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Adding Chloride without adding Calcium

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  • Adding Chloride without adding Calcium

    Hello,

    I am looking to add chloride while not adding excess calcium I find that when I adjust my water profiles for certain beers I can hit all the metrics but my calcium is too high for what I am looking to accomplish. My starting calcium is 30ppm and magnesium is 4.8ppm prior to adjustment. I have been trying to find some magnesium chloride to try but I cannot seem to find a reliable food grade source. If I split the difference between CaCl2 and MgCl2 It seems that I could accomplish the numbers I would like to hit while still keeping magnesium a level of around 20ppm.

    Cheers,
    Sean

  • #2
    You didn't mention what your existing sodium level. I find that raising sodium into the 30 to 50 ppm range is fairly innocuous to flavor. Table salt should be on your list.
    WaterEng
    Engineering Consultant

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    • #3
      Kcl is also available. Itís typically a salt substitute so should be easy to find food grade.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by WaterEng View Post
        You didn't mention what your existing sodium level. I find that raising sodium into the 30 to 50 ppm range is fairly innocuous to flavor. Table salt should be on your list.
        So, I have a question, and I know the answer is going to be dependent on your palate. I'm a head brewer who comes from a cooking/baking background. NaCl is one of those tools, in the right concentrations, to bring out all flavors, and in the case of sweet things, to help bring a little balance. Obviously beer is sweet and acidic. Acid is a balancer of flavor as well, and with a medium that is sweet, acidic, and bitter, a little sodium seems necessary from a cooking perspective to bring it all together. (I would highly suggest all brewers read the book Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. It will not only make you an exponentially better cook, but there are a lot of parallels to what we do as brewers.)

        In the reading I've done, Calcium, Chlorides, and Sulfates are suggested to be at a minimum of 50 ppms for to break the flavor threshold. Sodium is suggested to go not more than 75 ppms or else it can add harshness. But, I was very lucky to have a private conversation with John Palmer at a recent conference, and he suggested tying to stay around 100 ppms if possible. And I'll tell you, I haven't looked back. I will hit 100 ppms of sodium for malty beers, I'll keep it 50-75 ppms for hoppy beers, and the flavors have been perceivably changed. I also use Palmer's Structure Flavor Cube when deciding how much calcium to use in a recipe. Those two bits of information have really changed how I use salts to season the beer, and have made the recipes better for it.

        So I guess my question is, as a frequent poster here, what levels do you like to see?
        Last edited by Brewdeco; 05-19-2020, 07:38 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Brewdeco View Post

          So, I have a question, and I know the answer is going to be dependent on your palate. I'm a head brewer who comes from a cooking/baking background. NaCl is one of those tools, in the right concentrations, to bring out all flavors, and in the case of sweet things, to help bring a little balance. Obviously beer is sweet and acidic. Acid is a balancer of flavor as well, and with a medium that is sweet, acidic, and bitter, a little sodium seems necessary from a cooking perspective to bring it all together. (I would highly suggest all brewers read the book Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. It will not only make you an exponentially better cook, but there are a lot of parallels to what we do as brewers.)

          In the reading I've done, Calcium, Chlorides, and Sulfates are suggested to be at a minimum of 50 ppms for to break the flavor threshold. Sodium is suggested to go not more than 75 ppms or else it can add harshness. But, I was very lucky to have a private conversation with John Palmer at a recent conference, and he suggested tying to stay around 100 ppms if possible. And I'll tell you, I haven't looked back. I will hit 100 ppms of sodium for malty beers, I'll keep it 50-75 ppms for hoppy beers, and the flavors have been perceivably changed. I also use Palmer's Structure Flavor Cube when deciding how much calcium to use in a recipe. Those two bits of information have really changed how I use salts to season the beer, and have made the recipes better for it.

          So I guess my question is, as a frequent poster here, what levels do you like to see?
          i always try to get a good amount of Na in malty beers, but hadnt really considered it for hoppier styles. even your ipas and hazy/neipa type beers seem bit better?

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          • #6
            It's primarily in conjunction with high sulfate that elevated sodium content can produce harshness. Unless your water has high sulfate content, you can produce improved flavor with higher sodium. Brewers are unnecessarily wary of table salt as a brewing water addition. An important concept is that most tasters do not perceive 'saltiness' until the sodium content reaches about 250 ppm. That's a lot of salt.

            Up to that point, sodium and chloride can aid in the perception of 'sweetness'. That's one of the reasons that Gose includes a healthy table salt dose, to produce sweetness to counter the acidity. It's not really added to make the beer taste like seawater.
            WaterEng
            Engineering Consultant

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