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Czech Pils - water treatment

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  • Czech Pils - water treatment

    I have water with fairly high alkalinity (146ppm of carbonate) and want to brew a Czech pilsner. Left untreated, the mash pH would be unacceptably high. I'm planning to treat the mash with lactic acid as needed to bring the pH into line, but would prefer to use as little acid as possible.

    Therefore, I'm planning to boil my brewing water while either circulating it through the kettle's sprayball to aerate or bubbling oxygen through it while it boils. This ought to precipitate some of the carbonate as CaCO3 right?

    My questions:

    1) How long do I need to boil it?

    2) Do I need to add a salt such as Calcium Chloride to the water before boiling to get the calcium content up high enough to react with the carbonate? (My water has a calcium content of 31 ppm)

    3) Am I nuts? Will this work?

  • #2
    Randy Mosher's Pilsen Water

    Randy Mosher's Pilsen build from R/O water is basically 1 teaspoon of CaC03 (chalk) per barrel of R/O water. US city water is just not true to the style.


    • #3
      If your carbonate is as Calcium carbonate, using a small amount of acid should suffice. I would be worried about sufficient calcium levels primarily.

      Your yeast shouldn't have an issue with the residual lactic acid/lactate.

      By adding CaCl2, will you not also effect your Chloride levels?

      Calcium lactate is available as a treatment salt as well if you just want to increase Calcium while still using a small amount of Lactic acid to deal with the carbonate.

      Interested to know how it works out.


      Liam McKenna


      • #4
        I've made kolshes with this water, treated only with lactic acid and they've turned out great despite fairly low Ca levels. They do have that "soft water" character I associate with pils. That would certainly be easier.

        Anyone have an opinion on whether it's worth removing the CaCO3 from my water for Czech pils?

        Here's my water analysis:

        Ca 31 ppm
        Mg 12 ppm
        HCO3 146 ppm
        SO4 10 ppm
        Na 15 ppm
        Cl 12 ppm


        • #5
          For an authentic Czech Pils, yes, the bicarbonate must go. A German Pils might be closer to what your water will give otherwise.


          • #6
            What sorts of flavors does bicarbonate give to beer?


            • #7
              What about adding Calcium Hydroxide to the water to precipitate the bicarbonate instead of boiling? Anyone done that?