Author Topic: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.  (Read 1046 times)

Offline Oiscout

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 539
I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« on: October 05, 2021, 04:45:45 pm »
Well Ive purchased an RO system and have a few questions. When doing my calculations for my salts do I include the Full mash volume in my calculations or do I only do it for the 5 gallons I will have left after the mash and boil are finished?.

Also how big of a difference have yall seen in your beers and tasted after you started olaying with your water chemistry?

I would appreciate any tips and pointers as I venture down this road.

Thank you In advance


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline RC

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 668
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2021, 05:22:19 pm »
I use the flameout volume when I'm deciding on the ppm's of the salts. I put 6 gal into the fermenter and leave ~1 gal of sludge behind in the kettle, and so I use 7 gal as my volume for salt ppm's. Some, or none, of the salts go into the mash depending on the grains and targeted mash ppm for calcium; the rest goes into the kettle.

The sulfate and chloride anions will carry through the entire process but some calcium will get lost in the mash by precipitating with phosphate and oxalate. How much of the added calcium precipitates out and how much makes it into the kettle is unclear. It has been discussed on this forum, although I don't think anything definitive came of it.

Whether playing with water chemistry improves homebrew depends on the source water. I have extremely soft, low-alkalinity municipal tap water that is ideal for brewing. For me, it really hasn't mattered at all for flavor perception unless I go high, like ~300ppm of sulfate (which to me is very unpleasant, and so I never go this high). But there are other reasons to add a calcium salt besides flavor accentuation...

Offline BrewBama

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 5331
I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2021, 05:03:02 am »

The sulfate and chloride anions will carry through the entire process but some calcium will get lost in the mash by precipitating with phosphate and oxalate. How much of the added calcium precipitates out and how much makes it into the kettle is unclear. It has been discussed on this forum, although I don't think anything definitive came of it.

...

I agree. I would like to better understand how much Ca carries over from the MLT to the BK.

@Oiscout: I use post boil volume for final results.

However, I add salt to both the MLT and BK so I do ensure my Ca is high enough in the MLT for my mash volume. (I use 1 tsp CaCl or gypsum in the MLT)

I don’t add salts to sparge liquor. All other salts I add to the BK for flavor/bitterness perception so I want to ensure I hit my post boil volume salt concentrations. To RC’s point; I probably should add a touch more CaCl in the BK to get a truer sense of the post boil sulfite/chloride ratio.

When I work in the water tab of BeerSmith it looks like this for the Ca in the MLT (note CaCl in mash and ~5 gal mash volume):



…then I add BK additions targeting post boil volume (note all salt additions in mash and 6.5 gal ‘mash volume’ is actually post boil volume. Also note sulfite/chloride ratio):



…and then move the BK additions to the boil (note CaCl is in the mash but gypsum now in boil):

« Last Edit: October 06, 2021, 03:22:07 pm by BrewBama »

Offline Oiscout

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 539
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2021, 07:25:32 am »
Thank you! Im re reading through How to brew particularly the part about water chemistry at the moment before I tackle this first batch with salt additions.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 25714
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • Dennybrew
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2021, 08:33:41 am »
Thank you! Im re reading through How to brew particularly the part about water chemistry at the moment before I tackle this first batch with salt additions.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Ya know, John is a good friend, but I'd have to say skip that and read the Brunwater water knowledge page. All you need to know in a much more concise format.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Oiscout

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 539
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2021, 09:42:32 am »
Thank you! Im re reading through How to brew particularly the part about water chemistry at the moment before I tackle this first batch with salt additions.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Ya know, John is a good friend, but I'd have to say skip that and read the Brunwater water knowledge page. All you need to know in a much more concise format.
Thank you Denny, You have not steered me wrong yet.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline Oiscout

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 539
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2021, 09:59:38 am »
This Bru’n water sheet answer the majority of the questions that I had hoped to find answers to in reading How to Brew. Super informative


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 25714
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • Dennybrew
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2021, 10:40:06 am »
This Bru’n water sheet answer the majority of the questions that I had hoped to find answers to in reading How to Brew. Super informative


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

John's wonderful, knowledgeable guy but he has a hard time getting info across in an accessible way.  He just asked me to comment on the water section for his next book, which he wanted to aim at new brewers. As usual he went over the top, but understood the need to get the info across in an understandable way.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Oiscout

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 539
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2021, 10:43:35 am »
We had him one evening talk to the Brewers book club much like yourself and Drew it was a pleasure! I think yall helped set that up!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline BrewBama

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 5331
I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2021, 02:31:59 pm »
Thank you! Im re reading through How to brew particularly the part about water chemistry at the moment before I tackle this first batch with salt additions.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Ya know, John is a good friend, but I'd have to say skip that and read the Brunwater water knowledge page. All you need to know in a much more concise format.
I respectfully disagree. …not that Bru’n Water is inaccurate or hard to understand — it is absolutely accurate and easy to digest. I thank Martin for that.

