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I’m fairly new to water adjustments. This in only my fourth batch with additions. One thing I notice is the additions don’t seem to dissolve. I added 9g gypsum, 4 g calcium chloride and 1 g epsom salt to ten gallons while warming the mash water. When I was done heating I could see a good bit at the bottom. Should I be crushing them finer first?

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    The minerals are not really needed during the mash (unless you have very soft water) - so why not add them to the boil. The higher temperature and agitation will facilitate solvation and none will be lost in the grains. .However calcium sulphate (gypsum) is not very soluble so adding it in fine ground form to an excess of wort will help. Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 17:30
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    @barking.pete: I suppose this is about kit brewing, not all-grain brewing? Otherwise the statement 'the minerals are not really needed during the mash' do not make sense.
    – chthon
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 12:00
  • @chthon I think you're confusing yeast nutrients with water profile building. Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 14:21
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    Calcium in small amounts is needed for amylase to function efficiently when mashing, but Mg, SO4 and Cl are not so important for the mashing process. . IMHO the level and ratio of sulphate to chloride ions in solution is important for taste profile of the final beer, not so much the mashing. Adjusting the pH of the mash is relatively important. Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 8:28

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Usually adding to the boil does well to get them mixed.

If you're concerned about clumping you can take some of the hot wort into a cup and slurry the addition to add back to the kettle.

Adjusting strike and sparge water is only needed for adjusting pH. A complete water profile for a specific style of beer isn't critical at this stage.

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  • Well, that is interesting. I guess I just assumed it was at mash time.
    – uSlackr
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 22:15
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    Assumption is the death of all logic... :0) Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 8:31
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I believe best practice is to add your minerals the night before brew day, make sure to stir vigorously. Any minerals that don't dissolve overnight should eventually dissolve as you're heating the water to strike temperature with a bit more stirring.

One notable exception is Calcium Carbonate (Chalk) will not reach desired concentrations in normal conditions. If you need to add calcium carbonate to achieve your mash water profile, you can dissolve it under pressure of CO2 in a keg.

The "Water" book by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski is really a must for anyone who wants to really understand what's going on with water chemistry in the brewing process. It's a bit dense, so it'll probably take a few reads through if you don't have a chemistry background.

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  • So all additions would be part of the mash. That’s counter to the previous answer. A conundrum
    – uSlackr
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 3:17
  • Mineral additions are used for 2 general effects: altering mash chemistry and altering final flavor/mouthfeel. Usually they do both so they are added before the mash. It is possible to add them after the mash if you are only going for flavor/mouthfeel effects. The additions you listed look like they were calculated to enhance mash chemistry, therefore obviously would need to be added prior to the mash. Mineral additions affect more than just pH. For example, calcium stabilizes alpha amylase in the mash. Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 15:09
  • @GnomeBrewer the grain itself has more than enough calcium that amylase "needs". The "need" of calcium is well documented as just a heat shield to prevent denaturing but is already there through skillful growing and malting of the grains. Additional calcium in a mash only fuctions as a base to adjust pH. Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 16:23

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