Preserving calcium hydroxide?

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dustinstriplin

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I brewed yesterday and was surprised by the amount of cloudiness in my strike water(RO DI water) after adding a dose of pickling lime. I came here to see why that may be, and it appears my pickling lime is old and converting to chalk. This makes sense because I haven't been great about keeping the package sealed and it's a few years old. I had no idea it would convert to chalk in a humid environment (which I live in), but it does according to posts I've read by Martin Brungard and Aj Delange.

When I measured my mash pH, it measured much lower than Bru'n water v5.5 expected. Interestingly enough, if I removed the pickling lime addition from Bru'n water, the pH matches exactly. This hints to me that the pickling lime is almost completely chalk. I verified it contained chalk by dripping some 85% phosphoric acid on it and observing a lot of fizzing.

My question: What is the best practice for preserving calcium hydroxide. I would imagine a tightly sealing container would be best, but it may not be according to Aj Delange. This post by Aj Delange contains some interesting bits. In the post he says he had a very old container filled with pickling lime. The lime had half converted to chalk. He describes it as "this stuff is very old it has sat in a thick plastic jar with a tighly sealing lid". He is surprised that 50% converted. The thread goes on to talk about saturating water with pickling lime to preserve it. I am having a tough time finding any other information on the process of saturating water (in the context of pickling lime) and how strong the resulting solution would be.

After my debacle with the old pickling lime, I'd like to follow best practices for storing it. I also want to ensure what I'm putting into the brew water is in fact what I calculated. Perhaps fresh pickling lime will be the way to go from now on. What practices do you all recommend to ensure you pickling lime is preserved?
 

Silver_Is_Money

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dustinstriplin

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Silver_is_money, thank you for posting that. I recently saw that post through a google search. I wasn't aware of the problems with adding baking soda along with calcium hydroxide. I've done this in the past with some of my dark beers. I also like the point about only using calcium hydroxide with DI, RO, or Distilled water. I am using RO DI water, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I'm fine to use it. Not a chemist here.

While the article is certainly helpful and thought provoking, I'm don't understand what it has to do with best practices for preserving calcium hydroxide.

Again, thanks for posting that thread, it is a good one.
 
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