Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

While Beer is 90-97% water, it is a very tricky subject.

Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby CraftyTim » Sun Jan 21, 2018 01:12

Jeltz wrote:
Eric wrote:
Jeltz wrote:That said I'm getting used to using RO to dilute the tap water as I have a strong suspicion that buying acids will become more expensive and difficult before long as so politicians can be seen to be tacking action over the rise in acid attacks.


Worrying indeed, has it happened yet?

Surely for the layman brewer, alkalinity is the key word? Get that in the ballpark and everything else will just fall into place.

I can’t see how Porter made with the ops profile will shine, it’ll be a good beer, but it won’t shine as a Porter. Does it even balance?

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy :D
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Eric » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:05

CraftyTim wrote:
Surely for the layman brewer, alkalinity is the key word? Get that in the ballpark and everything else will just fall into place.



Yes, alkalinity is the key for brewing the likes of Porter and many other ales, but not sure everything will just fall into place, rather enabling the putting into place what you, or alternatively others, might want.

To a degree I understand why some American aficicionados advise as they do having seen analyses of some appalling North American waters which are not found in UK, but it doesn't please me to see advice for using bottled or RO water to many with water perfectly suitable for brewing after simple treatment. Some seem hell-bent on pushing lager profiles for making any ale, possibly never having drank a hand pulled beer. only those served ice-cold and gassed to kingdom-come.
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Lanky94 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 19:31

To a degree I understand why some American aficicionados advise as they do having seen analyses of some appalling North American waters which are not found in UK, but it doesn't please me to see advice for using bottled or RO water to many with water perfectly suitable for brewing after simple treatment. Some seem hell-bent on pushing lager profiles for making any ale, possibly never having drank a hand pulled beer. only those served ice-cold and gassed to kingdom-come.[/quote]

Sorry for my lateness in this thread. Many thanks for all those who have contributed.

I live in the USA (I am a Brit). There are some horrors over here where British Ales are concerned. I have been here for 6 years and have never drank a beer that mimics UK style, characteristics or serving methods. I have given up trying and don't bother now when I see an 'ESB' on the menu. That said, to be fair, there are some beers out here that I do enjoy. I would much rather have a proper ale at home..........that's why I brew and am beginning to heed information on this forum.
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby mabrungard » Mon Jan 22, 2018 23:40

London Porters were typically brewed using water from the Chalk wells that draw water from under the London clay. Pale ales in London were typically brewed with water from the Thames or Lea. Those waters are quite a bit different.

While I don't fully agree with the profile presented by Foster, it has quite a bit of truth in it with respect to the water quality from the Chalk aquifer. That water does have surprisingly low Ca and Mg content, but Na content approaches 200 ppm. The SO4 does fall in the 60 to 80 ppm range and Cl is also high at over 100 ppm. Of course, the water has pretty high alkalinity. The bottom line is that it is a fairly mineralized water that is well-suited for brewing a Porter.

Dark beers like Porter tend to clear easily, so the seeming lack of calcium isn't really a problem. In addition, calcium is supplied in sufficient quantity by the malt to support the yeast metabolism. But that isn't to say that adding a calcium salt is out of the question. Given the modest SO4 content, gypsum could be added if you prefer.

I continue to get a chuckle out of brewers that say that Americans don't understand British water and the effect it has on native ales. I can assure you that there are water sources across America that easily mirror the mineralization of some British sources. And I've tasted beers made with those mineralized waters. Even in styles like Bitters and Pale Ales that benefit from substantial mineralization, there is a limit. Throwing a ton of salts into your brewing liquor is not always going to make better beer. The only case that I can see benefitting from adding a bunch of calcium salts to your liquor is when you're using all that extra calcium to drive down the residual alkalinity and hopefully produce a better mash and wort pH. With proper acidification, that approach isn't the only way to brew authentic British beers.

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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Eric » Tue Jan 23, 2018 01:38

I can't decide which is worse.
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Brewzee » Tue Jan 23, 2018 07:57

Most American stout is an abomination of roasted malts anyway. I love an American pale but their stouts don't ring my bell at all. I prefer a modest roasted barley addition.
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Aleman » Tue Jan 23, 2018 07:58

With yeast supplying 65-70% of the active flavour compounds in beer, followed by Hops and malt the other 39.99%. I find it incredible that someone has such a highly refined palate that they can claim to detect the difference between 50ppm calcium and 150ppm calcium (plus associated anions), and perceive the beer made with the higher profile as having excessivce mineralisation and being a poorer beer!

I always have a chuckle at people who claim to be able to do that.

