Help me understand if I need to add gypsum or not in a darker beer

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Bohern

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OK, to start I get the basics of water chemistry and I been feeling I have been using WAY too much salts so sorta going back to zero and want some advice.

1st off my water is very clean and it is below.
Sodium - 9
Calcium - 12.3
Magnesium - 2
Sulfate - 15
Chloride - 9
Bicarbonate - 30
Total Alkalinity - 25

So to hit a water profile for a Amber Full for say a Irish Red or a Black Full or even their Balanced counterparts I would need to add Gypsum to the above water to get there.

I stay on top of my PH first and use a Lamotte meter to test my PH. And try to stay in the range for the proper style I am brewing.

My question is what is the basic rule of thumb do most of you use to add Gypsum or not for an Amber to a Dark beer?
(excluding hoppier versions?

Many thanks for your help
 

VikeMan

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Add Gypsum if you want the sulfates for flavor.
Add Calcium Chloride if you want to chloride for flavor.
Either/both of the above also adds Calcium, which is good for yeast flocculation.

If your mash pH is otherwise right on with no additions at all, you can add salts to the kettle, post-mash.

Your water profile is a fairly blank slate, which is a good thing. The "Intro to Brewing Water Treatment" presentation at the link below shows one strategy (slide 9) for building from distilled/RO water, which should also work for your water.

 
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Bohern

Bohern

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Thanks for the reply @VikeMan
-To reach calcium
That is what I have done, I have added both to raise the Calciaum to 47 ppm and wound up with 30 ppm of sulfate and 60 ppm of chloride. I added the Sulfate to keep the beer from getting TOO sweet. The target for the Amber Full profile is 55 sulfate and 65 chloride. I have been using Beersmith and my beers have sometimes came out too mineral like or sour based off too much latic and epsom salts, so working towards doing it myself.


-The intro to water
I actually found this last night doing research and found it helpful building a water profile. When just building my recipe with no salts at all I come up with a predicted mash PH of 5.4 in Brun' Water and 5.55 in Beersmith, when using BS I have been hitting my PH pretty close to what it predicted.


Thanks for your help and let me know your thoughts.
 

CascadesBrewer

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My water report came back with a Chloride level of 77 (though I suspect it varies from around 30 to 80 through the year). I pretty much add Sulfate to every beer I make to bring my Sulfate to Chloride level closer to a 1:1 ratio. I am driven some by my water profile, but for the types of beers I make (Pale Ale, IPAs, Stouts, Porters, Saisons, Belgians) I feel like I like the water character more when I get both my Sulfate and Chloride levels up to 50 or above. (though I will admit it is hard to pick out the specific impact of adding 50 ppm of Sulfate to a beer given all the other variables involved...and I am not sure what the Calcium part of the addition adds either)

When I first was getting into water chemistry, I doctored up the last Pale Ale that I made with adding some Gypsum and Calcium Chloride to get some feel for what they contribute. I have been thinking about cycling back to that, maybe with a small batch made with distilled water. Your water is pretty low in minerals. You might want to try adding some different salts to some beers you made in the past to see what you like.
 

VikeMan

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Thanks for your help and let me know your thoughts.
It sounds like you're on the right track. Just remember that it's completely up to you whether you're treating your mash water, your sparge/kettle, or both, and if it's both, it doesn't necessarily have to be the same way. It depends on your goals, your grain bill, and what water you're starting with...in your case, nearly a blank slate.
 

mabrungard

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Yes, that water is lightly mineralized and should be a good starting point for many styles. The thing to recognize with sulfate and roast, is that they are both “drying “ on the palate.

Yes, you can have sulfate in roasty beers, but you’ll need to limit its level to lower levels in darker beers than lighter beers.
 
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Bohern

Bohern

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Yes, that water is lightly mineralized and should be a good starting point for many styles. The thing to recognize with sulfate and roast, is that they are both “drying “ on the palate.

Yes, you can have sulfate in roasty beers, but you’ll need to limit its level to lower levels in darker beers than lighter beers.
Thanks Martin! I used 30 ppm of sulfate and 60 ppm of chloride I had it on the Amber Full profile and just added a tick of Sulfate so it wouldn't go too sweet?

EDIT: I was doing an irish red for this brew.
 
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