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Suggested Water Profiles by Style

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strange-steve

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This is a question that keeps coming up so I thought I'd make a thread where people can find the answer themselves.

What water profile should I have for this beer style?

It's a good question but unfortunately one which doesn't have a definitive answer. That's not terribly helpful though, so below I have listed a few common beer styles along with a suggested water profile, simplified to just calcium, sulphate, chloride and alkalinity.

Please note that these are suggestions only and should not be taken as gospel. They will do an adequate job, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're suited to your particular taste. So feel free to play around with these (or ignore them completely) to suit your own personal preference.

It's your beer and you're the one drinking it so there's no right or wrong answer.

Want your IPA a little less dry? Then reduce the sulphate and/or increase the chloride. Want your stout a little drier in the finish? Reduce chloride and/or increase sulphate. You get the idea.

Water Profiles

Water Profiles

Bitter
150 calcium
250 sulphate
130 chloride
35 alkalinity

Czech pilsner
50 calcium
50 sulphate
50 chloride
<15 alkalinity

Dark Belgian ale
120 calcium
75 sulphate
150 chloride
75 alkalinity

Hefeweizen
100 calcium
50 sulphate
100 chloride
20 alkalinity

IPA
150 calcium
250 sulphate
75 chloride
20 alkalinity

Kolsch
50 calcium
25 sulphate
50 chloride
<15 alkalinity

NEIPA
120 calcium
50 sulphate
150 chloride
20 alkalinity

Oktoberfest
75 calcium
30 sulphate
75 chloride
30 alkalinity

Pale ale
120 calcium
200 sulphate
75 chloride
20 alkalinity

Saison
120 calcium
75 sulphate
75 chloride
20 alkalinity

Stout
150 calcium
75 sulphate
180 chloride
100 alkalinity

If this is new to you and you'd like to learn more then have a look at this beginners guide.

If you understand the basics but want a little more info then have a look at the more advanced guide.
 
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matt76

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Thanks @strange-steve , I'm just getting started with water treatment but this will come in handy as a reference.

Interesting to note how your suggested figures for IPA or pale ale, for example, compare with the "Light coloured and hoppy" profile in Brewers Friend - a lot more calcium and sulphate in your figures.

Out of curiosity, are these figures just based on your experience or kinda averaged from googling here and there?
 

Hoddy

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Great starter for 10 for the guys to read from.

Such a simply complicated subject with so many variables that go with “matching” these simple numbers you quite rightly list.

Bitterness from IBU’s, mash temp, attenuation, dry hopping & perceived bitterness, beer style, carbonation level to name a few all contribute to the overall outcome of adjusting to your desired water profile.

Essentially there is no silver bullet to this topic. And the onto reason the beers you drink are so good at this is from brewing 100’s of times and learning from that every time.

Great topic and one, from my experience you can only learn and develop from trial, error, understand, and then try again.
 

samale

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I am also new to water treatment. Is water treatment used to bring your mash pH into spec. Say if your looking a pale ale. Your looking for a mash pH of 5.2
 

strange-steve

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Interesting to note how your suggested figures for IPA or pale ale, for example, compare with the "Light coloured and hoppy" profile in Brewers Friend - a lot more calcium and sulphate in your figures.
Yep, whereas if you use this forum's water calculator profile for pale ale it has more calcium and a lot more sulphate (370 ppm) than my figures. There's more than one way to skin a cat here, so as Hoddy says, a little experimentation to see what you prefer is always good.

Out of curiosity, are these figures just based on your experience or kinda averaged from googling here and there?
A bit of both actually. As above, there's a lot of room for variation but the the numbers I've listed are about what I would aim for personally.

I am also new to water treatment. Is water treatment used to bring your mash pH into spec. Say if your looking a pale ale. Your looking for a mash pH of 5.2
Getting the mash pH in the right zone is probably the main goal of water treatment, yes. Have a look at the guide linked at the bottom of the OP :thumba:
 

Gerryjo

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I've used your advice on water treatment which I started using last year and found it very helpful though I also find that a small addition of acidulated malt added to the grist really does help in salt reduction but have played around a bit and think lately going by my last lager which was only brewed as I had no Ale yeast is one of the best brews of mine too date and shall definitely be doing again.
I must say that your advice @strange-steve is very helpful and certainly welcomed as a trusted contribution.
 

strange-steve

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I've used your advice on water treatment which I started using last year and found it very helpful though I also find that a small addition of acidulated malt added to the grist really does help in salt reduction but have played around a bit and think lately going by my last lager which was only brewed as I had no Ale yeast is one of the best brews of mine too date and shall definitely be doing again.
I must say that your advice @strange-steve is very helpful and certainly welcomed as a trusted contribution.
Some people like acid malt cos it's easier to measure than small amounts of acid, and others believe it adds a touch of complexity to the flavour over adding straight acid. Personally I've used both and not really noticed any difference so I've gone back to using lactic acid.
 

samale

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I've used your advice on water treatment which I started using last year and found it very helpful though I also find that a small addition of acidulated malt added to the grist really does help in salt reduction but have played around a bit and think lately going by my last lager which was only brewed as I had no Ale yeast is one of the best brews of mine too date and shall definitely be doing again.
I must say that your advice @strange-steve is very helpful and certainly welcomed as a trusted contribution.
Gerry if you get a chance could you break down your water report since we have the same into the four components
Calcium
Chloride
Sulphate
Alkalinity

