How To Dissolve Chalk (Calcium Carbonate) When Homebrewing Beer
Beer is 90-95% water, so if you’re an advanced homebrewer, you may have begun investigating ways you can optimize your water to brew the best beer.
Why do homebrewers add chalk (calcium carbonate) to their water?
Most experts agree that beer should have a pH between 5.2 and 5.5. Maintaining this level will allow the best environment for fermentation to occur. If the pH of your water is less than that, you may want to consider adding chalk.
One of the most intimidating concepts to explore in homebrewing is water chemistry. However, with a bit of basic chemistry knowledge, you can begin to understand how calcium carbonate can improve your homebrew.
By adding chalk, you’re quite literally changing the chemistry of the water. If you do it correctly, this will create a more healthy environment for fermentation to occur, resulting in better beer.
What does chalk do to brewing water?
Why doesn’t chalk mix easily with water?
When added to a glass of water, carbonates sink to the bottom without dissolving. This is because they naturally form super strong ionic bonds which are not easily broken by water.
The addition of CO2, however, contributes to the breaking of those bonds.
How to dissolve chalk when homebrewing beer
You can carbonate your own water using a CO2 tank from your kegging system, or even a Soda Stream, but store-bought sparkling water works just fine too.
To be sure, check the ingredients list to confirm the only ingredient is water. Avoid waters with salt, sugar, or natural flavors on the ingredients list.
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