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When do I add my water treatments?

Hi all:

I’m trying to nail down the recipe for my IPA, and after looking at my water analysis, I’ve determined that I’ll need to add 7g of Epsom salt, 14g of gypsum, and 1g of table salt. My question is: when am I suppose to add all of this to my brewing water? Before the mash, before the boil, during the boil? This part of water treatments has always been confusing for me. Can someone give me some pointers for this?

Thanks!

That seems like an awful lot of salt to add. You should recheck you calculations.

Ideally, the salts get added to the water beforehand, and you’ll use the same treated water for the mash and sparge. Don’t just dump all the salts in at once with the mash water.

How do you know you need to add those water amendments? What are you doing to ensure your mash pH is in the optimal range?

I suggest downloading a copy of Bru’n Water and reading this: https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge

Any amount of Epsom salt is far too much…and anything over a half to full gram is user error for sure.
14g of gypsum sounds excessive also unless your doing over a 10gallon batch.
There are hundreds of threads speaking to this topic.

If you want to assume your correct, go ahead and add these salts despite being warned by just the couple of us. I guarantee you will regret it.

Water and mineral manipulation is such a simple affair now when using apps like brunwater. Or look to brewers friend.com water/mash app. If you want to learn the hard way keep doing what your doing. There are easier ways to learn how to correctly manipulate water now, don’t just add stuff because you think you are supposed to/ someone told you to. Do the research first and then proceed. Otherwise your best just to leave the water alone until you know exactly whats/what otherwise in most cases you are doing more harm than good.

I will give you an example that directly answers your question today. Do not blindly use this example every water source is different.
Here is my additions for a typical IPA containing around 90% base grain. I have very low calcium water and my SO4/CL ratio sits towards the very malty side, so I need some sulfate/SO4/gypsum added to most beers.

  1. Minerals/ acids added to mash(minerals are added to grain before mashing in and acid is stirred in during mash in):
    a. 0.8g lime
    b. 1.8g gypsum
    c. 10ml Phosphoric acid 10%
    d. Expected room temp PH 5.6/ expected mash temp PH 5.3
  2. Minerals/ acids added to sparge:
    a. 12ml Phosphoric acid 10%
    b. 1.3g CaCl
    c. 4.5g Gypsum.
    d. Expected room temp PH 5.6
    So you can see even for a beer I expect to have a very bitter profile I am actually adding very little minerals. Regarding adding minerals to sparge. Some add directly to the sparge water or reserve and add directly to the boil kettle. I feel something is gained by adding directly to the sparge water. The choice is yours here.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]That seems like an awful lot of salt to add. You should recheck you calculations.

Ideally, the salts get added to the water beforehand, and you’ll use the same treated water for the mash and sparge. Don’t just dump all the salts in at once with the mash water.[/quote]

Do you add mash chemicals to the strike water as you bring it up to temp, or do you add them to the (dry) mash tun and add water to them? I’ve been doing the latter for so long, and only recently started to do the former (in either case, the chemicals & water “make contact” before any grains are added). I suppose there’s no difference…

[quote=“Silentknyght”][quote=“rebuiltcellars”]That seems like an awful lot of salt to add. You should recheck you calculations.

Ideally, the salts get added to the water beforehand, and you’ll use the same treated water for the mash and sparge. Don’t just dump all the salts in at once with the mash water.[/quote]

Do you add mash chemicals to the strike water as you bring it up to temp, or do you add them to the (dry) mash tun and add water to them? I’ve been doing the latter for so long, and only recently started to do the former (in either case, the chemicals & water “make contact” before any grains are added). I suppose there’s no difference…[/quote]
In practice, I typically add the salts dry to the mash tun, then pour in the water, then mix in the grains. I go back and forth between adding the salts to the sparge water first or just dumping those in the kettle. I suspect there is no difference there either. But what you can’t do is just dump the total quantity of salts into the mash tun (calculated for mash and sparge volumes) and expect things to work OK.

I came up with those amounts of minerals because my local water doesn’t hardly have anything in it. I will be sure to check out those links to see if I can get a better feel for the amounts needed.

It kind of depends on why you’re adding them. If it’s to adjust the pH, add them to the mash. Typically I’ll mash in, then stir in the minerals. If it’s for flavor, they can be added to the mash, the sparge or the kettle equally effectively.

True.

As for the sparge chemicals, seems most appropriate to actually add them to the sparge water prior to sparging (to ensure the pH doesn’t rise too much during sparging). Or, at least, I have to do that because of my water quality.

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