Author Topic: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions  (Read 2762 times)

Offline bluesman

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2010, 10:12:57 AM »
One reason I started this thread is because a fellow brewer...who appears to be well educated from a chemistry standpoint, maintains that NO mineral additions are needed to any brewing water, since the malted barley contains sufficient yeast nutrients.  I gather from you previous posts you agree with that to a point, but may add calcium.  So my question is, do you add that to the sparge water, the mash water, or the boil?  Or does it not make any difference?  (I suspect it makes no difference...).

His point is that they are not needed and don’t have to be added to the mash. If adding then later works better for him then this is what he can do. There is no harm in having them come from the water either so I just put them all into the water. In fact that’s how it all started. Brewers figured out that minerals in the water make a difference and later learned that they can also add them to the boil if they aren’t in the water.

The only place where I see that it can make a difference is for sparge water. There it is beneficial to use low alkalinity water in order to keep the pH from being raised during the sparge. Here I agree that it may make a difference if you add the salts for the sparge water to the boil. But I don’t do that either. I just don’t sparge aggressively enough for pH to be a problem during sparging even if I use highly alkaline water. And adding salts to anything but the water doesn’t comply with the Reinheitsgebot. I like to follow that in my brewing. More out of pride and tradition than for practical or better beer reasons.

Kai


Kai,

You are true to form...in other words you are an "imperial beer geek".  ;D

But then again I consider myself one as well.  ::)
Ron Price

Offline Mile Hi Brewing Supplies

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2010, 10:19:20 AM »
Yeah Denny, you're right, there are really several related issues here regarding the mineral additions:

-Are they necessary for mash enzymatic (or other) activities:  No.
-Are they necessary for yeast nutrition during the ferment:  Not sure we have a clear answer on this one yet.
-Are they necessary or helpful in contributing to flavor adjustments:  Necessary?  No.  Helpful and effective?  Yes.
-At what point in the brewing process should they be added (sparge water, mash water, or boil):  Assuming we start with RO water, it sounds like one should add some minerals (calcium) to the sparge water to lower the pH.  So if they've been added to the sparge water, is there still a need to add more to the mash or boil?  Sounds like, generally speaking, no.  

If I may try to summarize the key practical points:  Adding minerals to RO brewing water can be helpful in certain processes (such as lautering and maintaining proper pH throughout the process), but may not be essential (if sparge is moderate).  But if one makes the decision to add minerals to the brewing water, the most effective place to do so would be to add the pH reducing minerals to the sparge water and the flavor enhacing minerals to the mash or boil.

Did I get that right?

(I'm still curious regarding the question about whether malt in combination with untreated RO water would provide sufficient yeast nutriens.)

Thanks guys.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2010, 10:28:12 AM »
This is a full blown study. One would have to narrow down the variables to look at each variable, one at a time in controlled experiments. It would involve countless hours of time involving hundreds of experiments to come to any  concrete conclusions. Water chemistry is a very complex issue in regards to mashing and brewing in general and is very subjective to one's own perception of flavor.
Ron Price

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2010, 10:39:02 AM »
This is a full blown study. One would have to narrow down the variables to look at each variable, one at a time in controlled experiments. It would involve countless hours of time involving hundreds of experiments to come to any  concrete conclusions. Water chemistry is a very complex issue in regards to mashing and brewing in general and is very subjective to one's own perception of flavor.

Sounds like a challenge, Kai!
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2010, 11:02:55 AM »
This is a full blown study. One would have to narrow down the variables to look at each variable, one at a time in controlled experiments. It would involve countless hours of time involving hundreds of experiments to come to any  concrete conclusions. Water chemistry is a very complex issue in regards to mashing and brewing in general and is very subjective to one's own perception of flavor.
Sounds like a challenge, Kai!

Thanks for the offer but I don’t think I’ll go there. It won’t help me in my brewing since I only want to treat the water. But parts of this study are worth a closer look though:

Sparge water minerals into sparge water or boil. Does it make a difference? I may pick that up at some point but there is little interest on my side. I’d like to know the results though.

Calcium and Magnesium effects on the fermentation. I do plan to go there as I think its worth a closer look. I already know how to do it most efficiently.

Flavor effect of various ions. I plan to test that by adding defined brines to a beer brewed with very soft water. Hopefully that is sufficient as I do not want to brew full batches for all of these data points. That might be one of the most interesting experiments and I’ll have to employ my fellow club mates to help me with tasting. I may even want to outsource the brewing of the beer to allow us to evaluate a broader range of styles.

Looking into when to best add the salts has little value unless someone sees evidence that one can gain beer quality from adding salts at a specific process stage. Until then I’ll be adding them to the water. That cuts down the parameters I have to worry about which is always good.

Kai



Offline tony

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2010, 04:35:36 AM »
Yeah Denny, you're right, there are really several related issues here regarding the mineral additions:

-At what point in the brewing process should they be added (sparge water, mash water, or boil):  Assuming we start with RO water, it sounds like one should add some minerals (calcium) to the sparge water to lower the pH.  

Some brewers salts won't just disolve into plain water so you would probably need to actually acidify the sparge water with latic or similar acid vs adding salts, if that is what you need to do.