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Old 08-23-2012, 08:19 PM   #1
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Default How can I get the chalk to dissolve?

I started paying attention to my brewing water and after a lot of ****-ups I finally realized I need to begin with RO water and build the profile from there. My beers are better than they've ever been. But I'm stuck with a question that I surmise has been asked ten thousand times before:

how do I get the CaCO3 to dissolve?


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Old 08-23-2012, 08:21 PM   #2
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http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...issolved_chalk


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Old 08-23-2012, 08:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
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oh my goodness...that article is way far over my head and contains suggestions far too elaborate for me to master. Thanks, though.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
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oh my goodness...that article is way far over my head and contains suggestions far too elaborate for me to master. Thanks, though.
"If you do not want to be bothered with the chemistry behind dissolving chalk you can safely skip ahead. "


You add it to water and carbonate it.
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Old 08-23-2012, 09:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilaMinumBeer View Post
"If you do not want to be bothered with the chemistry behind dissolving chalk you can safely skip ahead. "


You add it to water and carbonate it.
Yeah, I read the entire article including the part you quote. I don't keg so I'm not about to rig something up just to carbonate chalk. Thanks for looking out, though.
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Old 08-23-2012, 09:51 PM   #6
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On my last batch I started adding any such minerals and salts directly to the mash. I really noticed a difference in taste which mean I'll back off a little quantity. Before that, I'd put them in my strike and sparge water directly. Then after running it over to the mash tun there were always leftovers still in the bottom which hadn't dissolved. The time and lower pH of the mash may help dissolve them more. Just speculating, but it was a significant difference for me. I put half in with my initial strike water and the other half after gathering first runnings, before by batch sparge water was added.
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:14 PM   #7
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I know this doesn't answer your question... but I would skip messing with chalk all together and use pickling lime (calcium hydroxide).

It dissolves easily and packs twice the alkalinity punch per weight as chalk. Be careful.

On the flip side, chalk isn't a bad idea for most people, since you will rarely NEED as much as the spreadsheet models tell you. The undissolved portion might actually help you mitigate the consequences of an imperfect spreadsheet model. Remember, even the best spreadsheets out there still have a much higher error when the grist gets darker. They usually estimate lower pH than reality, so go easy on the pickling lime.

FWIW I've never seen a pH as low as a spreadsheet predicts in a dark beer. (Measured with high quality, calibrated pH meters)
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klnosaj View Post
I
how do I get the CaCO3 to dissolve?
Several of the previous posts have hinted at the answer. In a word, you don't. Unless you are brewing beers with lots of dark malt (where 'lots' to me means to the point that I wouldn't like the beer) you probably don't need chalk. In the cases where you do need alkalinity because mash pH, as measured with a decent meter properly calibrated, tells you that the mash pH is too low you need to add alkali in some form. Chalk isn't the best form because to get it into solution in the way nature does, as a previous poster has suggested, is an elaborate process involving sparging with CO2 or pressurizing with CO2. Chalk just takes a long time to react. Adding it to the mash to the point where you get a pH reading you like probably means that about half of it is still undissolved. This will dissolve later as long as the mash/wort is exposed to it. A better choice is slaked lime (pickling lime) available in the canning section of super markets. Add very little of it very slowly while checking mash pH until it is in the proper range. Stir thoroughly.
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:59 AM   #9
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I'll +2 pickling lime. It raises pH without risk of adding flavors, unlike chalk or baking soda
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:46 PM   #10
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Pickling lime it will be from now on. Thanks for all the recommendations.


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