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Thread: RO water and hoppy ales

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Stavanger Norway

    RO water and hoppy ales

    Any of you brewers use RO water. I am new to it and am wondering if it is causing my ales to be less ale like. more bitter astringent.
    If so how do you add back the minerals? Do you adjust the water or add it durring the boil. and what at which amounts?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Thumbs up

    There is a water chemistry calculator right here on probrewer.

    I have to RO due to high levels of Sodium (>70ppm).

    I add Ca and other minerals back according to the style of beer I am brewing. Each style of beer developed around a certain geographical location. So choose a location and add enough minerals to approximate that water. You can easily find Calcium Chloride, Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum/Terra Alba, chalk), Calcium Hyrdroxide (Lime), Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts), and Sodium Chloride (Salt). There are some preblended brewing salts out there but I havent used them.

    Add the minerals to the mash water. They will help you stabilize the mash pH and the Calcium helps with lautering.

    A kettle addition of Calcium Sulfate will help precipitate Oxalates. Oxalates help create beer stone later in the process.

    The minerals in water are important, and we wouldnt have the great variety of beer styles in this world if it wasnt for so many different water chemistry profiles. After all our beer has an average water content of ~95%. Water is the most important ingredient in beer!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I use RO water due to the enormous permanent hardness we have in this area. I started out using 100% RO water for and used the chemistry page here on Probrewer to recreate water from around the world using gypsum, epson salts, Calcium Carbonate, salt and others. I would add these to the mash water. But I found I wasn't satisfied with the results which is because I believe that you cannot 100 percent create brewing water from scratch (without a fancy lab). So my best results have been with blending the RO water with the city water, 50-50 for ales and 75-25 for softer beers. Depending on your current water this is an easy way to get all essential elements for quality brewing water.
    Last edited by Charles S.; 08-21-2005 at 02:58 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Las Vegas
    I also use 50/50 RO to city for most ales 75/25 for beers requiring finesse. I still add gypsum to my pale ale to get that hop bite and mineral flavor. Generally I also use a small amount of Phosphoric acid in the sparge water as well. RO water alone can cause problems as it has little buffering power. You need to be aware of your ph throughout. If your adjusting RO with Phosphoric watch out a little goes a long way, and as soon as you add a bit of city water depending on your water profile things change quite a bit. Make sure you have some kind of carbon filter on your city supply or pre boil it. RO can also wreak havoc on heating elements and piping because it will actually pull minerals out of the pipe.
    Big Willey
    "You are what you is." FZ

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