Salt Additions

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ike8228

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I usually start with apx 8 gallons of water depending on grist bill. I add my salts based on a 5 gallon batch. I put half my water in the mash and sparge with the second half. But I started thinking I may be wrong here?

When adding salt additions to my water (RO) do I want to add it only to the half going into the mash or all the water? Does the sparge water need to have the change in water make up or is that only benifical to the mash? Can the sparge water just be the heated RO water?

I figured the mash needs the mineral content to keep the ph correct-ish. If half my salts are still in the HWT does that affect the mash? The minerals should only be based on 5 gallons not 8, as it will eventually boil down to 5ish, leaving the correct amount of minerals in the wort?

I am thinking changing my process to heat 4 gallons and add the salts, then after transferring to the tun, while that is in the mash, heat the other 4 gallons for the sparge no salts.

Is this correct? I keep talking my self in circles.
 

marc1

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Thus is a bit advanced for the beginner's forum.

Anyway, I'd say that generally the water profile is for all of the starting water, but you can add the salts wherever you want them. There's a water additions primer thread in the brew science forum that may help.

Thus is homebrewing and everyone has their preferences, so you can do it however you want.

There's also a lot of water software out there to help estimate the effects of additions on mineral content and mash pH.

Also, you're probably not boiling off 3 gallons from your 8. You lose some to the grain, and also possibly some to kettle trub and dead spaces. It can help to measure volumes pre and post boil, as well as in the fermenter to see where your losses are.
 

rburrelli

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The purpose of using salts is to get your water in the proper pH range. So why would you not treat sparge water? Otherwise you are sparging with a higher pH water tha you mashed with. And the amount of salts should be for the total volume of water you are using, not your batch size.
 

balrog

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You do need to calculate the PPM of the salts WITH THE VOLUME OF THE WATER USED.
Adding 6 gm of CaCl to 4 gallons of water will have different PPM Ca and Cl ions than in 8 gallons, or 5 gallons. THe calculators expect you to use the volume of water into which the salts are added or all the results are spurious.
 
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ike8228

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This clears it up. Thanks all. This is where I have been the whole time, but something got me looking down that rabbit hole again.
 

Yooper

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The purpose of using salts is to get your water in the proper pH range. So why would you not treat sparge water? Otherwise you are sparging with a higher pH water tha you mashed with. And the amount of salts should be for the total volume of water you are using, not your batch size.

Actually, the purpose of using salts is for flavor, not for managing pH although some of the salts do have a minor effect on mash pH.

I don’t add salts to my sparge water as RO or distilled water are ideal for sparging. Some salts, like baking soda if used, should never be added to sparge water anyway.

Acids are used to lower mash pH, brewing salts like gypsum and calcium chloride are used for flavor impact, and salts like baking soda are used to raise mash pH and impact the flavor as well.
 
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ike8228

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Actually, the purpose of using salts is for flavor, not for managing pH although some of the salts do have a minor effect on mash pH.

I don’t add salts to my sparge water as RO or distilled water are ideal for sparging. Some salts, like baking soda if used, should never be added to sparge water anyway.

Acids are used to lower mash pH, brewing salts like gypsum and calcium chloride are used for flavor impact, and salts like baking soda are used to raise mash pH and impact the flavor as well.
Regarding this, I always use brewers friend calculator to help me with determining. My current recipe (NXS5995 for ref) I am working on puts me at a ph of 5.38 IF I include the salts in the entire water volume. If I change it to salts in the volume for mash only, it drops to 5.18. This is suggesting a higher concentration of salts is affecting the ph. I am using acidulated malt to help with this. I do plan to use 2g of baking soda in this recipe.
so the question goes back, do I add salts to just the mash volume or both? I am using RO.
 

marc1

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Regarding this, I always use brewers friend calculator to help me with determining. My current recipe (NXS5995 for ref) I am working on puts me at a ph of 5.38 IF I include the salts in the entire water volume. If I change it to salts in the volume for mash only, it drops to 5.18. This is suggesting a higher concentration of salts is affecting the ph. I am using acidulated malt to help with this. I do plan to use 2g of baking soda in this recipe.
so the question goes back, do I add salts to just the mash volume or both? I am using RO.

Adding baking soda and acidulated malt is counter productive. They do the opposite thing, so there really isn't a need to add both.
Ca and Mg (paired with chloride and sulfate) will interact with the mash to lower mash pH some, but they do not have an effect on water or wort pH if added elsewhere.

