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Very hard water and IPA

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Post time 2022-10-20 06:04:40 | Show all posts |Read mode
Hi all,
So, I live in Kent in the UK where we have "very hard" water, my water report shows:
Ca+2: 124
Mg+2: 4.6
Na+: 33.4
Cl-: 67
SO4-2: 70
HCO3-: 397
CO3-2: 1.826
GH: 328.3
Alkalinity: 328
I have no pH meter but assume it would be fairly high.
So I've brewed several all grain and partial grain beers with this water before, usually belgian tripels and dubbels, and some darker and amber ales, they have mostly turned out really well. I've never really considered water chemistry before, but reading around IPAs, it seems that the lighter grain might struggle a bit with the high pH. I don't really want to mess around with buying RO water, salts, acids, etc. so I was wondering if an acid rest at 35-37 ┬░C might be helpful? Looking back through my recipes, it seems like I've also had a fairly low efficiency with my mashing ~60-65% which I have put down to inexperience and technique, but is it possible that my water profile is contributing?
Does anyone with a similar water profile, or expertise in this area have experience with brewing an IPA with it?
I would definitely appreciate any feedback!
(I accept that at some point I may have to get into the nitty gritty of water chemistry, but might struggle to justify buying more equipment at the moment...)
Anyway, here's my plan:
HOME BREW RECIPE:
Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: IPA
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 25 liters (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 30 liters
Boil Gravity: 1.043
Efficiency: 65% (brew house)
Hop Utilization Multiplier: 1
STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.049
Final Gravity: 1.009
ABV (standard): 5.32%
IBU (tinseth): 68.01
SRM (morey): 5.1
FERMENTABLES:
6 kg - Finest Maris Otter (100%)
HOPS:
1 oz - Chinook, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 12.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 34.86
0.5 oz - Olicana, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 7.34, Use: Boil for 30 min, IBU: 7.87
0.5 oz - Chinook, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 12.5, Use: Boil for 30 min, IBU: 13.4
1 oz - Olicana, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 7.34, Use: Boil for 15 min, IBU: 10.16
1 oz - Olicana, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 7.34, Use: Boil for 2 min, IBU: 1.73
1 oz - Olicana, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 7.3, Use: Dry Hop for 7 days
MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Strike, Temp: 37 C, Time: 30 min, Amount: 19 L
2) Increase Temperature, Temp: 66 C, Time: 60 min
3) Fly Sparge, Temp: 75 C, Amount: 12 L
Starting Mash Thickness: 3.13 L/kg
YEAST:
Lallemand - LALBREW® NOTTINGHAM HIGH PERFORMANCE ALE YEAST
Starter: No
Form: Dry
Attenuation (avg): 80%
Flocculation: High
Optimum Temp: 10 - 22.22 C
Fermentation Temp: 18 C
This recipe has been published online at:

British IPA | American IPA All Grain Beer Recipe by BrewerMike | Brewer's Friend"British IPA" American IPA beer recipe by BrewerMike. All Grain, ABV 5.32%, IBU 68.01, SRM 5.1, Fermentables: (Finest Maris Otter) Hops: (Chinook, Olicana)

www.brewersfriend.com
Generated by Brewer's Friend - Brewer's Friend | Homebrew Beer Recipes, Calculators & Forum
Date: 2022-10-20 09:57 UTC
Recipe Last Updated: 2022-10-20 09:57 UTC
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Post time 2022-10-21 10:24:01 | Show all posts
My well water is similar so I installed an RO system after the iron remover and softener. I use 50% RO when making stouts and porters. Not wanting to do anything about it,you could try making IPA as is and make another one but boil the liquor for 10 min. let chill overnite then decant off the sludge.
Understanding water chemistry and DOING SOMETHING about it has taken my beer to You Should Sell that territory.
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Post time 2022-10-21 11:49:53 | Show all posts
Strange Steve's brilliant guide on the UK forum is all you need to get started.
Beginners Guide to Water Treatment (plus links to more advanced water treatment in post #1)
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Post time 2022-10-21 12:38:53 | Show all posts

As far as terms, hardness is generally a measurement of combined Calcium and Magnesium. At least as far as the USGS categories hardness goes, you are at the very bottle of the "hard" level ("121 to 180 mg/L as hard; and more than 180 mg/L as very hard"). Overall, I don't think it is the "hardness" of your water that is the biggest challenge, but the level of HCO3/Alkalinity. This may require a healthy dose of acid to bring your pH down to the right level. Your Chlorite and Sulfate levels are in a decent range and balanced. Sodium is at a decent level.
I don't use Brewer's Friend myself, but it should have tools to help calculate acid additions based on your water profile and recipe.

With a quick scan, this looks like a very solid resource for people that live outside the UK as well.
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Post time 2022-10-21 12:57:41 | Show all posts

You'll need to do something. You may as well get started with brewing water adjustments. IMO it will be more beneficial than a second rest and will make your brewing better as you learn.
That water has very high alkalinity which is going to cause problems with a light colored beer. The simplest way out would be to dilute with RO or distilled water but it is going to take probably 60-80% of your total brewing liquor to get that job done. Another option is reducing alkalinity by pre-boiling the water with a slaked lime (Calcium Hydroxide) addition.
http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Alkalinity_reduction_with_slaked_lime
Whichever way is used you should also add some gypsum/Calcium sulphate to the water. Either method is going to reduce your Ca+2 ion content below optimum. Also the sulphate is a traditional component of the ion content in brewing water for hoppy, light colored ales.
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 Author| Post time 2022-10-21 13:02:03 | Show all posts

Thanks for the reply, I decided to buy some lactic acid and give it a try, though will have to rely on calculations as I can't afford a pH meter. I'll have a read of strange steve's guide just now.
I guess the definitions are different over here, as my water is labelled as very hard by the water company who provides the report.
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Post time 2022-10-21 15:08:21 | Show all posts
I have water that is almost as alkaline as yours. I have to add so much lactic acid, I can taste it in light-colored beers (or at least I think I can.) I use phosphoric acid (85%) instead, or sometimes a little phosphoric acid and some acid malt if I'm brewing something German.
You're in the UK so you can get a hydrochloric and sulfuric acid blend (I think it's called CRS); I would try that. Or mix about 25% or so RO water with your tapwater so it doesn't take so much lactic acid to de-alkalize it.
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Post time 2022-10-22 08:44:14 | Show all posts
Like everyone says,you'll have to do something. If you want to do the boil thing,for an IPA add 2.75 grams per gallon of brewing liquor CaSO4 and that will give you 400 total ppm SO4 and add 170 ppm of Ca. With the extra calcium the boil should remove almost all of the alkalinity,but also most of the calcium. after decanting add enough CaCl2 to boost calcium and balance your sulfate to chloride ratio. This could be reversed CaCl2 instead of CaSO4 when brewing a pale lager.
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