Magnesium Chloride

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Jasonwb88

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I was thinking about using magnesium chloride to treat the water for my next IPA. I had a target of 200 ppm chloride, so I would be using about 46 grams. I ordered this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KID9XK6/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 Problem is I just read that it isn't food grade.

My concern is since this product is not technically food grade, would I be able to use it to treat my water and still have beer that is safe to drink? Also, I feel that 46 grams in 22 gallons of water may be diluted enough to not pose any real problems. However, I yield to the expertise of this forum to help me understand.
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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If it is not food grade it may have (among other contaminants) heavy metals contamination. I would avoid it. The alternative (since you already purchased it) would be to make up some water that contains it and send it off to Ward Laboratories, Inc. for testing that goes beyond the scope of the normal brewing water test.
 

Miraculix

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I would use it, it is technically the same as food grade stuff, just natural zech Stein, I drink a few grams almost daily. But 46g looks like a lot to me, are you 100% sure about your calcs?
 

mabrungard

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While including a bit of Mg in bittered beers can be OK, you need to be aware that MgCl2 is deliquescent and sucks up moisture from the air. Given the small Mg content that anyone should want in their brewing water, I'm not sure that its necessary to go with MgCl2. Epsom salt may be a suitable alternative.
 

ajdelange

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I would use it, it is technically the same as food grade stuff,
Then how does one explain that FCC and Technical are separate and distinct grades of chemicals?

Note that the label on this product caveats against internal use of it. That warning is probably on the package because of a lawyer rather than a scientist but do you want to rely on that?
 

ajdelange

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46 grams sure seems like a lot- what does that do to the Mg level of the beer? More than about 25 ppm would cause a flavor impact (sort of bitter/sour) and at a much higher level it would have a laxative effect.
Clearly he is intending to get his entire chloride content (which is quite high) from MgCl2 which, as several people have pointed out, would lead to a rather disappointing beer.

The only reasons for using MgCl2 would be if one wanted a little Mg with NO sulfate. In that case I would, if unable to obtain FCC MgCl2, make a little from Epsom salts. Make a strong soultion, add a little lye. Decant the liquid (Na2SO4) off the gel which forms, wash the gel with DI water and reneutralize back to ~ pH 7 with HCl. This assumes, of course, that you have FCC NaOH and HCl.

Another reason to consider MgCl2 is if you are trying to match a profile to great accuracy (less than 1% rms error per ion, for example) and can't do it with CaCl2 alone. This is generally an exercise in futility as 1% error doesn't amount to a hill of beans in a water profile
 

Miraculix

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Then how does one explain that FCC and Technical are separate and distinct grades of chemicals?

Note that the label on this product caveats against internal use of it. That warning is probably on the package because of a lawyer rather than a scientist but do you want to rely on that?
Because the money they would need to invest to prove with every batch they sell that it would be OK to eat, would not match with the surplus they would get out of additional sales.

Usually this stuff is sold as a foot soak or to make magnesium oil. Internal use is rarely practiced although it can be quite beneficial.

But at the end, everyone has to judge this for himself.

Edit : and technically spoken, we do not have a processed chemical here but a salt in its naturally occurring Form.
 
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Jasonwb88

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To answer a few questions I have very flat water. My profile looks like this:
pH 6.2
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 45
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.08
Cations / Anions, me/L 0.8 / 0.5 ppm
Sodium, Na 4
Potassium, K 2
Calcium, Ca 7
Magnesium, Mg, 2
Total Hardness, CaCO3, 26
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.9 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 3
Chloride, Cl 3
Carbonate, CO3 < 1.0
Bicarbonate, HCO3, 7
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3, 6

"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

I brewed a beer adding 46 grams of Magnesium Chloride and 10 grams of gypsum to 22 gallons of brewing water before the mash and boil. This was after a conversation that I had with a local pro-brewer that makes some pretty solid NEIPA's. He said that I should try alternative water treatments such as magnesium chloride to treat my water and see how I liked the results.

