Author Topic: Adding NaCl to beer  (Read 2157 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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Adding NaCl to beer
« on: August 27, 2015, 10:03:56 PM »
What's the impact of adding sodium to beers like IPA? Bru'n Water recommends 25 ppm. If I'm not mistaken that's far under the threshold of tasting salt in water. I added it to the IPA I brewed on Saturday, so I can't change it anymore. Would anyone be able to taste the difference in a triangle test? One beer with 25 ppm, one without?
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2015, 10:27:57 PM »
What's the impact of adding sodium to beers like IPA? Bru'n Water recommends 25 ppm. If I'm not mistaken that's far under the threshold of tasting salt in water. I added it to the IPA I brewed on Saturday, so I can't change it anymore. Would anyone be able to taste the difference in a triangle test? One beer with 25 ppm, one without?

well under the threshold. around 200pm before perceived in water, and you will likely never exceed 30PPM for your beer.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2015, 10:56:28 PM »
Personally, I don't think you could pick out 25ppm Na from none in hoppy or roasty beers. In milder flavored beers the overall flavor might seem better. Or not. But as Martin says, salt is a flavor enhancer, and I still use it per the profiles since I like my results a lot. YMMV.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2015, 05:43:25 AM »
I add it to my malty lagers to about 35 PPM. I've never done a triangle test to see if I could pick it out at that level, but I like the results in those beers. If you've ever had bread that was made without any added salt, it's obvious as the bread ends up tasting a little flat and flavorless. Even if you don't taste the salt directly I think it helps to accentuate other flavors. Another advantage for lagers is that it allows you to add chloride without increasing Calcium levels.

I haven't played with NaCl in my IPA's yet, though. Those just get gypsum and lactic acid. I'd be interested to see how salt affects hoppy styles. I may have to sprinkle a bit in some IPA to see.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2015, 10:01:42 AM »
OK, comparing with bread: apparently the maximum level of salt in bread in the UK is 1.5%. So in a 1 kilogram bread there might be 15 grams of salt.  I brewed my 15 liter IPA with around 4 kg of grains, which would correspond to 60 grams of salt if it were bread. Bru'n Water recommended adding 1.5 grams, which is 40 times less, not even taking into account the dilution with 15 liters...
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2015, 11:32:16 AM »
There is no way you could taste that tiny amount.  Might contribute to yeast health though.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2015, 05:32:25 PM »
There is no way you could taste that tiny amount.  Might contribute to yeast health though.

Or cause them some major water retention.... ;D

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2015, 06:05:56 PM »
So where does the recommendation for the sodium levels come from?

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Offline braufessor

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2015, 06:41:25 PM »
I don't know that it is a recommendation, so much as it is what was/is in particular brewing water associated with IPA's.

As for what it does..... I can't say that I have compared blind using and not using salt in beer in the range of 0-50ppm.  However, it is said that it can "round out" a beer.   I have been brewing a lot of IPA's recently with higher CaCl, NaCl in the 30 range, and lower sulfate.  Those beers definitely have a rounder hop perception.  Now..... is that just the 30ppm of salt.... probably not.  It is also the higher CaCl, the lower sulfate, the higher pH (5.4ish) etc. 

But, at least in conjunction with those things, that is what I observe in my beer compared to the traditional high sulfate IPA profile.

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2015, 06:45:11 PM »
There is no way you could taste that tiny amount.  Might contribute to yeast health though.

The idea isn't that you taste salt.  It's that it adds malty taste...a bit.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2015, 07:32:33 AM »
So it's even below the confirmation bias threshold ...

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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2015, 02:55:57 PM »
Yes, the typical sodium levels used in brewing are far under the level at which you can perceive it as "salty". However, they are proven to provide a sweetening effect in beer at low level. Both sodium and chloride have a sweetening effect that can easily be tested in your glass with a dash of salt.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2015, 03:50:54 PM »
Thanks folks! Although your replies were all interesting, I was just waiting for the definitive answer from Martin.  ;)
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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2015, 04:28:29 PM »
Thanks folks! Although your replies were all interesting, I was just waiting for the definitive answer from Martin.  ;)

who agreed with me....;)

FWIW, my dad always added salt when he drank the rare beer.  It provided nucleation sites to decarb the beer and sweetened it up.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2015, 04:54:52 PM »
Thanks folks! Although your replies were all interesting, I was just waiting for the definitive answer from Martin.  ;)

who agreed with me....;)


Agreed, but you don't sound so authoritative. Maybe you should wear a tie?
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