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby PeeBee » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:18

Aleman wrote:I just don't understand why you can't get more than 80ppm Calcium! Simply adding 0.275g of calcium sulphate and 0.315 calcium chloride per litre will increase calcium by 150ppm, sulphate by 153 and chloride by 151.

I know you have a spreadsheet and you are going to use it no matter what I say, but sticking rigidly to what it suggests, and indeed using it in an arse about fashion without actually understanding what it is you are doing or trying to achieve, is frankly pointless. Actually giving advice based on what you do, when it is actually so much simpler in reality is just going to lead to people thing water adjustment is complex.

I've only just noticed what you were saying there. In 48L of mash water (which I used for my last porter) that would be over 13g of gypsum. "Simply..."? Now I know you were trying to wind me up! I know just how hard that will be to dissolve.

Anyway, I've gained from these discussions as always. No doubt if we are in a discussion together again the confliction will ramp up even more? And I'll probably still be a slave to Bru'n Water which wont help, but I see you've got the man himself here in this thread ("mabrungard") so you don't need me here just now. And I've been kicked off into another thread because I was leading this one astray.

Thanks. This thread has been most interesting.

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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Aleman » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:58

PeeBee wrote:I've been kicked off into another thread because I was leading this one astray.

No one has been "kicked off" anywhere, the post you made was more pertain to general brewing discussions rather than having any application to 'Water' ... We do try and use the sections of the forum to make sure that people can find the pertinent information related to something they are looking for. Another way of doing it would be to have one forum and perhaps only one thread in it, that would be really simple for everyone, and really useful when you wanted to look for something that may have been posted two years ago ... Bit like Facebook really

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Aleman » Tue Jan 23, 2018 13:22

PeeBee wrote:
Aleman wrote:I just don't understand why you can't get more than 80ppm Calcium! Simply adding 0.275g per litre of calcium sulphate ...

I've only just noticed what you were saying there. In 48L of mash water (which I used for my last porter) that would be over 13g of gypsum. "Simply..."? Now I know you were trying to wind me up! I know just how hard that will be to dissolve.


If you are going to quote a post, and especially one of mine I would appreciate you quoting it as is rather than trying to hide stuff away. I often have a sense of humour failure, and I'm not afraid to use it!! ;)

Dissolves really easily ... While gypsum is 'hard to dissolve' it's solubility LIMIT is 2.0-2.5g/l at 25ºC, although it does exhibit retrograde solubility becoming less soluble at higher temperatures. 17g will dissolve easily in 48L of water, of course if you try and dissolve it in a litre of water first and then add it to your bulk it'll sit there and laugh at you. I know how easy it is to dissolve because I've used up to 35g of Gypsum in 65L of water for a mash ... and that's with additional calcium provided with calcium chloride!! All I've done is start to fill the HLT once the element is covered (around 20L), I switch on the heater, then add the treatment salts (calcium sulphate first, followed by calcium chloride, and if using it potassium bicarbonate), and then let the HLT continue to fill, stirring every few minutes while I do other tasks. It has never not fully dissolved.

Of course those brewers in a with a water supply that is already rich in calcium may well have difficulty in getting gypsum to dissolve, but then they rarely have a reason to add it ;) Indeed if they need to raise sulphate levels then they would probably find that using sulphuric acid to reduce the alkalinity (carbonate or temporary hardness for those stuck in another century) is a more appropriate addition.

Last edited by Aleman on Tue Jan 23, 2018 13:44, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Correcting The quoted post to reflect what was said

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby PeeBee » Tue Jan 23, 2018 15:06

Aleman wrote:
PeeBee wrote:I've been kicked off into another thread because I was leading this one astray.

No one has been "kicked off" anywhere, the post you made was more pertain to general brewing discussions rather than having any application to 'Water' ... We do try and use the sections of the forum to make sure that people can find the pertinent information related to something they are looking for. Another way of doing it would be to have one forum and perhaps only one thread in it, that would be really simple for everyone, and really useful when you wanted to look for something that may have been posted two years ago ... Bit like Facebook really

Calm down. I was only using "kicked off" as a figure of speech and really appreciate having been carved off to somewhere more appropriate. I reckon there should have been some sort of marker left behind in the original thread though. Anyone would think we have a bit of a language barrier, but unlike most people you help out I can see the vicinity were you live across the water (and while we do speak a different language over here, I can't speak it).

Aleman wrote:... If you are going to quote a post, and especially one of mine I would appreciate you quoting it as is rather than trying to hide stuff away. I often have a sense of humour failure, and I'm not afraid to use it!! ;) ...


