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Old 02-17-2006, 11:37 PM   #1
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Default water hardness & gypsum

I see a lot of receipes that call for gypsum. I get my water from a well and the hardness runs around 18 grains. With that level of hardness, I am pretty sure that I don't need to add anything. I do have a water softener, but do not use soft water for brewing.

But my question is - below what hardness level would you recommend the addition of gypsum?

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Old 02-18-2006, 05:06 PM   #2
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Water chemistry is an extremely involved subject, and I am no expert.
I brew mainly pale ales, and my water has very low calcium levels, and a PH of about 7.4. I always add gypsum to boost the calcium and to lower the PH.

Do I really need to? As it only cost a few pennies per batch, and I am satisfied with my results, I'm not going to take the chance of producing an inferior brew just to find out.

For much better information on this subject, see:

Hope this helps


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Old 02-18-2006, 05:46 PM   #3
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My understanding is that gypsum boosts the "temporary" hardness, ie the calcium sulfate count. This is desirable in medium bodied ales... pales and browns, but definitely undesirable for most light beers.

Hardness is complicated, because you can't just call a water hard or soft and leave it at that. The particular ions/minerals making it hard are important too.
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Old 02-18-2006, 09:56 PM   #4
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The brew book I got with my starter kit recommended a minimum
hardness of 200 ppm.

I bought some test strips at my local pool/spa store.
My well water tested about 100 ppm.

I add about 2 tsp to my initial brew of 2 1/2 gallons which gets me to about
200-250 ppm. for a 5 gallon batch.

I guess it's supposed to help everything settle out and clear better.

Never did it any other way so that's all I know.
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