You should absolutely not add baking soda to your sparge water. Too much alkalinity there can cause tannin extraction.

Since you are starting with RO, play with the additions to get the chloride and sulfate that you want (and if you are really into it, the Na and Mg), make sure you have the desired Ca (people seem to usually aim for >50ppm, unless brewing traditionally UK profiles, then it's 100 to 150+ppm), then adjust your acid malt, acid, or baking soda additions to get a good estimated mash pH.

You can add the salts wherever it makes sense. If you want to add it all to your mash, then you may need to reduce the acid malt. Everything that you are adding should have a purpose.

What are you trying to do with it? Your link to Brewer's Friend didn't work, so I can't see what you're aiming for.
 

VikeMan

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The purpose of using salts is to get your water in the proper pH range. So why would you not treat sparge water? Otherwise you are sparging with a higher pH water tha you mashed with.

Adding salts (like CaClc, MgCl2, and CaSO4) to sparge water doesn't lower the pH of the sparge water.

These salts lower mash pH via reaction with phosphates from the malt, liberating protons. But these reactions are not very fast.

The surefire way to keep sparge water from raising the pH of the wort is to treat the sparge water with acids like lactic or phosphoric acid.
 
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ike8228

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Adding baking soda and acidulated malt is counter productive. They do the opposite thing, so there really isn't a need to add both.
Ca and Mg (paired with chloride and sulfate) will interact with the mash to lower mash pH some, but they do not have an effect on water or wort pH if added elsewhere.

You should absolutely not add baking soda to your sparge water. Too much alkalinity there can cause tannin extraction.

Since you are starting with RO, play with the additions to get the chloride and sulfate that you want (and if you are really into it, the Na and Mg), make sure you have the desired Ca (people seem to usually aim for >50ppm, unless brewing traditionally UK profiles, then it's 100 to 150+ppm), then adjust your acid malt, acid, or baking soda additions to get a good estimated mash pH.

You can add the salts wherever it makes sense. If you want to add it all to your mash, then you may need to reduce the acid malt. Everything that you are adding should have a purpose.

What are you trying to do with it? Your link to Brewer's Friend didn't work, so I can't see what you're aiming for.
I did notice that the reload code is cap sensitive. Try that again. I am trying to make a British Malty ale. Some very ‘English’. Mild hop bitterness, little fuller body.
 

marc1

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I did notice that the reload code is cap sensitive. Try that again. I am trying to make a British Malty ale. Some very ‘English’. Mild hop bitterness, little fuller body.

It's not a link, can you paste in an html address? I don't usually use brewer's friend and don't know the syntax for it. I tried searching it but no dice.

1648414042577.png
 
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rburrelli

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Adding salts (like CaClc, MgCl2, and CaSO4) to sparge water doesn't lower the pH of the sparge water.

These salts lower mash pH via reaction with phosphates from the malt, liberating protons. But these reactions are not very fast.

The surefire way to keep sparge water from raising the pH of the wort is to treat the sparge water with acids like lactic or phosphoric acid.
Thanks. I know this and should have stated they lower pH in concert with the malt. But I am still correct about the pH of the sparge water likely being higher than the mash if not treated.
 

VikeMan

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But I am still correct about the pH of the sparge water likely being higher than the mash if not treated.

Yes, that would be true of just about any untreated (tap) water in the USA, and certainly true of any water that meets EPA guidelines.
 

Bobby_M

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It can get a little complicated but the goal of the mash water is to ensure a mash pH between 5.1 and 5.6 and "about" 50ppm of total calcium.

The total salt makeup of the finished beer, including the dilution of the sparge water will mostly affect flavor via CL to SO4 ratio and sodium.

You can add all the salts to the mash such that you arrive at your desired final dilution after the sparge, but I would only add "acidifying" salts up to the point where the mash calcium is at least 50ppm and predicted mash pH is about to drop below 5.2. Any excess, I'd add to the boil. That's only likely to happen with darker beers.

Once I've determined what I salts I want, if I can't make my mash pH low enough, that's when I grab the lactic acid.

You can sparge with RO water with no acid additions because although it may measure 6-7pH, it's not bringing any alkalinity.
 

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I am using acidulated malt to help with this. I do plan to use 2g of baking soda in this recipe.
so the question goes back, do I add salts to just the mash volume or both? I am using RO.

As other said, don't use baking soda and acid malt in the same recipe. They cancel each other out.

