How do I add brewing salts?

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How do I add brewing salts?

Postby hangtendesign » Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:35 am

I'm going to use half a teaspoon, per 5 gallons of water, of Calcium Carbonate to my mash liquor for brewing a Stout to cut down on the acidity. I've bought the Calcium Carbonate and it looks like a powder. I will collect my water via water filter a couple days before brewing and was wondering how to add the Calcium. Do I just put it into the cold water and stir hoping the powder doesn't settle to the bottom or should I add it and boil it into the water ahead of time? Does just heating up the mash liquor to strike and sparge temp take care of it?
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CaCO3

Postby slothrob » Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:50 pm

Calcium carbonate is poorly soluble at neutral pH. The best way to get it into solution is to add it directly to the mash. The low pH of the mash will allow it to go into solution.
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Postby hangtendesign » Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:30 am

Thank you slothrob. How do I add it directly to the mash? I want to add 1/2 teaspoon to 5 gallons of water. This water will be used for the mash as well as for the sparge. I don't know how to measure the Calcium Bicarbonate powder for a small amount of water that will be in the mash. Are you saying that the Calcium Bicarbonate powder won't dissolve in the water? Can you give me specifics about measurement?
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Postby jawbox » Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:01 pm

you'll have to do some math.

Base the amount to add to the mash based on the water you use to mash in.

mash in with 2.5gals then you would add 1/4 tsp directly to the mash.

This might be helpful
http://brewery.org/library/wchmprimer.html
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adding calcium carbonate

Postby slothrob » Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:47 pm

No, very little of the calcium carbonate will dissolve in plain water.

Just add the salts to the grain in the mash. When you add the water and mix, the calcium carbonate will go into solution.

I wouldn't add calcium carbonate to the sparge water. It could raise the pH of the sparge and may make the beer astringent.

A great resource for learning about water chemistry in brewing is chapter 15 of How to Brew by John Palmer. There's a spreadsheet that you can download in section 15.3. This allows you to calculate the amount of your salt additions for the volume of your mash based on the SRM of your beer and your starting water's composition.

If you don't have a scale, it will be helpful to know that 1 level teaspoon of calcium carbonate weighs 1.8 grams.
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Water Chemistry Adjustment

Postby hangtendesign » Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:59 pm

Ok, so I called the water department and they called me back with all of the mineral counts (ppm) from my tap water. I downloaded the spreadsheet from Palmer (thank you slothrob) and worked out my water chemistry.

Here is my water profile before adding the calcium carbonate:

Calcium
20
Magnesium
4
CaCO3
32
Sodium
30
Chloride
49
Sulfate
19
Water PH
7.0-7.8

If I add 2 teaspoons (3.6 grams) of calcium carbonate to my roughly 2 gallons of mash water (with the grains of course), my CaCO3 is still only 265 leaving me still below my targeted 319. The spreadsheet says my optimum beer SRM would be 14-19 but my stout is at 28. Below is my adjusted mash chemistry.

Calcium
211
Magnesium
4
CaCO3
265
Sodium
30
Chloride
49
Sulfate
19

I'm still worried because I'm still below the SRM for my Stout. Any suggestions? Am I close enough and I should just... not worry and HAHB? :-)
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RA

Postby slothrob » Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:52 pm

What does the spreadsheet calculate for your Residual Alkalinity (RA) after the salt addition?

I've read that the correlation between SRM and RA starts to get a little shaky above an RA of 250. John Palmer suggests not adjusting your water above an RA of 250, saying that it should still be sufficient to buffer darker beers despite the math.

If I need to add a lot of CaCO3, I only add 1/2-3/4, check the pH, then add more if needed. I've found that I often need a little less CaCO3 than I should when a lot would be required, for whatever reason. When I've added it all, however, I've never seen my pH hit 6.0 or higher (at room temperature), so it would probably have been okay if a bit suboptimal.
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Residual Alkalinity

Postby hangtendesign » Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:15 pm

The adjusted RA in the spreadsheet is 112. That doesn't seem too bad. It seems I could go with the whole 2 teaspoons right? Thanks BTW for helping this first time water adjuster.
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Postby jawbox » Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:24 pm

Here's my local water.
Ca 94
Mg 53
Na 38
CO3 540
S04 73

Suffice to say I usually dilute with distilled water, or just use all distilled and add minerals.

