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To add or not to add?



“Using calcium (calcium sulfate, for example) and noniodized salt (sodium chloride) in the foundation water helps the yeast metabolize the complex sugars contained in malt extract. As a rule of thumb, use 2 oz calcium sulfate and 1 oz noniodized salt for a 7-10 bbl batch, adjusting as necessary for water hardness.”
Great Commercial Beer from Malt Extract  by Donald R. Outterson   BrewingTechniques'

One of the things that I have been noticing with the all malt (extract) brews that I have been doing is that they are slightly sweet. To combat this I have been trying to balance this out with hops. Will adding “...2 oz calcium sulfate and 1 oz noniodized salt...” help


Calcium(Ca): 15.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 3.9 ppm
Sodium(Na): 15.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 2.5 ppm
Chloride (Cl): 20.0 ppm
Bicarbonate(HCO3): 66.0 ppm
PH: 0.0 PH
Recipe: Marian Bitter
Brewer: BAY 13 Brewery
Asst Brewer: 4x
Style: MARIAN Export Ale
TYPE: Extract
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 23.00 L      
Boil Size: 23.00 L
Estimated OG: 1.052 SG
Estimated Color: 10.6 EBC
Estimated IBU: 27.1 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: - %
Boil Time: 45 Minutes

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
3.70 kg       COOPER'S UH. LIQUID MALT (9.5 EBC)        Extract      100.0 %      
15.00 gm      Pride of Ringwood [10.00%]  (35 min)      Hops         12.2 IBU      
7.00 gm       Super Alpha [13.00%]  (45 min)            Hops         8.2 IBU      
10.00 gm      Goldings, East Kent [5.00%]  (25 min)     Hops         3.4 IBU      
12.00 gm      Hallertauer [4.80%]  (11 min)             Hops         2.2 IBU      
5.00 gm       Goldings, East Kent [5.00%]  (11 min)     Hops         1.0 IBU      
23.00 L       MARIAN TOWN WATER                         Water                      
1 Pkgs        SafAle English Ale (DCL Yeast #S-04) [StarYeast-Ale                  
Notes: Boiled the Coopers U.H malt with the hops, this darkened the end product considerably but had no noticably impact on flavour.
Your extract brews are "water corrected" in the can (so to speak) so anything you "add" to the brew is just that, added to the brew. If you were doing all-grain it would be different.

You should look at boiling your water the day before and letting sit overnight, or buying distilled water and using it for your brew. (when doing extract) Extracts are corrected when they are made so that all you have to do is boil them. The water you use if you have specialty grains or are doing a "mini mash" is a different story, but correcting something that is already corrected is overkill. Even when doing a mini mash, depending on the amount of grains you have, correcting for your water may be more effort than what it's worth. Unless your water has off taste or odors (or colors) than just boiling it and letting it settle overnight should suffice.

Correcting for your water really shouldn't have any affect on the "sweetness" of your brews. And adding more and more hops won't have the desired affect either (it will just come out sweet and hoppy). You need to look at changing your recipe just a tad... in other words the only malt that you have in it is a can of coopers, so it's pretty much going to taste about the same every time you brew it. You need to try less of the coopers and add something "bland" in it's place.
I'm not using a kit or a can. I have/had 28kg of Coopers unhoped liquid malt. As far as I know This is not corrected(???)
How would you change this recipe ? ???
One thing I hate, is when the answer only raises more questions.
Have a look at the below link.

Ps. Any help on the above recipe onhow to deal withthe sweetness?

While reading this thread and about your problem, I had a few ideas pop into my head about how to make your beer less sweet (including using less extract... :p)

(BTW let me just say that I think that SAHomebrew was onto something when he said to try and use less of the same type of extract, and substitute part of it for another... see *** below)

After reading the article you linked to, however, the ideas I had were listed right there at the bottom of the article...

So I am assuming you have read those suggestions and tried them???

And the bottom line of the article listed is that the extracts may not be *all malt*, because they have been "altered".  The thing is that what they are adding (looked mostly like glucose) should break down into fermentable sugars after a boil anyways, so it sounds like if your saying that your beer is too sweet, that its not fermenting all the way, or it was not boiled long enough... :-/  (also I didn’t see any reference to calcium sulfate, and or salt helping yeast metabolize complex sugars... complex sugars should break down in the boil, to simple sugars (sucrose and fructose) to boot...)

***I am thinking mini mash (which was listed in the article), which is VERY easy, requires no extra equipment (besides a grain sack... which is like 30 cents), and will add body, flavor, head retention, less sweetness for the amount of sugars donated, and a whole lot more depending on what you put in your mini mash.  

