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Water Ph, salts, and off flavors...help!

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by BeerBodisafa, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. I am getting some off flavors in my recent batches. My San Diego water sucks, I dont know how breweries brew such great beer here. In order to lower th Ph to acceptable levels, I use 60% distilled water, and still need to use to many salts, mainly in lighter colored beers. To keep calcium and sulfate levels low enough to make the beer drinkable. I cant put in enough gypsum or calcium chloride to lower the Ph enough. If I get the ph good, I get 80% effeciency, if I keep the mineral levels good, I get 65%. Better effeciency=off flavors.

    How should I get my water to a good ph level, with using an appropiate amount of salts, without having to make nothing but dark beers, while using my tap water?
  2. kjyost

    kjyost Champion (800) Manitoba (Canada) May 4, 2008 Verified Subscriber

    Seriously, contact a local brewery (or two or three) and ask them how they treat their water. I've done the same thing here and they are very open to letting us know what they do.
  3. Use acid. Phosphoric or lactic in the mash. Then worry about minerals to get the flavor you want.
  4. Thanks, I'll read up on that.
  5. Also, check out the April west coaster for a piece on water chemistry. :rolleyes:
  6. Tebuken

    Tebuken Savant (375) Argentina Jun 6, 2009

    I think living near the shores you might have a water tap with high sodium level, plus if this water has high levels of carbonation is going to be very hard to brew a decent light colored beer.I would suggest you try to get a local water report to avoid flying blind in regards to salts additions.Using distilled water or RO water could help but you need to know what minerlas remain after dillution.Consider using acid malt for about 5-6 % of the total grain bill to low Ph mash.
  7. I have the local water report, thats why I know the water is difficult to do lighter beers. Does acid malt affect the flavor of the beer?
  8. Acid malt will work fine if you keep it in the area of 5% range and not give the beer any lactic flavor. Weyermann's says 1% will lower the pH by 0.1. I would use their rule with some caution, as they did not say what the water they used had for mineral content. The water in Bamberg seems fairly low in minerals, while the water in SD with the high bicarbonate level will buffer more of the acid.
  9. Tebuken

    Tebuken Savant (375) Argentina Jun 6, 2009

    Acid malt contents lactic acid, it is one of the ways germans can low mash Ph avoiding violation of the Reinheitsgebot(purity law for brewing in Germany).I think using such percentages you ain`t gonna have any problem, in fact that´s the way i low down my mash Ph cos i have a hard/salty water as yours as well.
  10. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Advocate (590) Maryland Feb 8, 2009 Verified

    I don't know if this is kosher or not, but I read the "Water Chemistry Primer" on Homebrewtalk.com (In the Brew Science forum). It is a simple and effective way to treat your water. My water is friggin' awful for brewing, and all my pale-colored beers were suffering. The "Water Chemistry Primer" really helped me to figure it out.
  11. Great advice , thanks for the help!