Geesh! Okay I've just ignored you quoting that. But I'll see if I can edit my original post and bloat that out for you...
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Cautionary Tale

Postby PeeBee » Tue Jan 30, 2018 13:53

After a bit of thinking and grubbing around the Internet I have to swallow deeply and say: Be cautious how you use any advise I've been giving in this thread. I'm not a very good bigot, I do argue strongly when I think I'm right and even if my arguing has a conciliatory tone it's stuffed full of needles. But I then go away and check what I've been saying (Note to self: Be a bigot and save yourself bags of work).

In this case: I've always lived in areas supplied from moorland reservoirs, i.e. acid water with very little dissolved solids (in the 1980s I was in NE Scotland during the "acid rain" scare and the ground water was infamously pH3). I've experienced virtually no alkalinity apart from what the water companies added to help protect their iron pipes. I only started to get into alkalinity concerns 2-3 years ago after building my new brewery; before that I was stuck in the 70's way of boiling the water (which did nothing) and adding a teaspoon of gypsum, 1/2tsp of Epsom Salt and perhaps a few other bits and pieces (CaCl2, salt, etc.). Much of the time I added zilch.

2-3 years ago I got to grips with Bru'n Water. Suddenly I was adding all sorts to my liquor and in relatively large amounts, and then there was all this "alkalinity" business which appeared to do nothing. Of course it did nothing, there was virtually no alkalinity in my water. It meant I could develop screwy back-to-front ways of tackling pH and question the current obsession with "alkalinity".

MORAL: As far as I'm concerned there is no point worrying about "alkalinity", just get the pH right, but I can't apply this attitude to the majority of folk who do have a reason to be concerned about alkalinity. If you have water with very, very low alkalinity and an obsession with getting alkalinity just right, take note!

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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Aleman » Tue Jan 30, 2018 15:34

:whistle: :whistle: :whistle: :whistle: :whistle:

One of the things I've found is that with low alkalinity, it appears you have great liquor for pale ales and lager. For pale ales you need to add gypsum and calcium chloride, and you can make great/good/passable pale ales ... Follow the guidance for lager though, and I've fallen flat on my face ... WTF!! The brewers in Plzen have softer water than we do, it's virtually distilled! How do they get away with it? It took a trip to Eastern Europe to resolve the issue, and assisting at some small 'craft' breweries over there, and the secret ... They add calcium!! Mostly calcium chloride, but I've seen gypsum tucked away as well. I've done a few test mashes, and pils malt and low calcium levels (low alkalinity obviously) pH stays stubbornly high ~5.7, add 60ppm calcium and the pH can drop as low as 5.4, up to 100ppm and the pH drops to 5.2. ... When you have 'crystal' malts in the mix then you can get away with lower levels of calcium to get the pH in the ball park, but personally I would never go below adding an additional 60ppm calcium.

Raising alkalinity for my malty dark beers is a whole 'nother story :lol:

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby mabrungard » Wed Jan 31, 2018 14:27

Aleman wrote:I find it incredible that someone has such a highly refined palate that they can claim to detect the difference between 50ppm calcium and 150ppm calcium (plus associated anions), and perceive the beer made with the higher profile as having excessivce mineralisation and being a poorer beer!


Well this is odd? First I receive all kinds of grief saying that Americans espouse too little mineralization and that English levels of mineralization produce better TASTING beer. Then you reply with the statement above, implying that you can't taste a difference. Which is it?

PS: I can usually taste the difference in beers made with modestly or highly mineralized water.

PPS: Still chuckling.

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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby PeeBee » Fri Feb 02, 2018 13:44

mabrungard wrote:... I can usually taste the difference in beers made with modestly or highly mineralized water. ...

S'cuse me for butting in. I've always been an avid supporter of Bru'n Water, but as a result of this thread I want to try the difference between modestly mineralised (US style) and highly mineralised (UK style) water too. I could use a different spreadsheet (there's one by the late Graham Wheeler) but rather than swap water calculators and start at the bottom of the learning curve I took the water profile recommendations from GW's spreadsheet, which are naturally UK highly mineralised profiles, and plugged them into Bru'n Water.

Great! But when I use these water profiles Bru'n Water starts flagging things up "red"! It can just be ignored, but I lose a useful feature in doing so. The most annoying ones are chloride and sulphate (chloride goes red if above 150ppm, or 100ppm if sulphate is above 100ppm too).

Can I somehow switch Bru'n Water out of "prejudiced mode" into "tolerant mode"?
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Aleman » Fri Feb 02, 2018 15:40

No, but you can just ignore the warnings :D.

