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Burton salts addition?

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unionrdr

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Here's the deal. I figured I'd wait till I got to the LHBS to pick up the Burton salts I needed for this batch,besides an arm load of fresh hops & other little things I needed. They didn't have a single clue among them as to what in blazes I was talking about.
So my question is,could I add the 1tsp of Burton salts to the priming solution,or is it too late? It is normally added to the boil,as I currently understand it. If I can add it at priming time,I can order it now,since I'm only 3 days into primary.
 

Walker

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Two things to say about "Burton Salts"....

(1) I think you need to add it to the water before you start doing any of the brewing. The stuff reacts with things in the mash and boil.

(2) I've never seen anything that is actually representative of Burton's water profile available for sale. I bought some "Burton Salts" from an online vendor, and it ended up just being gypsum. The problem with that is that they have no idea what kind of water chemistry I have to begin with. Adding gypsum to my tap water gets me NO WHERE near the water profile of Burton on Trent. Adding gypsum to distilled or reverse osmosis water won't do it either, because gypsum is only part of the equation.

A right and proper Burton Salts formula would need to contain everything needed to turn distilled water into Burton on Trent water, and (as I mentioned), I've never seen anything like this for sale. I am not saying that such a thing does not exist... just that I have never seen it. If it does exist, it would need to be added to reverse osmosis or distilled water to produce the right thing.

I did quite a bit of research into water chemistry last year because I was curious and interested. I ended up having to formulate my own blend of stuff to add to my tap water to get me in the general vicinity of Burton on Trent.
 
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unionrdr

unionrdr

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I was leafing through my Midwest catalog when the comp was down for a week. spotted it on page 34. It says A mixture of potassium chloride,Epsom salts,& gypsum. You can get packets (i think they're 1tsp per 5G),or 1lb. I wonder just what tests they did to come up with this formulation?
 

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Ah! Ok, that might indeed be a complete mixture since it is adding calcium, chloride, sulfates, etc.

The water profile for Burton on Trent is available from the web, so it isn't terribly hard to formulate a complete salt blend if you are starting with a blank canvas of RO or distilled water.

At any rate, I think you are past the point of using them on the current batch, but you can get some distilled water and salt it up with that stuff on the next batch.

If you find yourself wanted to muck with the water a lot, it will be in your best interest to do some digging around. You can find the water profiles of several major "brewing" cities on the web. With that info and info about your own tap water checmistry, you can blend salts to make water for Munich or Dublin or Burton or whatever, etc, etc.
 
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unionrdr

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I do partial boils of 2.5-3G. I wonder if I'd have to do a full boil in order to get the right conditioning? I wonder that the partial boil would concentrate it too much?...
 

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Hmmmm... I assumed you were AG brewing and not extract.

You are really in a a bit of a pickle here. Your extract actually contains whatever salts were in the water that was used at the manufacturing facility. It's a big unknown.

In my honest opinion, I wouldn't mess with water chemistry as an extract brewer. You can try it and mess around and see if you can get something that you like, but since you are starting with an unknown salt content due to the extract, you're kind of taking shots in the dark on your initial attempts.
 
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unionrdr

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I understand that part,but Burton ales having that one difference makes me wonder what it does to the aroma/flavor? Makes me wish I could try one & see. Then I could come up with a way to emulate it.
 

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burton water is extremely hard (lots of calcium) and has a high concentration of sulfates relative to chlorides. this accentuates the hop character, but I think that's mainly an accentuation of bitterness... perhaps flavor.
 
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unionrdr

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Ah...I see. So one could theoretically add more bittering additions to get closer? just not go overboard...
 

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well... it changes the way you perceive the beer, and accentuates the bitterness. But, I don't know if just adding more bittering hops accomplishes the exact same thing.

I probably have caused more harm than good in this thread, but let me back WAY the hell up to "gpysum".

Gypsum is CaSO4. Calcium sulfate.

Using just gpysum will up your calcium to make the water harder, and it will increase the sulfate content, which tips the sulfate:cloride ratio more towards the sulfate end. That sulfate:chloride ratio impacts things like this:

more sulfate than chloride = more hop character
more chloride than sulfate = more malt character
equal amounts = balanced beer

So, I guess gpysum alone can serve as a poor man's kind of burton salts in that it can adjust two important things that are key components of burton water. hardness and sulfate:chloride ratio.

You won't have the exact formulation of Burton on Trent water (correct levels of everything) but you will have increased calcium and sulfates.
 

daksin

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If you're brewing extracts, the water chemistry just isn't going to matter. All of the minerals you need are in the extract.

Water chemistry affects mash pH, osmolarity, and changes the activities of the enzymes that work in the mash. There may be some minor changes to things like head retention, but not enough to even notice. Unless you are brewing all grain, burton salts aren't going to do anything to your beer, except make it a bit saltier.
 
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unionrdr

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While it's true that water additives/conditioners are in there, It'd have to be a Burton extract to have the right ones,to my thinking. And yes,it does matter a lot more in AG brewing,but I had to ask. I wondered if anyone tried it,or had some research I'm not aware of.
This would be so much easier to get close to if I could taste it...I'd really like to get this one with extracts. I believe I can at least get close,after reading a small,old article on it's history,color,flavor,etc. But that was pretty general. They went anywhere from strong ales to English barley wines.
 