Judging by some of the findings here and on reddit it seems as though the brewer may have just been messing with me. Overall, I am trying to avoid dumping the batch but will if it is something that is going to endanger my health.

Next time, I will just use Gypsum and Calcium Chloride to treat my water. But I'd still like an expert's view on whether or not the Magnesium Chloride flakes I bought are safe to drink at the levels I previously discussed.
 

z-bob

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To answer a few questions I have very flat water. My profile looks like this:
pH 6.2
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 45
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.08
Cations / Anions, me/L 0.8 / 0.5 ppm
Sodium, Na 4
Potassium, K 2
Calcium, Ca 7
Magnesium, Mg, 2
Total Hardness, CaCO3, 26
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.9 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 3
Chloride, Cl 3
Carbonate, CO3 < 1.0
Bicarbonate, HCO3, 7
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3, 6

"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

[snip]
Next time, I will just use Gypsum and Calcium Chloride to treat my water. But I'd still like an expert's view on whether or not the Magnesium Chloride flakes I bought are safe to drink at the levels I previously discussed.
That is some impressive water. Have you tried brewing a Bohemian pilsner without any water adjustments except for a little lactic acid or sourmalt?

Your MgCl2 looks safe to me, but I wouldn't make a habit of using it. Don't forget table salt for adding chloride. Your sodium level is low enough you might want to add just a little salt with your gypsum and calcium chloride.
 
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Jasonwb88

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That is some impressive water. Have you tried brewing a Bohemian pilsner without any water adjustments except for a little lactic acid or sourmalt?

Your MgCl2 looks safe to me, but I wouldn't make a habit of using it. Don't forget table salt for adding chloride. Your sodium level is low enough you might want to add just a little salt with your gypsum and calcium chloride.

I think I'll be trying a pilsner for my next batch provided I don't need to brew another IPA batch. Also, food for thought on probrewer on this topic: http://discussions.probrewer.com/showthread.php?28281-Magesium-Chloride-liquor-treatment
 

Bilsch

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So is there anything in there that would be harmful for human consumption? Especially diluted into 22 gallons of brewing water?
Well you probably don't want any extra barium or antimony in your diet but it's a very small amount as your using it. I personally would not consume it directly though as a Mg suppliment.
 

Bilsch

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Magnesium tastes horrible. There's a good reason people don't use MgCl2. Yuck!!!
Perhaps your more sensitive to magnesium salts the the average person. I don't find it all that objectionable in trace amounts and it's said that yeast like a little. Where I live Mg is virtually absent in the water so I add ~2-6 mg/l, to my brewing water as either the sulfate or chloride depending on the target profile. You will see a decent amount of magnesium in most of the worlds best brewing water so I say don't fear the Mg. And it makes you sleep better. ;)
 

ajdelange

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But I'd still like an expert's view on whether or not the Magnesium Chloride flakes I bought are safe to drink at the levels I previously discussed.
In these litigious times only a fool would advise you to take internally a product whose packaging cautions you against doing so. Nor would a wise man make a public record advising the consumption of anything that is not FCC or USP. Nor claim to be an expert when he isn't.

With chemicals that are FCC you have the guarantee that the concentrations of specified contaminants are below harmful levels and, this being most important, that they were processed and packaged in facilities that meet standards for the production of food products.

Thus I am forced to advise you to dump the beer. But before you decide to do that you might want to look at the assay kindly posted above, compute the concentrations of the heavy metals in the beer and compare them to the MCLs for those metals published by the EPA.

I will note that you are going to have almost 70 mg/L Mg++ from the added MgCl2.6H2O and that is well more than most would recommend so the beer might not taste very good but then again you might not find it unappetizing based on this as the malt contributes, on its own, more magnesium than this.
 

Miraculix

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In these litigious times only a fool would advise you take internally a product whose packaging cautions you against doing so. Nor would a wise man make a public record advising the consumption of anything that is not FCC or USP. Nor claim to be an expert when he isn't.

