Most of my brewing right now is with a buddy with a full electric system. He has all 3 vessels. When we brew, we always add salts to the mash to achieve our desired mash PH. We also always add salts to the boil to match the style we are brewing. I am planning to go out on my own and purchase a BIAB system. How do people calculate brewing salts when you only have one vessel? Would I add to the mash and then add to the boil again when the grains have been removed?
I have been experimenting with exactly what your friend does. I found this technique laid out in Gordon Strong’s Brewing Better Beer
. I imagine there are other places the technique is described.
He advocates focusing solely
on pH in the mash by adding either 1 tsp CaCl for a malty beer or 1 tsp Gypsum for a bitter beer directly to the mash.
He also preconditions his RO brewhaus liquor with phosphoric acid to 5.5 pH and only mashes those malts that require it. He holds dark grains and crystal malts until after the 60 min mash is complete. He discusses hot steeping and cold steeping those dark and crystal grains in his book.
If further salts are added for flavor, he adds them to the brew kettle.
I’ve done this twice and both times my mash was spot on 5.2 pH. I have only used a 30 min hot steep for dark grains but that beer is still in the fermenter so the jury is still out.
To figure salts, I have approached it the same way as I would if I were going to add them all to the mash but simply subtract the 1 tsp CaCl or Gypsum from the total.
I can see a BIAB brewer adding the 1 tsp to the mash, hold at mash temp for 60 min and pull the bag. Heat (if required) then hold the wort at 150-170*F and steep the dark grains in a grain bag for 30 min. Then pull the steeping grains and continue to a boil and add the remainder of the salts at the beginning of the boil.
That would mean adding ~30 min to a brewday. I add the dark grain at mash out/vorlauf (~15 min) and a 15 min sparge for a total of 30 min hot steep so it doesn’t add time to my brewday (I did those things anyway).
There are numerous water profiles out there so selecting one can get overwhelming. I keep it pretty simple. No one can tell you what you like so there will be some trial and error there.
Several calculators will help do the thinking for you: BeerSmith v3, Grainfather, Bru’n Water, Brewer’s Friend, and on and on.
Hope this helps.
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