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Brewing Salts, When To Add?


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#1 trussyd

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 10:33 AM

So I've been all grain brewing for a while noa and am jsut about to get into adding brewing salts to adjust my water chemistry and have a few questions.

1: I will be using rain water from a tank. I have heard it is fair to assume that for all intents and purposes it will be pretty much the same as distilled water. Is this true?

2: when working out salt additions what water volume do you use? mash volume? pre boil volume? final volume?

3: how much do I add when? all to the mash or at a pro rata rate in my mash water and sparge water?

cheers,

trussyd

#2 Bribie G

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 10:43 AM

The problem with some salts such as Gypsum is that they take forever to dissolve in pure water but dissolve more easily in the mash as they encounter a lower pH. In the case of BIAB I just add to the mash - where all the water is anyway.
I was talking to a sparger last week and he doesn't add salts to the sparge liquor - to avoid tannin extraction he adds a tad of citric acid to the liquor.

However we agreed that ideally, if you are doing salts additions, you should have same mash and sparge water profile like they have at Burton on Trent or at Plzen or wherever. I'd try dissolving salts beforehand in a jar of boiling water and shake / sit overnight then add the concentrate to the HLT? Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulphate love to dissolve anyway, the only problem I can see is with Gypsum and Chalk if you use it.

#3 Beer4U

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 11:02 AM

I use rainwater, i add salts to all my brewing water beforehand, calcium chloride dissolves easily enough, but as Bribie suggested gypsum can be a bit difficult sometimes. When the water is hot , strike temps i find with a bit of extra stirring i can get to dissolve.

The ratios of calcium chloride and sulphate i use depend on what beer i am making, more sulphates for hoppy/bitter beers, more chloride for pushing the malt

I usually aim for a total salts of 0.4 to 0.5 g / L of brewing water.

I also adjust the PH of all my water to around 6, this is good esp for BIAB, or your sparge water as the grains can loose the ability to buffer the PH of the water, heat plus high PH = not good, tannin extraction.

cheers

Edited by Beer4U, 12 June 2011 - 11:03 AM.


#4 manticle

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 11:16 AM

I add to the mash and to the boil. I don't believe in trying to replicate purported water profiles - I add salts appropriate to the beer type I'm brewing.

How much depends entirely on the water profile and beer profile. You can use a calculator such as EZ water calculator to work out suggested amounts.

#5 DrSmurto

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 11:29 AM

I use rainwater, i add salts to all my brewing water beforehand, calcium chloride dissolves easily enough, but as Bribie suggested gypsum can be a bit difficult sometimes. When the water is hot , strike temps i find with a bit of extra stirring i can get to dissolve.

The ratios of calcium chloride and sulphate i use depend on what beer i am making, more sulphates for hoppy/bitter beers, more chloride for pushing the malt

I usually aim for a total salts of 0.4 to 0.5 g / L of brewing water.

I also adjust the PH of all my water to around 6, this is good esp for BIAB, or your sparge water as the grains can loose the ability to buffer the PH of the water, heat plus high PH = not good, tannin extraction.

cheers


All the brewing salts with the exception of calcium carbonate (which you should be rarely using anyway) dissolve in water. Some take more time than others.

I mix up my salts and then add them to a litre or 2 of boiling water and stir for a few mins whilst i measure out the rest of the water into my fermenters. Create a whirlpool in the fermenter and add the litre of water plus salts and voila, you have your adjusted water.

The simplest solution is to weigh out all your salts and make up your required volume of water beforehand. That way your method is no different to using water out of the tap. Take the volume you need for each step without faffing about weighing salts every time (the more times you weigh out salts during your brewday the more errors you are introducing....)

#6 foles

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 11:59 AM

I usually add all my salts to the mash (mash and sparge quantity), and then sparge (or BIAB topup, I BIAB 4L:1kg) with RO water, to keep the PH fixed.

Alternatively, I add mash portion to mash, and sparge portion to boil.

Either way I get the right mineral balance in the final beer as well as the mash chemistry. I usually put the salts into the mash water in the tun just before I mash in.

