Water Profile: nervous about mineral levels

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In terms of water for bitters, I've seen many experienced members here talking about sulphate and chloride levels up around 100-200 ppm.
This seems two or three times higher than the target profiles I see on Bru'N Water - and when I try to hit these sorts of levels the spreadsheet seems to be telling me I'm doing something a bit 'out there'.

I don't want to produce insipid beer, but a little nervous about producing a batch that tastes peculiar - can anyone offer any experience/advice to steady my nerves?

For context, I'm looking to brew the GH Ruby Mild which is described as "dark, strong ale with malty and chocolaty flavours balanced by a light hoppy bitterness (OG 1049/ 31.6 EBC).
My base water is high in calcium (Ca 145, Na 30, SO4 42, Cl 55, Bicarb 333) so the 'default' approach seems to be to dilute with about 75% distilled to get that calcium down; then add a bit of CRS and table salt to hit something like Ca 50, Na 21, 48 SO4, 60 Cl
 
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In terms of water for bitters, I've seen many experienced members here talking about sulphate and chloride levels up around 100-200 ppm.
This seems two or three times higher than the target profiles I see on Bru'N Water - and when I try to hit these sorts of levels the spreadsheet seems to be telling me I'm doing something a bit 'out there'.

I don't want to produce insipid beer, but a little nervous about producing a batch that tastes peculiar - can anyone offer any experience/advice to steady my nerves?

For context, I'm looking to brew the GH Ruby Mild which is described as "dark, strong ale with malty and chocolaty flavours balanced by a light hoppy bitterness (OG 1049/ 31.6 EBC).
My base water is high in calcium (Ca 145, Na 30, SO4 42, Cl 55, Bicarb 333) so the 'default' approach seems to be to dilute with about 75% distilled to get that calcium down; then add a bit of CRS and table salt to hit something like Ca 50, Na 21, 48 SO4, 60 Cl
Use a program like Brewers Friend to adjust your water. Keep it simple by keeping out the none fermentable grains out of the mash until mash out.
 
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I assume you have delved into the basic water treatment threads put together by StrangeSteve?
That was my starting point for water treatment. I recall StrangeSteve using some pretty high SO4 and Cl values in his beers and they always get rave reviews from people who have sampled them. The key is not the overall figure but the balance between the figures, apparently. Though there are upper limits when too many alts become detectable as a minerally taste. I am still at the beginning of my understanding with water treatment, but I have found that the balance between SO4 and Cl does make a detectable difference.

I still haven't got my head around the alkalinity/hardness/bicarbonate/residual alkalinity thing. However, My understanding is that your high Calcium content will serve you well to reduce the alkalinity and help you get pH low enough to make paler ales, but that means the darker roasted malts used in a mild may bring the pH down too far.

When trying to understand what's going on I use the John Palmer nomograph shown at Residual Alkalinity and Mash pH - How to Brew, but then use my own spreadhseet which gets me roughly in the same ballpark as Brewer's Friend and Bru'n Water.

What's your Magnesium level? The Palmer nomograph uses Ca and Mg to calculate effective hardness.
 
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For interest I guess, these are my simple profiles for bitter...
2388ECE6-D193-4215-8548-98D55ABF2EAB.jpeg


Brown ale...
E2C49259-26F1-438C-B1BB-93AC6403FA4D.jpeg


Stout...
D0DB1CFC-B8FD-442B-B46C-0D1361F45420.jpeg

My tap water is pretty hard with alkalinity at 280ppm and calcium at 150ppm so I usually dilute it or for lighter ales, use RO water.
 
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In terms of water for bitters, I've seen many experienced members here talking about sulphate and chloride levels up around 100-200 ppm.
This seems two or three times higher than the target profiles I see on Bru'N Water - and when I try to hit these sorts of levels the spreadsheet seems to be telling me I'm doing something a bit 'out there'.

I don't want to produce insipid beer, but a little nervous about producing a batch that tastes peculiar

Following US ideas on water, in particular Bru'n'water, is what's going to lead to beer that tastes peculiar!

They have no concept of what British brewing water is like. For something rather more authentic, see this advice to British commercial brewers from one of the main providers of lab services to the British industry :
There's a slight problem with their table formatting, so for convenience here it is :

BitterMildPorterLager
Calcium17010010050
Magnesium1510102
Bicarbonate255010025
Chloride20020030010
Sulphate40015010010

USians get nervous once you start nudging above 100ppm, whereas that's an absolute bare minimum for a lot of British styles, particularly Burton/Yorkshire-style bitters.

Don't worry too much about calcium, as long as you have a minimum of 100ppm you should be fine. 50ppm is too low and will start causing you problems with mash enzymes and yeast flocculation (the latter more important in the cask/bottle-conditioned world of the UK than in US keg land). Boiling will help drop out some of it if you're worried about it.

For a ruby mild you don't want to go too crazy on the sulphates, but something along the lines that Murphy suggest of 200 Cl, 150 SO4 and you should be fine.
 
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Thanks a million everyone - this is really helpful and just what I needed :hat:

I'm pretty confident with adjusting the chemistry, it's just choosing the target profiles that I'm having trouble with - all the ones in Bru'N and BeerSmith looked so different to what I was hearing here that I thought I must have misunderstood the units somehow :oops:

@cushyno thanks! for the record, my Mg is 0.0 according to the water report ;-)
@Northern Brewer that info from Murphy and Son is brilliant - thanks very much for transcribing it athumb..
@Hazelwood Brewery very kind - I was actually looking at your recipes earlier and was going to ask you how you'd come to the understanding of what sulphate/chloride ratios to use for the different styles
@foxy - thanks: received and understood
 
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My profiles are guided by articles and posts that I’ve read and then influenced by my taste. I prefer in general lower mineral content and for darker beers generally quite balanced sulphate / chloride ratios. I have been known to go a bit crazy with lighter ales. Here is my Pilsner...

3168295D-D1A7-4D11-AEEA-1EEF306873CB.jpeg


Not so crazy for the Pilsner maybe but just look at my profile for Summer Breeze 🤷‍♂️
683D01F9-B115-4D85-AC45-C5E98611A034.jpeg
 

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For styles that benefit from lower minerality, like weiss beers, noble hopped pilsner and Helles, you can target 100mg/l in the initial mash to get the mashing benefit of calcium but then sparge/ step with water with less calcium etc. A Burtonised pils that is otherwise properly brewed is not particularly good, unlike something like a bitter.

Count me in with people who don't understand the light touch with minerals that seems to have been pushed relatively recently, at least with regards to British beer.
 
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