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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Calcium Chloride increased my efficiency 10% ?
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:49 PM   #1
Buna_Bere
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Default Calcium Chloride increased my efficiency 10% ?

I didn't think doing a Calcium adjustment could raise my efficiency 10%, I was suprised. I BIAB, full volume mash, with no sparge and consistently get 63-67% efficiency into the boiler. My last batch I added 5 grams of Calcium Chloride to increase my Calcium levels from 7 ppm to 75 ppm, mainly for yeast health, and my efficiency increased to 76%. I don't know if it was the Calcium or the pH change the Calcium made, but I never thought a salt addition could have such an effect. Maybe it's because I use a full volume mash that the pH change helped so much?, for example this last mash was 2.76 quarts/pound. I use Poland Springs bottled water, and they list the pH between 6.0-7.1. We'll see if I can repeat it with my next batch. Anybody else see similar results just from a salt addition?

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Old 01-28-2012, 10:36 PM   #2
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Don't think CaCl should improve your efficiency but your yeast should be MUCH more healthy if your water is so low in minerals.

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Old 01-28-2012, 11:30 PM   #3
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pH can help. It is possible that the thin mash had the pH out of the optimum range. Kai has a great write up. You can figure conversion percentage with his formulas. He notes that no sparge is only 8% less efficient than a single sparge.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...ing_Efficiency

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Old 01-29-2012, 07:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malticulous View Post
pH can help. It is possible that the thin mash had the pH out of the optimum range. Kai has a great write up.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...ing_Efficiency
Malticulous I think you're right, thanks for the link. I've read Kai's work on Understanding Efficiency, but I never read his work on Understanding Mash pH.

Link to Kai's work on Understanding Mash pH

I always assumed my mash was falling into the acceptable pH range 5.2-5.7, and that was good enough. I think on this last batch, I finally pushed the mash into the desirable or optimal pH range 5.3-5.5, and that is what made the difference.
After reading Kai's work on Understanding Mash pH, I can see that mash thickness plays a big role in pH. Which is very important for enzyme activity. With a thin mash 2.4 qt/lb(5 l/kg) the malts alone can't push the pH low enough into the optimal range with an average recipe of 85% base malts, and 15% cara malts.
The more water in the thinner mash, the more its pushing the pH higher against the malts trying to push the pH lower. Keeping the pH above the optimal range.
The less water in a thicker mash, the less its pushing the pH higher against the malts trying to push pH lower. Allowing the pH to drop into the optimal range.
Here's my best interpretation of what happened after reading Kai's work. When I added the Calcium Chloride the Calcium reacted with the phosphates in the malts to form Calcium Phosphate which dropped out of the mash leaving free Hydrogen ions H+ to push the pH lower than the malts could do alone. I'm going to repeat the same recipe next batch to see if I get the same results.

Here's a few charts from Kai's web page that really show the differences in mash thicknesses effects on pH. In the first 4 graphs the highligted boxes show random generated mashes from 10-20 SRM made of 85% base malts, and 15% cara malts. In the 1 qt/lb mashes the malts were able to push the distilled water pH down to a level of 5-5.33, but in the 2.4 qt/lb mashes the malts were only able to push the distilled water pH down to a level of 5.33-5.48. If these mashes were typical brewing water and not distilled, the brewing water would push the pH levels even higher. So from Kai's work, I think it's safe to say that even though pH levels are important in any mash, in a thinner mash like a full volume mash they're even more important, since the mash has more water, that water has more effect on the pH. Thanks Kai for doing all the hard work.



This second graph shows pH levels of distilled water with 210 random generated mashes at a mash thickness of 1.4 qt/lb(3 l/kg).
Link to Kai's full work partly shown here
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