So I can get a guide for each style.
I will let you sample the results
 

Gerryjo

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Gerry if you get a chance could you break down your water report since we have the same into the four components
Calcium
Chloride
Sulphate
Alkalinity

So I can get a guide for each style.
I will let you sample the results
Your results will vary depending on grain types and water quantity.Its in the print out for your last brew and is only a matter of entering it into a water calculator in Brewers Friend or online.
I can give you a run through when you like
 

samale

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Your results will vary depending on grain types and water quantity.Its in the print out for your last brew and is only a matter of entering it into a water calculator in Brewers Friend or online.
I can give you a run through when you like
I thought from reading the other thread for the basic styles that you could make adjustments to get you a ball park starting point regardless of what grain.
 

Gerryjo

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I thought from reading the other thread for the basic styles that you could make adjustments to get you a ball park starting point regardless of what grain.
You can but the grain type used and quantity for style can make a significant contribution.A Pale Ale and a stout for instance could have a pH difference of 1 with the Stout having a lower value due to the acidic value added by roasted and speciality malts whereas a pale malt using very light malts and maybe a small addition of caramel malts will have a lower contribution but you would need a pH meter so as to check as calculators are only estimators.
 

Gerryjo

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Here's my water profile in Brewers Friend which it measures against a water profile such as Burton, Dublin or just a hoppy ale and tells you what additional salts you need to the desired profile.
Screenshot_20190510_145616_com.android.chrome.jpg
 

matt76

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I was going to ask, @strange-steve , if you have any suggestions for a Black IPA - but a quick Google revealed the following - interested to know if anyone has any thoughts on this:

From here

90 calcium
75 sulphate
100 chloride
110 alkalinity [Edit: as Strange-Steve notes below, this is 110ppm HCO3 - to be consistent with the figures in the OP we should divide by 1.22, hence 90ppm CaCO3)

(n.b. he uses HCO3 for alkalinity - is that consistent with the other figures above and tests with the salifert kit?)

Two things strike me about this:

1. The sulphate:chloride ratio is much more towards the malty compared with, say, pale ale or IPA

2. If you click the link, he gives water profiles for pale ale and dry stout for comparison. I noticed the former had a sulphate:chloride ratio in the range 6-10!!! ashock1
 
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Hoddy

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I was going to ask, @strange-steve , if you have any suggestions for a Black IPA - but a quick Google revealed the following - interested to know if anyone has any thoughts on this:

From here

90 calcium
75 sulphate
100 chloride
110 alkalinity

(n.b. he uses HCO3 for alkalinity - is that consistent with the other figures above and tests with the salifert kit?)

Two things strike me about this:

1. The sulphate:chloride ratio is much more towards the malty compared with, say, pale ale or IPA

2. If you click the link, he gives water profiles for pale ale and dry stout for comparison. I noticed the former had a sulphate:chloride ratio in the range 6-10!!! ashock1
I would say that aiming for that profile and ratio is a good place to start. There will always be a journey of discovery as to what you like and what fits your recipe. There isn’t a silver bullet to these things, only guidelines. Then once you’ve brewed it you can tweak it and take that learning into your next beer.

For me a BIPA should have a malty body but with a slight crisp edge. Dependant on if you make it a hop forward BIPA or a malt forward beer.

The world is your oyster and the only way you will find out if you like oysters is to try them.
 

strange-steve

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@matt76 yep, what Hoddy said. As I mention in the OP there isn't really a definite answer. The correct water profile is the one most suited to your taste, so if you want it more dry or crisp add sulphate, if you want it fuller and softer add chloride.

My view on a BIPA is that it should be similar in flavour to a typical IPA, and any flavours from the dark malts should be very subtle.

That link you posted could be a little confusing, because although he mentions that how you use the dark malts (cold steep, sparge through etc) doesn't matter as long as the water is right, he doesn't explain what he means by that and gives a suggested HCO3 value of 110ppm.

However if the dark malts aren't part of the mash grist, ie. if they're added at sparge or cold steeped, then they should be ignored as far as water alkalinity is concerned. If you had an alkalinity of 110ppm but didn't mash the dark malts then the mash pH would very likely be too high.

To answer your other question, HCO3 isn't the same as alkalinity as CaCO3 which is what I've used in the OP. To convert, divide the HCO3 value by 1.22.
 

Cwrw666

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Black IPA is an interesting one. I make it using my very soft, very acidic spring water and it comes out great. Tastes like an IPA, but just happens to be dark. On the other hand my mate who lives about 15 miles from here and has alkaline tap water makes it to exactly the same recipe and it comes out tasting like a hoppy stout.
Both are very nice. Just different.

On the other hand I have to use bottled water (chase spring) to get a decent tasting stout.
 

matt76

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Quick question @strange-steve - for a (London/Brown) Porter would you recommend just using the Stout profile in your OP, or something slightly different?

(Still a really useful resource BTW, I keep coming back to the OP)

Cheers,

Matt athumb..
 

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