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Old 11-28-2012, 11:06 PM   #1
tonyolympia
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Default Pre-measured and mixed salts?

I have just started adjusting my water with brewing salts, and I find that my scale, though calibrated, takes a few minutes and multiple tries to give me consistent readings that are accurate to 0.1 grams. (The scale doesn't like me to sprinkle, it wants me to dump. It also weighs best when I hit the sweet spot at the center of the weighing platform.)

To save time on brew day, I was thinking that I might measure out my gypsum, CaCl, etc. a day or so in advance, and keep the mash and sparge additions in separate little mason jars. The different salts would be mixed together in each jar.

Any problem with this strategy? Will the chemicals react with each other in the jar in a way that would negate their effect on my brewing water?

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Old 11-29-2012, 12:17 AM   #2
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I do it my self using old yeast vials and haven't had any visual reactions occur. I'm certainly not a chemist, so we may both learn something from this thread, but I believe you'd be ok.

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Old 11-29-2012, 02:44 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by 501irishred
I do it my self using old yeast vials and haven't had any visual reactions occur. I'm certainly not a chemist, so we may both learn something from this thread, but I believe you'd be ok.
Thanks. Anyone else care to chime in?
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:38 AM   #4
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No problem with doing that. In fact I though at one time of putting the salts for Burton water, for Munich water, for Köln water... to treat 5 gal of RO water into 50 mL centrifuge tubes (like what Wyeast yeast nutrient comes in) and marketing them. Discovery that this would have to be done in a facility certified for processing food quickly discouraged me and as my knowledge of brewing water chemistry matured I realized that this was not a good approach so I dropped the idea. But there is no reason not to premix at home if you want to.

I take it one step further which is a big convenience on brew day. I dissolve the salts required to treat a full HLT in enough water to make up 35 mL of solution because my HLT is 35" high. If, during the brew day, I top up the HLT with, for example, 5" water I add 5 mL of this solution.

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Old 11-29-2012, 06:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ajdelange
No problem with doing that. In fact I though at one time of putting the salts for Burton water, for Munich water, for Köln water... to treat 5 gal of RO water into 50 mL centrifuge tubes (like what Wyeast yeast nutrient comes in) and marketing them. Discovery that this would have to be done in a facility certified for processing food quickly discouraged me and as my knowledge of brewing water chemistry matured I realized that this was not a good approach so I dropped the idea. But there is no reason not to premix at home if you want to.

I take it one step further which is a big convenience on brew day. I dissolve the salts required to treat a full HLT in enough water to make up 35 mL of solution because my HLT is 35" high. If, during the brew day, I top up the HLT with, for example, 5" water I add 5 mL of this solution.
Thanks, AJ!
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:39 AM   #6
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Can you also premix in some lactic acid to this salts vial ?

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Old 12-05-2012, 06:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by craigevo
Can you also premix in some lactic acid to this salts vial ?
As I understand it, you need to acidify your mash and sparge water before heating it, unless you're using acidulated malt. Since you add other brewing salts after doughing in, that would mean a lactic acid addition would be kept separate from the salts.

Someone correct me if I'm full of it.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:49 AM   #8
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Can you also premix in some lactic acid to this salts vial ?
Don't see why not.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by tonyolympia View Post
As I understand it, you need to acidify your mash and sparge water before heating it, unless you're using acidulated malt. Since you add other brewing salts after doughing in, that would mean a lactic acid addition would be kept separate from the salts.
There's no reason that I can think of why you would necessarily want to acidify either before or after. Whichever is most convenient (for me it's before). And it's the same with the salts. Definitely more convenient to add them to the water than the mash. The concept of adding them to the mash comes from the days when people often added chalk which doesn't dissolve in water but I think (hope) those days are past.

Until you get 'dialed in' on the amount of acid or alkali (lime) you require it probably makes sense to add them to the mash. After you know how much to use you can add them to the water.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
There's no reason that I can think of why you would necessarily want to acidify either before or after. Whichever is most convenient (for me it's before). And it's the same with the salts. Definitely more convenient to add them to the water than the mash. The concept of adding them to the mash comes from the days when people often added chalk which doesn't dissolve in water but I think (hope) those days are past.

Until you get 'dialed in' on the amount of acid or alkali (lime) you require it probably makes sense to add them to the mash. After you know how much to use you can add them to the water.
There definitely is a reason to add acid before heating the water if you are calculating your acid addition based on the lab-reported water alkalinity. Heating the water will reduce the water's alkalinity to some degree and you would end up over-acidifying the mash water.

The problem with AJ's approach is that unless a brewer is brewing and rebrewing a recipe several times to 'dial it in', you wouldn't know where to start. I feel that is a foolish impediment to saddle a brewer with when there are easily applied calculations that do make it possible to get the mash pH in the ballpark THE FIRST TIME. AJ knows this since he provided me with those calculations. Those calculations are easily accessible to any brewer via the Bru'n Water software.

Enjoy!
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