Author Topic: Can water chemistry affect hop utilization dramatically?  (Read 3705 times)

Offline Maples

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Can water chemistry affect hop utilization dramatically?
« on: January 04, 2018, 04:45:42 PM »
Hey Brewers, I've had a new problem with my last batch of Mosiac IPA where it came out very watery. I've brewed this recipe before and it came out fine, However my apartments water has been turned off and on many times since then. I've been searching around for a while now and haven't found any useful info and all I can think to do is use some store bought water to brew a batch and see if it improves. I thought it would be a good idea to post my issue and see if there's something obvious I am not seeing.

Thanks,
Maples.

KellerBrauer

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Re: Can water chemistry affect hop utilization dramatically?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2018, 05:27:35 AM »
Greetings Maples - a thought that has come to mind is: you mention your water has turned on and off many times.  That?s quite odd.  Have you ever gotten a water analysis from your local municipality?  And if so, has the water supply changed since the analysis was produced?

Also, could the water being turned on and off be the result os a contractor installing a water softener in the building?  If so, softened water will affect the outcome of the beer.  A water softener removes calcium and magnesium from the water - two compounds beneficial to good fermentation.

Hope this helps!

Good luck!

Offline Maples

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Re: Can water chemistry affect hop utilization dramatically?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2018, 03:43:54 PM »
I was looking at a water analysis, but to be honest I could make sense of any of it. Reading a water report is just over my head right now. I'm going to ask my landlord about the softener because now that you mention it, it is very odd to shut the water off that many times. However, my gravity readings on fermentation has been average still. I guess this problem will be an opportunity to learn about water chemistry whether I felt ready for it or not!

KellerBrauer

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Re: Can water chemistry affect hop utilization dramatically?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 06:39:46 AM »
Greetings Maples - if, in fact, your water is now softened and this is the cause of your beer being ?waterey?, the simple solution would be to add the minerals that were removed from the water, through the water softener ion exchange, back into the water.

Now, I am certainly no expert on water and water is an extremely complex subject, but I know a lot of brewers use RO (reverse osmosis) water and as far as I know, RO water and distilled water are free of the same ions removed during the softening process.  So, my point is, there are ways of reconstructing your brewing water, I?m just not the brewer to tell you how.

Offline Maples

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Re: Can water chemistry affect hop utilization dramatically?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2018, 11:00:33 PM »
Looks like will be doing some homework on water chemistry..or at least what minerals to add and how much if it to add.

Offline Baron Von MunchKrausen

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Re: Can water chemistry affect hop utilization dramatically?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 12:44:10 AM »
Brewing water science is a fascinating subject.
For those of us with un-brewable tap water (alkalinity is 300 ppm)  RO is really the only alternative.
If your water source is unreliable and fluctuates, RO may be the way to go. Rather than an expensive in-house system, I purchase RO at a local grocery store at 0.39 cents per gallon using 5 gallon reusable jugs. I also regularly test with a TDS meter. They seem to do a good job maintaining the system and membranes, as the TDS typically measures between 7 and 20 ppm.
Basically, you're starting with a clean slate. Then using a water calculator (I prefer Bru'n water)  calculate the salts required to match your grain bill and recipe style.
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KellerBrauer

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Re: Can water chemistry affect hop utilization dramatically?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 06:11:37 AM »
Looks like will be doing some homework on water chemistry..or at least what minerals to add and how much if it to add.

Greetings Maples - adding to Baron?s information, there is a book called Water, a Comprehensive Guide for Brewers by John Palmer.  It is a great book to read if you want to learn about this very complex subject.  While this book is jam packed with useful information, it too can be a bit overwhelming in regard to complex information.  But don?t let that stop you.  I had to read a couple chapters more than once before I got a handle on what Mr. Palmer was explaining.  It is a great book to read if you want to learn about water science as it relates to brewing science.

Good luck!

Offline Oginme

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Re: Can water chemistry affect hop utilization dramatically?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 07:01:11 AM »
Water is a great book, but very technical and includes all aspects of water and water treatment for brewing, both commercial and home.  There is a "simpler" primer on water chemistry at https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge.  It still takes several read throughs to get everything down, but is more concise than the Palmer and Kominski book.
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Offline durrettd

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Re: Can water chemistry affect hop utilization dramatically?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2018, 12:57:37 PM »
I recommend you go to:  https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/  and download the free Bru'n water spreadsheet.

It may look a little intimidating initially, but it will make sense if you read the instructions and the "water knowledge" pages.

The spreadsheet is very accurate and simple to use, once you've read the instructions.

 

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