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Old 07-27-2011, 09:13 PM   #1
May 2010
Los Angeles
Posts: 320
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts

When adding salts, do you just factor in the mash water volume or the total volume of the brew? This is why Im asking. Im using Palmers spreadsheet and it asks for mash volume. If I add salts based on the mash volume, will that be enough to raise the chemistry for the total volume.

For example...LA's water is about 30ppg calcium and 50ppg sulfate. If Im making a hoppy beer I want to get the sulfates up to around 180-200.

If Im mashing with 3 gals initially for a 5 gal batch, I would add 4g of gypsum to bring me up to around 82 calcium and 195 sulfate. However, that water will then be diluted with the sparge water. If that water was 5gal for total volume of the beer that only comes to 50/120. Much lower.

Should I be accounting for total volume when adding salts to my brews? Ive been told by many people that they only add salts to the mash, not the sparge water...but it just seems off to me logically.

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Old 07-27-2011, 09:31 PM   #2
mabrungard's Avatar
Feb 2011
Carmel, IN
Posts: 4,171
Liked 622 Times on 483 Posts

It depends. There are some additions of acid or bases that are only intended for the mash and there are other ion additions that are intended for overall fermentation performance or beer flavor.

Clearly if additions are only calculated on the mash water volume, the resulting ionic concentrations will be diluted by any sparge or top off water added to the kettle or fermenter (unless that added water had the same ionic concentrations). There should be additions calculated for the mash water volume and then for the sparge or top off water volume. That is how its done in Bru'n Water and the additions are clearly segregated so the brewer can prepare the appropriate mineral quantities. Another consideration is that mash water and sparge water may need differing mineral, acid, or base additions to produce appropriate brewing conditions. Bru'n Water has that accounted for.
Martin B
Carmel, IN
BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

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