Author Topic: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH  (Read 2658 times)

Offline nicosan1

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Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« on: October 14, 2015, 07:06:28 PM »
One area I have not mastered yet has been water additions and Ph level in my beers.  I have recently moved to LA from NYC and so I have switched to using distilled water for brews and I have both salts and acids I can use for ph.  I just got a ph meter. 

If I want to make a light and hoppy beer say with the following additions 5g gypsum, 4g epsom salt, 3g of CaCl, all of which lower the original ph of distilled water (7 ph), what effects am I likely to see?

What kind of ph calibration solution should I buy as well?

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2015, 07:12:43 PM »

One area I have not mastered yet has been water additions and Ph level in my beers.  I have recently moved to LA from NYC and so I have switched to using distilled water for brews and I have both salts and acids I can use for ph.  I just got a ph meter. 

If I want to make a light and hoppy beer say with the following additions 5g gypsum, 4g epsom salt, 3g of CaCl, all of which lower the original ph of distilled water (7 ph), what effects am I likely to see?

What kind of ph calibration solution should I buy as well?

Two words: Bru'n Water.


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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2015, 07:17:30 PM »
this is what i have always used for cal solution : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007X5KAV4?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01


as mentioned- get yourself some water profile software. it allows you to put all the variables in, and zone in on your additions based upon your desired profile-e.g. yellow balanced.

sulfate in excess of 150PPM (200-250ppm not unreasonable for hoppy beer) is general starting point. I also target mash PH of around 5.4 for IPA.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2015, 07:17:49 PM »
One area I have not mastered yet has been water additions and Ph level in my beers.  I have recently moved to LA from NYC and so I have switched to using distilled water for brews and I have both salts and acids I can use for ph.  I just got a ph meter. 

If I want to make a light and hoppy beer say with the following additions 5g gypsum, 4g epsom salt, 3g of CaCl, all of which lower the original ph of distilled water (7 ph), what effects am I likely to see?

What kind of ph calibration solution should I buy as well?

You need two types of solutions: a 4pH and a 7pH, like these ones: http://www.ebay.com/itm/pH-Buffer-Calibration-Solution-Combination-Kit-4-7-250ml-8oz-/200749960696 (not particularly recommending these, just showing).

And for your pH and brewing salts, use the excellent water spreadsheet Brunwater, to be downloaded here: https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

I'm a water newbie myself, and the learning curve is a bit steep, but it's well worth the effort.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2015, 07:56:33 PM »
With epsom salts, you risk adding an off flavor to your beer - I believe it is metallic.  You can look at brewing water software to see if you exceed any recommended limits.  There is sufficient magnesium in malt for all your magnesium needs.

Generally, I would use gypsum over epsom salts because of the above and because my scale is not accurate at measuring weights of around 3 grams.

Edit: interestingly I see now that some say that malt does not always have enough magnesium https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=24617.0

Offline nicosan1

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2015, 10:03:51 PM »
I'll take a look at Brun water, I had used another calculator in the past but do want to get a sense of the affect my additions will have on ph as well as understanding how to operate my ph meter to gauge how the mash is actually going.  Thanks all.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2015, 10:20:04 PM »
With epsom salts, you risk adding an off flavor to your beer - I believe it is metallic.  You can look at brewing water software to see if you exceed any recommended limits.  There is sufficient magnesium in malt for all your magnesium needs.

Generally, I would use gypsum over epsom salts because of the above and because my scale is not accurate at measuring weights of around 3 grams.


Yeah, I agree. For years I used only gypsum for sulfate with good results, but after reading tons of water info here decided to use epsom for part of my sulfate content on IPAs, presumably to keep Ca limits from getting excessive. I used it on three beers last year and got a metallic/minerally character I didn't care for all three times. All else on these recipes was as brewed before - grist, RO, pH, sulfate level,etc. The epsom put the Mg well within limits in Brunwater and I double checked the weights on my scale. Just didn't care for it. I also read Kelsey McNair's 2015 NHC presentation where he said that he targets 125-150ppm Ca for hoppy beers. Think I'll stick with gypsum for sulfate.
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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2015, 10:33:49 PM »
With epsom salts, you risk adding an off flavor to your beer - I believe it is metallic.  You can look at brewing water software to see if you exceed any recommended limits.  There is sufficient magnesium in malt for all your magnesium needs.

Generally, I would use gypsum over epsom salts because of the above and because my scale is not accurate at measuring weights of around 3 grams.


