Author Topic: Raising Calcium  (Read 765 times)

Offline HopDen

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Raising Calcium
« on: May 09, 2021, 04:51:01 PM »
What are my options to raise calcium levels without using CaSO4, CaCL2 or CaCO3?

Offline denny

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2021, 05:10:38 PM »
What are my options to raise calcium levels without using CaSO4, CaCL2 or CaCO3?

It would help to know why you want to avoid those.
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Offline HopDen

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2021, 05:23:27 PM »
What are my options to raise calcium levels without using CaSO4, CaCL2 or CaCO3?

It would help to know why you want to avoid those.

I'm not really certain why.

I am formulating the water profile on a Hellesbock. I have added 72 ppm CL2 and 34ppm SO4 using Mg. Making it very malty but wanted to add to the Ca content without adding more CaCL2, Mg or any CaSO4

Normally I don't even use MgSO4 but was going to sub that for CaSO4. I am not aware of other salts that raise calcium other than CaCL2, CaSO4 and CaCO3.
I hope that wasn't confusing. I am weak on water chem and still trying to grasp it.

Offline RC

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2021, 05:50:18 PM »
Without knowing the profile of your source water...

There is really no reason to use anything other than CaCl2 and CaSO4 for calcium. You get the calcium cation without any of the anions that have an affect on pH or flavor unless at high levels. CaOH adds calcium but also raises pH considerably. CaCO3 is insoluble except at quite low pH, so adding it won't add anything to the beer except powdered CaCO3.

I also don't see the point in using MgSO4 in place of, or in addition to, CaSO4 when you're looking to raise the sulfate level.

Offline HopDen

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2021, 06:00:02 PM »
Without knowing the profile of your source water...

There is really no reason to use anything other than CaCl2 and CaSO4 for calcium. You get the calcium cation without any of the anions that have an affect on pH or flavor unless at high levels. CaOH adds calcium but also raises pH considerably. CaCO3 is insoluble except at quite low pH, so adding it won't add anything to the beer except powdered CaCO3.

I also don't see the point in using MgSO4 in place of, or in addition to, CaSO4 when you're looking to raise the sulfate level.

I use RO on all of my beers.

Can you expound on why not to  use MgSO4 in place of CaSO4?

Offline narcout

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2021, 06:03:56 PM »
Regarding magnesium sulfate, I came across this info in Kunze the other day when I was looking for an answer to a different question.  I haven't had a chance to experiment with it yet though.

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Offline HopDen

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2021, 06:11:54 PM »
Regarding magnesium sulfate, I came across this info in Kunze the other day when I was looking for an answer to a different question.  I haven't had a chance to experiment with it yet though.



Interesting, Can you post a link to this?

Offline denny

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2021, 06:22:12 PM »
Without knowing the profile of your source water...

There is really no reason to use anything other than CaCl2 and CaSO4 for calcium. You get the calcium cation without any of the anions that have an affect on pH or flavor unless at high levels. CaOH adds calcium but also raises pH considerably. CaCO3 is insoluble except at quite low pH, so adding it won't add anything to the beer except powdered CaCO3.

I also don't see the point in using MgSO4 in place of, or in addition to, CaSO4 when you're looking to raise the sulfate level.

I sometimes use MgSO4 to increase sulfate if I already have as much Ca as I want.  And I agree with your main point
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Offline RC

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2021, 06:25:09 PM »
Without knowing the profile of your source water...

There is really no reason to use anything other than CaCl2 and CaSO4 for calcium. You get the calcium cation without any of the anions that have an affect on pH or flavor unless at high levels. CaOH adds calcium but also raises pH considerably. CaCO3 is insoluble except at quite low pH, so adding it won't add anything to the beer except powdered CaCO3.

I also don't see the point in using MgSO4 in place of, or in addition to, CaSO4 when you're looking to raise the sulfate level.

I use RO on all of my beers.

Can you expound on why not to  use MgSO4 in place of CaSO4?

I'm not saying don't use it, I'm saying that I don't see the point in using it. There's nothing that Mg does that Ca doesn't do better. If one is looking to bump up the sulfate a bit, there's no reason not to use CaSO4 to gain the benefits of more Ca. Yes, too much Ca can be detrimental, but so is too much Mg, and everything else for that matter. But I'm not suggesting you dump a kilogram of CaSO4 into your strike water. If, for instance, you want an IPA with 300ppm of SO4, using CaSO4 alone for this will give you ~120ppm of Ca, which is perfectly fine. Why bother with a second salt when one does the trick perfectly well? I don't see any harm in using a little MgSO4 but I also don't see any benefit.

