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Brewing Salts and stuff

Ok, my LHBS has brewing salts and things, but they dont seem to work very well. Does anybody have this problem? Where can I find water treatment stuff that is quality? Are NB’s products good?

How do they not work well?

Brewing salts are typically just minerals, such as calcium chloride (CaCl2) or epsom salt (MgSO4).

I don’t think the salts are of poor quality.

The issue probably has far more to do with your starting water, usage rates, and understanding of water chemistry in regards to brewing.

Thats very possible. By not work well I mean When I add Gypsum or something to my water the ph doesnt seem to change. Then again, Im just using the strips. Maybe I need a meter?

Which strips are you using. I have had horrible luck with the “beer range” strips.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/brewing-equipment/testing-measuring/ph-measurement/ph-test-strips-beer-range.html

No matter what I did to them they NEVER changed color.

People have said that the colorfast strips work pretty well, although I have never used them

Another thing to note is that it can take 10 grams of gypsum to lower the PH of a 5 gallon mash by 0.1

Are you currently using any water spreadsheets like, EZ Water 3.0, or Bru’n Water?

Did you get your water tested by Ward Labs to see where you are starting at? I’ve started using 100% RO water so I start with a more or less clean slate…

+1 for Bru’n Water once you get it figured out…

John

Those are the strips I used.

I stated looking at Bru’n water today, but dont get it yet. It seems like its suggesting to add a lot of stuff.

My water pretty much is a clean slate to begin with. Ive been told its very close to distilled water.

So for example in order to get the profile I want it suggests adding
.10 gram/L epsom salt
.13 gram/L Chalk
.10 ml/L lactic acid

[quote=“Adam20”]So for example in order to get the profile I want it suggests adding
.10 gram/L epsom salt
.13 gram/L Chalk
.10 ml/L lactic acid[/quote]
What’s the grain bill, OG, and IBUs?

9 lbs 2 row
.75 lbs Crystal 60
1.5 lbs Rye Malt

OG 1.051
IBU’s 64

Also can Brun water calculate in lbs? its currently in Kilograms which I dont like. I can get used to it I guess

You really can’t do any water adjustment till you send your water out and get a Analysis Sheet. Every calculator will ask to input this infro and with out it you are just guessing.
I had a hard time reaching my mash PH. I sent out a sample to Ward Labs and found out I have 256 ppm of Bicarbonate in my water. It would buffer all the acid or salts I used.
Just get a w-6 test done for $16.50 here http://www.wardlab.com/FeeSchedule/WaterAnalysis.aspx

Maybe you should try out EZ Brew 1.3, it is an all in one beer recipe calculator.

It makes water calculations about as easy as they can get.

http://forum.northernbrewer.com//viewtopic.php?f=1&t=107231

BTW, if you actually are connected to the Sacramento water supply here is your water profile.

Calcium: 18 ppm
Magnesium: 4 ppm
Sodium: 5 ppm
Chloride: 6 ppm
Sulfate: 36 ppm

Hardness:
CaCO3: 51

[quote=“Adam20”]9 lbs 2 row

Also can Brun water calculate in lbs? its currently in Kilograms which I don’t like. I can get used to it I guess[/quote]

Yea, just download the imperial units version.

John

Add a teaspoon of calcium chloride for malty beers or a teaspoon of gypsum for hoppy beers. Then add a pinch of Epsoms salt and a pinch of sea salt. if you are in the right pH range you’ll have a good hot break.

I’ve used Palmer’s water program and erred on the low side, with good results. Bru’n Water is great but a little complicated.

[quote=“Adam20”]9 lbs 2 row
.75 lbs Crystal 60
1.5 lbs Rye Malt

OG 1.051
IBU’s 64[/quote]Using an “amber bitter” profile, looks to me like you ought to be able to use about 0.25 grams of gypsum per gallon in the mash and be good on the pH. But that’s without inputing an actual water profile, just using the limited data that gregscsu posted for Sacramento.

The water profile posted is pretty close to mine. I got mine checked by Ward Labs. I think Im figuring this Bru’n water thing out now. I was overcompicating it. I may need a little lactic acid because it looks like the chalk I need for calcium brnigs my bicarbonates up to 158. The Amber Balanced setting says I need 110. So it looks like adding .1 ml/l of 80% strength lactic will cut that to 111. Which is close enough. Will that be ok?

So in all I would be adding 1.6 grams Epsom salt. 2.1 grams chalk. And 1.6 ml lactic acid. for 10 lbs of grist. Apparently this will bring my mash to 5.5 ph and an alkalinity of 92.

Sorry. This is all a bit confusing. Thanks so much for the help.

[quote]I’ve used Palmer’s water program[/quote]+1

I like how simple it is, although I haven’t put it into practice yet.

FWIW, Palmer’s program doesn’t make recommendations to increase hardness, only to get a good balance between chloride and sulfate and to attain optimal pH range.

In my wholly untested opinion (heh), in light of Palmer’s site and feedback I’ve received for my first AG plans, you’re still over complicating things by adding both chalk and acid (pushing pH up, then bringing it back down).

One thing I keep in mind is that Pilsen’s water is extremely soft (and mine is comparably so, albeit more alkaline), yet it is renowned for its beer.

So what does he consider to be a good sulfate/chloride ratio?

Here’s Palmer’s page on pH adjustments
http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-3.html
(doesn’t get into chloride : sulfate balance)
Here’s the tool
http://howtobrew.com/section3/Palmers_Mash_RA_ver3ptO.xls
(XLS download)

Basically, (as per messing with the numbers in the tool) your water supports more balanced beer the closer you get to 1 : 1. If chloride gets too much higher than sulfate, maltiness is accentuated; if sulfate gets too much higher than chloride, bitterness is accentuated. According to the tool, 7ppm : 7ppm is identical to 30ppm : 30ppm in this regard (balanced flavor).

For pH, it just calculates your residual alkalinity (buffer that’s left after accounting for things like calcium in your water) and makes recommendations for getting your mash pH within range.

There are no additions recommended on the sole basis of nutrient content/water hardness. For instance, calcium additions are only recommended as a way to lower mash pH, NOT to provide more nutrients to the malt enzymes.

But, again, I want to stress that while Palmer seems highly regarded and well-trusted by experienced brewers, I have no personal experience here, I’ve just been messing around with various calculators, and found this one to result in more straightforward, KISS-friendly recommendations than others.

Seeing as how I’m a total n00b to AG and water additions, I would love to have someone correct any misconceptions I might be putting forth…

Also, in case you haven’t seen this before, I found this three part article on pH to be very illuminating:
An Overview of pH
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=An_Overview_of_pH

How pH Affects Brewing
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=How_pH_affects_brewing

Mash pH Control
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Mash_pH_control

It’s a little dense, but pretty educational, too.

[quote=“Adam20”]I may need a little lactic acid because it looks like the chalk I need for calcium brnigs my bicarbonates up to 158…So in all I would be adding 1.6 grams Epsom salt. 2.1 grams chalk. And 1.6 ml lactic acid. for 10 lbs of grist.[/quote]Just use gypsum instead of the Epsom salt for calcium and sulfate and you can skip the chalk and the acid.

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