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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:

[beerxml recipe=https://www.accidentalis.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Houston-APA.xml metric=false cache=-1]

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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