With chemicals that are FCC you have the guarantee that the concentrations of specified contaminants are below harmful levels and, this being most important, that they were processed and packaged in facilities that meet standards for the production of food products.

Thus I am forced to advise you to dump the beer. But before you decide to do that you might want to look at the assay kindly posted above, compute the concentrations of the heavy metals in the beer and compare them to the MCLs for those metals published by the EPA.

I will note that you are going to have almost 70 mg/L Mg++ from the added MgCl2.6H2O and that is well more than most would recommend so the beer might not taste very good but then again you might not find it unappetizing based on this as the malt contributes, on its own, more magnesium than this.
Well said.
 

mabrungard

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In these litigious times only a fool would advise you to take internally a product whose packaging cautions you against doing so. Nor would a wise man make a public record advising the consumption of anything that is not FCC or USP. Nor claim to be an expert when he isn't.
Sure they would! When you have the comfort of anonymity, you can say and recommend ANYTHING.

Take the advice from forums with a grain of salt unless its from someone that is at least willing to put their name on it. Even then, its wise to research academic resources to confirm any advice provided on a forum.
 
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Jasonwb88

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I appreciate everyone's feedback and advice. I have been a long time lurker on this forum and notice a few of you have posted on numerous brewing science post. I trust and value your insight.

That being said I misspoke when I said expert. Sorry I am a high school teacher and the past couple of days have been pretty long. Also as a home brewer dumping out 13 gallons of beer, while a better option than some sort of food poisoning, is still a PITA. I will do some research and report back.
 
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Jasonwb88

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Well you probably don't want any extra barium or antimony in your diet but it's a very small amount as your using it. I personally would not consume it directly though as a Mg suppliment.
So, what would you do if you had made my mistake? I see that 9 ug/l of antimony have been found in drinking water, and antimony is dissipated by the body over the course of 1-2 weeks.

Barium sulfate, which I am guessing is what is found in this magnesium chloride that I put in my brewing water, I know it's a contrast agent but can not seem to find a safe amount to consume.

It seems as though the safest course of action is to dump it and just brew another one.
 
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Jasonwb88

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Feed it to the person who gave you the advice.
I agree, guess I'll brew another batch this weekend. Who needs another Citra, Simcoe, Citra, CTZ, Conan fermented NEIPA on tap anyway?
 

applescrap

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There will be a fact sheet for it containing toxic information. Also call the company and ask. I smoke cigars so its tough to worry about something like this, but I would just like you.

Edit...the stuff you are suppose to soak your feet and body in? How toxic could it be if you're supposed to soak your whole body in it? What about all the cuts and absorption into our skin and through your junk. I'll check in on this but I don't think you should throw the beer away just yet. Maybe call a doctor? The information says it's from a very puresource free of synthetics and contaminants. You're supposed to soak your body in 2 cups of it.
 

applescrap

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Because the money they would need to invest to prove with every batch they sell that it would be OK to eat, would not match with the surplus they would get out of additional sales.

Usually this stuff is sold as a foot soak or to make magnesium oil. Internal use is rarely practiced although it can be quite beneficial.

But at the end, everyone has to judge this for himself.

Edit : and technically spoken, we do not have a processed chemical here but a salt in its naturally occurring Form.
This seems legit
 

applescrap

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Because the money they would need to invest to prove with every batch they sell that it would be OK to eat, would not match with the surplus they would get out of additional sales.

Usually this stuff is sold as a foot soak or to make magnesium oil. Internal use is rarely practiced although it can be quite beneficial.

But at the end, everyone has to judge this for himself.

Edit : and technically spoken, we do not have a processed chemical here but a salt in its naturally occurring Form.
This seems legit, send the beer to me, I need to decide :)
 

mbobhat

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So here is some data on Antimony:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/antimony.pdf

Your salts for topical use most likely aren't that much of an issue because skin is an effective barrier. Oral consumption may differ. Not to freak you out or anything. Like said before, people here aren't gonna tell you one way or the other, just figure out the concentrations and decide for yourself.
 

