Water Composition Question

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ChefMichael01

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I live in NYC and we have relatively soft water here and after going over my water profile realized I am low on calcium levels. Since I'm brewing tomorrow and NYC doesn't have a LHBS store (bastards!), are there any other ways to raise the calcium level in my water without gypsum or other minerals I could only get at a LHBS store?

Thanks

PS - I realize the obvious/easy response to this will be RDWHAHB...
 

menschmaschine

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What is the calcium level and what kind of beer are you brewing?

You could always buy spring water.
 
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ChefMichael01

ChefMichael01

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I'm going to be brewing a standard IPA, nothing fancy. May actually brew a hefe this weekend as well.

My water averages 5mg/L of Ca. Correct me if I'm wrong by mg/L=ppm and the target Ca level (generally speaking) is 100ppm?

Thanks.
 

ScottD13

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You can try to get your hands on some calcium chloride. Try a store that sells pickling salts sells home canning/jarring supplies. Don't use the calcium chloride you spread on ice....


In brewing beers (esp. ales and bitters), calcium chloride is sometimes used to correct mineral deficiencies in the brewing water (calcium is important for enzyme function during the mash, for kettle protein coagulation (the "hot break") and yeast metabolism) and adds permanent hardness to the water. The chloride ions enhance flavour and give a perception of sweetness and fuller flavour


Oh, IPA....scratch that, chloride is not the direction you want to go in an IPA....
 

menschmaschine

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5 ppm is low. Regardless of beer style, 50ppm is the standard minimum. But before adding any calcium-related minerals, I'd want to see the rest of the water report. If your chloride is relatively high, adding CaCl2 might not be a good idea.

You might just consider buying spring water to add a proportion to your own water. That should give you enough calcium without raising the levels of other minerals too high. Also, it won't mess with your mash pH too much, assuming your water pH is already fairly low (if it's naturally soft water). Then, when you're not in a rush to brew, you can figure out the ideal mineral additions for your water and have plenty of time to buy them.
 
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ChefMichael01

ChefMichael01

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I actually wasn't aware that spring water would have the necessary minerals so I appreciate the advice (I guess I mistakenly lumped spring with distilled water in this sense). Here are the key parts of my H20 report if you don't mind taking a look. If I left anything out, please let me know, I'm still relatively new...

(all in ppm)
Alkalinity (CaC03) - 13
Al - 23
Ca - 5
Chloride - 9
Chlorine Residual - 0.68
Flouride - 0.56
Hardness (CaC03) - 19
pH - 7.3
Sodium - 8
Total Dissolved Solids - 48

Just came up with a new question - why are Alkalinity and Hardness both CaC03 (Calcium Bicarbonate?) but have a different mg/L?
 
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