Yeah, I agree. For years I used only gypsum for sulfate with good results, but after reading tons of water info here decided to use epsom for part of my sulfate content on IPAs, presumably to keep Ca limits from getting excessive. I used it on three beers last year and got a metallic/minerally character I didn't care for all three times. All else on these recipes was as brewed before - grist, RO, pH, sulfate level,etc. The epsom put the Mg well within limits in Brunwater and I double checked the weights on my scale. Just didn't care for it. I also read Kelsey McNair's 2015 NHC presentation where he said that he targets 125-150ppm Ca for hoppy beers. Think I'll stick with gypsum for sulfate.


you using any epsom or just not at all? 
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Offline nicosan1

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2015, 10:38:34 PM »
With epsom salts, you risk adding an off flavor to your beer - I believe it is metallic.  You can look at brewing water software to see if you exceed any recommended limits.  There is sufficient magnesium in malt for all your magnesium needs.

Generally, I would use gypsum over epsom salts because of the above and because my scale is not accurate at measuring weights of around 3 grams.


Yeah, I agree. For years I used only gypsum for sulfate with good results, but after reading tons of water info here decided to use epsom for part of my sulfate content on IPAs, presumably to keep Ca limits from getting excessive. I used it on three beers last year and got a metallic/minerally character I didn't care for all three times. All else on these recipes was as brewed before - grist, RO, pH, sulfate level,etc. The epsom put the Mg well within limits in Brunwater and I double checked the weights on my scale. Just didn't care for it. I also read Kelsey McNair's 2015 NHC presentation where he said that he targets 125-150ppm Ca for hoppy beers. Think I'll stick with gypsum for sulfate.

This makes a lot of sense, the brewing calculators were saying I had excessive Ca at like 75ppm, but if hoppy beers are closer to 125ppm then i feel more comfortable going with more gypsom

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2015, 10:45:43 PM »
you using any epsom or just not at all? 

None at all right now. Never say never I guess. I know that Mg can supposedly help accentuate hop bitterness, but using gypsum does that just fine for me.

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2015, 10:48:03 PM »

you using any epsom or just not at all? 

None at all right now. Never say never I guess. I know that Mg can supposedly help accentuate hop bitterness, but using gypsum does that just fine for me.

I've been using it more in my lagers- theory Martin put out there keeping calcium around I the 30's for lagers. These levels of sulfate are obviously low, and generally low hops so perhaps no danger of mineral tasting beer.

Did you pick up any mineral/ metal characteristics in my GPA or Pils?


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Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2015, 10:49:24 PM »
This makes a lot of sense, the brewing calculators were saying I had excessive Ca at like 75ppm, but if hoppy beers are closer to 125ppm then i feel more comfortable going with more gypsom

These are just my observations. Hoppy beers probably don't need Ca as high as 125ppm - I just used Kelsey McNair as an example because he's won a ton of NHC medals as an IPA brewer. It just seems to me that using epsom as a way to reduce overall Ca is ok, but not necessary. Just my $0.02
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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2015, 10:52:42 PM »
I've been using it more in my lagers- theory Martin put out there keeping calcium around I the 30's for lagers. These levels of sulfate are obviously low, and generally low hops so perhaps no danger of mineral tasting beer.

Did you pick up any mineral/ metal characteristics in my GPA or Pils?


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No, your beers were great - I picked up none of that. These beers were IPAs with 250ppm sulfate, some from gypsum, some from epsom. Let me say I can see it as a strategy for lagers. I just got an overly minerally effect with the higher IPA amounts.
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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2015, 10:54:45 PM »

I've been using it more in my lagers- theory Martin put out there keeping calcium around I the 30's for lagers. These levels of sulfate are obviously low, and generally low hops so perhaps no danger of mineral tasting beer.

Did you pick up any mineral/ metal characteristics in my GPA or Pils?


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No, your beers were great - I picked up none of that. These beers were IPAs with 250ppm sulfate, some from gypsum, some from epsom. Let me say I can see it as a strategy for lagers. I just got an overly minerally effect with the higher IPA amounts.

Ok cool. That GPA had 150ppm sulfate....77 from Epsom, 73 from gypsum. I wasn't picking up anything being described,must wanted a sanity check.

I've not done a 250+ ppm sulfate loading up on Epsom....perhaps that's where you would run into it?


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Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
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Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
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Ger Pils
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2015, 10:57:13 PM »

Ok cool. That GPA had 150ppm sulfate....77 from Epsom, 73 from gypsum. I wasn't picking up anything being described,must wanted a sanity check.

I've not done a 250+ ppm sulfate loading up on Epsom....perhaps that's where you would run into it?


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I'm assuming. I've used 250+ sulfate from gypsum many times and this was just a different character.
Jon H.