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Landscape Gypsum - Any Chemists out there?

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Craig5_12

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Long story short - I need to add Gypsum to my mash water.

The only gypsum I can find in this town is Sof'n-Soil. Data sheet here: http://agr.wa.gov/PestFert/Fertilizers/FertDB/prodinfo.asp?pname=1954

Guaranteed Analysis (from package):
CaSO4 - 84%
Ca - 19.6%
Sulfur - 15.6%

I'd be okay if it just said CaSO4, but why does it break out Ca and Sulfur in other percentages? Why does it not equal 100%?. I'm really only concerned with the 15.6% Sulfur. Obviously I don't want my brew having a rotten egg quality.

So, what will this sulfur attribute to my beer? Is it a part of the Sulfate in the CaSO, and therefore I shouldn't worry about it?

Thanks guys....I want my old water back :(
 

mrkristofo

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First of all, it should be CaSO4, not CaSO.

That said, yes, I'd be concerned about the 15.6% sulfur too. The S-O bonds in sulfate aren't going to be breaking during your boil, but if you have other sulfur compounds in there they could contribute a whole lot of nasty smells/tastes/compounds to your beer.

Based on the link, I'd be more concerned about the concentrations of Arsenic, Selenium, and Lead in the compound. EPA water quality standards are 10ppb As, 15ppb Pb, and 50ppb Se. So you'd need to have at most a 1:1000 dilution of that stuff in your mash to be within EPA standards, assuming you use distilled water. Plus you just don't know what else that stuff has been exposed to along the way. If it's fertilizer, chances are the bag or the contents have been in contact with pesticide/herbicides/etc that you don't want to be ingesting.

Maybe somebody else has used fertilizer to lower the mash. I haven't, and I wouldn't. Food grade or lab-grade gypsum is readily available online. Just buy up some of that.

That's my $0.02.
 
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Craig5_12

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Okay, I corrected to reflect CaSO4, I was just being lazy the first time.
I called the phone number on the bag (imagine that) and the guy I spoke with said I probably shouldn't use it and recommended that I call their food grade division....I left a message.
I have a problem buying this stuff from homebrew shops because this 40lb bag was only $6....I imagine food grade is a little more expensive, but we're getting ripped off. Plus the closest shop to me is over an hour away.
I'm also looking for a good supplier of bulk FOOD GRADE Calcium Chloride...

Thanks for the responses!
 
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Why do you need 40 lbs of the stuff? If you're adding more than a few grams to even a 20 gallon brew, you're probably screwing up badly. One pound should last you a LONG time.
 

Jonnio

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Craig5_12 said:
I imagine food grade is a little more expensive, but we're getting ripped off.
I agree with the others, just get a lb online - Also, keep in mind there is a HUGE manufacturing difference between food grade and fertilizer grade in the equipment used, the sanitation conditions, the purity of original ingredients, and the number of inspections they will get. This starts at supplier 1 and works its way down all the way to the mfg and consumer. That is where the cost difference comes in.
 
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Craig5_12

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Thanks for the responses guys. This all started because I was planning on brewing the same day as the original posting, but was dependent on finding some gypsum. The only gypsum I found was the stuff I mentioned above. Due to the time frame I didn't have time to place an order online....although I have now and I'm waiting for the beautiful brown truck to arrive in front of my house. Yuri, I don't need 40lbs, I was simply making a point as to how cheap gypsum is.
 
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