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Author Topic: BIAB water salts questions  (Read 1002 times)

Offline Frank The Tank

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BIAB water salts questions
« on: February 13, 2024, 03:42:21 pm »
I brew 5 gallon batches in a brew bag with a full volume mash using RO water. I’m starting to tinker with brewing salts a little. Here are my 3 main templates:
West Coast IPA: 2 tsp gypsum, 1 tsp calcium chloride
Hazy IPA: 2 tsp calcium chloride, 1 tsp gypsum
Light Lager/Pilsner: 1 tsp gypsum, 1 tsp calcium chloride

Two questions:
1) Do you guys think this is a good starting point for using salts?
2) Should I be adding the salts all at the start of the mash?

Offline BrewBama

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BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2024, 07:15:49 pm »
1) Yes. I think of brewing salts like using seasoning in cooking. Some like a little more of this and a little less of that. Over time you figure out what you like which may change over time.  I am in the less is more camp and shoot for around 50 ppm calcium via gypsum, or CaCl, or both, leaning towards CaCl for malty beers and gypsum for bitter beers. Some add far less salts to Pils for a softer profile. YMMV

2) I add salts to the strike water once it’s heated up prior to mash in.  I add the hot water to a ramekin with the salts, stir to dissolve, then pour it in.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2024, 07:18:04 pm by BrewBama »

Offline Kevin

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2024, 06:31:34 am »
Using recipe software will help you determine exactly what you need to add. Or for a stand alone water tool look for Bru'n Water: https://www.brunwater.com/
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Offline denny

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2024, 08:06:16 am »
You will get more consistent results measuring by weight than volume
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Drewch

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2024, 08:08:23 am »
Using recipe software will help you determine exactly what you need to add. Or for a stand alone water tool look for Bru'n Water: https://www.brunwater.com/

You will get more consistent results measuring by weight than volume

+1 and +1.
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Offline goose

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2024, 08:48:10 am »
Using recipe software will help you determine exactly what you need to add. Or for a stand alone water tool look for Bru'n Water: https://www.brunwater.com/

You will get more consistent results measuring by weight than volume

+1 and +1.

Add another +1 and +1
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2024, 09:15:57 am »
Of course, testing the water to know your starting point is essential to determine where you will wind up.  Though it could be done by trial and error over several batches to hone in on for salt and mineral additions to reach your preference.
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Offline BrewBama

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BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2024, 09:24:51 am »
I figure whichever you’re more comfortable with is what you should use.

Because the exact cation and anion contributions in brewing salts are rough approximations at best, and even though measuring by weight is much more accurate, I believe measuring by volume is fine. You are dealing with rough approximations, no matter how many decimal places you use.  You might be precise using a gram scale but no way it’s accurate without lab results.

I measure by volume, because I want ~50 ppm Ca in the mash and a little in the boil, and since the exact concentration is unknown, it’s close enough.

It’s kinda like the IBU. No way it’s accurate but X IBU calculated in my software of choice, on my system, tastes like *this* to me. It’s dialed in by a little more or less through trial and error over time.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2024, 12:18:49 pm by BrewBama »

Offline mabrungard

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2024, 01:11:46 pm »
Adding salts to RO water is a good first step, but the most important step in brewing water adjustment is alkalinity adjustment. That step has a profound effect on the beer perception and reducing faults. Depending upon the grist, either an acid or base could be needed in that RO mashing water in order to produce a 'good' wort pH.  Using a good brewing water chemistry program makes any water additions easier.
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Offline Finn Berger

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2024, 01:39:20 pm »
You will get more consistent results measuring by weight than volume

One caveat though: Mineral salts are hygroscopic, and you don't really know how much water they may have absorbed.

Adhering to the KISS principle I just add salts by measuring spoons:). Not very accurate, but accurate enough. Accuracy is an illusion anyway, as you have no way of knowing how much minerals are added by your grains.

