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Salts or acid added first?

Hi friends.

I started tinkering with my water chemistry a couple years ago. I use EZwater, I think it’s called, to formulate salts/acid prior to brewing. I am still a novice, however, at water chemistry (For example, I haven’t even got thru chapter three of the Water book). Even though I know very little about water, what I have done with such knowledge has improved my beers quite a bit.

I have had my well water tested. I usually use a bit of it along with some distilled water. I add Calcium Chloride or Calcium Sulfate usually, and also phosporic acid, to dial in my brews to the desired mineral content/pH.

Here is my question: On lighter-colored beers, I have to use more acid/minerals to lower the estimated mash pH into more of an acidic range, in the software. Should I use acid to drop the pH into the range, and Then add the minimal amount of salts to create the right mineral profile; or, should I use salts first to drop the pH and Then use the minimal amount of acid to lower pH if it still isn’t low enough?

I want to use the smallest amount of acid and salts in my beer as possible, as I believe from experience (and from Gordon’s recent book) that it is easy to ‘overdose’ the brew with them and taste them in the finished product.

Any thoughts from educated and experienced brewers?

I always add salts first, to achieve the mineral profile I want, and then use lactic or phosphoric acid to adjust. I use Bru’n water, but I can’t imaging your program works differently. Some of the salts react with the malt to change pH on their own, so you really want to add the salts you want first, and then adjust with acid later. :beer:

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I do as @porkchop. Add your salts for your desired water profile then adjust for mash pH, if needed. Due to a lack of darker grains in your lighter colored brews you may need acid to drop the pH.

Agree. Adding the cacl and gypsum first will likely lower the amount of acid you will need, which is a good thing. I use lactic acid and sometimes up to 8 ml and I can’t taste it but I have heard that some can…

Thanks guys. Exactly WUT I was asking was answered.

Donut: FYI I have heard 4 ml as the taste threshold.

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I have to dilute my house water with distilled water to avoid overusing salts and acid.
Some recipes I just use all distilled. I have had bad experience with the store RO water.

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