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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Water Stablization Problem (A Newbie Question)
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Old 05-02-2007, 08:39 PM   #1
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Default Water Stablization Problem (A Newbie Question)

Hello; I first just starting partial mashing last week, and I think I made what maybe a big or small mistake. I added basically a whole packet of Epsom Salts to my mash water, and regular salt to my sparge water. The reason was that the PH papers weren't going to the desired PH level. I finally got to at least close to the ideal level.

I later read in my study guide that I should have used gypsum. Today, I put my brew in the carboy in hopes that filling it with water, as usual, might fix this problem. Is my brew doomed? If anybody can give me answers on how I might be able to save this brew, please, please let me know.

I have also another another issue, I am looking for gypsum online, and I can't seem to find it anywhere. Does anyone know a good brewing supply site, or maybe a substitute for gypsum? Again, thanks for any info you can give.

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Old 05-02-2007, 09:05 PM   #2
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I'm not an expert at this but I believe it should be fine. Both epsom salt and gypsum can be used to lower PH. According to John Palmer's "How to Brew," gypsum is "Useful for adding calcium if the water is low in sulfate. Can be used to add sulfate "crispness" to the hop bitterness." and epson salt is "used to add sulfate "crispness" to the hop bitterness." As for where to find gypsum: Just about all homebrew supply sites such as AHS or Morebeer carry gypsum. It's usually under water modifiers or brewing additives. I'm not sure what the rule on this forum is on linking sites, but if you still can't find it, Private message me and I'll be happy to link you to a site.

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Old 05-02-2007, 09:13 PM   #3
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Were you taking pH tests of your water or your mash? I wouldn't worry too much about the pH of the water. It is your mash pH that you should be testing. I wouldn't adjust your water until you know what you are trying to accomplish by doing it. Both Epsom Salt and Gypsum will make a slight change in pH but your grains will effect the mash pH the most.

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Old 05-02-2007, 10:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celtic_man81
I later read in my study guide that I should have used gypsum. Today, I put my brew in the carboy in hopes that filling it with water, as usual, might fix this problem. Is my brew doomed? If anybody can give me answers on how I might be able to save this brew, please, please let me know.
I'm not quite understanding what you mean by filling the carboy with water today, if you brewed last week. What are you saying? (I'm sorry, I'm a bit thick at times).
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper Chick
I'm not quite understanding what you mean by filling the carboy with water today, if you brewed last week. What are you saying? (I'm sorry, I'm a bit thick at times).
Last week, is when I made my brew. This week is when I did my secondary fermentation (putting my batch in the carboy). As you probably know, you have to fill the carboy to the neck (in order to make things easier to clean). My hope is that by filling it to the neck, it'll dilute the salt I put in the beer.
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:31 PM   #6
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Oh, now I understand. I've never added water to my beer after fermentation started, and I don't think most people would. First, you're adding oxygen along with the water, and secondly, you're watering down your beer. You'll also screw up your s.g readings, since water reads 1.000. You could conceivably introduce an infection, too, if your water wasn't boiled.

Normally, you just siphon into the carboy (the clearing tank) to clear the beer a bit and to get it off the trub in the primary. You don't have to top up, because co2 will still be coming out of solution. Fermentation should be done before you rack to secondary. It's different than wine- wine has to be topped up but your beer would be fine for a couple of weeks below the neck of the carboy. It's still a good idea to reduce headspace by using the right size carboy (don't do a 3 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy, for example)

Howtobrew.com is an excellent resource that I refer to all the time, and that will help alot with some technique questions if they come up.

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Old 05-02-2007, 11:01 PM   #7
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I'll try not to dis you but you need to understand the effects of anything you put into your brew if you want to be successful brewing homebrew.
A little gypsum sometimes helps with your hop flavors as BD said but don't over do it. A partial mash may not need much in the way of water treatment other than removing chlorine from your water.

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Old 05-03-2007, 12:08 AM   #8
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Geez, I hope it didn't sound like I was insulting you- that is not what I intended at all. I was just concerned about adding water in the secondary and trying to explain that it wasn't a good idea.

I'm no chemist on water at all- but I think you're ok as far as water, unless your water is way too alkaline. Partial mashes aren't really too picky as far as water ph goes- I'd try it without adding anything at all first. You might be just fine the way you are!

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Old 05-03-2007, 12:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper Chick
Geez, I hope it didn't sound like I was insulting you
No, not at all. I think it is way to alkaline-y though. Today, (when I was testing the specific gravity), I had a taste test, just too see if it was all right. It tasted really salty and bitter (probably from the Burton Salts). If I added some chalk, do you think it might stabillize the water? It's not too late is it? I think what might have happened was that I bought old PH strips and they gave me false readings. That is probably why it is too alkaline-y (if that is indeed the case). If it matters, I calculated the brew to be at about +/-5% alcohol.
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Old 05-03-2007, 01:42 AM   #10
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Again, I'm not a chemist- but I think if you added chalk at this point, you'd have a chalky, salty, bitter beer- instead of just salty and bitter.

What kind of beer is it? Maybe some dryhopping would help.

For the next time, I'd just do a PM without any adjustments- your water may be fine as is.

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