Author Topic: Brewing an IPA with Super Hard Water  (Read 2470 times)

Offline Levomatic

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Brewing an IPA with Super Hard Water
« on: May 01, 2020, 07:32:33 AM »
Hey all, new to posting on this forum but I've been BeerSmithing for a while and always find posts here to be useful.

I have been brewing all-grain for a few months, and have been buying bottled water and adjusting with salts to get nearer my target profiles.

My home water supply is ridiculously hard. Here's the breakdown:

pH 7.12
Ca 122.9
Mg 18
Na 18.1
Sulphate 104
Chloride 27.7
Bicarbonate 361

Weizen is my true love, though I'm not so keen on dunkel, so I guess that's out for my home water.

On the other hand, I am fond of fruity IPAs. Is there any way I can get a tasty, LIGHT-ish, hoppy brew with such hardness? I know I can throw in some phosphoric/lactic to get the pH down a bit (how much is too much?) and some dark malts to help (I'm not at all into the dark side beer); I'm more after hops and drinkability than heavy dark malty or mega-bitter.

Burton on Trent has, I notice, water with bicarb hardness near my profile. It has a reputation for IPA I believe. But there is IPA and IPA, so what sort of results can I expect flavour-wise using my water? 

Any recipe suggestions?

All best



Offline Oginme

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Re: Brewing an IPA with Super Hard Water
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2020, 10:58:25 AM »
Except for the Bicarbonate level, your water is pretty good for a hoppy style.  The total Sulfate and Chloride levels may be a little low for some, but the ratio should favor the finish that would emphasize the bitterness.  Really it would come down to adding some acid or acidulated malt to overcome the buffering of the pH.  Aim for a mash pH of 5.2 to 5.6 (taken at room temperature) and note that the BeerSmith recommendation for acid will be higher than you really need.  You can check out the correction for the pH model at this link:,20449.0.html.  I am hoping that this forthcoming update will adjust the pH estimations to Mark Riffe's newer model released just about a month ago.

You might also consider splitting the water with distilled/DI/RO water and then building back up with Calcium chloride or Calcium sulfate to get to the ion balance you want.  That would lessen the amount of acid/acidulated malt you would need to get the pH down to the target level.
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