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Water adjustments dangerous?

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somedudefromguam

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Okay, brewing just seemed to get way more complicated for me...
I am reading up on water adjustments, I would like to adjust my water to have a more mineral-y profile similar to Burton on Trent. I use well water that I think is considered hard, but I have no real evidence to support that. It has a nice clean flavor, not like minerals, just clean.

So I was re-reading the third edition of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and Charlie states "caution and knowledge of water chemistry should be pursued by the homebrewer before adding any chemical to water used for consumption. " I don't understand if he is saying "don't be an idiot and add a bunch of stuff you found at the fertilizer store to your brewing water" or if he is saying "you can add too much calcium carbonate and can poison yourself"...

Anyway, I added 1.5 grams of Calcium carbonate, .1 grams of sodium chloride, .1 grams sodium bicarbonate, and .6 grams of gypsum to my mash water. (2 gallon batch by the way) I mashed in minutes ago and am waiting for a negative starch test. I should also say that my mash water started at 5.2 according to the PH strips that I use, after the additions the strips started to change a purple color that is not described in the PH strip kit (only measures 4.6-6). I hope I didn't smurf everything up by adjusting the water profile before the mash. I did this because it sounds like calcium carbonate and gypsum wont dissolve very well in boiling wort, so I added everything before I heated the mash water...
 

Yooper

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What you added isn't at all dangerous, but unnecessary and possibly unpalatable.

First, calcium carbonate won't dissolve properly so it's "wasted". A little gypsum and salt won't hurt you.

But without knowing where you are starting, you can't really get where you want to be.

You can get a water report from Ward Labs, and then add what you need to in order to get the water you want. They are $16.50 for a full report.

In this case, it'd be like making spaghetti sauce and saying you wanted to have a spicy sauce. But without knowing what else is already in there, adding oregano and onion probably won't help. It also probably won't hurt.

The same is true in this case. You didn't add much of anything of any use. It probably won't hurt. But it probably won't help, either.
 
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somedudefromguam

somedudefromguam

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First, calcium carbonate won't dissolve properly so it's "wasted".
So, how is calcium carbonate properly added. And how was it wasted? All of the books I have say to add it to the mash and 1 gram =106 ppm calcium and 147 ppm bicarbonate.
 
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I think Yooper is saying that until you know where you are, you really can't get to where you want to be. You need a baseline. Get your water profile first, then you can make additions specifc to that profile. Just adding stuff to your water may make your beer better, but it's just as likely to make it worse.
 
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I use EZ-Water. It's a spreadsheet that will help you understand your existing water profile and how additions will impact it. I think it's pretty easy to use. I think it has helped me out a lot. There are other products out there as well. I can't vouch for them.

It's free and can be found at : www.ezwatercalculator.com
 

ajdelange

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So, how is calcium carbonate properly added. And how was it wasted? All of the books I have say to add it to the mash and 1 gram =106 ppm calcium and 147 ppm bicarbonate.
It is properly added by mimicing the way nature does it i.e. by dissolving it with carbonic acid. This is one reason why few knowledgeable brewers use it.
 

Kaiser

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calcium carbonate is not wasted. It just takes more than what you would expect since it doesn't appear to dissolve completely in the mash. I experiments point to a utilization of ~50% in most mash environments.

Kai
 
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