Since its publishing last year, my Ward Labs Mineral Analysis of Tree House Julius post has received more than 7,000 views – far and away my most popular blog post ever! But it’s not surprising; Tree House Brewing Company is arguably the world’s top New England IPA brewery and head brewer Nathan Lanier is notoriously tight lipped about his recipes and processes.
The intent behind the mineral analysis of Julius was to establish a target for my own Mountain IPA recipe to emulate its mouthfeel. Since the mineral analysis reports the finished beer profile (NOT starting water profile), I extrapolated the results from Brew Your Own‘s “How Water Minerals Change Through Brewing” by Michael Tonsmeire to reverse engineer the approximate starting water profile of Julius. As previously stated, this is a crude approximation that makes many assumptions and may not be accurate, however, it is better than nothing in my mind.
But how consistent is Julius from batch to batch? While several homebrewers have tested various beers for mineral analysis, none have tested a individual beer more than once (to my knowledge). So I did exactly that! I shipped a 2020 can of Julius to Ward Lab for mineral analysis and compared the results to the 2019 version.
Ward Lab W-501 Brewer’s Test for Tree House Julius
Tree House Julius 3/19/2019 14:41:23 can was shipped to Ward Lab on 3/25/2019 and analyzed on 3/29/2019. Tree House Julius 7/23/2020 08:20:22 can was shipped to Ward Lab on 8/20/2020 and analyzed on 8/24/2020.
|# Change||% Change|
|Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm||1593||1699||+ 106||+ 7|
|Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm||2.65||2.83||+ 0.18||+ 7|
|Cations, me/L||48.5||47.1||– 1.4||– 3|
|Anions, me/L||21.8||22.8||+ 1.0||+ 5|
|Sodium, Na ppm||32||34||+ 2||+ 6|
|Potassium, K ppm||1111||1223||+ 112||+ 10|
|Calcium, Ca ppm||64||57.4||-7.4||– 10|
|Magnesium, Mg ppm||185||137||– 48||– 26|
|Total Hardness, CaCo3 ppm||931||713||– 218||– 23|
|Nitrate, NO3 ppm*||38||55||+ 17||+ 45|
|Sulfate, SO4 ppm**||474||354||– 120||– 25|
|Chloride, Cl ppm||299||376||+ 77||+ 26|
|Carbonate, CO3 ppm||< 1.0||< 1.0||0||0|
|Bicarbonate, HCO3 ppm||172||231||+ 59||+ 34|
|Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 ppm||141||189||+ 48||+ 34|
|Total Phosphorus, P ppm||361.80||387.60||+ 26||+ 7|
|Total Iron, Fe ppm||< 0.01||0.13||+ 0.12||+ 1200|
**multiplied by 3 to convert to SO4
The average percent difference between the 2019 and 2020 Julius samples is 14%, though excluding the total iron result reduces the average percent difference to just 3%. But as you can see, there are significant changes among most of the critical water chemistry minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, and sulfate) – up to 120 ppm! I won’t speculate on why there is a difference between the samples – there are too many potential factors.
To make things easier to digest, I tabulated the minimum, maximum, and average values for the five critical water chemistry minerals from the two Julius samples above:
Critical Mineral Range for Tree House Julius
|Calcium, Ca ppm||57||64||61|
|Magnesium, Mg ppm||137||185||161|
|Sodium, Na ppm||32||34||33|
|Chloride, Cl ppm||299||376||338|
|Sulfate, SO4 ppm**||354||474||414|
Extrapolating Tonsmeire’s results (once again) produces the following starting water profile approximations for Tree House Julius:
Approximate Starting Water Profiles for Tree House Julius
|Calcium, Ca ppm||89||100||96|
|Magnesium, Mg ppm||4||6||5|
|Sodium, Na ppm||10||11||10|
|Chloride, Cl ppm||175||220||198|
|Sulfate, SO4 ppm**||100||134||117|
When using distilled water, the table above suggests using 0.63 – 0.80 (0.72) g/gal gypsum, 0.70 – 0.80 (0.72) g/gal calcium chloride, 0.07 – 0.10 (0.10) g/gal Epsom salt, 0.50 – 0.70 (0.70) g/gal magnesium chloride and 0.20 – 0.25 (0.25) g/gal canning salt. These brewing salt additions should get your finished beer in the ballpark of Julius, but considering the many variables, it’s not a guarantee. The only way to know for certain is to test your own beer throughout the brewing process like Tonsmeire. Once I “finish” my Mountain IPA recipe – that’s what I plan to do.
In the meantime, stay tuned for Ward Lab mineral analyses of additional Tree House beers!