And no disrespect to Kunze, but textbook knowledge and the real world don't always align.

Offline narcout

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2021, 06:41:39 PM »
Interesting, Can you post a link to this?

I can't.  All I can do is convert a specific page into an image file and post it here.  In any event, there isn't any further info on magnesium sulphate and foam retention.
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Offline denny

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2021, 06:43:35 PM »
Without knowing the profile of your source water...

There is really no reason to use anything other than CaCl2 and CaSO4 for calcium. You get the calcium cation without any of the anions that have an affect on pH or flavor unless at high levels. CaOH adds calcium but also raises pH considerably. CaCO3 is insoluble except at quite low pH, so adding it won't add anything to the beer except powdered CaCO3.

I also don't see the point in using MgSO4 in place of, or in addition to, CaSO4 when you're looking to raise the sulfate level.

I use RO on all of my beers.

Can you expound on why not to  use MgSO4 in place of CaSO4?

I'm not saying don't use it, I'm saying that I don't see the point in using it. There's nothing that Mg does that Ca doesn't do better. If one is looking to bump up the sulfate a bit, there's no reason not to use CaSO4 to gain the benefits of more Ca. Yes, too much Ca can be detrimental, but so is too much Mg, and everything else for that matter. But I'm not suggesting you dump a kilogram of CaSO4 into your strike water. If, for instance, you want an IPA with 300ppm of SO4, using CaSO4 alone for this will give you ~120ppm of Ca, which is perfectly fine. Why bother with a second salt when one does the trick perfectly well? I don't see any harm in using a little MgSO4 but I also don't see any benefit.

And no disrespect to Kunze, but textbook knowledge and the real world don't always align.

Reality often astonishes theory.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2021, 06:49:17 PM »
Regarding magnesium sulfate, I came across this info in Kunze the other day when I was looking for an answer to a different question.  I haven't had a chance to experiment with it yet though.


Something doesn't quite make sense to me from a chemistry standpoint. Since the mag sulfate dissolves and dissociates to separate ions of magnesium and sulfate, it is either the magnesium ions or sulfate ions that could participate in the reaction. In solution the salt does not remain bound together to participate in the reaction the way it is described in that excerpt. There has to be something more to this.

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Offline narcout

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2021, 07:09:25 PM »
There has to be something more to this.

Yeah, I don't really understand what he's getting at, but I have no background in chemistry (I'm a lawyer).  I don't have any further info to share though, and that's the only reference I've ever seen.

Reality often astonishes theory.

True, but you can't dismiss any particular theory until someone's tested it right? 


Didn't intend to derail this thread, just thought it was interesting enough to share...

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Offline RC

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2021, 07:27:53 PM »
Regarding magnesium sulfate, I came across this info in Kunze the other day when I was looking for an answer to a different question.  I haven't had a chance to experiment with it yet though.


Something doesn't quite make sense to me from a chemistry standpoint. Since the mag sulfate dissolves and dissociates to separate ions of magnesium and sulfate, it is either the magnesium ions or sulfate ions that could participate in the reaction. In solution the salt does not remain bound together to participate in the reaction the way it is described in that excerpt. There has to be something more to this.

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This page is in the Wort Boiling chapter and the Precipitation of Protein section. IMO, this excerpt is a little ambiguous, but I interpret it as Kunze describing a method that involves MgSO4 for detecting the presence of foam-positive, high-molecular-weight proteins. This would allow brewers to reduce the length and intensity of the boil while retaining foam-positive proteins. I'm pretty sure he's just describing an indicator test. It's not necessarily him stating that adding MgSO4 leads to greater foam retention. But that's just my interpretation.

That said, Bamforth states that divalent metal cations in general enhance foam stability by creating links to negatively charged compounds present in foam. They act as a type of glue in the bubbles.

Offline narcout

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Re: Raising Calcium
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2021, 07:47:21 PM »
I'm pretty sure he's just describing an indicator test. It's not necessarily him stating that adding MgSO4 leads to greater foam retention. But that's just my interpretation.

That actually seems like a pretty plausible interpretation.  I think you may have it right.

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