Offline denny

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2024, 02:11:42 pm »
You will get more consistent results measuring by weight than volume

One caveat though: Mineral salts are hygroscopic, and you don't really know how much water they may have absorbed.

Adhering to the KISS principle I just add salts by measuring spoons:). Not very accurate, but accurate enough. Accuracy is an illusion anyway, as you have no way of knowing how much minerals are added by your grains.

That's true,  but it would also affect volume measurements wouldn't it? And I totally agree with your comment about accuracy.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Finn Berger

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2024, 03:02:16 pm »
You will get more consistent results measuring by weight than volume

One caveat though: Mineral salts are hygroscopic, and you don't really know how much water they may have absorbed.

Adhering to the KISS principle I just add salts by measuring spoons:). Not very accurate, but accurate enough. Accuracy is an illusion anyway, as you have no way of knowing how much minerals are added by your grains.

That's true,  but it would also affect volume measurements wouldn't it? And I totally agree with your comment about accuracy.

You may be right there. I've sort of been imagining the water seeping into empty space between the mineral molecules. We need a chemist here, there are too many people like me - been teaching Norwegian language and litterature, history and philosophy - around;).

Offline denny

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2024, 03:15:59 pm »
You will get more consistent results measuring by weight than volume

One caveat though: Mineral salts are hygroscopic, and you don't really know how much water they may have absorbed.

Adhering to the KISS principle I just add salts by measuring spoons:). Not very accurate, but accurate enough. Accuracy is an illusion anyway, as you have no way of knowing how much minerals are added by your grains.

That's true,  but it would also affect volume measurements wouldn't it? And I totally agree with your comment about accuracy.

You may be right there. I've sort of been imagining the water seeping into empty space between the mineral molecules. We need a chemist here, there are too many people like me - been teaching Norwegian language and litterature, history and philosophy - around;).

I have some chemistry background. I would think the water would be absorbed by the minerals and make them swell.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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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 Finn Berger

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2024, 11:49:15 pm »
You will get more consistent results measuring by weight than volume

One caveat though: Mineral salts are hygroscopic, and you don't really know how much water they may have absorbed.

Adhering to the KISS principle I just add salts by measuring spoons:). Not very accurate, but accurate enough. Accuracy is an illusion anyway, as you have no way of knowing how much minerals are added by your grains.

That's true,  but it would also affect volume measurements wouldn't it? And I totally agree with your comment about accuracy.

You may be right there. I've sort of been imagining the water seeping into empty space between the mineral molecules. We need a chemist here, there are too many people like me - been teaching Norwegian language and litterature, history and philosophy - around;).

I have some chemistry background. I would think the water would be absorbed by the minerals and make them swell.

I bow to the chemist's verdict, and will definitely regard the waistlines of my salts with suspicion from now on :).

Offline erockrph

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Re: BIAB water salts questions
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2024, 01:03:02 pm »
You will get more consistent results measuring by weight than volume

One caveat though: Mineral salts are hygroscopic, and you don't really know how much water they may have absorbed.

Adhering to the KISS principle I just add salts by measuring spoons:). Not very accurate, but accurate enough. Accuracy is an illusion anyway, as you have no way of knowing how much minerals are added by your grains.

That's true,  but it would also affect volume measurements wouldn't it? And I totally agree with your comment about accuracy.

You may be right there. I've sort of been imagining the water seeping into empty space between the mineral molecules. We need a chemist here, there are too many people like me - been teaching Norwegian language and litterature, history and philosophy - around;).

I have some chemistry background. I would think the water would be absorbed by the minerals and make them swell.
I don't think it's that simple, since hydrated salts are typically more dense than anhydrous (sometimes significantly so). The issue with volume measurements is that grain size and shape (and therefore the empty space in between) has a significant role. Without knowing the extent of hydration of the salt and its affect (if any) on the size and shape of the crystals, there's just too many moving pieces to make a solid rule of thumb estimate. And it very well may go in different directions for different compounds as well.
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