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Baking soda used, what to expect?

So I did not really understand how or why to use baking soda, but I used about 1 tsp in my mashout water of about 4.3 gallons in my IPA. I used 2 tsp of gypsum in the strike water. I used my regular tap water this time as well and no, I do not really have a water report. This was a 5 gallon batch.

What can I expect to be screwed up from this?

I don’t think I’ve ever heard that advice before, where did you read this? I don’t think it will hurt, since you added for mashout. A teaspoon of sodium bicarb probably won’t make the beer overly salty tasting, it might raise the pH enough that the beer could taste flat.

When I was treating my water without knowing what it was, I added a teaspoon of calcium chloride for malty beers and gypsum for the hoppy ones. You were OK on your gypsum addition. That gives you the calcium you might need for enzyme action, and drops the pH a little. I knew at the time my water was modestly hard. Now I have a water report and can adjust less blindly.

One question: Why?

You need to have a water report. Without that baseline information you won’t know what to add (or subtract) from your water for brewing.

You’ve added 100+ ppm of Na+ to the beer. At best that is borderline excessive, especially without knowing how much was already in your water. There is no real need for Sodium in brewing water and in excess quantity you can run into things like harsh, metallic flavors and interference with yeast growth. The CO3 end of the baking soda will raise the pH, not something you would typically need to or want to do with a beer in the color range of IPA.

One teaspoon is not going to be the end of the world, the beer will still be drinkable, BUT, if you are brewing all grain beer do yourself and your beer a big favor and get a water report.

I sometimes add a little sodium chloride in the form of sea salt, to my water. My thought is that it might accentuate the flavor. I don’t add a teaspoon, just a pinch.

My quick calc shows he added 145ppm if a tsp is 10g. that stuff is fairly fluffy, maybe it was only 100ppm. i think it will be fine. But I haven’t heard of adding bicarb to mashout water before so I’m curious.

Also since I’m pretty sure you’re not on Minneapolis or St. Paul water you actually need to go the other way since your water is likely already too alkaline. You’re IPA will probably be fine since it was the sparge water you added it to but it is worth taking the time to under stand some water chemistry and getting a water report for your area. I’m in the northern suburbs but your water is likely just as hard, I either have to use a fair bit of acid to cut alkalinity or use a good portion of RO water to make my mash pH work out.

Well so far it sounds like I may not be in too much trouble, but let me explain as you have all asked. I have read in a few posts about adding a little baking soda and even in the online calculators there is a drop down. When using the online calculator and what I had seen in the posts I should / could use a few grams in RO water.

What got me back to using my local water was I did an all simcoe beer with my tap water and added in 2 tsp of gypsum and it was by far the best beer I had made, so back to using tap water from RO for this beer. I was curious what adding in the baking soda would do, and maybe added a bit much so I was curious what everyone thought. I do have a bit of a water report I will try to post later today when I have more time.

My water is fairly hard here in Chaska so adding extra salt is probably not a good thing :slight_smile:

I do know had I not added in the baking soda this beer would probably come out very nice and I guess we will see what if anything the baking soda did too it. Just so you know the grains we only 2 row and crystal 40 and it’s an all mosaic hop beer with US-05 for yeast.

Congratulations! You managed to do almost everything you shouldn’t do with brewing water.

Adding minerals with no knowledge of the existing water quality is an easy way to screw things up. Adding alkalinity to the sparging or mash out water increases the potential for leaching tannins from the grist and to increase the pH of the overall wort which increases the potential to make the hop flavor and bitterness more harsh. Alkalinity is generally an enemy of good beer brewing. Alkalinity is ADDED only when there is a clear need due to the mash pH falling too low.

If more sodium content in the water was a goal, then adding table salt is fine. I do find that a low level of sodium does improve beer flavor. I typically keep it below 50 ppm, but higher levels can be OK.

I hope your brew comes out fine, but those additions may not have helped.

http://www.chaskamn.com/cityhall/inforeps.cfm

Hardness is 29 grains per gallon or 495.9ppm as CaCO3 (check me on that Martin). Yep; Hard. Sorry man.

But hey, you made beer.

I would:

  1. download and learn Brun’water
  2. use distilled and add salts accordingly

Baking soda is great for dark beers where you need it to counter act the acidity of the roasted grains.

[quote=“zwiller”]Baking soda is great for dark beers where you need it to counter act the acidity of the roasted grains.[/quote]Or use pickling lime - I find it more predictable than baking soda and it adds calcium, too, which is usually a plus.

Yes. I can’t think of any good reason to ever add baking soda to brewing water. The Calcium salts are much better choices and if additional Na+ was wanted NaCl is a better option.

Water report I got from a friend.

Yes. I can’t think of any good reason to ever add baking soda to brewing water. The Calcium salts are much better choices and if additional Na+ was wanted NaCl is a better option.[/quote]

I hear you guys. That said, last time I tried I using it I had a heck of time measuring such small quantities of lime even with a decent gram scale. The stuff is potent and easy to overdo. For giggles, I tried lime softening once and it freaked me out how little it took to precipitate the carbonate.

[quote=“zwiller”]

I hear you guys. That said, last time I tried I using it I had a heck of time measuring such small quantities of lime even with a decent gram scale. The stuff is potent and easy to overdo. [/quote]

A simple way to measure or at least yield a very small quantity is to make a larger volume of solution and then take a portion of that.

So let’s say you needed .5g, take an easy to measure multiple of that, like 5g, dissolve in a measured volume of water, like 500ml, and then use 1/10 of that which will contain .5g of the dissolved salt.

Yes. I can’t think of any good reason to ever add baking soda to brewing water. The Calcium salts are much better choices and if additional Na+ was wanted NaCl is a better option.[/quote]

That was the general consensus while we were discussing water treatment options for the Water book, but we all had a change of heart after looking at the net effect. The only time when baking soda is likely to be considered is when brewing with very low alkalinity water. That low alkalinity water is not likely to contain many other ions. In that case, there is ‘room’ to add additional sodium to the water while adding the alkalinity that is needed for the mash pH control.

John Palmer did some taste testing and concluded that sodium is not very detrimental to beer flavor, even at a concentration of 100ppm. Given that, adding 50 ppm sodium via baking soda will also be delivering about 130 ppm bicarbonate ( about 110 ppm alkalinity). That is a pretty good trade off to add enough alkalinity for all but the most acidic grists. When you then consider that you wouldn’t add baking soda to the sparging water, the net effect of the baking soda addition in the mash is diluted. Therefore, you won’t be adding much sodium to the overall wort. Even AJ agreed that this is a decent option for adding alkalinity to the mash.

Using baking soda should be considered when your brewing water doesn’t already have much sodium.

While pickling lime has the advantage of contributing calcium, it is a more potent alkalinity contributor and requires more precise dosing. Baking soda is a little less critical.

Or, don’t mash your crystal malts and dark malts and don’t worry about it.

Some great info in this thread :cheers:

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