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That’s it!

This is looking into the bottom of my boiler and shows the cold-break at the bottom and a little clear wort on top.
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The Original Gravity was 1050 and the temperature was 68.8F/20C.
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I got just over 20 litres of nice clean wort.
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The beer is now in the fermentation cabinet at 20C.
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Water in brewing is important because almost everything in your glass is water.

Any water that is drinkable is fine (historically even unsafe water was used!). There are a couple of factors though that might impact your beer.

The first is Chlorine/Chloramine that’s added to tap water to keep any nasty bugs from growing in the water. These can give the water a chlorine taste and in your finished beer this becomes a medicinal taste like sticky plasters or TCP. You can neutralise this by adding crushed campden tablet to your brewing water at the rate of half a tablet per 30 litres. You can add the crushed campden immediately before you use the water.

The other main factor is alkalinity. Water can be soft or hard depending on where it is sourced. Surface water from reservoirs tends to be soft, underground water from aquifers tends to be hard because it’s taken on minerals from the rocks it’s percolated through over years. The effect of alkalinity is that the pH is too high for the enzymes we rely on to work effectively and you will get poor efficiency. If the alkalinity is very high your beer might even taste minerally. You can address alkalinity in several ways from adding Carbonate Reducing Solution (CRS - a mixture of acids), to using bottled water with low minerals, and even using a Reverse Osmosis machine to purify your water.

I do the latter and use an RO machine because my water is very hard. This gives me water with nothing in it. Unfortunately water with nothing in it is also not the best for brewing because the brewing process uses minerals, calcium in particular, and your beer will also taste a bit thin without any minerals. So I add back the minerals I do want and that’s why in the recipe you see me add a few grams of calcium sulphate (which accentuates dry bitterness) and calcium chloride (which accentuates maltiness and sweetness). I’ve added similar amounts of both for a neutral profile. Both add calcium.

@strange-steve wrote a very good article on water treatments when you’re ready for this. You’ll find his thread in the section “Grain, Hops, Yeast and Water”.

You can also of course use a combination of tap water and RO or bottled water. For now you might want to just add a little crushed campden to your tap water.

As I’m brewing a very pale lager, soft water is best and I’m starting with RO water. This is my RO machine. Tap water goes in, pure water comes out, and waste water goes down the drain.
View attachment 71158
 
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I stopped recording all the details about brewdays some time ago because I brew quite frequently but remembering how little I knew when I started, and even when I joined this forum 2 1/2 years ago, I thought I might post a brew day with a bit of a running commentary and an explanation for what’s going on and why. Clearly this will be aimed more at folk still at that earlier stage of brewing. So where to start? I guess with the recipe.

People get their recipes from a number of sources including other people, books, websites, brewing software tools, etc. I like to invent my own because I’m not just doing this for the beer, I enjoy the creative process and I enjoy experimenting. There are guidelines to follow though for any given beer style and my preferred guide is the BJCP Style Guide. BJCP is the Beer Judge Certification Program and their guide is the bible for BJCP competitions - many (probably most) beer competitions are judged using the BJCP standards. You’ll find the guide here…


I’ve decided to brew a Czech lager and in the guide there are several from light to dark and different strengths. I will brew a Czech Premium Lager because that’s the one I most like the description of. The BCJP style guide tells me what it should look like, smell like, taste like, how it should feel in the mouth, what ingredients you might typically use, and some vital statistics about gravity, strength, bitterness, and how light/dark it should be.

Do remember though that this is a “guide” and you can vary a little from the script. Drift too far though and in a competition it will be judged “out of style” and your score will suffer. If this beer is just for you, do what you like to brew a beer to your taste.

This is my recipe for today…

View attachment 71159
 
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I stopped recording all the details about brewdays some time ago because I brew quite frequently but remembering how little I knew when I started, and even when I joined this forum 2 1/2 years ago, I thought I might post a brew day with a bit of a running commentary and an explanation for what’s going on and why. Clearly this will be aimed more at folk still at that earlier stage of brewing. So where to start? I guess with the recipe.

People get their recipes from a number of sources including other people, books, websites, brewing software tools, etc. I like to invent my own because I’m not just doing this for the beer, I enjoy the creative process and I enjoy experimenting. There are guidelines to follow though for any given beer style and my preferred guide is the BJCP Style Guide. BJCP is the Beer Judge Certification Program and their guide is the bible for BJCP competitions - many (probably most) beer competitions are judged using the BJCP standards. You’ll find the guide here…


I’ve decided to brew a Czech lager and in the guide there are several from light to dark and different strengths. I will brew a Czech Premium Lager because that’s the one I most like the description of. The BCJP style guide tells me what it should look like, smell like, taste like, how it should feel in the mouth, what ingredients you might typically use, and some vital statistics about gravity, strength, bitterness, and how light/dark it should be.

Do remember though that this is a “guide” and you can vary a little from the script. Drift too far though and in a competition it will be judged “out of style” and your score will suffer. If this beer is just for you, do what you like to brew a beer to your taste.

This is my recipe for today…

View attachment 71159
Excellent article, thank you. What are the thoughts on using hard water that's come through a filter please? Would there be any recommendations for adding any water treatment? I ask as most of my beer seems to have a "sharp acrid" taste.. possibly astringency. I have tried everything, even brewing with Tesco Ashbeck water, but still develops the aftertaste 😕
 
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Excellent article, thank you. What are the thoughts on using hard water that's come through a filter please? Would there be any recommendations for adding any water treatment? I ask as most of my beer seems to have a "sharp acrid" taste.. possibly astringency. I have tried everything, even brewing with Tesco Ashbeck water, but still develops the aftertaste 😕
Hi Paul. If you’ve used Ashbeck water and not added any additional salts I suspect your problem isn’t down to the water. Do you do any additional water treatment?