The whole thing is that there are some approaches that encourage people to think about what they want to achieve, and how to get there, and also to think bout their tastes, and how they like / expect their beer to taste. Then there is the other approach that tells people that unless they follow approach X their beer will taste/be bad ... when in reality that is merely a limited opinion, based on a few peoples taste preference.

I'd rather encourage people to engage their brains and experiment a few times themselves to discover what they actually prefer, than to say I've done all the work, and this is the only valid way of doing it. ;)

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Dennis King » Fri Feb 02, 2018 20:24

Aleman wrote:I'd rather encourage people to engage their brains and experiment a few times themselves to discover what they actually prefer, than to say I've done all the work, and this is the only valid way of doing it. ;)


:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby CraftyTim » Fri Feb 02, 2018 22:04

Aleman wrote:No, but you can just ignore the warnings :D.

The whole thing is that there are some approaches that encourage people to think about what they want to achieve, and how to get there, and also to think bout their tastes, and how they like / expect their beer to taste. Then there is the other approach that tells people that unless they follow approach X their beer will taste/be bad ... when in reality that is merely a limited opinion, based on a few peoples taste preference.

I'd rather encourage people to engage their brains and experiment a few times themselves to discover what they actually prefer, than to say I've done all the work, and this is the only valid way of doing it. ;)


Very true, experiment and ye shall be rewarded.

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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Kev888 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 15:57

Warnings are fine, even good, when dedicated to objective problems - such as insufficient/missing input data, for instance. Unfortunately the spreadsheet also uses them if one deviates from the creator's own preference for targets; I don't always concur (at all) but there seems no way of stopping that.

It can still be used as a tool for other brewing targets, if you don't wish to be policed by your own software. To do so, you may just need to identify which warnings are a matter of opinion and judiciously ignore them, along with various guidance on general approach and profiles etc.

Though the spreadsheet is very complex (unnecessarily so for most circumstances IMO) and that can get in the way sometimes, even without the somewhat subjective advisory elements. It does work, but I'd suggest getting to grips with the fundamentals of what you're doing or testing before turning to the spreadsheet, rather than visa versa. Such software can do all sorts of things if one wishes, and people have come away with some very strange ideas if they let it lead the way.

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Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby CraftyTim » Sat Feb 03, 2018 21:47

My observation as a relative newcomer to water theory. Is that this is generally classified as an advanced brewing subject and as such has been subjected to highly technical solutions. Whereas, IMO, this should be a foundation subject for brewers to be able to apply to their own brewing process in an efficient manner. It needs to be adapted from academia and into the homebrew kitchen for all to use.

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy :D
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby PeeBee » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:49

Amid all this Bru'n Water knocking...

I was commenting about a Marsden's Pedigree clone I was messing with and the water was:

140ppm Calcium
18ppm Magnesium
25ppm Sodium
300ppm Sulphate
55ppm Chloride
110ppm Bicarbonate (mash only)

Pretty mineralised. But this was a profile out of Bru'n Water (Pale Ale) and didn't turn Bru'n Water "red". So the only issue seems to be having Chloride above 100ppm when Sulphate is. Why is that?


(EDIT: According to Bru'n Water, high chloride - 100ppm or more - plus high sulphate will result in harshness).
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby mabrungard » Fri Feb 09, 2018 14:23

If it says harshness, I apologize. That is not the correct term. The combination of high chloride and high sulfate results in 'minerally'.

If that's what you prefer, its perfectly fine to ignore those warnings. However, since I deal with a worldwide clientele and worldwide beer styles, I find that most users appreciate a tool that helps avoid minerally notes in their beers.

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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Aleman » Fri Feb 09, 2018 15:47

mabrungard wrote:If it says harshness, I apologize. That is not the correct term. The combination of high chloride and high sulfate results in 'minerally'.

Funny, but a beer brewed with exactly that combination is regarded as an, if not the, exemplar of the style here - Timothy Taylor Landlord

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby Dennis King » Fri Feb 09, 2018 20:52

Aleman wrote:
mabrungard wrote:If it says harshness, I apologize. That is not the correct term. The combination of high chloride and high sulfate results in 'minerally'.

Funny, but a beer brewed with exactly that combination is regarded as an, if not the, exemplar of the style here - Timothy Taylor Landlord


As good as it gets. :drink:
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Re: Porter water profile. Terry Foster.

Postby HTH1975 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:06

On the subject of Timmy Taylor, there is a video on their website where the head brewer is discussing Landlord. He says that they use "well water boiled up with salts" and also that the water is naturally soft. They also mention that they source their brewing liquor from their own borehole. As such, it’s possible to be quite different to the typical water supply from the local taps.

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2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
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Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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