Yep I hate my water.
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Re: Residual Alkalinity

Postby slothrob » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:20 pm

hangtendesign wrote:The adjusted RA in the spreadsheet is 112. That doesn't seem too bad. It seems I could go with the whole 2 teaspoons right? Thanks BTW for helping this first time water adjuster.

It looks like you could add twice that for that SRM.
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Re: Re: Residual Alkalinity

Postby hangtendesign » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:28 am

4 teaspoons? I thought of that but then got scared when I saw the calcium increase. However, I was pleased with the RA for the stout. I think I may go with 4 teaspoons but I think that's more than the warning indicates on the calcium carbonate bottle.
Last edited by hangtendesign on Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Distilled Water

Postby hangtendesign » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:43 am

Hi jawbox, can you give an example of what you add to your distilled water? This is very intriguing.
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Re: Re: Residual Alkalinity

Postby slothrob » Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:05 pm

hangtendesign wrote:4 teaspoons? I thought of that but then got scared when I saw the calcium increase. However, I was pleased with the RA for the stout. I think I may go with 4 teaspoons but I think that's more than the warning indicates on the calcium carbonate bottle.

I'm not sure if the high Calcium would be a problem, but Palmer suggests a brewing range from 50-150. Your Na and SO4 are reasonably low, so you could use as much CaCO3 as possible until you hit the 150 ppm Ca mark, then increase the CO3 further with some Baking Soda (NaHCO3). Just try and keep your Na from going much above 100 ppm.
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Postby jawbox » Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:18 pm

Taken from Ken Schwartz website. http://brewery.org/library/wchmprimer.html

Burton Pale Ale -- A toned-down, "idealized" profile. Enough sulphate to bring out the hops without overdoing it. Low alkalinity helps ensure proper mash pH. Model: Moshers 'Ideal Pale Ale". 1 gram baking soda, 1 gram canning salt, 3.5 grams Epsom salt, 9 grams gypsum. Ca=111, SO4=337, Mg=18, Na=35, Cl=32, CO3=38, Hardness=352, Alkalinity=31.

English Ale -- More or less a London water profile. Model: A. J. deLange's "Ale" from HBD1965. 2 grams Epsom salt, 2 grams chalk, 0.3 gram canning salt, 0.8 gram gypsum. Ca=52, SO4=65, Mg=10, Na=6.2, Cl=9.6, CO3=63, Hardness=173, Alkalinity=106.

Light Lager -- Very small amounts of ions; just enough to acidify the mash. Model: Mosher's "Ideal Pale Lager". 1 gram Epsom Salt, 0.5 grams baking soda, 1 gram chalk, 0.5 grams canning salt. Ca=21, SO4=21, Mg=5.2, Na=18, Cl=16, CO3=51, Hardness=74, Alkalinity=69.

Medium Lager -- Malty, amber lagers like Oktoberfest. Loosely based on Papazian's Munich. 1 gram Epsom salt, 3.5 grams chalk, 0.5 grams canning salt. Ca=74, SO4=21, Mg=5.2, Na=10, Cl=16, CO3=111, Hardness=207, Alkalinity=185.

Dark Lagers -- Bocks, for example. Model: Mosher's "Ideal Mild Ale / Dark Lager". 2.5 grams Epsom salt, 2 grams chalk, 2.5 grams canning salt, 2.5 grams gypsum. Ca=73, SO4=125, Mg=13, Na=52, Cl=80, CO3=63, Hardness=236, Alkalinity=106.
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Re: Re: Residual Alkalinity

Postby hangtendesign » Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:19 pm

Yeah, I'm already at Ca 211 with the two teaspoons. :-(

I believe I will have to go with two teaspoons and watch my PH.
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