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Distilled water vs 50 ppm Calcium as CaCl2

There was recently some discussion on this forum surrounding the need for a certain concentration of calcium present in your water for brewing.

I had intended to brew 3 batches this weekend to help move my understanding further towards the crux of the issue; however, I was only able to muster 2 batches.

Write up here: … m-calcium/

Any notes on methods, layout and process very welcome.


This is an interesting dissertation on the topic.

This study showed that optimal calcium concentration (45-100mg/l) can improve efficiency in mashing. It also showed the effects on fermentation appeared to only help “higher gravity” beers. Fermentation time and and attenuation increased for “higher gravity” beers. The study referred to “normal gravity” as 11.3 m/m% (not sure if this is plato or what) and “high gravity” beers as 14.8 m/m%.

Of course this study is 10 years old so I’m sure you can find more recent studies out there. This document also appeared to lack a lot of details about his brewing process and ingredients used, so I’m not really sure how helpful it is.

excellent work, just excellent. I have been doing brews lately with the same intentions as you. although I add salts to the base ro water they remain low overall compared to my norm. now, one thing I noticed was vary little hot brake compared to water with higher salts( Calcium as CaCl2). my mash ph is much lower then yours(5.0-4. 8) but efficiency is still good. I use ph strips and not sure how good they are, they may be junk.(any input on the strips would be appreciated). look forward to your final findings.

Martin Brungard has been doing some research lately that seems to indicate 50 ppm calcium is plenty for ales and 20 is good for lager yeast. His research isn’t complete, but that’s what he’s found so far.

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