NEIPA Water Chemistry

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by hoptualBrew, Oct 9, 2019 at 11:38 PM.

  1. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (616) May 29, 2011 Florida

    Soft water profile talk here. It’s always puzzled me that some use so much Ca (between Gypsum and CaCl) in their NEIPA.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t Ca and Mg the “hardness” of water?

    I have really lowered my Ca additions to my NEIPA and am liking the results. I used to be heavy on CaCl with a decent amount of CaSO4. Now I have switched to heavy NaCl (via Canning Salt) with a touch of CaCl, a touch of CaSO4, and a touch of MgSO4.

    Last NEIPA I did was:

    Ca 29 ppm, Mg 9 ppm, Na 81 ppm, Cl 164 ppm, SO4 55 ppm

    Anyone else lowering their Ca in favor of NaCl?
  2. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (22) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    While a hallmark of the NEIPA style is softness, you may still need the calcium and magnesium to get your mash ph into the proper range, so unless you’re using acids to achieve ph adjustments, ca and mg will probably be used in some capacity.
    As far as a chloride to sulfate ratio, I see no issues with 164:55 and I believe that significantly higher chloride is where the softer mouthfeel of a neipa comes from, based on what I’ve read and heard.
  3. warchez

    warchez Aspirant (210) Oct 19, 2004 Massachusetts

    Also, the softness referred to in NEIPA is more of a commentary on the malt profile than the water. So while the water may seem somewhat hard on paper, the soft malt profile is achieved via the chloride additions over sulfate. Which you are obviously getting to using NaCl.

    If you like what you are doing then who cares really. As CShell1234 stated, I too think you might want to be sure you have enough Calcium to hit the right pH and to support good fermentation later in process. Because if those two things aren't right it won't matter what everything else is doing.
  4. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (616) May 29, 2011 Florida

    Yes, using lactic acid 88% to get mash pH where I want it. Is Ca around 30 ppm detrimental to yeast health? I haven’t noticed any problems with my NEIPA fermentations ... but then again I’m not really re-pitching yeast multiple generations on these beers either.
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,561) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    The often quoted 50 ppm recommendation for calcium is mostly about flocculation, not so much about the health of the yeast during fermentation. You can get away with a lot less.

    That said, if you subscribe to the theory (and I do) that, in NEIPAs, fast flocculation gets the yeast out of the way so that they don't drag dry hop oils out of suspension, then a high-ish calcium concentration might be helpful for retaining haze.
    Witherby likes this.
  6. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (22) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    Interesting, I’ve never heard of that before... is there a sweet spot for increasing flocculation, or is higher the better. I understand there are reasons not to go crazy, but as it relates to flocculation, is there a ceiling or at least a point of diminishing returns?
    #6 CShell1234, Oct 10, 2019 at 8:08 PM
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 8:16 PM
  7. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,561) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I really don't know. I've never noticed faster flocculation with calcium concentrations higher than 50 ppm, but I can't say that I was watching for it either.

    ETA: I don't think I've brewed more than a few batches with calcium much higher than 50 ppm.
    CShell1234 likes this.