You don't have to buy a digital pH meter, but if you have one you can use it to see and record the actual pH values as the water properties change. Small amounts of minerals and salts from gypsum, Epsom salt and calcium chloride combine to season the taste of the water while lactic acid and baking soda are used to lower or raise the brewing water pH so you'll need those too. I picked up my minerals and salts from Princeton Homebrew but they are also readily available at other fine home brew shops as well.
|Screwy's Clock Strükker IPA|
The example recipe calls for a pound of CaraPils and 11 pounds of US Two Row grain with Centennial and Cascade pellet hops. An ounce of Centennial is added to the kettle during the lauter, followed by an ounce of Cascade and a quarter ounce of Centennial at 18 minutes remaining to the boil. With 10 minutes remaining to the boil add another ounce of Cascade and a quarter ounce of Centennial.
At knock out add another ounce of Cascade and a half ounce of Centennial. For this recipe I recommend removing all the hops from the boil before adding the knock out hop addition and then removing the knock out hop addition before transferring the cooled wort to the fermentor. After the first full week of fermentation you can add another ounce of Cascade hops to the fermentor and let them soak in the beer until it's ready to package.
|The Crystal Clear OG Sample Came In At 1.060|
For the yeast I pitched an 11g package of Danstar Nottingham dry yeast to ferment the batch at 65F until the final gravity was reached. Before pitching the yeast you may want to rehydrate it in 95F sanitized water until it forms a nice smooth consistency. Optionally you can add a bit of yeast nutrient to the kettle just before flameout and oxygenate the wort before adding the yeast and closing the fermentor.
For this batch I used a single infusion mash at 156F and fly sparged the grains with 172F water to collect almost eight gallons of wort in the kettle. You can just as easily do a batch sparge or brew the batch using BIAB as the intent is to brew the beer as you typically would and then taste for yourself the difference that a modified brewing water profile makes on the finished beer.
The Water Profile
After a few quick calculations to determine the grain absorption, trub and boil loss for a five gallon batch of beer, the recipe was estimated to need nine gallons of water for both the mash and sparge. Filling a single food grade container with nine gallons of distilled water made mixing in the minerals, salts and taking pH readings while adjusting the water properties a lot easier to do. Next enter the nine gallon water volume into EZ Water Calculator under the B. Volume section, along with the weight and types of grain used in the recipe to find out what additions will be needed to get the water properties within the recommended range for this style of beer.
** Distilled water and reverse osmosis (RO) water provide perfect starting points for modifying brewing water profiles. Distilled water and reverse osmosis water in general have had salts, minerals, fluoride, chlorine and other substances removed from them by as much as 99%.
Distilled water could possibly contain oils even after the distillation process, volatile oils will be boiled off with the water and then condense back into solution once that steam has cooled. It's important to note that the ion concentrations of the original water are not changed during the distillation process and that the distillation process doesn't do a good job of removing chloramines or chemicals.
Reverse osmosis using Thin Film Composite membrane removes up to 99% of water impurities so the processed water is free of salts, minerals and other contaminants. The processed reverse osmosis water contains no chloramines and has only a few parts per million of salts or minerals than distilled water.
** Deionized (DI) water is processed by running reverse osmosis water through a special deionization resin filter that removes nearly all the ions from the water. The imbalance of the water properties due to these missing ions however complicate the solution of minerals, salts and pH range adjustments made to the brewing water profile. The use of deionized water should also be confirmed safe for human consumption and free from any traces of deionizing resins, adding a carbon block filter stage after the deionizing resin membrane is recommended.
|Calculating Both Mash And Sparge Properties The Same Way|
Doing it this way you only have to modify nine gallons of water to fall within the 5.4 to 5.6 pH target range and have enough buffering to keep it there once it comes into contact with the grains in the mash. I'm a single infusion mash fly sparger by nature so rinsing my grains with the same modified water properties as the water used in the the mash tun makes the most sense to me.
|Add Your Grain Bill To Let EZ Water Calculator Know Where To Begin|
|Season The Water Based On The Style Of Beer|
|Think Gypsum For Crispness Calcium Chloride For Maltiness|
The salt and mineral amounts can be adjusted to enhance the crispness and hop character of the finished beer or to highlight the beer's malt flavor and they do it in a way that's not possible by using only different grain bills or yeast types. The flavors of the beer are clearer and more pronounced, the clarity and color of the beer is cleaner and the overall perception of the beer is taken to a higher level of enjoyment.
|Cleaner Tasting Beer With Bolder Flavor|
There you have it, the perfect IPA recipe and all the details and steps taken to create a matching water profile, what could be easier than that. Using EZ Water Calculator and distilled water to tune and tweak my brewing water profiles I've since brewed a light colored IPA, an amber ale, a wheat beer and two dark beers using chocolate malt and they've all tasted much better. It's interesting to learn with each style of beer brewed the impact on the levels of flavor different water properties have on some ingredients.
For example the coffee and chocolate flavors extracted from Carafa III and Chocolate malt went through the roof, when compared to similar batches brewed with unmodified water profiles. Now I know why some recipes call for 3 ounces of each where before I was happy to just round it off to the nearest half pound. Other additions like coriander and flaked rye seem to suddenly pop out in front or take a more subdued role in the background flavor. One thing is for sure once you've learned the basics to modifying your brewing water profiles and tasted the huge differences in your beer you'll be hooked too.