I simply disagree with all the additions used to reach a certain mineral profile. I’ve gone down the road of following mineral profiles adding all sorts of stuff measured in grams to hit a number. I didn’t like the results. Sure the beers were spot on the numbers but I brew for taste not a profile. Not to mention it’s hard to hit those numbers.

So… I simplified and couldn’t be happier. I believe less is more and as a result the beers taste better to me, my friends and family.  I pretty much follow Gordon Strong’s methods found in Brewing Better Beer.

Namely:

I only mash malts/grains that require it. I don’t mash malts that don’t require it. (Dark Crystal and Roast malts.) They screw with mash pH. I hold Dark Crystal and Roast malts to Mash Out (15 minutes)/Sparge (15 minutes). (30 min hot steep total)

I use ~1-1.5 ml 10% Phosphoric Acid in Distilled Water to create total brewhaus liquor. I add 1/2 tsp Brewtan B (hydrated) to strike liquor prior to mash in. I batch sparge with reserved brewhaus liquor (no salts or BtB).

I use 1 tsp CaCl, or 1 tsp Gypsum, or a combo of the two to equal 1 tsp total added direct to MLT on top of grain as I underlet my strike (~50 ppm Ca in 5 gal mash volume). Generally, I use gypsum (calcium sulfate) in English styles, calcium chloride in German, Czech, and Belgian styles, and a mix of the two in American styles. Avoid sulfates when using noble hops.

I add any other salt additions to the boil targeting post boil volume concentration. If I use CaCl in the MLT I add gypsum (and maybe more CaCl) to the BK. If gypsum in the mash I add CaCl (and maybe more gypsum) to the BK. I rarely add NaCl or Epsom salt but if I do I add it in the BK

I don’t worry about mash pH because it’s always spot on (I quit checking several batches ago) and I don’t worry about bicarbonate or residual alkalinity.

I am personally aiming for X ppm(s) of CaCl and gypsum to reach a hoppy(~2+), balanced(~1.5), or malty(~1) beer using the sulfite/chlorine ratio. For hoppy-ness I’ve found ~150+ ppm gypsum is my target. Any gypsum ppm less than that heads into malty-ness if that makes sense. I think each beer drinker will find their own ranges thru experimentation vs a hard and fast spreadsheet — this is the number. …and those perceptions could evolve over time as tastes change.

I do all this in BeerSmith since I am in there to write my recipe anyway. No spreadsheets or gram scales. Screenshot in post No3 above.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: October 06, 2021, 05:16:50 pm by BrewBama »

Offline Oiscout

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 539
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2021, 04:04:57 pm »
Thank you brewbama!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline Oiscout

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 539
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2021, 04:08:06 pm »
I useBS as well and had completely forgotten about his water chemistry tab, It took some tweaking but ive managed to sync up the numbers from my recipes in BS and my practices where im hitting my numbers more consistently and getting what comes close to repeatability in my brew day minus those little incidents that you. Can never seem to avoid.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline mabrungard

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2849
  • Water matters!
    • Bru'n Water
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2021, 02:49:41 pm »
Caution! While keeping those acidic grains out of the mash to keep them from screwing up the mash pH, per Strong, that approach can still adversely affect the wort pH. In the case of roasty beers, that can result in acrid and sharp flavor instead of rich and smooth. Proper alkalinity and pH management is likely to result in better beers.

With regard to what water volume to base your salt additions, using the post boil wort volume would result in the concentrations being lower than what they would have ended up with if starting volumes were used (boil concentrating effect). This really isn’t a big deal, but it’s something to be aware of and adjust for. I recommend using the actual water volume(s) used as your basis for salt additions. When you recognize that this is more in line with what historic brewers would have faced when brewing with their natural water supplies, it makes sense to do what I recommend.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://www.brunwater.com/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Offline Oiscout

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 539
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2021, 02:56:54 pm »
That was my biggest concern for example.

I want to emulate Burton on Trent, If I was brewing in that region my entire volume which includes the strike water the sparge and if I were to top off for the boil if needed, would all need to be treated equally to emulate actually brewing a beer there.

And I know “you cant replicate that water profile blah blah blah” but just as an example.
Im basically trading out my usual water source for brewing which is my tap water, for a water source with a profile that I’m building myself.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline mabrungard

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2849
  • Water matters!
    • Bru'n Water
Re: I have some rookie questions about brewing salts.
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2021, 06:52:15 pm »
Don’t replicate Burton water. It’s too extreme. If you’re sure you want that sort of IPA water, I recommend using the Pale Ale profile in Bru’n Water.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://www.brunwater.com/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks