Water Treatment for Brewing 3.6: Brewing Salt g/tsp Conversion

[Miniseries Part One, Two, Three, Three-point-Five, Three-point-Six, Four]

Another bonus post!  This is a quick post to help those without accurate scales to add brewing salts for water treatment.

I am now regretting numbering the first bonus water treatment post 3.5 instead of 3.1, but that’s neither here nor there.  In the table below, you’ll find how much a teaspoon or mL of each salt weighs in grams.

Compound Common name Company Form g/tsp (g/mL)
Calcium carbonate Chalk LD Carlson Fine powder 3.30 (0.669)
Calcium chloride LD Carlson Small pellet 3.59 (0.728)
Calcium hydroxide Slaking lime Ms. Wages Fine powder 2.73 (0.554)
Calcium sulfate Gypsum LD Carlson Fine powder 3.24 (0.657)
Sodium carbonate Baking soda Great Value Fine powder 4.81 (0.976)

All were measured on a AWS-100 1/100 gram resolution scale.  One measurement was taken with each of two different tablespoons, averaged, and divided to find the weight of each volume listed.

[Miniseries Part One, Two, Three, Three-point-Five, Three-point-Six, Four]

– Dennis,
Life, Fermented

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About Dennis
Home brewer, home chef, garage tinkerer. Author of Life Fermented blog.

3 Responses to Water Treatment for Brewing 3.6: Brewing Salt g/tsp Conversion

  1. Archie Sutton says:

    I found your comments about brewing and calcium on a bone broth mineral content page. I was searching out the actual calcium content in bone broth, specifically chicken. I was looking at doing a “cock ale,” but with a modern medicinal take, combining an Oskar Blues, Gubna clone – of sorts – with the cock ale. I was disappointed to find how low the calcium content was in the broth. Even using pure chicken broth to sparge with would only get me to 30-40 mg of calcium per beer, not the leg cramp remedy I was looking for (nor appealing). I was curious if you had any idea on how to increase the calcium in a soluble form for an ale?

    • Dennis says:

      Archie,
      Unfortunately, this is not an easy task, and the short answer is I do not know of a way. The problem is, if adding into the mash, calcium compounds will combine with phosphate compounds from the malt. The calcium precipitates in an insoluble form, and the mash pH drops. If added during the sparge, some calcium might make it through; I’m not sure exactly how fast those reactions occur.

      So lets say some calcium makes it into the kettle, via direct addition or from your sparge. At this point, some will drop out with your trub- calcium helps protein coagulation and forms a nice hot break. Any left at this point will be readily taken up by the yeast. They use it as a cofacter (aka helper compound) during fermentation, and to help them flocculate. And more to the point, an over-abundance of calcium, over say 150 ppm (mg/L) is not good for the boil or fermentation, even ignoring whatever other ions you have to put in to get calcium that high (remember: you can’t add calcium without adding something else, like chloride, sulphate, carbonate, etc).

      That leaves you with adding calcium after fermentation. The problem is finding something that won’t alter the flavor in a negative way; ions like those above will have a flavor impact still. My only thought would be calcium citrate in a beer that you don’t mind being a little fruity/sour, like a fruit or brett beer. Even then, I would be worried about the impact on bottle conditioning if you don’t keg. But I am really just guessing at this point – this is way out of my experience range. I’d brew up a small 1 or 2 gallon batch of something and just add varying amounts of calcium citrate or whatever right to the bottle and see which will still bottle condition and what the flavor effect is. Be sure to dissolve it in water or a small amount of beer before adding anything carbonated directly to it, or it will foam up like crazy.

      And to your question of using chicken broth in the sparge: This is an interesting idea! I would advise that you make your own broth with no added salt, if you decide to go this route, however. The sodium content of even “reduced sodium” broths would be more than enough to make your hops come across as very harsh and tannic. There are a few very slightly hopped beers that actually take advantage of this fact to balance the sweetness of the beer instead of using more hops, but their name escapes me at the moment. Also, be sure to take great care to remove any fat and oil; I would refrigerate it and skim everything off before using.

      Please let me know the results of any experiments!
      – Dennis

  2. Archie Sutton says:

    Dennis, just refreshed to find an immediate response, thank you. Comments are interesting and confirming my thoughts after your bone broth comments and what you wrote here. There is a way to take bone broth down to almost liquify the bone if you cook for almost 48 hours. And yes i was going to make my own broth and freeze filter, but am still concerned of the calcium content in a liquid state and that a lot of broth to sparge. I’m thinking lots of summit hops and a slight overdose of caramel malts, much like you mentioned above. Yes i would be bottle conditioning, so could experiment with some bottles. Thanks again, let you know when i try it. Archie

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