Saturday, February 21, 2015

Is the Boy Blond? Belgian Blonde Ale [bottled]

Bottle date: Jan. 23, 2015


  • 92 g corn sugar
  • 1.75 c filtered water
Desired CO2: 2.5 vol (4 gal @ 60F)
FG: 1.008

Belgian Ardennes Blonde

  • 34 g corn sugar
  • 0.66 c filtered water
Desired CO2: 2.5 vol (1.5 gal @ 60F)
FG: 1.010

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Water Chemistry

In preparation for my imperial stout, I spent substantial time researching water chemistry. It's been on my homebrewing to-do list for quite some time, and if I was going to spend several hours outside in the dead of winter working on a big beer, I wanted it to knock my socks off -- no astringency, not too bitter, etc.

In the end, I decided to use the Brewer's Friend - Brewing Water Chemistry Calculator. It allows you to save your results via a link. Here's what I ultimately used for the stout: I input my water profile from the City of Madison's utility, then did a 50/50 split with filtered tap water and RO water from the store for both my mash and sparge.

Madison has very hard water, but I'm not exactly sure what my end profile is since I have an Aquasana filter that supposedly leaves in the important minerals, but strips out the chlorine and other harmful chemicals. The line also goes through my water softener. So, for now, it's all kind of an experiment.

Although Beer Tools Pro does include the ability to adjust water chemistry, I opted not to use it because the program doesn't breakdown the necessary residual alkalinity range for beer styles or provide any information on the sulfate/chloride ratio -- which tells you if the beer is balanced, bitter, or malty.

I found dealing with pH the most confusing aspect. Mash pH and Residual Alkalinity.

Other Resources

Really handy, straight-forward information on the brewing salts, alkalinity range for beer styles, and how to emphasize certain characteristics,

Found Bobby from NJ's YouTube video to be helpful, He recommended downloading the water calculator from However, the updated version 3.0 on the website doesn't seem to contain some of the handy options found in version 2.0.

Bru'n Water was recommended to me by my LHBS, It is extremely complex detailed. Thankfully, Accidentalis Brewing blog has a detailed walk-through of how to setup the calculator, I'll have to take time to read it in the future.

Of course, there's information from John Palmer,

And from the Beersmith Brewing Blog, also has some great info,

Brewing with Madison Water,