Calcium in Porter

Pulling together info on a Black Butte Porter clone. Says to up the Calcium to 129ppm, which is more than the Bru’nwater black-balanced profile I had looked at, which has Ca 60, Mg 10, and SO4 47

Any ideas why they would want higher Ca levels? If so, should I use gypsum, and up the sulfate, or Epsom salt, and increase the Mg, or both in combonation, to get the higher Ca?

This link started as a question about epsom salts and evolved into a really good water discussion. It addresses your Ca question and some other things to think about for that beer.

I was following the thread you probably linked to (your link isn’t showing up on my browser)

I’ll look it back over–my question now is a little more specific: why would a Black Butte Porter clone call for a Calcium level at 129ppm when Bru’nwater says 60 is more to style? And, if people think its necessary, how should I go about getting it, gypsum or epsom or both?

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=124357&hilit=+water

Sorry I think I forgot to copy the link.

I can’t think of any reason the beer would benefit from such a high level of Ca.

[quote=“Worts_Worth”]I was following the thread you probably linked to (your link isn’t showing up on my browser)

I’ll look it back over–my question now is a little more specific: why would a Black Butte Porter clone call for a Calcium level at 129ppm when Bru’nwater says 60 is more to style? And, if people think its necessary, how should I go about getting it, gypsum or epsom or both?[/quote]

I tend to take clone recipes with a grain of salt. Especially if it’s just a random one off the internet. It’s possible that person just looked at the local water report for Bend Oregon and used that info.

[quote=“mattnaik”]
I tend to take clone recipes with a grain of salt. [/quote]

And not a pound… ok fair enough.

[quote=“dannyboy58”]
I can’t think of any reason the beer would benefit from such a high level of Ca.[/quote]

me neither

As you can see in that post, and in others, Martin has pointed out that Ca can be lower than what used to be the norm. Chances are the Ca level bumped up because they needed something additional added to reach their profile, pH, etc.

[quote=“mattnaik”][quote=“Worts_Worth”]I was following the thread you probably linked to (your link isn’t showing up on my browser)

I’ll look it back over–my question now is a little more specific: why would a Black Butte Porter clone call for a Calcium level at 129ppm when Bru’nwater says 60 is more to style? And, if people think its necessary, how should I go about getting it, gypsum or epsom or both?[/quote]

I tend to take clone recipes with a grain of salt. Especially if it’s just a random one off the internet. It’s possible that person just looked at the local water report for Bend Oregon and used that info.[/quote]
Couldn’t agree with you more Matt, especially with the water profile. Yeah, water may have played a major roll in what beer was brewed where, but very much less so now. AND YOU DON’T KNOW IF THEY TREATED THEIR WATER. Even if they boiled it before using it has a different profile.

[quote=“dannyboy58”]http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=124357&hilit=+water

I can’t think of any reason the beer would benefit from such a high level of Ca.[/quote]

Well, there might be if you needed to also supply a bunch of sulfate or chloride. But in the case of a typical Porter, I can’t imagine using a lot of either of those ions. So, there isn’t much need to boost calcium as high as indicated either.

For those of you readers that are AHA members, you will see the article in Zymurgy that explains and illustrates why you don’t need much (if any) calcium in your brewing water. While there is generally a need for some calcium, it is probably less than you have typically heard.

It is a good article. :cheers: Martin also did a good job covering the opposite situation which I deal with which is a lot of calcium in my water. I get the pH in range with phosphoric but I’m pretty sure my lower attenuation with some yeasts is likely due to my high calcium water as you suggested in the article.

[quote=“Flip”]
I get the pH in range with phosphoric but I’m pretty sure my lower attenuation with some yeasts is likely due to my high calcium water as you suggested in the article.[/quote]

How high??

One of the things I also pointed out in the article is the acclimation ability of yeast. We have all heard of breweries that have to endure a couple of generations before a new yeast starts performing for them.

You may want to get a strain or two used to high calcium content so that it performs better for you. Another thought is to use a yeast that is already programmed for high calcium content. Maybe some type of Burton strain?

At least 130ppm if I’m going for 100ppm of Sulphate. My zinc is already towards the high end so epsom isn’t a good option for getting more sulphate.

It actually all works out, I just need to skew my mash temps a bit compared to what it seems others use depending on the yeast strain to end up with the desired FG.

[quote=“Flip”]My zinc is already towards the high end so epsom isn’t a good option for getting more sulphate.
[/quote]

I think you were thinking magnesium when you wrote zinc. :wink:

But your point is an important one. If your water already has more than 20 ppm magnesium, you probably don’t want to add much more of that ion.

I don’t have access to the article… Quick question, I have 4ppm Ca in my tap water. Is that too low?

[quote=“Worts_Worth”]
I don’t have access to the article… Quick question, I have 4ppm Ca in my tap water. Is that too low?[/quote]

If you expect to remove oxalate (to avoid beerstone) or if you want the yeast to drop out of suspension in a timely manner, yes, 4 ppm Ca is too low. You want at least 40 ppm in the mashing water and if you are brewing ales, you will want at least 50 ppm Ca in the kettle so that the beer will clear in a reasonable amount of time.

You should add your voice to the AHA and join. You will get something out of it!

Does the Ca (90% of the time in the form of CaSO4) I add to the mash all stay in the mash?

I was a member last year, just got to get 'em my dues…

[quote=“mabrungard”][quote=“Flip”]My zinc is already towards the high end so epsom isn’t a good option for getting more sulphate.
[/quote]
I think you were thinking magnesium when you wrote zinc. :wink:

But your point is an important one. If your water already has more than 20 ppm magnesium, you probably don’t want to add much more of that ion.[/quote]
Your correction was correct, I meant magnesium. :cheers:

Most current example is I’m doing an IPA roughly based off of Blind Pig, seems most can just mash at 151 degrees and get the 80% attenuation desired where as I did 60 minutes at 145 degrees stepped up to 155 degrees (via infusion) for 15 minutes but got my desired FG. Was using american ale yeast.

Bump

Does the Ca (90% of the time in the form of CaSO4) I add to the mash all stay in the mash? [/quote]

No, the Ca does NOT stay in the mash, it binds with acids created in the mash (dropping pH) and is precipitated out BUT there is some Ca in the malt… Ca is also precipated by boiling wort… Very complex subject but I think the consensus from what I read at the pro forums, is that you want 100ppm Ca in the mash to ensure 50ppm makes it to KO wort.

Getting back on topic, these days I don’t boost Ca in my porters. I have been happy with using baking soda and elevating mash pH 5.6-5.7 for a really smooth english flavor.

100ppm in the mash, that seems high, can’t you just add it strait to the kettle?

Interesting… anything more on that you can share? Why baking soda?