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Author Topic: Brewing Salt Additions  (Read 1292 times)

Offline HopDen

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Brewing Salt Additions
« on: March 01, 2023, 06:00:38 pm »
Does it really matter when or for that fact where to add salt additions? I use RO water so I don't add to the sparge water unless I am underletting then all additions go into the sparge/strike volume. Is mash pH that critical? I always add my salts to the mash if not underletting. I check the mash pH after 15 or so mins. Will be brewing an ordinary bitter soon and I am thinking about adding all salt additions to the boil. What are the advantages/disadvantages to doing so?

Chemistry confounds me!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Brewing Salt Additions
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2023, 08:22:12 pm »
Mash pH is important. There are programs to model and predict the pH from the water and grist as inputs.

5.4 is good for most beers. To get there you will need lear how to use a program like Brunwater. Adding all that  salts to the boil wont get you there, usually.

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Offline lupulus

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Re: Brewing Salt Additions
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2023, 09:15:25 pm »
Salts have minor effects on pH.
You can probably add them at any time if you have good knowledge of pH chemistry and how to adjust accordingly.
If you don't, add them in the mash consistently.

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Offline BrewBama

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Brewing Salt Additions
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2023, 09:58:54 pm »
Mash pH is important.  There have probably been a bazillion gallons of beer brewed with the brewer not knowing the pH of the mash. However, as brewing science advanced, it became clear that malts contain a great number of enzymes that work best in different temperature and pH ranges. For example β-amylase works best in the pH 5.0 to 5.6 range while α-amylase works best at a higher pH (5.1 to 5.9). That’s why when brewers begin to monitor and control pH they get better efficiency. They’ve optimized one of the conditions for the enzyme to convert starch to sugar. The process happens with or without our intervention. All we do as brewers is set up certain conditions in an attempt to render certain results.

Calcium in the mash is important. Again, a bazillion gallons of beer have been brewed without adding calcium to the mash. But again, science tells us some enzymes have co-factors, or substances that help them work more efficiently. Calcium is an important co-factor for the amylase enzymes, and also helps protect α-amylase at normal mashing temperatures. Plus, adding calcium to the mash reacts with phosphates in the grain husks to release phytic acid, which slightly lowers the mash pH naturally.  Add 1 tsp of CaCl or gypsum to the mash tun for every 5 gal treated for this co-factor effect.

Some of the calcium will be trapped in the mash. In Session Beers Jennifer Tulley says only about 40% of the calcium added to the mash carries over to the kettle. Therefore kettle additions may also be warranted depending on the beer style being created. Additional CaCl and/or gypsum as well as all other salts can be added at any stage in the brewing process from mash tun to glass.  I use the Water Profile Tool in BeerSmith to calculate the effects of my additions.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2023, 06:27:52 am by BrewBama »

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Brewing Salt Additions
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2023, 02:25:53 pm »
There is a reason why only a percentage of the mashing water calcium makes it to the kettle...because its doing its jobs.

It complexes with oxalates and phytins and it enhances enzyme activity.  So there are definitely reasons to have an adequate calcium content in the mashing water.  The need to have calcium in the finished wort is probably overstated.  In lagers, there is very little reason to have much calcium. But in ales, having enough calcium can be important for faster clearing of the finished beer.  With regard to yeast nutrition, the malt provides all the calcium the yeast need. Yeast still perform well in wort created with calcium-free water. 

In my opinion, mashing water is where your calcium salts are needed.  Any other application point isn't as good. 
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Offline HopDen

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Re: Brewing Salt Additions
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2023, 03:40:07 pm »
There is a reason why only a percentage of the mashing water calcium makes it to the kettle...because its doing its jobs.

It complexes with oxalates and phytins and it enhances enzyme activity.  So there are definitely reasons to have an adequate calcium content in the mashing water.  The need to have calcium in the finished wort is probably overstated.  In lagers, there is very little reason to have much calcium. But in ales, having enough calcium can be important for faster clearing of the finished beer.  With regard to yeast nutrition, the malt provides all the calcium the yeast need. Yeast still perform well in wort created with calcium-free water. 

In my opinion, mashing water is where your calcium salts are needed.  Any other application point isn't as good.

