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Old 01-06-2009, 06:00 PM   #1
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Default uncommon brewing salts

I noticed that out of the 9 salts for the 6 important brewing water minerals (Ca, Mg, Na, Cl, SO4, CO3) we commonly use only 6:

Calcium Chloride
Gypsum
Chalk
Epsom Salt
Table Salt
Baking Soda

But what is with the other 3:

Magnesium Chloride
Magnesium Carbonate
Sodium Sulfate

Are they to dangerous to handle or just not widely distributed.

Kai
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:18 PM   #2
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Magnesium chloride can be extracted from seawater and is used for a variety of other applications besides the production of magnesium: the manufacture of textiles, paper, fireproofing agents, cements and refrigeration brine.

Magnesium carbonate, most often referred to as 'chalk', is used as a drying agent for hands in rock climbing, gymnastics, and weight lifting.


Sodium Sulfate - The largest use is as filler in powdered home laundry detergents, consuming approx. 50% of world production. It is important in the manufacture of textiles, particularly in Japan, where it is the largest application. Sodium sulfate helps in "leveling", reducing negative charges on fibres so that dyes can penetrate evenly. Unlike the alternative sodium chloride, it does not corrode the stainless steel vessels used in dyeing.
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:43 PM   #3
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Thanks,

Are these salts available in food grade quality?

Kai

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Old 01-06-2009, 07:12 PM   #4
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Honestly Kai, I don't know. I think there are a couple of biologists/chem majors running around here that would be much better equipped to answer that than myself.
I am an EE, so I am slipping outside my realm of expertise.

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Old 01-06-2009, 07:20 PM   #5
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I found then at a science supply. $60-$90 for 500g. I guess I don't need them that badly.

Kai

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Old 01-06-2009, 07:39 PM   #6
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2 of them are food additives. MgCl2 is E511 and MgCO3 is E504. E221 is Na2SO3, but I believe that is derived from Na2SO4. At any rate, they're probably difficult to get and expensive, as you've said. I think making them from other available chemicals would be difficult too.

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Old 01-06-2009, 07:51 PM   #7
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Exploring some sort of Saltheitsbot situation?

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Old 01-06-2009, 09:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiser View Post
I noticed that out of the 9 salts for the 6 important brewing water minerals (Ca, Mg, Na, Cl, SO4, CO3) we commonly use only 6:

Calcium Chloride
Gypsum
Chalk
Epsom Salt
Table Salt
Baking Soda

But what is with the other 3:

Magnesium Chloride
Magnesium Carbonate
Sodium Sulfate

Are they to dangerous to handle or just not widely distributed.

Kai
They really aren't needed. Calcium is by far the most important metallic ion in brewing water so for the vast majority of additions it is the calcium salts that will be used. For some profiles like Burton water a small quantity of magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt) might be required. The two sodium salts on the first list are rarely called for, their calcium equivalents are much better choices for the most part IMO. I don't know of any circumstance where the bottom three salts would be a necessity or where one from the top list wouldn't be preferred, not to mention easier to find.

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Old 01-06-2009, 11:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olllllo View Post
Exploring some sort of Saltheitsbot situation?

Occasionally I come across brewing water specs and they tend to contain a substantial level of magnesium. With the currently available salts it is difficult to increase Mg w/o a substantial sulphate increase. Hence the interest in other magnesium salts.

Kai
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:55 PM   #10
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it would be interesting to have the other salts to play around with but I haven't found any water profiles I cant duplicate from tap or distilled water with the regular salts. why do you need these other salts, are you working with water thats high is SO4 and low in Mg to start with?
How to Brew by John Palmer lists Mg as being similar to but less important than Ca it doesnt mention much of an impact of the flavor, are you just looking for Mg salts to clone another water supply or is there another chemistry reason?

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