Soft Water

Brewing water, and water profiles

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jerrya100

Soft Water

Postby jerrya100 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:43 pm

So most German water from what I hear is soft. Do German breweries add lactic acid or acidulated malt to get their ph into range? Or is there some other method that they use to avoid astringency issues?
Bryan R
Braumeister
Posts: 882
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:27 pm

Re: Soft Water

Postby Bryan R » Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:05 pm

They are using Saurgut, or acidualated malt. Both have lactic in them.
MaineBrewer

Re: Soft Water

Postby MaineBrewer » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:08 am

I had found something that showed Munich's water (untreated) is extremely high in bicarbonate (making it well suited for dark beer). It's a 2013 report.
Ca2+ 82
Mg2+ 20
Na+ 4
Cl- 2
SO42-16
HCO3-320


But after treatment-
Ca2+ 40
Mg2+ 20
Na+ 4
Cl- 75
SO42-52
HCO3-29

(hope the numbers line up correctly) *edited to fix
Just thought I'd share.
Kit_B
Apprentice Brewer
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:40 pm

Re: Soft Water

Postby Kit_B » Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:36 am

Germany has a lot of differing water profiles.
The landscape of Germany varies, quite widely.
You have mountains, low-lands, meadows, farmlands, rivers...
Some water sources are deep wells, some are mountain streams, some are winding rivers...
The water reports & favored beers of different regions reflect those variations.

Some breweries boil their water, prior to brewing...
Some use acidification methods...
Many use more than one method.
MaineBrewer

Re: Soft Water

Postby MaineBrewer » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:43 am

I was just going to make a comment about that.
The OP indicated...
jerrya100 wrote:So most German water from what I hear is soft.

...and Germany has a fair amount of differing water sources.

But I had indicated Munich's water as that is a major brewing center and was being more specific.

From the 2008 AHA conference there is the PDF on the session on German Brewing Techniques. In it they talk about what is permitted and what is not.
* Acid Rest
* Sauermalz
* Sauergut (Sour Wort)
Are permitted, whereas anything industrial/non-biologal is not permitted.

I found that very interesting.
Techbrau
German Brewing
Posts: 409
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:45 pm

Re: Soft Water

Postby Techbrau » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:58 am

Munich may have hard and high alkalinity water but the breweries are NOT using it as is to make beer. Many of the breweries have deep wells which provide very soft water.

You can get away with using water up to 10 dH residual alkalinity in dark beers (light beers should have much lower, even negative RA), but it is not a requirement and it is argued by some that dark beers taste better when brewed with low alkalinity water.

The bottom line is to have a minimum level of Ca in your water (20ppm, many people are getting good results with closer to 50ppm), low sulfates unless you're brewing a north/East German pils, but more importantly hit your pH targets. You can run as high as 5.6 in the mash for a dark beer, 5.5 for a light beer - but you should adjust your boil pH down using either sour wort or lactic acid (the latter is much more practical for home brewers) to the 5.1-5.3 range.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
brewcrew7

Re: Soft Water

Postby brewcrew7 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:07 am

Can any of you speak to the benefits of adjusting cast out wort pH to 5.1-5.2? That's going to be my next brew day adjustment. I don't have a pH meter as I'm a bit leery of purchasing one for the 12 or less beers I'm brewing a year. I do use the brew water spreadsheets that are available and along with an average water report, I feel I have a decent educated guess as to where my water is and the treatments I need. However, the life expectancy and cost/maintenance required for a meter also plays a role into why I don't have one.
Bryan R
Braumeister
Posts: 882
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:27 pm

Re: Soft Water

Postby Bryan R » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:21 pm

Sorry to be blunt about this, but I feel the need to be in regards to this. IMHO, if you don't have a pH meter you should not even consider pH modifications. The downsides of missing your numbers, using WAG's far out-way the positives.
Kit_B
Apprentice Brewer
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:40 pm

Re: Soft Water

Postby Kit_B » Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:43 am

And, don't waste your money on the papers you see in the homebrewing stores.
I know how tempting they are, but save that $ for a meter.
In my experience, they're usually tainted & not worth your cash.
Even the cheap meters are more reliable than those papers.
Just be sure to look at accuracy & capability, before you buy.
User avatar
doctorjames
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 12:25 pm

Re: RE: Re: Soft Water

Postby doctorjames » Wed May 18, 2016 5:46 am

Techbrau wrote:You can run as high as 5.6 in the mash for a dark beer, 5.5 for a light beer - but you should adjust your boil pH down using either sour wort or lactic acid (the latter is much more practical for home brewers) to the 5.1-5.3 range.


What is the process most people use to acidify late in the boil? Do you extract a small measured amount of wort, measure the acid necessary for adjustment and scale up, or add small doses of acid direct to the kettle and measure iteratively?

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