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Portland

Location:

United States

What it does :

The Portland water profile has a very low temporary hardness. It is also known for containing low levels of sulfates. The ratio of sulfates to chloride is 1 which, if not adjusted for brewing, will contribute to a beer that may be balanced between malt sweetness and hop bitterness for a given hopping rate. The estimated range of beer color that you can brew with this water profile is from pale gold to pale amber. Representative ion levels for the Portland water profile are shown below.

What it is:

The city of Portland is located in the American state of Oregon. The main sources of drinking water in Portland are the Bull Run Watershed and the Columbia South Shore Well Field. Let's take a closer look at the characteristics of water from the Portland area to understand its suitability for brewing beer.

Vital Statistics


Calcium (ppm):

2

Sulfates (ppm):

0

Magnesium (ppm):

1

Sodium (ppm):

2

Chloride (ppm):

2

Carbonates (ppm):

9


How it works:

For brewing purposes, knowing the ion profile of your water is important for four main reasons:

  • Mash pH - The six main ions affect the mash pH, which in turn contributes to enzyme effectiveness in converting the malt's starches into maltose. The lower alkalinity of this water profile makes it more suitable successful conversion of lighter-colored malts.
  • Beer Flavor - These six ions are generally not present in sufficient amounts to affect flavor, unless there is contamination.
  • Hop Utilization - Low water alkalinity, such as found in this water profile, will have little effect in exaggerating hop bitterness.
  • Yeast Nutrients - There is usually sufficient magnesium present in most water profiles to feed the yeast. In this Portland water profile, the amount of magnesium is may be a little low. When considering water treatment for magnesium, keep in mind that most malt add sufficient magnesium to the mash.
  • Treating your source water supply is largely needed only for all-grain brewing, since malt extract manufacturers account for the necessary water chemistry in making the extract for you. However, if you use a large percentage of specialty grains in an extract brew, that may make water treatment necessary.

    Dosage:

    Use our Water Treatment calculator to compute the types and amounts of additives needed to modify your base water to mimic the Portland brewing water profile. Knowing the starting ion levels present in your source water supply is important so that you do not overcompensate with additives. You should be able to get this data for your source water from your local water company.

    Preparation:

    To imitate the Portland water profile, we recommend that you begin with distilled water. Then, consider selecting from additives like gypsum, Epsom salts, non-iodized canning salt, baking soda, calcium chloride, and chalk. First determine which of these additives, and how much of each, that you need to modify your local water to meet the target Portland water profile. Then, put these additives in the mash, not the plain base water, or some may not dissolve. Monitor the pH of the mash during these additions to ensure that it remains between 5 to 5.5, which is optimal for desired enzyme activity.

    Because of water losses that occur throughout the brewing process, you will need more water than your intended batch size. Use our Water Required calculator to determine how much brewing water you'll need from start to finish of your next batch of beer.

    Related Links

    Evaporation Rate
    Strike Water Temperature
    Water Amount Required
    Water Treatment
    Volume Conversion
    Temperature Conversion
    Portland