Author Topic: Adding gypsum for IPAs  (Read 4747 times)

Offline justinrice1127

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Adding gypsum for IPAs
« on: February 14, 2013, 12:25:47 PM »
I'm making a Russian River Blind Pig IPA extract clone.  I've heard that adding gypsum can accentuate the hop character of the beer.  Do you recommend adding gypsum to the boil?  If so, how much.....and at what point do you put it in the boil?

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 12:41:52 PM »
Don't mess with your water if its making good beer.

Another way to accentuate hop character: add more hops!
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Offline brewmichigan

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Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 12:44:57 PM »
Gypsum can help your hop character in an IPA. With that said, I would strongly suggest you understand your water chemistry to see if it's something you need. I can't imagine adding a tsp of it to the boil can really hurt though. It might be enough to make a difference without going over that ppm threshold for sulfate.
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Offline majorvices

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Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2013, 01:08:44 PM »
I wouldn't advise using any salts for extract brew unless you encounter a specific problem. You may know what salts are in your water but you have no way of knowing what salts were in the original brewer of the extracts water and those salts will be bound up in the extract.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2013, 02:48:06 PM »
I'll give a dissenting opinion here. I would recommend at least trying it out for a batch or two. Adding gypsum to my extract IPA's made a noticeable improvement. I found that it gave the hop bitterness a bit more bite.

It can be added at any point in the boil. I'd start with a teaspoon in a 5-gallon batch, but if you know you have really soft water you could push that to 1.5 or even 2 tsp if you really want to.

With that said, this is an advanced step. If you haven't made IPA's before, or if you're happy with your results up to this point, then you really don't need to be adding any gypsum. One other thing that hasn't been mentioned is doing a full volume boil if you can. That is something that will also help out your really hoppy beers quite a bit.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2013, 03:16:38 PM »
Ideally, a brewer needs to know what the ionic content of the extract and brewing water is before deciding on adding more minerals.  In some cases, finding the extract ionic content and its result in your beer can be a little tough.  Finding out the ionic content of your water should be a little easier, especially if you start with RO or distilled water.  In many cases, using RO or distilled water is safest when brewing with extract.  That way you don't have to worry about overdosing any particular ions. 

From my review of the major US extract producers, you wouldn't have to worry about excessive sulfate in their extracts.  For Briess extract, you do have to worry about elevated sodium so don't add any sodium or use a water with much sodium. 

So with those caveats, there is no reason not to plan on modest sulfate additions to improve the perceptions of this planned hoppy beer.  The sulfate will help dry the finish and improve the perception of hops and bitterness in the beer.  I would use a tool like Bru'n Water to help calculate how much sulfate-containing mineral you add.  I wouldn't increase the sulfate concentration any more than about 250 ppm since there is some sulfate in those extracts.  If you are not a fan of dryer and hoppier ales, then I would further reduce that sulfate target.  Its all a matter of taste. 

Add the gypsum to the boil.  It does not matter much when, but I would add it early so that there is more opportunity to fully dissolve.

Enjoy!
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Offline majorvices

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Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2013, 06:06:01 PM »
I still wouldn't add it blindly. Brew the beer first, sample it and see if there is an improvement if you add it to the second batch. If you have no idea what salts you have in your water you could be doing more harm than good.
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Offline justinrice1127

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Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2013, 11:26:01 AM »
Finding out the ionic content of your water should be a little easier, especially if you start with RO or distilled water.  In many cases, using RO or distilled water is safest when brewing with extract.  That way you don't have to worry about overdosing any particular ions. 

From my review of the major US extract producers, you wouldn't have to worry about excessive sulfate in their extracts.  For Briess extract, you do have to worry about elevated sodium so don't add any sodium or use a water with much sodium. 



I have both Ozarka distilled and Ozarka natural spring waters.  Would you recommend one over the other to use for brewing?  I unfortunately don't have the tools/set up to make/have RO water and I never use just plain tap water.  Also, I'm using Alexander's Pale Malt Extract.  Do you know if they are known to have more sulfate in their extracts than normal, like Briess does?

