gypsum needs with a water softner

Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:45 pm

I just made a hoppy 4% pale ale made completely with home grown chinook hops. It turned out really good. I used .75oz at 60 min, .25oz at 30 min, 1oz at 5 min and dry hopped 2 oz... it had a real nice hoppy smell and flavor for about a week. But the hoppiness smoothed out really quick.

It got me thinking, I use water through my water softner and was thinking this might be the cause. I did add 1 tsp of gypsum to the boil (5.8 gallons). Does this seem like enough for a hoppy pale ale or IPA? I know I probably need to test the water.. just thought I'd get some ideas... related, are the test strips to test the calcium/sodium levels?

Thanks in advance!
Hoont
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Re: gypsum needs with a water softner

Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:54 pm

There are others on this board FAR more knowledgeable than I am, but I'll give you my .02 anyways. Hopefully somebody with more info such as AJ will chime in, too.

The most accurate thing to do is to take 2 samples of your water and send them to Ward Labs for analysis.
One sample should be straight out of the system with no softening (this is for the baseline). The other should be after softening.

Some softeners add a lot of sodium to the water. That is not ideal for brewing. An RO system would be better in that case.

All that said, if it tastes good to you, then it should be ok.

S
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Re: gypsum needs with a water softner

Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:41 am

Softeners are bad for brewing, you probably have a garage spigot or outside spigot that does nto go through the softener
grainbelt
 
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Re: gypsum needs with a water softner

Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:37 pm

Hard water is not a problem in brewing. We actually want moderate to hard water for most brewing uses. Its alkalinity that is the problem in brewing. A water softener does not fix that. Do not use softened water for anything except mixing up batches of StarSan (its very good for that).

Depending on the water profile of the unsoftened water, it may or may not be helpful to boost the sulfate content of the brewing water for hoppy beers.
Martin B
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mabrungard
 
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Re: gypsum needs with a water softner

Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:44 am

I had my water tested and the Total Alkalinity is pretty darn high; HCO3 = 390, CaCO3 = 320. I guess I will switch to bottled water as I am guessing this is causing the harshness in my lighter, hoppy ales. Palmer recommends a range of 0 to 250 in the 'How to Brew' water chapter.
Hoont
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Re: gypsum needs with a water softner

Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:55 am

Hoont wrote:I had my water tested and the Total Alkalinity is pretty darn high; HCO3 = 390, CaCO3 = 320. I guess I will switch to bottled water as I am guessing this is causing the harshness in my lighter, hoppy ales. Palmer recommends a range of 0 to 250 in the 'How to Brew' water chapter.


That is correct. Your mash pH's are probably no where near the desirable range. Forget the softened water. Did you test the unsoftened water? You might be able to just dilute the tap water to provide the brewing water you need. Don't go using bottled water either unless it is fairly free of minerals. You will want to go with distilled or RO water to dilute your unsoftened tap water.

I recommend using Bru'n Water to figure out your water conditions and what you should be doing with it. The other thing that may be suitable for this high alkalinity water is acidification. That will knock out the alkalinity, but you would have to use phosphoric acid to avoid flavor impacts to your beer.

Good luck!
Martin B
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Re: gypsum needs with a water softner

Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:39 am

I have made the switch to a mix of my tap water and distilled water. Its a pain to get water every week, but I'm sure it will be worth it. Thanks to all.
Hoont
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