Edited by foles, 12 June 2011 - 12:00 PM.


#7 Jazzafish

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 12:11 PM

It is hard to know what to add if you don't have a ball park estimate of your original water. The only way to be sure of your waters hardness is to test it... or if you wanted to go all out, you could buy a reverse osmosis water filter and build your water that way with appropriate salts. That way you'd take a lot of the seasonal variables of your water out of the equation... but for the sake of an argument lets assume your right that it will have little to no hardness.

I also use the EZ Water Calculator and I am happy with it.

With the additions, I calculate based on the total strike water plus sparge water. I hydrate the salts as well as I can and add directly to the mash, both mash and sparge calculated salts in the mash together... we are only talking a few grams. However, I know of some brewers adding their sparge water calculations to the kettle as they hydrate better in the boil and don't get "stuck" in the mash

#8 DrSmurto

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 06:59 PM

I usually add all my salts to the mash (mash and sparge quantity), and then sparge (or BIAB topup, I BIAB 4L:1kg) with RO water, to keep the PH fixed.

Alternatively, I add mash portion to mash, and sparge portion to boil.

Either way I get the right mineral balance in the final beer as well as the mash chemistry. I usually put the salts into the mash water in the tun just before I mash in.


No disrespect intended foles but if you can add all your salts to you mash and then sparge with unadjusted water and maintain the same mash pH then i will nominate you come the next round of nobel prize nominations.

Same goes for the people who apparently use CaCl (John Palmer amongst them) in their mash as opposed to CaCl2.

#9 sama

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 08:21 PM

i go with my mash strike water volume.i add the salts to the mash,add the strike water and stir away.I draw off a sample 10 to 15 min later and check the ph with meter.I dont treat my sparge water,should be adding salts to the kettle to compensate for the extra sparge volume but havent been ,i do add yeast nutrient last 10min of boil tho.

#10 foles

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 08:28 PM

No disrespect intended foles but if you can add all your salts to you mash and then sparge with unadjusted water and maintain the same mash pH then i will nominate you come the next round of nobel prize nominations.

Same goes for the people who apparently use CaCl (John Palmer amongst them) in their mash as opposed to CaCl2.


No nobel prize application needed - if you read my post carefully you will see I sparge with RO (reverse osmosis) water. Hence the PH doesnt shift one iota....... :beerbang:

#11 Jazzafish

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 10:13 PM

Your opening a massive can of worms there DrSmurto... No sparge benefits etc... Could be fun :)

You are right the pH will alter throughout the sparge, so long as you don't over sparge the pH will remain in check and reward you with tasty beer.

#12 sanpedro

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 11:02 PM

I add to the mash and to the boil. I don't believe in trying to replicate purported water profiles - I add salts appropriate to the beer type I'm brewing.

How much depends entirely on the water profile and beer profile. You can use a calculator such as EZ water calculator to work out suggested amounts.

I'm only just starting to look at water chemistry , so I'm just a beginner in this area. I was looking at this thread today.

Is this the basic logic for a two step approach

1. Get your mash Ph right - you can add some additions here but make sure mash ph is where you want it.

2. Build your water profile for the beer you are brewing - add the balance of the additions to acheive the water profile you are after into the boil.

The concept here seems to be that certain water profiles might not give an ideal mash Ph so this is addressed by holding off on some of the additions at the start of the boil where Ph is not so relevant.

#13 jpScarfac3

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 08:56 AM

http://braukaiser.co...dissolved_chalk

Only a portion of chalk is dissolved when just stirred in the mash. You need to mix it under pressure to fully dissolve chalk.

Although I haven't tried to dissolve under pressure yet, Braukaiser's water spreadsheet can calculate either way, and can work out sparge additions if needed too.

#14 O'Henry

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 02:25 PM

Keep in mind that if you are aiming for a 70ppm Ca then you will need to over shoot as some will precipitate out during the boil as the Ca reacts with phosphates, oxalates and other malt components which we don't really want in the beer. I usually go for around 100ppm Ca.