of brewing is in how the style is interpreted. Thankfully there are quite a plethora of possibilities, which is why beer is so much more interesting than, for argument's sake, wine.

For the hallmark German, Bavarian, Austrian and Bohemian styles, you really want that excellent and unique malt signature, paired with a subtle hop schedule (ie no grassy or light-struck flavours) together with flawless fermentation practices.

That's where the emphasis lies.

Speaking of malt signature, do you have any experience with Ireks pilsner malt? Just bought a bag. http://www.ireks-malz.de/xist4c/downloa ... 12762_.pdf


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Techbrau
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Re: Thoughts on Calcium?

Postby Techbrau » Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:44 pm

Nope, haven't used it. In my experience with various Pilsner malts so far though, chewing on the raw kernels gives you a decent idea of the flavor of the malt (obviously you should brew a full on batch with the malt to be sure).

The lighter ones like Swaen and Avangard taste like hay or grass, whereas the darker ones like Best Malz are breadier and have less of the raw hay/grass flavor.

Your choice of Pilsner malt depends on what you want to brew. My taste buds tell me that northern German pilsners more often use the lighter, more hay-like Pilsner malt as a base and then accent it with caramel malt. Bavarian helles on the other hand tastes more like a bready Pilsner malt accented with Vienna or Munich instead of caramel malt.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.

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