Sparging with 100% RO water is ideal. You don't need to add anything to it at all, but it won't hurt if you use gypsum, calcium chloride, table salt, etc to the sparge water if your mash pH is lower than you want with all of the salts in there. Just remember to never, but ever, add alkalinity to your sparge water so no baking soda or other alkalinity in the sparge water.
 

mabrungard

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You definitely don't have to add salts to both mashing and sparging water. But to get the beneficial flavor effects out of those salts, you do need to end up with enough of those salts in the finished wort. If you add only a normal amount of salts to your mashing water and don't add any to the sparging water or add that sparge water salt dose to the kettle, then you'll end up with maybe half the concentrations that you intended for the mash. It will still be beer, but it may not taste the way it was intended.

As Yooper mentions, you can certainly brew with straight RO water, but there's a decent chance that the beer would be lacking in flavor. Adding the proper amount of salts to the wort is desirable. When those salts are added is certainly up for debate. There can be advantages to adding them early or late in the brewing process. Just make sure they get in there!
 
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ike8228

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Ok so to revisit this. I brewed this today.


Code was NXS5995 (cap sensitive)

the exact grains were:
7lbs 2-row pale
1lb biscuit
.5lb crystal 120
.25lb special B
.5lb carafoam
.75lb acid malt

I did change my salt additions to remove the baking soda. And I added all to my whole water volume of 8.5 gal.

My projected ph based on this was 5.49, but it doesn’t let me select a specific type of malt for the specialties. After 20 mins and 40 mins into the mash cooled to 60-65F measured at ph 5. Not super low but lower than I wanted, and lower than the projected. I actually only put .5 lb of acidulated malt instead for .75 because I had a lower ph than predicted last time too. This should have raised it to 5.75 based on the calculator.

Why is it that my ph was so much lower? Is that based on my grain bill something that brewers friend doesn’t calc right? Higher crystal or special B drove it down?

Still beer, but not sure what swung it that much.

PS my ph reader was calibrated.

PSS my RO water measures at 6.5, is that right?
 
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The Brewers Friend water calculator has the ability to save / restore / share a calculation. For example, here's one I saved about a month ago:
1649620022183.png


it doesn’t let me select a specific type of malt for the specialties
You should be able to enter the type of malt and the color.

Why is it that my ph was so much lower? Is that based on my grain bill something that brewers friend doesn’t calc right? Higher crystal or special B drove it down?
If you share the calculation, we should be able to help find an answer.
 
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ike8228

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I put the code to pull it up in my last post.
I see the calculator, but the data entry fields are blank. If you look at the details in the URL that I referenced, there is an ID at the end of the URL. That allows anyone to see that specific water calculation. You should be able to do the same with your water calculation and the "save / update" button at the top of the page.
 
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🤔 ... If I go the water calculator page, and use "restore previous values"
1649620639134.png
(at the top of the page), I can get the most recent calculation that I have entered - but it's not sharable.
 
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ike8228

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🤔 ... If I go the water calculator page, and use "restore previous values"
(at the top of the page), I can get the most recent calculation that I have entered - but it's not sharable.
There is a field that you can type this into NXS5995 it should reload the entries. I keep a log of all my stuff and I can go back and reference or make changes by entering these numbers in.
 
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ike8228

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direct link: Mash Chemistry and Brewing Water Calculator - Brewer's Friend

When I load the calculation, I see

at the top. It looks like the lovibond values are missing in the grist info section:

When I guestimated some values,

the estimated pH was



Ok thank you. I didn’t realize the loci one made a difference with oh. I thought that was more for color. But it makes since now that I think about. Still learning mash.
I appreciate the input.
 
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Ok thank you. I didn’t realize the loci one made a difference with oh. I thought that was more for color. But it makes since now that I think about. Still learning mash.
I appreciate the input.

And thanks for being patient on the code (vs full URL).
 

marc1

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Ok so to revisit this. I brewed this today.


Code was NXS5995 (cap sensitive)

the exact grains were:
7lbs 2-row pale
1lb biscuit
.5lb crystal 120
.25lb special B
.5lb carafoam
.75lb acid malt

I did change my salt additions to remove the baking soda. And I added all to my whole water volume of 8.5 gal.

My projected ph based on this was 5.49, but it doesn’t let me select a specific type of malt for the specialties. After 20 mins and 40 mins into the mash cooled to 60-65F measured at ph 5. Not super low but lower than I wanted, and lower than the projected. I actually only put .5 lb of acidulated malt instead for .75 because I had a lower ph than predicted last time too. This should have raised it to 5.75 based on the calculator.

Why is it that my ph was so much lower? Is that based on my grain bill something that brewers friend doesn’t calc right? Higher crystal or special B drove it down?

Still beer, but not sure what swung it that much.

PS my ph reader was calibrated.

PSS my RO water measures at 6.5, is that right?

I'm glad we're figuring this out!

What meter did you use and how recently did you calibrate it? Just before use with 2 standard buffers?

The pH of RO water is not really relevant because it has no buffering power. Have you checked the RO water to make sure that it is good? A cheap TDS meter is good for this. I've had the machines outside stores put out bad water before.

I played with your water calculator page. It was missing the carafoam. In the salt additions it listed slaked lime, did you add that? It also had the box checked for adding all minerals to the mash only. I corrected for the roast level and type of the grains (and amount of acidulated to what you actually used), unchecked the mash only minerals box, and deleted the slaked lime, and now it predicts a mash pH of 4.98, which is pretty close to what you got.

1649636378037.png

1649636712449.png
 
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ike8228

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I'm glad we're figuring this out!

What meter did you use and how recently did you calibrate it? Just before use with 2 standard buffers?

The pH of RO water is not really relevant because it has no buffering power. Have you checked the RO water to make sure that it is good? A cheap TDS meter is good for this. I've had the machines outside stores put out bad water before.

I played with your water calculator page. It was missing the carafoam. In the salt additions it listed slaked lime, did you add that? It also had the box checked for adding all minerals to the mash only. I corrected for the roast level and type of the grains (and amount of acidulated to what you actually used), unchecked the mash only minerals box, and deleted the slaked lime, and now it predicts a mash pH of 4.98, which is pretty close to what you got.

View attachment 765663
View attachment 765669
I actually got 4.98 on the meter. Yes I used both buffers. I did add the slaked lime. My TDS read 11ppm on the RO water. I have a system hooked up in my kitchen, not from the store.

I added that back in the calc and should have got 5.23. I didn’t realized the mash only additions was still check. That was from the original question if this post…if this accurate I’m off by .25 vs 1ph. Dialing back the acidulated malt should do it next time I brew this.
 

marc1

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I actually got 4.98 on the meter. Yes I used both buffers. I did add the slaked lime. My TDS read 11ppm on the RO water. I have a system hooked up in my kitchen, not from the store.

I added that back in the calc and should have got 5.23. I didn’t realized the mash only additions was still check. That was from the original question if this post…if this accurate I’m off by .25 vs 1ph. Dialing back the acidulated malt should do it next time I brew this.

Excellent! I hope I'm not coming across as nit-picky, I'm just confirming the details because people sometimes think they are doing one thing and are actually doing another.

Don't add the slaked lime. That's for adjusting the pH up, just like the baking soda, so it's countering the acid malt. You could probably drop most or all of your acid malt by leaving that out. It can also be used to drop excessive carbonate out of your water, but if your water has no alkalinity to speak of (and that's not what you're doing here), then I think it's not going to be great for your sparge.
 
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ike8228

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Excellent! I hope I'm not coming across as nit-picky, I'm just confirming the details because people sometimes think they are doing one thing and are actually doing another.

Don't add the slaked lime. That's for adjusting the pH up, just like the baking soda, so it's countering the acid malt. You could probably drop most or all of your acid malt by leaving that out. It can also be used to drop excessive carbonate out of your water, but if your water has no alkalinity to speak of (and that's not what you're doing here), then I think it's not going to be great for your sparge.
You were right, zeroing the slaked lime and acidulated malt kept the ph at 5.42, but now my calcium is off 75 points, but the others are still on point. So I will need to play with the additions to get them balanced. Thank you guys for the input. I know better about baking soda and lime now.
 

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Who's two-row are you using?

Rahr's two-row is more acidified than "regular" two-row. To get around this, you use 5 Lovibond rather than 2. There's a reference to this in Bru'n Water somewhere to account for this.

Something to keep in mind if you're using Rahr two-row. Took me a few times to get it right and I was chasing the wrong thing-very frustrating.
 
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ike8228

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Who's two-row are you using?

Rahr's two-row is more acidified than "regular" two-row. To get around this, you use 5 Lovibond rather than 2. There's a reference to this in Bru'n Water somewhere to account for this.

Something to keep in mind if you're using Rahr two-row. Took me a few times to get it right and I was chasing the wrong thing-very frustrating.
I am using Viking. Sites description is 2.2-3.1. My bag does not say what this batch is specifically. That is higher than normal pale I believe? Could be contributing.
 

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