On websites like www.homebrewheaven.com you can order grains, they will crack the grains for you and send them to your house for a pretty reasonable price, with no requirement on the amount of grains purchased (I ordered like 6 oz. of grains recently, and they sent them with no delay).  

If it is the fermentation that is the culprit, Check your fermentation procedures... is it excessively cold or warm where your primary is?  did you use a starter with your yeast?  

One more thing... do you use the BeerSmith software??  It should give you a pretty good idea of what the final OG should be so you can compare.  if your final OG is higher than the software says, odd are your not fermenting all the way...

I hope this helped you in someway or another...

I'm not using a kit or a can. I have/had 28kg of Coopers unhoped liquid malt. As far as I know This is not corrected(???)
How would you change this recipe ? ???

Malt extract (kit, can, or 55gal drum at your HBS) is in the most basic sense dehydrated beer. If it's hopped or unhopped just means if it has hops or not, but it is still boiled down wort.

Brew Your Own magazine did a two part article on malt extracts and the history of Oct & Nov 2004 (yes I have them) and because it is "reduced" wort that was made from an all-grain brew that is just like any other all-grain brew, the water was corrected for style, area, and PH and whatever chemical imbalance of the water. Why do you not think yours is not water corrected? That's why extract brewing is recomended to use distilled water or boil it the nite before and let it settle overnite.

I'm not knocking you for extract brewing, hell 95% of the people here most likely started that way, I did and still do because I don't have space for an all-grain setup.

Your malt is water corrected.

By-the-way, the references to the article about malt extracts are over 10 years old... a lot has changed in ten years. You also state your extract is Coopers, Coopers been around since 1862 and is not "cheap" stuff.
saylinaway did bring up a very good point about your boil time. 45 minutes may not be long enough. Are you timing 45min of rolling boil or from the time you put the heat to it?

I boil mine anywhere from 60-90 and start the clock when I get a rolling boil.
Here is the link where all my questioning started

I rang coopers today to ask about their product (28kg Malt Extract Code 709) and was informed that the malt that I have does not contain any adjuncts, so I have come to the conclusion that my  problem lies in  another area such as letting it ferment out longer in the secondary fermentation, so that it drops these last few degrees where I'm sure that this sweetness is contained.
As yet I have not brewed again since posting the original article, so I haven't tried anything yet.
But let me explain, where I live in central QLD there is no culture of all grain brewing like there is down south. nor are there grains available locally. So the best  alternative for me COOPER'S UH. LIQUID MALT. It's cheaper than the kits that I was making i.e.  Kit & 1.5 kg Morgans Pale malt extract. Moving to the  COOPER'S UH. LIQUID MALT has given me a degree of control that I didn't have before.
If I'm wrong about letting it sit longer in the secondary, then I will look at doing a partial mash. I tried this before and didn't have much success.

Why do you not think yours is not water corrected?

When it comes the water being corrected, I'm just not getting it.
I understand that you are saying that kits are corrected, but why correct a  UH. LIQUID MALT that could be used for many stiles of beer > Dark larger and ales? Would knowing the water profile
that was used when making the extract help?

...”If possible, make at least a portion of your wort from malt, performing a "partial mash." In addition to enhancing flavor, it will add utilizable FAN....”

This may be labouring the point, but from the info that I received from coopers, my wort is all malt even though it has been made up from extract

Your malt is water corrected.

Ok I going to ring coopers again and ask them if their malt is corrected, any other questions I should ask them?

Hey I do appreciate your help, it's good to get another point of view
Finding that beer that you want to brew till you die is proving elusive.

4x (XXXX)

Est Original Gravity: 1.052 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.053 SG

Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.015 SG

Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.1 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.0 %

Bitterness: 27.1 IBU
Calories: 501 cal/l

Est Color: 10.6 EBC
This is probably not going to come accross the way I would like it too, but.

Your malt extract started it's life as an all-grain wort, I mean they didn't make an extract from an extract correct? So it started out as an all-grain brew. They water was corrected at that time, for PH, sodium, cloride, what have you. OK so they corrected the wort and finished up the boil, then they went through a series of reduction phases to turn the wort into a liquid the consistancy of molassass. This whole time since the end of the boil, the wort has had nothing added to it, just taken away, water. Nothing has been added since the boil.

Hopped or unhopped makes no difference in the malt except to add IBU's or not. That and flavor. But it has no affect on the malt being corrected or not, the two are not the same thing. You keep mentioning that your malt is unhopped, and that's fine, but it doesn't affect the way it was made (except that hops where not added during the boil)

So now you have malt extract. For all intents and purposes this is just unfermented beer. In the right conditions it will ferment into beer. God only knows what it would taste like, and I don't think I care to know. But you have unfermented beer. You take it home and add it to hot water to dilute it. You are just diluting the wort/beer and you boil it, add hops, maybe some specialty grains, whatever you plan on adding.