So to clarify, mash needs the calcium, understood. Since I started adding salts in my brewing water I have always added all salts to the mash. The remaining salts, both sparge (RO) and other mash additions can go into the boil?

Thank You Martin.

Offline chinaski

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Re: Brewing Salt Additions
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2023, 06:21:15 pm »
There is a reason why only a percentage of the mashing water calcium makes it to the kettle...because its doing its jobs.

It complexes with oxalates and phytins and it enhances enzyme activity.  So there are definitely reasons to have an adequate calcium content in the mashing water.  The need to have calcium in the finished wort is probably overstated.  In lagers, there is very little reason to have much calcium. But in ales, having enough calcium can be important for faster clearing of the finished beer.  With regard to yeast nutrition, the malt provides all the calcium the yeast need. Yeast still perform well in wort created with calcium-free water. 

In my opinion, mashing water is where your calcium salts are needed.  Any other application point isn't as good.

So to clarify, mash needs the calcium, understood. Since I started adding salts in my brewing water I have always added all salts to the mash. The remaining salts, both sparge (RO) and other mash additions can go into the boil?

Thank You Martin.
When your say "into the boil" do you mean hot liquor or boiling wort?

Offline HopDen

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Re: Brewing Salt Additions
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2023, 06:00:42 am »
There is a reason why only a percentage of the mashing water calcium makes it to the kettle...because its doing its jobs.

It complexes with oxalates and phytins and it enhances enzyme activity.  So there are definitely reasons to have an adequate calcium content in the mashing water.  The need to have calcium in the finished wort is probably overstated.  In lagers, there is very little reason to have much calcium. But in ales, having enough calcium can be important for faster clearing of the finished beer.  With regard to yeast nutrition, the malt provides all the calcium the yeast need. Yeast still perform well in wort created with calcium-free water. 

In my opinion, mashing water is where your calcium salts are needed.  Any other application point isn't as good.

So to clarify, mash needs the calcium, understood. Since I started adding salts in my brewing water I have always added all salts to the mash. The remaining salts, both sparge (RO) and other mash additions can go into the boil?

Thank You Martin.
When your say "into the boil" do you mean hot liquor or boiling wort?

Yes, into the boil kettle.

Offline BrewBama

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Brewing Salt Additions
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2023, 03:40:04 am »
There is a reason why only a percentage of the mashing water calcium makes it to the kettle...because its doing its jobs.



+1. After reading G Strong state “Some of the salts used in the mash will not carry over to the kettle”, I asked here how much is “some”. No one seemed to know. I was pleasantly surprised to see J Talley give a number. She didn’t cite a source for her number but it did put a pin in it for planning.

I add at least 50 ppm of calcium in the mash, then “season to taste” in the kettle based on whether the beer is malty or hoppy.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2023, 03:25:20 pm by BrewBama »

Offline goose

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Re: Brewing Salt Additions
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2023, 08:09:01 am »
There is a reason why only a percentage of the mashing water calcium makes it to the kettle...because its doing its jobs.

It complexes with oxalates and phytins and it enhances enzyme activity.  So there are definitely reasons to have an adequate calcium content in the mashing water.  The need to have calcium in the finished wort is probably overstated.  In lagers, there is very little reason to have much calcium. But in ales, having enough calcium can be important for faster clearing of the finished beer.  With regard to yeast nutrition, the malt provides all the calcium the yeast need. Yeast still perform well in wort created with calcium-free water. 

In my opinion, mashing water is where your calcium salts are needed.  Any other application point isn't as good.

So to clarify, mash needs the calcium, understood. Since I started adding salts in my brewing water I have always added all salts to the mash. The remaining salts, both sparge (RO) and other mash additions can go into the boil?

Thank You Martin.
When your say "into the boil" do you mean hot liquor or boiling wort?

Yes, into the boil kettle.

I use Martin's water calculator and add the calculated levels of minerals to the mash (RO water).  I just acidify the sparge liquor to the right pH and add additional salts calculated for the difference between the amount for the mash liquor and the amount of pre-boil volume to the kettle.  I am not sure whether this is really needed but it helps season the beer and in hoppy ones, brings out more of the hop flavor IMHO.
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