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Old 03-19-2013, 01:29 PM   #1
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Default Calcium Sulfate addition question

I am going to brew the Burton Ale recipe I found in a Zymurgy magazine. The instructions say to adjust your waters calcium to 180-220 using calcium sulfate. I need to add 2 grams per gallon to achieve this according to Bru'n water. I am still having a little trouble understanding the water chemistry. Are there other numbers I need to look at before I just add that much gypsum?



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Old 03-19-2013, 05:21 PM   #2
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Yes, quite a few. To begin with, the ion profile of the water to which you are making the additions.



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Old 03-19-2013, 05:35 PM   #3
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There might be a way to ballpark it. I'm sure hardening the water will help to some degree.. Is it al all grain or extract brew?

There are many considerations beyond my ability to explain. But in a nutshell what I do is this:
Get water analysis. I have mine done at ward labs. You get ppm of all the major ions.
Use brewing software, I use beersmith 2 now, and it'll ask for you source and target water, and it has burton on Trent in the database. It'll automatically calc what it thinks are the best additions to your water to most closely replicate the desired profile. I then take these over to ..
A spreadsheet from braukaiser.com. Be sure to get the us version or you'll be converting to metric. You enter the data and it gives you salt additions for mash and sparge water in grams I believe. There is an advanced page on the spreadsheet that'll let you use dissolved chalk (calcium carbonate) which is pretty slick. I'm going to try the dissolved chalk for my next shot at that style. Got my last attempt in the secondaries right now.
The thing I like about braukaiser is it'll predict the mash pH which I worry might get all out of whack from salt additions, and I don't recall if beersmith accurately modeled the pH

There are options to blend with RO or another water and in what proportions, if your source water is out of whack to the desired profile. I think you can probably do it all through the spreadsheet, though I do not think it does the automatic best additions for you, like beersmith does.

If you don't have a water analysis, you could use distiller water, which should have no salt ions in for all practical purposes.
If you're brewing with extract, I think I read somewhere at the local water chemistry where the extract was made will be all you need to get close to the target profile. That said, if was doing a burton style brew from extract I'd probably add some extra minerals in the boil, either chalk or "burton water salt", which I think is chalk plus papain.

Good luck

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Old 03-20-2013, 03:54 AM   #4
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Sorry. Even knowing the right questions to ask about water is tough. I have had my water tested and these are the results:

pH 7.7
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 33
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.05
Cations / Anions, me/L 0.6 / 0.5
ppm
Sodium, Na 6
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca 5
Magnesium, Mg < 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 17
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 1
Chloride, Cl 3
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 21
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 17
Total Phosphorus, P 0.48
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection

So there is not much going on. Is it okay to just add Gypsum to get the calcium up to what they say?

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Old 03-20-2013, 11:46 AM   #5
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From what I can see, the target profile you're shooting for is Burton-on-Trent water. The specs on that water, per Beersmith, are:
Ca:295
Mg:45
Na:55
SO4:725
Cl:25
HCO3:300

You could add:
Gypsum 51g
Epsom salt 32g
CaCl 2.2g
Baking Soda 12.6g
Chalk 10.9g

Thats for 15 gallons of brewing water.
That'd get you pretty close to the target profile. That XLS spreadsheet over at Braukaiser.com will give you the breakdown on how much for the mash and how much for the sparge. plus it'd let you tweak if you need less water. Also you could fiddle with getting the chalk to dissolve, as most is going to just sit in your kettle. That involves more calculations, and requires that you add CO2 pressure to get the chalk dissolved.


Good Luck

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:43 PM   #6
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Plenty of brewers have found that trying to duplicate a Burton profile is not the recipe for good beer. A more modest sulfate level has been found by most drinkers to be more pleasant. You can find better advice on water profiles for brewing in Bru'n Water.

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Old 03-20-2013, 01:34 PM   #7
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I am not being clear. I don't want to try to create the Burton water profile. The recipe I am using out of the Zymurgy magazine says to adjust your waters calcium to 180-220 ppm using calcium sulfate. If I add 3 g/gal of gypsum Bru'n water shows 189 ppm of calcium but I also show an estimated mash PH of 5.1. As you can see my water doesn't have much going on and I typically make small adjustments based on the standard profiles in the program but I have never tried to add this much calcium before. If I add the calcium sulfate to that level, what other numbers could be problematic?

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Old 03-20-2013, 01:51 PM   #8
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You could just add it to the boil and not mess up your mash chemistry. Or add to taste later on.

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Old 03-20-2013, 01:57 PM   #9
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What's the grain bill? You have excellent brewing water (essentially RO water), so if you want to keep things simple you could just follow the advice in the primer (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/brewing-water-chemistry-primer-198460/). Since you're doing a 'minerally' beer following the primer advice of ~2tsp gypsum and CaCl2 per 5 gallons will get you to the upper end of that recommended 180-220ppm calcium range and is probably a better idea then getting all your calcium from gypsum alone.

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Old 03-20-2013, 03:53 PM   #10
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As mentioned above, if the calcium addition is going to depress the mash pH too far, then withholding all or part of those minerals may be a way to avoid that. I suggest adding at least 40 ppm Ca to the mash to help with oxalate precipitation in the mash. Then add the rest of the dose needed to meet your sulfate goal by adding that directly to the kettle.



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