Homebrewing Blog and Resource

Water Chemistry and IPA

We’ve talked about our Ward Labs water analysis results. In this next video, we start to turn our new knowledge into application.

I brewed up another batch of Falconers Flight IPA. In order to learn something about how water chemistry effects flavor, I did a split batch experiment. I did a big twelve gallon batch of wort. I collected the wort into one vessel to be sure I was being consistent with the wort for the next step. I then split the wort evenly into two kettles for the boil.

I had to stagger the boils because I only have one chiller. Knowing that one wort would sit for an extra 40 minutes before I boiled it, I locked in the mash profile but raising the temp to 180 F to kill off the enzymes. I parallel I started applying heat to the second boil and proceeded with my hop additions. I figured it would only take 40 minutes for me to chill the wort down, so once I had gotten a 40 minute head start on boil #1, I fired up boil #2.

In Boil #2 however, I added enough Calcium Sulfate (Gyspum) to get my sulfate levels to 250 ppm and my calcium levels up into the 100 pmm range. Sulfate is supposed to accentuate hop bitterness, flavor, and brightness. Our brewing water is heavy in the area of Sodium and Chloride, both of which tend to accentuate malt character.

In the end the hope will be a side by side tasting to assess the effect of a 1:1 chloride to sulfate ratio in a moderately hopped IPA. The best part, and most importantly, is that we’ll be able to do a side by side comparison with the beer with no additional sulfate or calcium.

Interesting to note: At this point, the two worts did not look any different. I was wondering if the hot/cold break would appear different with the Gypsum batch, but both boil worts looked the same. I have both beers fermenting at 63° F. I bumped the temp controller up to 68° F in hopes of letting them free rise and keep getting more active. After a full 7 days, I’ll crank it up to 72° F to help drive the attenuation as best as I can. A really dry beer should help the hop bitterness and flavor differences really stand out.

Stay tuned for our tasting of this experiment in about a month.

In the meantime, enjoy the video!



Halcyon Malt


El Dorado Hops


  1. Daniel

    Really interesting experiment! Can’t wait for the results!

  2. My fermentation freezer is starting to smell good. Those Falconers Flight Hops are starting to shine. Dry hopping in a couple days!

  3. Exciting! Great experiment, can’t wait for the results!

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