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Old 01-30-2013, 09:25 PM   #1
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Default Infusion BIAB Mineral Addition Question

Slowly working through the science of brewing, so I apologize if this has been asked and I failed to turn it up through searching.

I do 3 gallon BIAB batches because of space and budget constraints. Have had good efficiencies (mid 80%) but the flavor has been lacking in fullness. I am replacing my thermometer with a thermopen because I believe my old digital was failing me and I was mashing low (this expense also means I don't have the cash for a pH meter right now). But, I'm also taking a look at my water.

I've been adding roughly 2% acidulated malt to my bills for several mashes now. Haven't seen much improvement. Am embarking on the next step of a modified water supplement based off the primer.

My water report is as follows:
Calcium (Ca) 27.6
Magnesium (Mg) 7.9
Sodium (Na) 4.8
Potassium (K) 0.9
Iron (Fe) 0.0
Bicarbonate (HCO3) 97.2
Carbonate (CO3) 0.2
Sulfate (SO4) 27.0
Chloride (Cl) 9.0
Nitrate (NO3) 0.3
Nitrite (NO2) <0.1
Fluoride (F) 1.0

I know the bicarbonate level is a little high to use this undiluted, but I don't appear to bump into any problems (or exceed any classic styles) in Bru'N Water, so I'm hoping to keep working with undiluted water. I know I could precipitate some of that out by boiling, but it looks like I don't gain a heck of a lot from that.

I'm looking at two upcoming recipes. One is a hoppy bitter that I'm using the "pale ale" style as a guideline. I plan on adding 4 grams of gypsum and 1 gram of CaCl to a grain bill of 3.5 lbs MO and 4 oz Crystal 60. I'm adding the calcium chloride not because I'm seeking a sulfate/chloride ratio (seen that thread), but because I'm thinking that it will help fill out the flavor (same principle as adding salt to food, yes?). This gives me a sulfate level of about 175, which I hop will help the hops to be less muted. The other recipe is a Belgian Strong Golden Ale with just 6 lbs of Belgian Pils, to which I will supplement with just CaCl to get my Ca above 50.

First: am I misunderstanding the basics here? I'm not worrying about ratios or RA, just focusing on the mineral additions for what they can do for flavor and yeast health.

Second: I do infusions, and while I could treat all the water in my boil pot, then pull off everything I don't need for the mash to my bottling bucket (my infusion kettle is only 24 qt), Kaiser's new calculator has me thinking I could treat just the mash water (with the full dose of salts). Working with the various calculators/spreadsheets/formulas suggests to me this is doable and won't drop my mash pH too low. Am I missing the key piece to tell me not to go this route?

As always, thanks for the help!

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