When to add brewing salts?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Jesse14, Apr 7, 2013.

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  1. Jesse14

    Jesse14 Initiate (151) Jul 21, 2011 Massachusetts

    When is the best time to do your brewing salt and chemical additions? Add to the strike water? Add to the mash while mixing in the grains? Also, how long do you wait to measure pH after the mash starts to make sure everything has leveled off? Last one, do you add salts to the sparge water too? I see that Brunwater suggests it yet Braukaiser gives you the option to just add to the mash.
  2. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,277) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Strike water or mash when doughing in.
    Mix well, get the mash temp set, then take a sample.
    Adding to the sparge water is fine, sometimes I just put that addition in the boil.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,336) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    One thing to keep in mind is that minerals added to the strike water/mash affect mash pH as well as flavor. Minerals added to sparge/boil affect flavor, but don't affect the mash pH. So the answer to your question depends somewhat on what you are trying to achieve.
    warchez likes this.
  4. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (1,825) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I usually add to the strike water and the sparge water, but I've read that since I'm using RO water I can add the sparge addition to the boil kettle instead. I wound up doing that for the first time when I made an English Mild and it just so happened to be the first BJCP medal winner I've brewed! Not saying it's what caused the win but my point is that it certainly didn't hurt the quality of the resulting beer.
    FeDUBBELFIST and PortLargo like this.
  5. Jesse14

    Jesse14 Initiate (151) Jul 21, 2011 Massachusetts

    Trying to dial in on the mash pH and improve the flavor. I feel comfortable on the mash additions that are required for flavor and pH. I have been comparing the results from different calculators out there to look for consistencies. The Brunwater seems the most comprehensive for input data but it is also the only one that suggested salt additions to the sparge water. I guess I was wondering if those are necessary and make a difference.
  6. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,336) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    So now you're into flavor (and in the case of calcium, yeast flocculation) considerations. Unfortunately, although a calculator can give you ppm results of any additions you may be pondering, it can't tell you what's right for flavor. That comes from trial and error and personal preference. As a starting point, it can be helpful to think about whether the best examples of whatever style you are brewing come from brewers/regions with soft or hard water.
  7. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Aspirant (267) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    Here's my question:
    When step-mashing...are salts split proportionally between water additions?

    IOW...if the initial strike volume is notionally 4G and the step addition is 2G...should 2/3 of the salts be added to the initial volume and the remaining 1/3 added to the step addition?
  8. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,336) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I don't do much step mashing, but I think the answer to your question would depend on whether or not you want to optimize the pH for each step. If so, I think the calculations would be a bit of a PITA. The answer won't be proportional additions.

    If you want the same pH for each step, this would also call for some calculations, because proportional additions still wouldn't get you there.

    I suspect hopenunmaltz has some experience with this and hopefully will chime in.
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