Bilsch

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So, what would you do if you had made my mistake? I see that 9 ug/l of antimony have been found in drinking water, and antimony is dissipated by the body over the course of 1-2 weeks.
That's a tough call. If you have even a shadow of a doubt as to the purity of the MG salts, you're going to look at it each time a pint is drawn and wonder if it's doing you harm. Might make it hard to enjoy. Possibly with 70mg/l Mg the beer will end up tasting a little bit like a foot soak bath and make this problem easy to solve.

What does worry me is the notion that if something is natural or naturally occurring that by definition must be good for you or at the very least harmless. There are a lot of naturally occurring highly toxic and carcinogenic substances in this world.
 

Yooper

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That's a tough call. If you have even a shadow of a doubt as to the purity of the MG salts, you're going to look at it each time a pint is drawn and wonder if it's doing you harm. Might make it hard to enjoy. Possibly with 70mg/l Mg the beer will end up tasting a little bit like a foot soak bath and make this problem easy to solve.

What does worry me is the notion that if something is natural or naturally occurring that by definition must be good for you or at the very least harmless. There are a lot of naturally occurring highly toxic and carcinogenic substances in this world.
Yes, that's my thought. The beer may taste like **** anyway with that much magnesium (although maybe not laxative at that rate- although I shudder at the thought of Milk of Magnesia beer :)). You could always taste it and see if we were all wrong about the sour/bitter effect on flavor with more than about 30 ppm. If it tastes ok, then it'd be sucky to throw it out but my guess is that it'll taste bad anyway.
 

applescrap

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So here is some data on Antimony:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/antimony.pdf

Your salts for topical use most likely aren't that much of an issue because skin is an effective barrier. Oral consumption may differ. Not to freak you out or anything. Like said before, people here aren't gonna tell you one way or the other, just figure out the concentrations and decide for yourself.
Hmm, dont know what to think. Soaking in 2 cups of this stuff seems pretty hard core to me if it was toxic. My biggest fear would be the milk of magnesia action.
 

Miraculix

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Yes, that's my thought. The beer may taste like **** anyway with that much magnesium (although maybe not laxative at that rate- although I shudder at the thought of Milk of Magnesia beer :)). You could always taste it and see if we were all wrong about the sour/bitter effect on flavor with more than about 30 ppm. If it tastes ok, then it'd be sucky to throw it out but my guess is that it'll taste bad anyway.
The laxative effect roughly starts at 2g of salt if you are small and sensitive, I can take 3.5 g dissolved in a glas of water without any ill effects.

We are talking about a natural salt that was left behind when an ancient ocean dried out, keep this in mind, this is not a chemically produced product in a lab with all the impurifications technical standard chemicals can have due to the production process.

Taste the beer, if the beer tastes great than drink it.
 

Big Monk

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The laxative effect roughly starts at 2g of salt if you are small and sensitive, I can take 3.5 g dissolved in a glas of water without any ill effects.

We are talking about a natural salt that was left behind when an ancient ocean dried out, keep this in mind, this is not a chemically produced product in a lab with all the impurifications technical standard chemicals can have due to the production process.

Taste the beer, if the beer tastes great than drink it.
Don't conflate natural with safe. Uranium is naturally occurring but I wouldn't consume the stuff in the raw. Mercury is naturally occurring but not good for you. Lightning is 100% organic but I don't want it anywhere near me. ;-)

Just because the MgCl is naturally occurring, doesn't mean that consuming a bunch of Magnesium is good for you. Now add the fact that if it isn't food grade, I wouldn't be using it in my beer, period.

There are so many worthwhile equipment and ingredient choices out there that using something that isn't food grade to make your beer seems too easily avoidable.
 