Are you brewing from kits, extracts, or all-grain?

When you say sharp acrid taste is it at all like vinegar? Is it sour like a sour beer? These might be signs of a bacterial infection, possibly in your fermenter, that would affect any beer brewed using the same kit. If this is a possibility you need to give everything a really thorough clean and soak everything in a good hot solution of sodium percarbonate or similar.

I should also pick up your actual question! Filters generally are used to remove sediment. If you’re using an activated carbon filter you should also remove the most common “contaminants” including pesticides, herbicides, micro plastics, etc. It will also remove most of the chlorine but you won’t remove minerals or dissolved solids including metals. So I guess my advice here is to treat your water as if you hadn’t passed it through your filter. Either use bottled/RO water, dilute your tap water with bottled/RO water and/or treat it with CRS or acid. There are other options but some of these are probably not very useful such as boiling and cooling the water to allow the scale (hardness) to fall out, then filter the water.

One final point, some beers like porter and stout, actually suit hard water and for these just use a little campden to remove any residual chlorine.
 
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I stopped recording all the details about brewdays some time ago because I brew quite frequently but remembering how little I knew when I started, and even when I joined this forum 2 1/2 years ago, I thought I might post a brew day with a bit of a running commentary and an explanation for what’s going on and why. Clearly this will be aimed more at folk still at that earlier stage of brewing. So where to start? I guess with the recipe.

People get their recipes from a number of sources including other people, books, websites, brewing software tools, etc. I like to invent my own because I’m not just doing this for the beer, I enjoy the creative process and I enjoy experimenting. There are guidelines to follow though for any given beer style and my preferred guide is the BJCP Style Guide. BJCP is the Beer Judge Certification Program and their guide is the bible for BJCP competitions - many (probably most) beer competitions are judged using the BJCP standards. You’ll find the guide here…


I’ve decided to brew a Czech lager and in the guide there are several from light to dark and different strengths. I will brew a Czech Premium Lager because that’s the one I most like the description of. The BCJP style guide tells me what it should look like, smell like, taste like, how it should feel in the mouth, what ingredients you might typically use, and some vital statistics about gravity, strength, bitterness, and how light/dark it should be.

Do remember though that this is a “guide” and you can vary a little from the script. Drift too far though and in a competition it will be judged “out of style” and your score will suffer. If this beer is just for you, do what you like to brew a beer to your taste.

This is my recipe for today…

View attachment 71159
Thanks for your prompt reply .. In my opinion, I would say that it's not infected, it's more like a strong puckering astringent taste, or strong bitterness at the back of the pallet. The beer is clear, has a strong head etc, and the underlying flavour is good. I'm fairly particular with the sterilizing process and use VWP well rinsed off, followed by spraying Chemsan solution. The Ashbeck water was slightly high so I lowered this using Gypsum and also checked the PH during the mashing process. The last brew, I barely sparged (with only 2 litres of 77 Degree treated water) thinking that I may be extracting tannins from the grain, but this has made no difference. In the past I've even tried lowering the PH below the recommended 5.2 guideline to see if this makes any difference .. I've wondered if it could be yeast stress, so I put 2 sachets in the last brew .. .. I have also reduced the amount of bittering hops to a low IBU. Please tell me if this is out of order, but is it possible to give you a call to go through the processes I use in case I'm missing something fundamental?
 
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Thanks for your prompt reply .. In my opinion, I would say that it's not infected, it's more like a strong puckering astringent taste, or strong bitterness at the back of the pallet. The beer is clear, has a strong head etc, and the underlying flavour is good. I'm fairly particular with the sterilizing process and use VWP well rinsed off, followed by spraying Chemsan solution. The Ashbeck water was slightly high so I lowered this using Gypsum and also checked the PH during the mashing process. The last brew, I barely sparged (with only 2 litres of 77 Degree treated water) thinking that I may be extracting tannins from the grain, but this has made no difference. In the past I've even tried lowering the PH below the recommended 5.2 guideline to see if this makes any difference .. I've wondered if it could be yeast stress, so I put 2 sachets in the last brew .. .. I have also reduced the amount of bittering hops to a low IBU. Please tell me if this is out of order, but is it possible to give you a call to go through the processes I use in case I'm missing something fundamental? My number is 07848454537, thanks again.
Hi Paul.

I will ring you shortly. In the meantime you might want to edit your message and remove your number - remember this is a public forum so your number is now visible to the world on the internet. I’ve made a note of it.

Use private messaging for more personal information.
 
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Hi Paul.

I will ring you shortly. In the meantime you might want to edit your message and remove your number - remember this is a public forum so your number is now visible to the world on the internet. I’ve made a note of it.

Use private messaging for more personal information.
Thanks for your help and warning .. I'm rubbish on social media forums like these 😣
 
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Didn't you add yeast?
😂😂😂

Good spot!

Yes, after draining the wort into my fermenting bucket I added two sachets of California Lager Yeast, just sprinkled dry on the surface which I then mixed in with a sanitised long-handled spoon. Finally fitting the lid and bubble trap.

California Lager Yeast is a lager yeast that ferments at higher temperatures - the same as ale yeast and makes it easier to brew lagers at the same time (in the same temperature controlled cabinet) as other beers. Most lager yeast ferments at temperatures much lower, at around 10-14C.

Thank you @Leon103
 

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