water for bohemian pilsner

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

water for bohemian pilsner

Postby wigwamheed » Sun Nov 09, 2014 15:48

Hi folks, I'm wanting to make my first bohemian pilsner in a couple of weeks, but having read up on the style it seems my water is rather inappropriate . Is there a good supermarket 5 litre bottled water that would be good to use, as is or with some additions?
Thanks, Matt.
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Re: water for bohemian pilsner

Postby GrowlingDog » Sun Nov 09, 2014 15:53

Is it not possible to adjust your water to make it more appropriate, that obviously depends what your starting water is, alternatively blending your current water with Ashbeck could work.
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Re: water for bohemian pilsner

Postby wigwamheed » Sun Nov 09, 2014 16:22

I got the impression my water is nowhere near and still trying to get to grips with water treatment and brunwater etc. So was kinda hoping I could use all ashbeck (or similar) with maybe some small additions so I can get it on whilst I try to figure out what I'm doing with regards treatment
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Re: water for bohemian pilsner

Postby Aleman » Sun Nov 09, 2014 16:43

Ashbeck will be fine for it . .personally I add 50mg/l of calcium chloride to it, as I find this helps the mash pH fall from 5.8 to 5.4-5.5. . . . a 100% pilsner malt with no treatment often ends up at 5.8, which is just on the high end. . . . The chloride also brings forward the malts and softens lightly the high hopping rates used in Boh Pils . . . Take a look at Alemans Effin Bohemian Pilsner thread (Recipes section) for a lot more waffle on the subject :lol:

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Re: water for bohemian pilsner

Postby wigwamheed » Sun Nov 09, 2014 17:03

Excellent thanks will do
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Re: water for bohemian pilsner

Postby mabrungard » Mon Nov 10, 2014 01:56

Using a more modest calcium level is a bonus for lager yeast. Lower is actually better. AJ Delange prefers bringing the Ca level to about 20 ppm and the chloride level to about 30 ppm. He is a malt-head and apparently despises sulfate. However, Dr. Narziss has indicated to John Palmer in personal communications that many of the breweries in Pilsen do add gypsum to their brewing liquor. I happen to know that this admission makes AJ boil since he swears that noble hops are destroyed by any sulfate content. I think AJ is full of sh*t and I relish that evidence that sulfate is OK, even in a fairly malty style like Boh Pils. In fact, Boh Pils is a very hoppy and bitter style with a substantial malt backbone. So the sulfate helps with drying the finish and accentuating the bitterness. The assumption of using only chloride in a Boh Pils is not ideal. I'd say a more even application of chloride and sulfate is a more sound approach. In any case, I would still keep the calcium content fairly low.

There is another factor that a brewer should consider. Having over 40 ppm calcium in the mash is a very good way to drop most of the malt's oxalate content in the tun and that reduces beerstone production in the rest of the brewery. Fortunately, it is possible to boost mash Ca content and still keep the overall Ca content lower in the kettle. Add all the calcium salts to the mashing water and keep the sparging water Ca content at near zero. That gives us the best of both worlds. With the mash at 40 ppm and the sparge at zero, the kettle should be around 20 ppm. Just about right.

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Re: water for bohemian pilsner

Postby wallybrew » Mon Nov 10, 2014 13:09

The calcium content of a 1040 distilled water mash gives wort with 40 calcium from the malt alone so getting down to 20 in the kettle??
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Re: water for bohemian pilsner

Postby mabrungard » Tue Nov 11, 2014 02:59

Wally, thanks for pointing out that malt contributes calcium to the wort. It contributes many other ionic and organic compounds to the wort too. However, I was referring to only the additional calcium contributed by the water.

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Re: water for bohemian pilsner

Postby Aleman » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:13

mabrungard wrote:The assumption of using only chloride in a Boh Pils is not ideal. I'd say a more even application of chloride and sulfate is a more sound approach. In any case, I would still keep the calcium content fairly low.

Of course it does depend on what you have in the water to start with. A lot of UK waters have significantly more sulphate than chloride to start with, so only using calcium chloride to boost calcium makes sense as it is bringing the sulphate chloride ratio into balance . . . or even slightly chloride biased . . . which for a beer with a high hop rate but well developed malt backbone makes sense.

I couldn't get to have a chat with the brewers in Plzen when I was there (88), but in some of the outlying towns I was able to talk to some brewers and even assist in brewing a couple of batches. In those breweries they use calcium chloride to add additional calcium, again I am not aware what else was present in the water, but it worked for them.

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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