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Water profiles, salts, and boiloff

I’ve been using distilled water with calculated salt additions for awhile now.
I started doing it by salting the total amount of mash and sparge water pre-mashing.
That made me a bit unsure about the final profile after a 90 minute boil/ 1.5 gallon boiloff.
So I switched to a pre-calculated blend of desired salts, used as a salt “shot” that goes in right when I mash in.
Then I treat my batch sparge water with a shot of acid if it needs it to keep the sparge Ph in range.
And adding another pre-calculated shot to the BK, to get me my desired profile, after boiloff.
For example, I’m going to brew this NZ Blonde, I understand the reasons why I can’t just go and blindly copy some Belgian water profile, so for this beer I think I want a bit of harder water to get the traditional mineral bite, and I want my chloride/sulfate to lean towards bitter, just because I think I want some nice hop bite in this particular recipe.
So it looks like this (ppm): CA-60— MG-5— NA-10—CL-35—SO-50—Bicarbonate 80
And it’s easy to measure the grams to get that into my 3 gallons of strike water, and the right amount of salts for the BK to get me back to that water profile after boiling off 1.5 gallons.
Am I doing this right?
If I treated all 9 gallons to that starting profile, and wound up with 5.5 gallons in the fermenter,
I would get CA-100—MG-11—NA-19.5—CL-56.5—SO-81—Bicarbonate 130
Which all wind up within the acceptable range for mineral content, but obviously are much higher levels than what I started with, from concentration from boiling. Should I be striving for some amount of mineral increase?
Just looking for a bit of guidance here, if anybody has a better way/ easier way, I’m all ears.
I’d like to know how you guys do it.

Are you assuming that 100% of the mineral additions make it into the boil kettle? If so, I would assume they are not - some of the mineral additions are left behind/trapped in the mash.

No idea how to figure out what actually makes it into the boil kettle, but my guess is that it is not 100% of what you put into the water.

Its largely unneccesary to worry about what ions make it to the kettle. There are dozens of reactions that occur in the mash and boil that alter the final ionic content of the wort. Then the action of the yeast further alters the ionic content of the beer. What you need is a consistent benchmark for water chemistry. Using the pre-mash water quality is the most repeatable benchmark and its most appropriate. For some brewers (this includes Pro’s), they know what their tap water contains and what they add to it or dilute. That gives them the pre-boil water quality. They assess their brewing results based on that water quality and adjust as they see fit.

The only time I’ve seen a brewer worry about the ionic content of their wort is some data from Sierra Nevada where they did testing to find that they needed to aim for 85 ppm calcium in their starting water to end up with 50 ppm in the finished wort (presumably for yeast health and performance).

Braufessor- admittedly, I was assuming that the water profiles that I was creating in the mash would carry into the kettle.
I had thought about the mash consuming some of the profile, something I should research.

Martin-Thanks for the advice.
Sometimes in my quest to learn/understand brewing better, I wind up over-thinking and over-complicating things.
I’ll revert to my original method of building my total amount of water beforehand.
I know I was happy with the finished beers that I brewed while doing it that way,
I just over-thinked it.
Without asking you a bunch of specific, style oriented water questions, I would like to ask you 2 questions,
Can you recommend any good/interesting writings on brewing water? (virtual or paper)
Would you recommend brewers to work in that 85+ calcium into their water for the yeast benefits?

[quote=“Scott Miller”]Can you recommend any good/interesting writings on brewing water? (virtual or paper)
Would you recommend brewers to work in that 85+ calcium into their water for the yeast benefits?[/quote]

The subject of water has pretty thin coverage in most brewing texts and there isn’t much focus on water or its ionic content in brewing research. So there isn’t much in Brewing Journals either. Probably some of the most important papers to read are AJ Delange’s papers on Alkalinity. That will help form the understanding of alkalinity and its relation to brewing. I’ve also found that the Malting and Brewing Science books are decent resources with respect to water and mashing chemistry. DeClerck’s “A Textbook of Brewing” is also a decent introduction to water and mashing chemistry, but its dated and still lacking. The information presented on the Water Knowledge page of the Bru’n Water site should also be a good start into understanding brewing water chemistry.

My profession is water and wastewater treatment, but brewing water chemistry is another unique step beyond the bounds of my profession. Brewing water chemistry is a unique blend of chemistry and its effect on biology, enzymes, and other chemical reactions that occur throughout the brewing process.

The need for 50 ppm calcium in wort has been researched and reasonably confirmed. But, that doesn’t mean that a wort HAS to have 50 ppm calcium to make great beer. The benefits of calcium include improved yeast health and better flocculation and beer clearing. Calcium also helps remove oxalates from the wort so that beerstone deposits are less likely. All of these benefits are good to have, but they aren’t necessary. A lot of breweries use a far lower calcium content and just deal with the consequences of that decision via other means. I assume that SN has researched the calcium issue in depth and has surmised that starting with 85 ppm improves their beers or their processes. A brewer should probably perform their own testing to see if their beers are better at a higher or lower calcium content. I do suggest that brewers provide at least 40 ppm calcium to help avoid beerstone problems.

Thank you kindly, again.
What you modestly deem a “good start” (,
Is a wealth of brewing water information.
One of these days, this will click for me. :cheers:

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