Mineral additions for dortmunder

General brewing ingredients discussion

Moderator: rsc3da

Mineral additions for dortmunder

Postby bUnit » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:42 pm

I rarely/barely ever tinker with my brewing water. I use carbon filtered Saint Louis city tap water and I'm generally satisfied with the results. If I ever fudge with anything it's usually rudimentary stuff like substituting in a few gallons of distilled water for a pilsner to soften things up or tossing in a pinch of chalk for a stout or whatever.
Anyway, does anyone have any simple advice for a simple guy regarding mineral/salt additions for a dortmunder when building from filtered STL h2o?
Thanks in advance.
bUnit
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:15 pm

Re: Mineral additions for dortmunder

Postby beermikester » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:55 am

One of the things that really distinguish a Dortmunder is its minerally flavor from the water. To duplicate that style, getting the water right is probably the most important step.

I've never made the style myself, but I use ProMash which has a water profile calculator. I know the values for water in St. Louis change slightly from year to year, but I used the latest values I had. This should at least get you in the ballpark.

Image

On Tap: Northern Brown Ale, Imperial Oktoberfest, Saison, Kolsch
Fermenting: Saison, IPA
User avatar
beermikester
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1202
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:03 pm
Location: Kirkwood

Re: Mineral additions for dortmunder

Postby jeffjm » Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:30 am

I've hesitated to respond to this question until now, partly because I haven't got my Dortmunder dialed in, and partly because I'm afraid 'simple' might prove difficult. However, I've been thinking a lot about water lately, and for the most part I'm in line with what Mike suggests. My prior Dortmunders have been good, but not great, and I think it's because I didn't add enough gypsum.

The one thing I would think twice about is the chalk addition. If you read what AJ Delange and Martin Brungard have written on various forums, or what Palmer and Kaminski wrote in the water book that came out last year, they are all very vocal in their belief that chalk should not be used to supplement the mineral content of your water. For one thing, it's not very soluble, and so has limited impact. For another, even though multiple references might say a given city's water is high in carbonates, that's not necessarily true of the water used by local brewers. Maybe they are pre-boiling to precipitate out some of the hardness, or using an RO system, or maybe they have a source of softer water and are blending it in with the high hardness water we think is typical. Martin Brungard has started a series of articles in Zymurgy on water composition and treatment of various brewing areas. So far, he's done Dublin and Burton-on-Trent, and has shown that the water used in brewing there is lower alkalinity than frequently stated. Maybe Dortmund will turn out to be the same.

When I brew my next Dortmunder (whenever that might be) I'll look at the recommendations in AJ Delange's water chemistry primer at http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/brewing-water-chemistry-primer-198460/. Note that the soft water specified there isn't all that much softer than the profile Mike used below. It wouldn't take much RO water to cut STL water to the base water specified. Or, you could just back off on the recommended additions a hair. I'd just aim for being somewhere in the ballpark, since as Mike points out, water composition can vary, and at best we've got a good guess as to what's coming out of the tap.

The other thing I'll do is look at the water book. It has a chart (sorry, I'm at work so I don't have the page number) listing recommended mineral concentrations for various styles. A page or two nearby is a chart listing the PPM contributions of various minerals when added at a rate of a gram per gallon. From there, if you've got a rough idea of your starting water, figuring additions should be pretty straightforward. I expect that the primer and the book should more or less agree on the amount of calcium chloride and gypsum to add.
I set out running but I take my time.
User avatar
jeffjm
 
Posts: 383
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:16 pm
Location: Crestwood

Re: Mineral additions for dortmunder

Postby siwelwerd » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:54 pm

I agree with Jeff. If you do actually get the stated carbonate level from the chalk, I think your pH will be too high with the pale grist of a Dortmunder. I'd target more like 100 ppm carbonate myself; and unless you know exactly what you're starting with in that regards, I'd just leave it alone.

