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NE IPA - water profile

I plan on brewing my first New England IPA soon, and it will be a brew-in-a-bag. My research suggests that a CaCl addition, and possibility a gypsum addition, will better my beer. As someone who has never before really cared about water quality, I have two rookie questions:

  1. How much CaCl and/or gypsum should I add to a 5-gallon batch?
  2. When, exactly, do you add the CaCl and/or gypsum? To the mash water, to the boil, both?

Thanks much for any insight you can lend!


Sorry, but this can’t be answered without knowing what your current water profile is.

If you’re on city water this info can be located online, sometimes. Also, a water addition program such as Bru’n Water, developed by @mabrungard Martin Brungard, can be of great assistance.

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You’ll generally add the salts and/or acids to your strike water prior to mashing in.

Agree with @loopie_beer that if you’re going to adjust your water profile you may as well do it right. There’s no reason to just add gypsum or calcium chloride if you don’t know how much is already in your water. You want to make additions that will balance the pH of your mash as well as highlight certain aspects of the beer style. In the case of an IPA you more than likely will add gypsum to increase the sulfates which emphasize bitterness in the finished beer.

If you can’t find or get a water analysis done prior to your brew day you could also just use distilled water and build it up to something like the pale ale profile in Brunwater. Brunwater can be a bit intimidating at first but it’s a great tool. You can download a free version from the web.

Once you have your water analysis done, sulfate at 75ppm and chloride at 150ppm is a good start for this style. Then adjust to your preference.

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