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Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2013, 11:52:33 AM »
Alexanders extracts are fairly low in all ions.  They have good water quality in the area of California that its made in. 

Since I don't have information on the ionic content of the spring water, I would go with the distilled water if you really want this batch to shine.  You will want to add 100 or 200 ppm of sulfate using gypsum to make the beer dry better and enhance the hopping. 
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Offline justinrice1127

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Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2013, 12:40:58 PM »
Since I don't have information on the ionic content of the spring water, I would go with the distilled water if you really want this batch to shine.  You will want to add 100 or 200 ppm of sulfate using gypsum to make the beer dry better and enhance the hopping. 

How do I determine how to get 100 to 200 ppm of sulfate as the bottle of gypsum just says use 1-2 tsp per 5 gal and the bottle contains 2 oz?

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Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2013, 02:40:57 PM »
Alexanders extracts are fairly low in all ions.  They have good water quality in the area of California that its made in. 

Since I don't have information on the ionic content of the spring water, I would go with the distilled water if you really want this batch to shine.  You will want to add 100 or 200 ppm of sulfate using gypsum to make the beer dry better and enhance the hopping.

Pretty cool you have all that info. You should post it all as a sticky in the extract section. I think that would be a huge help knowing what extract have what salts. Purdy cool!
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Offline justinrice1127

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Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2013, 02:54:37 PM »
Ideally, a brewer needs to know what the ionic content of the extract and brewing water is before deciding on adding more minerals.  In some cases, finding the extract ionic content and its result in your beer can be a little tough.  Finding out the ionic content of your water should be a little easier, especially if you start with RO or distilled water.  In many cases, using RO or distilled water is safest when brewing with extract.  That way you don't have to worry about overdosing any particular ions. 

I wouldn't increase the sulfate concentration any more than about 250 ppm since there is some sulfate in those extracts. 

Add the gypsum to the boil.  It does not matter much when, but I would add it early so that there is more opportunity to fully dissolve.


I was given this info on Ozarka waters (distilled and natural spring) of which I will use one of the two.  It looks like it would definitely be okay to add the gypsum to the boil when using either the natural spring water (only apprx 1-6 ppm) or distilled water.

https://eservice.ozarkawater.com/Documents/oz_BrandWaterQualityReport.pdf

Referring to pages 17 & 18......

Natural Spring:
Calcium = Not detected
Sulfate = 1.4 - 5.7 ppm
Sodium = 2.4 - 11.2 ppm

Alkalinity = Not detected - 9.2 ppm
Hardness, Calcium = 5.6 - 8.6 ppm
pH (units) = 5.6 - 6.3 ppm

Distilled:
Calcium = Not detected
Sulfate = Not detected
Sodium = Not detected

Alkalinity = Not detected
Hardness, Calcium = Not detected
pH (units) = 5.7 - 6.2

*Natural spring water also contained: Barium, Bicarbonate, Bromide, Chloride, Fluoride, Magnesium, Nitrate, & Potassium

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2013, 03:06:55 PM »
It looks like the spring water would be OK to use, its nearly distilled quality. 

1 gram of gypsum per gallon of water contributes about 150 ppm sulfate.  Since volumetric measurements for powders can be quite inaccurate, I don't know what to tell you as to how much of a teaspoon to add to approximate that for your batch.  I'm sure someone else has a conversion. 

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Offline justinrice1127

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Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2013, 03:18:40 PM »
It looks like the spring water would be OK to use, its nearly distilled quality. 

1 gram of gypsum per gallon of water contributes about 150 ppm sulfate.  Since volumetric measurements for powders can be quite inaccurate, I don't know what to tell you as to how much of a teaspoon to add to approximate that for your batch.  I'm sure someone else has a conversion.

http://www.convertunits.com/from/gram/to/tsp

Looks like apprx 1/4 tsp would be appx 185 ppm (falling in the 100 - 200 pm target range).