Houston We Have a Pale Ale, Part Deux… the water

So it has been several weeks since I brewed the first APA, and took fairly careful notes of mash pH, mash efficiency, etc. I was very happy with the results in the glass, but…

I bought an RO system, specifically to address a terrible water report. Terrible in that sodium and bicarbonates were ridiculously high, and calcium and magnesium were virtually non-present. I wanted to judge the impact on FLAVOR, as well as brew processes with a new, carefully adjusted water profile built on reverse osmosis liquor.

I used the Bru’n Water spreadsheet to target a balanced yellow profile, figured phosphoric addition for all brewing water, then salt additions for the mash. Those are indicated in the recipe. I should note that I did NOT treat the sparge water with salts – so the amounts maybe a bit low.


I learned some things – however these maybe coincidental as this is a single set of results:

  1. Pre-treated liquor only with a few ml of phosphoric
  2. Mash pH was hit nearly immediately at dough in, and dropped, but recovered to stabilize around 5.3
  3. Wort was sweet very quickly – showing enzyme conversion occurred and was very efficient (I did not do an iodine test, will do so in the future)
  4. My RIMS mash stuck quickly… this is an issue of tightening up my mill. Got it freed with extra liquor and a bit of cursing and a couple of handfuls of rice hulls
  5. Hot break formation in the kettle was awesome – at least 10X over what I have seen in the past on filtered tap water
  6. The boil was “different” – the size of the bubbles and fine-ness of the foam and scum was very different
  7. Cold break was also very impressive. I “whirlpool” my hop stands through a paint strainer – it plugged up with break material in a few minutes.

I did make some minor additions to the grist recipe:

  1. Dropped the Acid Malt and replaced it with base 2-row
  2. Swapped in C90 for the C120 from the previous brew… for color reasons

Adjusted Recipe:

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 60 min 78.2 IBUs 8.8 SRM 1.054 1.014 5.2 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American Pale Ale 10 A 1.045 - 1.06 1.01 - 1.015 30 - 45 5 - 14 2.3 - 2.8 4.5 - 6.2 %


Name Amount %
Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) 23 lbs 92.93
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 90L 1 lbs 4.04
Biscuit Malt 12 oz 3.03


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Summit 14.2 g 60 min First Wort Pellet 17
Apollo 21.3 g 45 min Boil Pellet 18
Bravo 28.3 g 30 min Aroma Pellet 15.5
Columbus (Tomahawk) 28.3 g 30 min Aroma Pellet 14.6
Summit 28.3 g 30 min Aroma Pellet 17
Apollo 56.7 g 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 18


Name Amount Time Use Type
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 5.80 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Calcium Chloride 3.50 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 2.30 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Whirlfloc Tablet 2.00 Items 15 min Boil Fining


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
American West Coast Yeast (BRY-97) Lallemand 72% 64°F - 69°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 152°F 60 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min


Step Time Temperature
Primary 14 days 67°F
Aging 30 days 65°F


Replicator, changing RO water + salts; swapped out acid/two row and C120/C40 - wort was sweet within 20 minutes of mash!

Tightened crush to .30

2.0 g Gyspum
.8 g Epsom
1.2 g Cal Chlor

Acid for Sparge, 1.25 tsp Phosphoric

Stuck recirc. Added in a bit more water and back flushed the pump. Not sure on impact of heating.

Compared wort color to previous beer with C120 - much lighter and clearer at this point. Will see how much it darkens up in kettle. Amazing amount of hot and cold break!

At a week, we are 1.020. Still sweet and lots of hop flavor. Not dropping clear like the first batch at all. Will give this some more time and then dry hop. Pulled a gallon into a cubitainer for "Real Ale" - will be interesting to see if that changes things much. Besides, some friends locally are into cask conditioned. (added .5 ounce sugar and just 5.6 grams of Apollo for DH). That will sit for a week as well, but at 75-76F.

Cubitainer batch dropped very bright. However did not carb condition properly. Need to figure out to manage the cubitainer cask appropriately. I decanted the remaining pint and half and put under Co2 to carb a little.

In the keg, the beer remains somewhat cloudy, even after a week and with some geletin. Will re-fine product if it doesn't clear up soon.

May need to make a V3 with some tweaks to the mash schedule to ensure clear beer and lighter mouthfeel.

So, will check back in a few weeks and do some side by side comparisons. Will take a few pictures as well.

All in all – a surprising brewday, with some frustrations with the mash sticking, but very happy with the results into the fermenter!


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