LandoLincoln

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Not to mention that there is a big assumption that beers brewed in a given region aren't modifying their own water profile tailored to their beers.

It would be pretty funny if beer brewers outside of Burton on Trent were trying to replicate Burton on Trent water while Burton on Trent brewers weren't using their water without modification in the first place.
 
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unionrdr

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Interesting point. Our local tap water has been very good for brewing my ales so far as the boil is concerned. But topping off with spring water seemed to taste cleaner,good hop flavors too. The tap water lately has been pretty good though,so I used that. The kitchen sink faucet is used the most,so to me,those pipes would tend to be cleaner.
I guess we'll know when it's ready.
 

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Best bet is to get a water quality report from your local municipal supply, or if on a well look into getting it checked!

It is safest to know what you have to start with. My water is very soft and if I were to add enough mineral salts to emulate Burton, according to software, I would have an alomost toxic mix of minerals.

High carbonates and high sulfur can certainly affect the taste of your beers but if you are not careful, you could also affect the action of your gut and wind up with beer akin to Kaopectate! (a high magnesium content can give you the squirts)

Burton water has a high calcium sufate content. The predominant beer brewed there that should be readily available here in the "Colonies" is Bass.
 
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unionrdr

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Huh. I used to drink Bass ale,1st time at the Elizabethan club in Cleveland. I wanted to try something English,so I inquired of the bartender what to try. The piano player ( had a stand up bass player playing jazz) poured himself a glass,& gave me the remaining half bottle. Got me going on that one. Wish that club was still there. It was like a traditional English pub from Victorian times or the like. Guess I'll have to go up to Giant Eagle & get some more...!
 
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unionrdr

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I couldn't sleep last night,& the question at hand was bugging me. So,I got up,& decided to read through my Midwest catalog to try & get sleepy enough to try again. While looking through recipe kit pages I found one for "brass ale" (Bass) on page 17 Clone kits. The ingredients list is;6lbs light malt extract
1lb British crystal 55L
1oz Target bittering hops
1oz Challenger aroma hops
1tsp Burton water salts
1tsp Irish moss
grain bag,priming sugar,& yeast (of choice).
So it seems it can be used with extract malts. Maybe if they're not style specific?...
 

mabrungard

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When dealing with extract brewing, adding flavor ions is OK. But, there are caveats that all brewers should heed.

The first issue is knowing what the water you're mixing with your extract contains. If you're using distilled or RO water, then the baseline is easier to establish. If you're using tap water, then its still important to have a water report so that you can know the baseline condition of the water. The most important ions of interest to extract brewers are the flavor ions; sodium, chloride, and sulfate. Knowing what the bicarbonate content or alkalinity is also important to the degree that excessive bicarbonate (aka alkalinity) will be detrimental to beer flavor. RO and distilled water do not have excessive bicarbonate. With the baseline information on the ions in your brewing water, you can populate any of the mineral addition calculators. Bru'n Water also contains a mineral addition calculator.

The second issue is to avoid overdosing the wort with excessive levels of any ion. The unfortunate result of using 'Burton Salts' is that the brewer is left with little idea of the proportion of the minerals in the salt mix. They are probably mostly gypsum, but you just don't know. Starting with individual minerals like gypsum, calcium chloride, epsom salt, etc. is the only way to adequately assess what is added to your brewing water. Of course if you are brewing a malt focused beer, Burton salts would not be a good water addition. Armed with the baseline profile of the starting water loaded into the mineral addition calculator, a brewer can figure out how much of each mineral they might use in their brew without overdosing the beer. Any recipe that says 'add 1 tsp of Burton water salts' is providing bad advice. That might have been fine with the recipe originator's water, but might be a disaster if your water already has high levels of any of the flavor ions.
 
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unionrdr

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Well,the Burton ale has been fermenting like crazy with wild blow offs. Blow offs lasting 20 seconds or so. By yesterday,it slowed down to a quick string of bubbles in the blow off jug,so I sanitized an airlock & subbed that filled to the line with cheap vodka.
It bubbles every now & then,but is mainly holding pressure nicely. One week from this Sunday will be the 2 week mark,& time for the 1st FG reading. It'll be interesting to see what it tastes/looks like so far. I may even do a video for my Brewvision series to show the hydrometer test procedure,& how to read it. I saved the contents of the 1st blow off jug,since it was filled 1/3 with water to which a splash of star-san was added. I let it settle to maybe wash the settled yeast.
Once it had settled,that blow off water was a pretty amber/golden brown sort of color. I've seen Burton ale pics,indeed painted Victorian adds portraying the ale in these colors. So in 9 more days we'll see what's up.
 
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unionrdr

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Well,it's the 2 week mark today. 1st FG reading was 1.020,down from OG 1.065. Color is an amber/golden brown. Malty smell with a little yeast. Flavor is a dark sweetness on the back,with the hops used still a little spicy/bity. Def a little warming from the alcohol already present. With some aging,it should be pretty good. We'll see...:mug:
 
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