My "simple" advice would be to just use Mike's suggested Gypsum and Calcium Chloride additions for your first iteration, and go from there.
User avatar
siwelwerd
 
Posts: 936
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:38 pm
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Mineral additions for dortmunder

Postby bUnit » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:24 pm

Wow. That is great information. I really appreciate that you guys took the time to provide those detailed replies. Thank you very much.

So, being conservative here, sounds like maybe 1g/gallon gypsum and .5g/gallon calcium chloride would be a decent enough approximation of the water I'm looking to use, running on the assumption that the city water hasn't drastically deviated from its norm.

Thanks again.
bUnit
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:15 pm

Re: Mineral additions for dortmunder

Postby rsc3da » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:15 am

I know you say you are keeping it simple, but Dortmunder is not a beginner style. Dortmunder is a lager, so you will need temperature control. Do you concern yourself with mash pH at all? I'm just trying to wrap my around how advanced of a brewer you are, so that I can give you better advice. Modifying your mash with salts is fine, but you need to understand why you are doing it, it might not be good advice for you.
Kegged: Dortmunder Export
Lagering: -
Conditioning: Concord Wine, RIS (Abraxas 2.0), Hefeweizen
Fermenting: Tripel, Pineapple & Cantaloupe Melomels
Plan: Saison Quad
rsc3da
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:36 pm
Location: St. Peters MO

Re: Mineral additions for dortmunder

Postby bUnit » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:14 am

I don't think I'd consider myself to be advanced but I've been brewing all-grain for about 2 years and have made a few lagers that came out fairly decent since I added a temp-controlled refrigerator to my equipment. I utilize pitch rate calculators/stir-plate starters, brewing software for recipe design, etc.
Water is just an aspect of brewing that I haven't dedicated much attention to and I'm woefully undereducated in it... I just ignore it for the most part because it hasn't really been much of an issue. In this case (Dortmunder) I sought help because the BJCP style description mentions it specifically.
bUnit
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:15 pm

Re: Mineral additions for dortmunder

Postby rsc3da » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:18 pm

Ok. Well I presume you use the 5.2 product to get your mash in the ballpark? Or maybe you just mash in and not worry about it? Something that is important to making good beer is to get your mash pH at 5.2-5.6 at room temperature during saccharification. The 5.2 product will take care of this for you so you don't have to worry about it. If you don't use 5.2, then you need to be concerned about the alkalinity of your brewing water as well as concentrations of calcium specifically and also magnesium to a lesser extent, in relation to the grist. This is known as the residual alkalinity or RA of the mash. There are calculators out there that can do this for you. For Dortmunder, it is a beer of 4-6 SRM according to the BJCP so you know that roughly the RA needs to be around -30ish, this is a rough estimate and really depends on the grist.

Dortmunder water is extreme and has a lot of alkalinity as well as a large amounts of calcium and magnesium. There is also a lot of sulfate and chloride too, but these do not affect the mash pH and only flavor. The water could have been boiled which would have removed a lot of the alkalinity. But I think the unboiled profile is more likely to have been used. The unboiled Dortmunder water profile has a RA that is fairly close to what is required. The calcium (as well as magnesium) reacts with malt phosphates and this effectively cancels out a majority of the alkalinity in the brewing water, and this happens during the mash. That is why you can make a light colored beer with the Dortmunder water profile. The RA for the unboiled profile is a little high, but there are ways for brewers to get around that such as doing an acid rest and/or decoctions, this would be by the Reinheitsgebot but you don't have to follow that. You are free to add any acids/salts to your mash.

So if you are using the 5.2 product then you don't need to worry about it, and adding some gypsum and calcium chloride to the boil as previously suggested will get you close to what a Dortmunder should be like. If you are happy with the results then fine, you will have made good beer. But if you want to push your beer to another level, then I think understanding what happens in the mash and how that relates to your brewing water may be the next step for you.
Kegged: Dortmunder Export
Lagering: -
Conditioning: Concord Wine, RIS (Abraxas 2.0), Hefeweizen
Fermenting: Tripel, Pineapple & Cantaloupe Melomels
Plan: Saison Quad
rsc3da
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:36 pm
Location: St. Peters MO


Return to Ingredients Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron