Table salt for water adjustment?

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Erik the Anglophile

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I checked my countys water quality report for our tap water, and got the following values:
Sodium 10mg/L
Sulfate 42mg/L
Chlorides 15mg/L
Magnesia 4.1 mg/L
Ph 8.1 -8.2
Hardness 4.6

So I have pretty soft water with low alcalinity, and I don't really brew hop forward beers so sulfate levels are doable, the only thing I feel could improve are the chlorides and sodium. So I came to think about good old sodium-chloride, ie table salt. I usually brew batches that are just over 11L after boil, would it be a good idea to throw in about 1.5 grams of non-iodinized table salt in the mash to get soduim and chlorides up a bit?
 

Genuine

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I use it all the time, usually under 30ppm of it. I use kosher salt if that helps. Calcium Chloride and gypsum are super cheap from your LHBS. I'm still using the 1lb of both I bought 3 years ago.
 
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Genuine

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If you use a program like Bru'n Water or BrewFather, they have water calculators to help with mineral additions and make that portion of it super easy. I just add the amounts to my mash since I do a full volume mash.
 

Vale71

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Total amount. With such soft water I would consider adding some calcium chloride first.
Personally I've used very small table salt additions in stouts and find that they improve somewhat.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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If your hardness is in units of "Grains" then your Alkalinity is likely in the general neighborhood of about 120 ppm. With no Alkalinity to be seen within the analytical data that you have shared with us, plus calcium missing, there is no way to peg it on the nose. How did you conclude your water to have low Alkalinity?
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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If your hardness is in units of "Grains" then your Alkalinity is likely in the general neighborhood of about 120 ppm. With no Alkalinity to be seen within the analytical data that you have shared with us, plus calcium missing, there is no way to peg it on the nose. How did you conclude your water to have low Alkalinity?
hardness is 4.6 dH, and calcuim levels are 25mg/L
 

Silver_Is_Money

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hardness is 4.6 dH, and calcuim levels are 25mg/L
That likely puts your Alkalinity in the 35-40 mg/L ballpark. Call it 37 mg/L. And it pegs your total hardness at 82.1 mg/L.

1 dH = 17.848 mg/L (ppm)
17.848 x 4.6 = 82.1 mg/L Hardness

As a check:
Total Hardness ~= 2.5(Ca++) + 4.12(Mg ++)
Total Hardness ~= 2.5(25) + 4.12(4.1)
Total Hardness ~= 79.4 mg/L
That's a good check!
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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Given my water PH and low amount of Calcium, this means I am better off using calcium chloride to adjust the chlorides upward a bit then and to get a better mash PH, since my mash PH is likely a bit high even when using large amounts of dark roasted grains? And maybe adding table salt when making darker malty ales to get the Soduim and Chloride levels up a bit more.
I downloaded Bru'n'water but it seems a bit complicated, I have to look through it some day when I have more time to get in to it.
Thanks for answers
Also found out alkalinity: 55mg/L
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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At 55 mg/L Alkalinity, and when combined with the other mg/L figures you provided, there is little to no chance for the absolute requisite of "cation/anion" (charge) balance. Is your water perhaps multi-sourced, whereby the given figures are merely averages? Or is 55 mg/L perhaps Bicarbonate as opposed to Alkalinity? Or is your Alkalinity reported in "standardized" units other than mg/L as CaCO3?
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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It all comes from the same water plant, wich draw water from a lake nearby and treat it(altough chlorination of tap water here is close to zero), and I am looking throught the annual water report. Don't know if they add and subtract stuff in the water to make water that wouldn't exist naturally, some amounts of chemicals are higher and other lower, so I suppose they do.
But those are the numbers i found.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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It all comes from the same water plant, wich draw water from a lake nearby and treat it(altough chlorination of tap water here is close to zero), and I am looking throught the annual water report. Don't know if they add and subtract stuff in the water to make water that wouldn't exist naturally, some amounts of chemicals are higher and other lower, so I suppose they do.
But those are the numbers i found.
No water exists (or can exist) without cation/anion balance. Does the report list highs and lows and averages?
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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I can link you the report, it is in swedish but the units they measure hardness, alkalinity etc in and chemical names in the periodic table are international so you will probably have no problem reading it. Most numbers are averages, yes, that could possibly explain some of it although. The table called "dricksvatten" shows the values for outgoing water from the plant, I live quite far away so the original PH is lowered to just over 8 when it reaches me though.

 

Silver_Is_Money

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55 mg/L Alkalinity as HCO3 is "Bicarbonate", and Alkalinity as CaCO3 (as we in the USA would more commonly report it) would be ~45.1 mg/L.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Ah, do the numbers add up then? And is my best bet to use calcium chloride to get a better mash PH, and a little table salt in darker malt heavy beers to up the chloride and sodium a little more?
Not exactly, but close enough for government work (or beer brewing). Yes, CaCl2 would be a good choice. A bit of CaSO4 would not hurt for some styles.

Acids are generally used to reduce Alkalinity. Lactic or Phosphoric are good choices. AMS (CRS) acid blend is commonly used in the UK.
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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I'll visit the LHBS and buy some calcium chloride and PH strips. I will start tinkering with my water in beersmith to at least adjust my PH but I don't think I will do anything to advanced yet. I am still pretty new to this but I know our tap water is soft, has high PH and not a lot of mineral salts in general so adjusting some stuff was gonna be unaviodable anyways. Thanks for helping me clear some things out!
 

Genuine

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This is why I bought an RO water filter so that I could start as close to a blank slate as possible from my town's water supply. I used to buy 9-14 gallons of distilled water from Walmart to brew with but I got tired of lugging all of that home. Now I just turn on the valve to the RO system and let it produce what I need.
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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This is why I bought an RO water filter so that I could start as close to a blank slate as possible from my town's water supply. I used to buy 9-14 gallons of distilled water from Walmart to brew with but I got tired of lugging all of that home. Now I just turn on the valve to the RO system and let it produce what I need.
I don't know if I will ever get that advanced tbh, mostly looking to get my calcium, chloride and PH levels to a more favorable range since our water here is so soft and low on those minerals.
 

marc1

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I'll visit the LHBS and buy some calcium chloride and PH strips. I will start tinkering with my water in beersmith to at least adjust my PH but I don't think I will do anything to advanced yet. I am still pretty new to this but I know our tap water is soft, has high PH and not a lot of mineral salts in general so adjusting some stuff was gonna be unaviodable anyways. Thanks for helping me clear some things out!
The pH of your water isn't really relevant to brewing, the alkalinity is, which has been figured out here.

Also, pH strips are not generally very good for measuring wort pH. If you aren't going to get a decent pH meter to measure mash pH, I would recommend not doing it and instead using one of the many spreadsheets available to estimate it and call that good enough. A bad measurement is worse than no measurement.

If your mash pH is in the right ballpark, your mash should work fine.

I've used Bru'n Water and it works well, you just have to actually read and follow the directions :) If you jump in and try to force your way through without doing that it could be very confusing.

I now use Mash Made Easy (by forum member Silver_Is_Money) and get excellent estimations that match closely with actual mash readings.
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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The pH of your water isn't really relevant to brewing, the alkalinity is, which has been figured out here.

Also, pH strips are not generally very good for measuring wort pH. If you aren't going to get a decent pH meter to measure mash pH, I would recommend not doing it and instead using one of the many spreadsheets available to estimate it and call that good enough. A bad measurement is worse than no measurement.

If your mash pH is in the right ballpark, your mash should work fine.

I've used Bru'n Water and it works well, you just have to actually read and follow the directions :) If you jump in and try to force your way through without doing that it could be very confusing.

I now use Mash Made Easy (by forum member Silver_Is_Money) and get excellent estimations that match closely with actual mash readings.
Is beersmith's water tool any reliable? I'll go and pick some stuff up today or tomorrow at my LHBS.
Did some more reading around last night, and since my water has relatively high alkalinity, is soft and lacking in calcium and chlorides I'm probably good to go if I get some calcium chloride, calcium carbonate and something like lactic acid right? At least to adjust for more malt focused beers which are what I am mainly interrested in.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Don't waste your time on Calcium Carbonate. You won't be able to make much of it go into solution,and most of it will just drop out and not accomplish what is intended and presumed of it.
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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Choose Pickling Lime [calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2] when you want to both raise the calcium level and the mash pH. Otherwise use Baking Soda [Sodium Bicarbonate, NaHCO3].

Care must be taken when using Ca(OH)2, as it can cause blindness if it gets into your eyes.
 

Vale71

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One common workaround to too low mash PH when brewing stouts and the like is to only add the calcium salts in the boil.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Baking Soda is often chided for adding dreaded Sodium. In the USA I believe that the restricted sodium diet RDA is 2,500 mg. of NaCl per day, as below this nominal intake level you can potentially die from not intaking sufficient sodium. 2,500 mg is 2.5 grams. If you add 2.5 grams of common "salt" to 30 Liters of brewing water, and you yield 23 Liters of beer, you would need to drink all 23 Liters of it in one day to reach the restricted sodium (as salt) RDA.

In the days of yore, per some peer reviewed literature I've read, ~40 mg/L (ppm) of Sodium ion was often targeted for light colored beers, and ~80 mg/L was often targeted for dark beers. It was added for its positive flavor contribution.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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I have very low amounts of sodium in my tap water, and as I understand very low amounts of baking soda are needed, so the added sodium levels would probably only be beneficial for me.
Baking Soda should only be needed for rather dark beers. With your ~40 mg/L Alkalinity (by my reckoning) you should be fine "as is" for most mid-colored beers (ballpark 20-40 EBC) that derive their color from malts as opposed to sugars. You will likely need to acidify for light colored beers, or mid-colored and even dark beers for which sugars are the source of the color. And if you sparge, acidifying the sparge water to ~pH 5.4-5.5 is a good idea for all cases.
 
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marc1

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Is beersmith's water tool any reliable? I'll go and pick some stuff up today or tomorrow at my LHBS.
Did some more reading around last night, and since my water has relatively high alkalinity, is soft and lacking in calcium and chlorides I'm probably good to go if I get some calcium chloride, calcium carbonate and something like lactic acid right? At least to adjust for more malt focused beers which are what I am mainly interrested in.
I've never used beersmith. I've heard that it is great for recipe formulation, but, at least at one point, it was not great for water calculations. I don't know if recent updates, if any, have made the water part better.

As others have noted, chalk is problematic; baking soda works well.
 

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Magnesium hydroxide (readily available in pharmacies as a constipation treatment) is good choice to raise pH. You will use tiny amounts - best to make up a 1m solution and use a dropper. Quicklime (CaO) reacts pretty violently with water and will precipitate out CaCO3 in the presence of carbon dioxide.
 

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Below is calcium hydroxide, I got mine at my local Ace Hardware, but you can order from Amazon too should you need it. I like using it cause it lets me control the sodium levels better.
1618145141542.png
 
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