Miraculix

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Don't conflate natural with safe. Uranium is naturally occurring but I wouldn't consume the stuff in the raw. Mercury is naturally occurring but not good for you. Lightning is 100% organic but I don't want it anywhere near me. ;-)

Just because the MgCl is naturally occurring, doesn't mean that consuming a bunch of Magnesium is good for you. Now add the fact that if it isn't food grade, I wouldn't be using it in my beer, period.

There are so many worthwhile equipment and ingredient choices out there that using something that isn't food grade to make your beer seems too easily avoidable.
Don't conflate me mentioning the word naturally with me saying that naturally is safe in general. Never said that.

Did only point out that a technical grade chemical produced in an industrialised process is very likely to be contaminated due to the production process and the lack of purification, because of the technical grade.

In this case, there is no real production process, it is just about getting it out of the ground.
 

applescrap

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The laxative effect roughly starts at 2g of salt if you are small and sensitive, I can take 3.5 g dissolved in a glas of water without any ill effects.

We are talking about a natural salt that was left behind when an ancient ocean dried out, keep this in mind, this is not a chemically produced product in a lab with all the impurifications technical standard chemicals can have due to the production process.

Taste the beer, if the beer tastes great than drink it.
Based on this, I cant understand how drinking one batch with a dose of this "salt" could be that toxic, but to each their own. I remain on the fence but I am getting way closer to one side. I can't help but think of all the sodium nitrite and preserves in some of our food. In extra doses, sodium nitrite is lethal, yet I love Hot Dogs.
 

Big Monk

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Based on this, I cant understand how drinking one batch with a dose of this "salt" could be that toxic, but to each their own. I remain on the fence but I am getting way closer to one side. I can't help but think of all the sodium nitrite and preserves in some of our food. In extra doses, sodium nitrite is lethal, yet I love Hot Dogs.
The point is, as Bilsch referenced earlier with his link to the data sheet for this stuff, that there are other things in this salt, notably barium, molybdenum, selenium, antimony, etc., and that the product is not considered food grade.

I don't believe anyone is giving a definitive opinion either way, and they shouldn't, but the overall point is to calculate the amounts present in the beer based on dosage, volume, etc. and see how comfortable you (the royal you or we) with that.

I think bad beer is likely the worst case scenario here but everyone gets to choose what they are comfortable with.
 

Miraculix

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The point is, as Bilsch referenced earlier with his link to the data sheet for this stuff, that there are other things in this salt, notably barium, molybdenum, selenium, antimony, etc., and that the product is not considered food grade.

I don't believe anyone is giving a definitive opinion either way, and they shouldn't, but the overall point is to calculate the amounts present in the beer based on dosage, volume, etc. and see how comfortable you (the royal you or we) with that.

I think bad beer is likely the worst case scenario here but everyone gets to choose what they are comfortable with.
Exactly!
 

Silver_Is_Money

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I would give Ward Laboratories, Inc. a call, explain your predicament to them, and ask them if they can test your beer for metals contamination, and if so, at what cost.
 

z-bob

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Look at the PDF posted by Bilsch with the assay. It has the antimony, barium, and selenium contents in ppm. From that and the amount that you added per volume of your beer, you can figure out the ppm's in your beer. Compare that to the allowable levels in drinking water, and you can make your own informed decision whether to drink it or not.

I think the magnesium taste is going to be the biggest problem. But if you *like* magnesium, use USP Epsom salts next time :) It's cheap!
 

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Look at the PDF posted by Bilsch with the assay. It has the antimony, barium, and selenium contents in ppm. From that and the amount that you added per volume of your beer, you can figure out the ppm's in your beer. Compare that to the allowable levels in drinking water, and you can make your own informed decision whether to drink it or not.

I think the magnesium taste is going to be the biggest problem. But if you *like* magnesium, use USP Epsom salts next time :) It's cheap!
That's a good point.

I didn't do the math, but what is the ppm of the magnesium? If it's not all that much, the flavor wouldn't be too bad. If it's over, oh, 40 ppm or so, then the flavor would be impacted and would make the beer taste bad anyway so it wouldn't be something you would want to drink.
 
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