Pickling Lime - Cloudy Water

Using the EZWater spreadsheet to adjust my water for a recent batch of APA, it called for 1.5g of pickling lime (in addition to other salts/acid) to bring my calcium up to 50+ ppm.

I added all other salts and acid first (calcium chloride, gypsum, epsom salt, citric acid) then added the pickling lime. When I added the lime the water turned cloudy and the lime seemed to either not dissolve or other particles seemed to come out of solution. Before adding the lime the water was clear.

I simply stirred the water to keep everything suspended until I doughed in.

The same thing occurred in the sparge water.

Not having a pH meter or strips I couldn’t check the pH of the mash, but have to trust the spreadsheet.

Is there a specific method to dissolve pickling lime in water? Or did I just create too alkaline of a solution thus ‘forcing’ other particles out of solution?

(Apologies in advance, I’m not a chemist… hope this batch isn’t ruin with overly alkaline water.)

add the salts to the mash when you mash in, not to the plain water. some don’t dissolve as easily in plain water. i put all my salts in the grist after crushing while I’m waiting on the water to reach strike temp.

Are you sure that you needed lime in the water? You mention that you also added acid. What are you adding acid to? In general, you don’t add both acid and lime since they neutralize each other. Its one or the other, not both.

If the dose of lime was large enough, then it is possible that you caused calcium and possibly magnesium to precipitate from the water when the water pH went too high. I recommend that lime only be added to the mash and only after the grain is mixed with the water. That avoids raising the water pH too high and causing that precipitation.

Pickling lime is fully soluble and dissolves almost instantly. The problem is that the lime can degrade back into chalk over time or maybe the lime wasn’t pure lime. In either case, then you might see cloudiness due to the chalk impurities. A way to check the purity of lime is to put a few drops of an acid onto the lime powder. If it fizzes, then there is chalk in the lime. If it just combines without fizzing, then its pure.

I do recommend reading a bit more on how to deal with lime and acids on the Bru’n Water website and the Water Knowledge page. Brewing water chemistry is not EZ, but its not too hard.

I agree with questioning the need for lime. Its generally only needed for the darkest beers. You ought to be able to get 50ppm of calcium from choride and sulfate salts.

Thanks for the responses. Next time I’ll change my approach.

I’ll add everything but the lime or acid until I measure the mash pH with my new pH meter to determine which way to go (more alkaline or more acidic). I’ll try to hit the 50+ ppm Calcium with gypsum and calcium chloride, but it can be difficult if I want to keep the levels of sulfate and chloride down.

FWIW, I’ve added the same 1.5grams of pickling lime to my water before without any problems. It always seemed to dissolve ok. Perhaps my water supply has changed.

Anyway here’s the pH meter I bought, hope it’s a good one:

http://www.airwaterice.com/product/PH20 ... METER.html

Yep, I think it’s the only thing which allows me to make a good stout with my water. It seems to take quite a bit more chalk than lime to reach the 5.6 pH level that I think is the sweet spot for really dark beers. Too much chalk make the beer taste…chalky. :roll:

This post although it’s old is important enough to raise to the top.

My last couple of batch have been lower pH than I was expecting. I believe my pickling lime has degraded all or partially to chalk. I did notice a cloudiness to the water.

I’d stored the pickling lime in a glass jar with a tight lid but apparently it’s not good enough.

Anyone have a good method to store their pickling lime?



By chance are you using R/O or distilled water? It just seems like a lot of salt additions and I agree the acid would probably be neutralized by the lime.

:?: [/quote]

No message…I typed something then deleted it.

I used to do this but I changed to adding to the water before mashing in. I’m pretty sure Martin recommends adding to the water and not the mash and that’s why I changed.

I used to do this but I changed to adding to the water before mashing in. I’m pretty sure Martin recommends adding to the water and not the mash and that’s why I changed.[/quote]

Yep. That’s why I changed also.

I use distilled water and build it up. I used the Dusseldorf profile when i make my alt bier. I don’t consider it a large amount of additions. I’ve been able to avoid using acid to reach my pH.

But how do you know that’s what the brewers in Dusseldorf use? More than likely they treat the water.

Your question is nonsensical since I could never know the answer to “what the brewers in Dusseldorf use?”.

I believe Martin detailed that in one of his Zymurgy articles. But you can be pretty certain that they don’t use the water “as is”.

Nope. My only German article focused on southern Bavaria. The water across that region was surprisingly similar.