From what I’ve read this is only utterly crucial to all grain brewing, and luckily this was an extract batch, but am I screwed on any front here?
It will be a different beer from what you were trying to produce. Just like if you used one malt instead of another.
It will be beer. And there is a high probability it will taste fantastic. If the rest of the recipe is solid.
First off, I am sure it is fine - especially if it was an extract beer. Extract already has minerals in it, so you may or may not have even needed the gypsum in the first place.
Gypsum is not an “ingredient.” What I mean is that everyone is not going to add the same amount like they would, say hops, in making a particular recipe. For instance, you might have a recipe that says Cascade hops for 60 minutes - and EVERYONE following that recipe would do that. However, you can’t just say, “add a tsp of gypsum.”
Gypsum has more than one role, and a lot of it depends on what your water is like to start with, the grains that are in your mash, and the type of beer you were trying to brew. One of the biggest considerations in adding gypsum is knowing what is in your water to start with.
You did not add much additional information in your post - Why were you adding gypsum? What kind of beer were you brewing, what type of water were you using (Distilled, RO, Tap). If tap, do you know the mineral content of it?
Agreed… we all have different water and when homebrewers discuss recipes, they rarely discuss water or what water additions they make. I don’t think I ever made water additions while I was an extract brewer. That said, if someone were making a beer (extract or AG) and concluded that adding some amount of gypsum would be beneficial to the beer, it’s possible to add it anywhere along the way. I recently made a dark lager and was playing with the water profile and futzed it up. The beer’s character was very dull and it lacked crispness. This particular beer was in a keg so I boiled a pint of water and placed about a gram of gypsum into the water, let it cool and added it directly to the keg. Unconventional for sure and I wouldn’t want to do it regularly, but it saved the beer. My guess is that your extract beer is going to be just fine without it. Cheers.
Yeah, that’s what I figured. I am making a lemon-ginger-honey type beer. It was supposed to be an American Hef, but I didn’t like the recipe and altered it. There are 3 lbs. of Briess light DME (weizen) in there, but I also have honey malt and crystal wheat malt.
A friend of mine works for the city street crew so I guess I have “a guy” for checking out the water with a little more honesty. My side of town has, if anything, hard water issues, but he said even then it’s pretty mild. If I were a betting man I’d guess the beer is fine, but I needed second opinions like the rest of the nervous newbies.
Thanks as always guys.
In the case of extract brewing, mineral additions are primarily for flavor effect. This beer should’t be otherwise affected by the missing gypsum. If it is a hoppier beer, adding the gypsum directly to the fermenter may add more dryness and aid in enhancing the bitterness perception. If the brewer started with distilled or RO water, then the gypsum is highly recomended for a hoppy beer. If tap water was used and it already had adequate sulfate content, then it may not be needed.
Don’t you love it when one of our homebrewing heroes joins in on your thread? It’s like a guest appearance by a rock star. Thank you, Martin. :cheers:
+1 that gypsum is not a beer ingredient, and any recipie that calls for it as such is bogus. Gypsum is calcium sulfate. So if your water is low in either of these minerals for the style you are brewing, then its addition might be appropriate. But if it’s already high you may well hurt the flavor of your beer by adding more. You mentioned hard water so my guess is it’s fine. Check out the water chapter in John Palmer’s “how to brew”. I wouldn’t mess with any mineral additions without a water report and a clear goal in mind of how you want to alter your water. The makers of your extract mashed with the correct mineral content so even if your source water is off, it should be fine. Getting the minerals correct is way more important to all grain brewing as they greatly effect mash PH and efficiency. Their influence on flavor is fairly small compared to facors such as yeast health, pitching rate, fermentation temperature, and proper conditioning anyway.
Don’t sweat the gypsum!
PS- check out ward labs, www.wardlab.com
they have a water test specific for homebrewers. They send you the smaple kit with instuctions and a pre-postage paid package, you fill it and mail it back. Best $30 I’ve spent in a long time. Now I KNOW what my base line is, and can make mineral additions with confidence…