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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Adding Calcium to Water fo a Pilsener
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:38 PM   #1
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Default Adding Calcium to Water fo a Pilsener

My home well water is very soft:

Calcium - 2 ppm
Magnesium - 2 ppm
Sodium - 5 ppm
Chloride - 2 ppm
Sulfate - <1 ppm
Alkalinity as CaCO3 - 21
Bicarbonate as HCO3 - 26

I am making a Bohemian Pilsener.
My water as it is now, is very close to the water used in Pilsen Czech. However, Palmer suggests that the Calcium levels should be at least 50ppm. If I use his spreadsheet and bump up the calcium levels to 50 using gypsum and calcium chloride becomes harder. Should I just stick with my original water, or add salts to bump up the Calcium?
This is my first attempt at a lager, should I worry about other things first beside water?

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Old 11-05-2009, 08:29 PM   #2
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Wow that's soft water.

I'd add a little calcium, but definitely keep the chloride:sulfate ratio even.

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Old 11-05-2009, 09:12 PM   #3
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Thats what I was thinking. Adding both Gypsum and Calcium Chloride to keep my Sulfate and Chloride ratios balanced while adding Calcium to get my Residual Alkalinity down. I guess the way to get your RA down is to increase your Effective Hardness and this is done by adding Calcium.

Somebody please make sure my statements above are true.

This is the first time I have played with my water. I am going off of J Palmers spread sheet and nomograph.

http://www.howtobrew.com/images/f83.pdf

If I am getting this right, I need to lower my RA to compensate for the lack of dark roasted malts.

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Old 11-05-2009, 09:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkF View Post
Thats what I was thinking. Adding both Gypsum and Calcium Chloride to keep my Sulfate and Chloride ratios balanced while adding Calcium to get my Residual Alkalinity down. I guess the way to get your RA down is to increase your Effective Hardness and this is done by adding Calcium.
Well, your addition of CaCl2 will add calcium. So your CaCO3 addition would be overkill. Why do you need to get your RA down? Aren't you at about 2 SRM anyway? Try this:

http://www.huizingh.net/EZ-water-calculator.htm
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:20 PM   #5
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I guess your RA was higher than I thought, sorry. Anyway, CaCO3 raises RA so I'd put CaCl2 and gypsum in at both .5 grams per gallon of water. That'd put you in good balanced range

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Old 11-05-2009, 09:21 PM   #6
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I guess what confuses me is if you plug Pilsens numbers of:

Calcium - 7 ppm
Magnesium - 2 ppm
Sodium - 2 ppm
Chloride - 5 ppm
Sulfate - 5 ppm
Bicarbonate as HCO3 - 15

into Palmers nomograph, it puts it into the same suggested beer SRM of my water.
Does Pilsener Urquell add calcium to their water?

Thanks for the water calculator link. Very clean and easy to understand.

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Old 11-05-2009, 09:32 PM   #7
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Regardless of the style, should I get my Ca levels upto at least 50ppm and then go from there?

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Old 11-05-2009, 09:46 PM   #8
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Regardless of the style, should I get my Ca levels upto at least 50ppm and then go from there?
yes. Calcium is important for yeast health during fermentation. Just try to get it from CaCl2 instead of CaCO3 so you don't raise the RA.

Cheers!
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:50 AM   #9
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yes. Calcium is important for yeast health during fermentation. Just try to get it from CaCl2 instead of CaCO3 so you don't raise the RA.

Cheers!
+1

You're golden as far as mash parameters with a little calcium. Keep the sulfate and chloride ratio balanced. Definitely no bicarbonates. That water will make a fine Czech pilsener.
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:26 PM   #10
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Thanks!

I batch sparge. So, I will add enough salts to my mash water of 3.5gal to get me where I want. Then add enough salts to the kettle for the additional batch sparge water I will be using:

The final volume in my kettle will be around 7.5 gallons. Do I add just enough salts for that additional 4 gallons?

I dont need to add salts to the batch sparge waters, do I?

I think I am very close in understanding this next step in making better beer.

Mark

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