Now here is the key: You use chemically neutral water i.e. boiled the previous nite and allow to sit (to settle out any solids in your water) or a bottle of distilled water (availible at most supermarkets in the 5 gallon plastic jug, and even in 1gal milk jugs) you do this so that if you ever use any other type of malt extract, you will get the "water" affect from the area that your malt came from. Example, if you use Weyermanns malt extract, you can make a very authentic tasting Octoberfest.  ;D (it is very tasty by the way) Weyermanns isn't cheap though  :'( and can be a pain to get.

But does that help you understand that your malt IS corrected? I mean, malt extract isn't grains that they mashed until they got juice out of it, then added something to make malt extract. They made wort. The process started when the brits were trying to figure out how to ship beers to their different (domains?) around the globe. The same idea that started the IPA. How do we ship beer? It turned out to be easier to "reduce" the wort, ship it, and "reconstitute" the beer where ever it was headed, ferment it, and voala! Beer!

It's the same thing for powdered malts. Just dehydrated wort.

But they all started out as an all-grain brew.
Since I have never seen an all grain done I wasn't aware of the process correcting the brew.  Is this just to do with the boil (what is the reason for the correction) or correcting the water to match a water profile that lends it's self to larger or ale such as you have in BeerSmith?

I am no SA but the correction is done for many reasons.  the water type in a certain area DOES lend itself to different styles of beers.  Certain beers do better with certain amounts of minerals in the water.  What SA is saying is that the maker of the extract has done this for you so that all you have to do is add plain old distilled water to achieve the desired beer style.  

Just for an example, even in the same country, the water determines the style of beer brewed.  Which is why certain parts of Germany are famous for thier darker Oktoberfests, and Bocks, and other parts are world renowned for thier hefewiezens.  Also Ireland is famous for its "stout" right... have you looked at the water profile in beersmith??  there is a huge amount of minerals in thier water.  

The minerals in the water (corrections made by the extract producers and or what you put in yourself or via your tap water) also help determine the final clarity of the beer, as the minerals in the water help pull the protiens out of the wort and settle them to the bottom.

Since I have never seen an all grain done I wasn't aware of the process correcting the brew.  Is this just to do with the boil (what is the reason for the correction) or correcting the water to match a water profile that lends it's self to larger or ale such as you have in BeerSmith?


It can be done to match a water profile, but most of the time it's just to correct for PH or water hardness (or softness) during/before the mashing process, or for some other chemical that is just to high. Compare your water to other water profiles and you'll see if yours is out of wack or not (compared to what style your making).

But you can also micromanage your brewing too far. In other words, if your water has no off colors or flavors or smells (the trick to this is your "accustomed" to it) boiling it the nite before will work fine... Joey at Bluestar in San Antonio does nothing more than filter the water he uses (and corrects for PH). If your water has any strange odors/colors (limestones typical in Texas) then you may be better off using distilled or spring water.

I don't do anything more than boil my water the nite before and let it sit covered overnite and no one has ever complained about "strange" taste in my brews.

Your PH is 0.0? or you just don't have that reading?
Well here is some info I got from Coopers

Sodium 3mg per 100g
Potassium 310mg per 100g
Protein  4.8mg per 100g  > 78 brix
The water used in the making of the extract was put through a R.O. Filter system

The water PH of my water is 6.9

The next brew that I put down I'll make a bigger starter and see if it will ferment out further

Well here is some info I got from Coopers

Sodium 3mg per 100g
Potassium 310mg per 100g
Protein  4.8mg per 100g  > 78 brix
The water used in the making of the extract was put through a R.O. Filter system

The water PH of my water is 6.9

The next brew that I put down I'll make a bigger starter and see if it will ferment out further


I wouldn't worry about what they have/have not done to there water, it's in the extract already (when you start doing all-grain you can).

They run their water through an RO system, so it's just purified/filtered water, you can acheive the same thing by using a water filtration system (the ones with the cartriges) or buying bottled water (or just boil it the nite before and let it sit overnite covered).

I'm not sure what you hope to accomplish with a bigger starter though... I don't think it will help you with the sweetness problem. If your beer is supposed to ferment to the 1.016-1.020 range, a bigger starter is only going to start it out faster  ??? not make it less sweet.

Question, have you used the same malt extract for all your brews?

If yes, I would suggest a lighter extract next time (color). It may just be you don't like "sweeter" beers (I don't, I like them more on the bitter side) it may be something as simple as the style of beer you are trying to make.
Only couple of things I would mention:

- Do boil for a full 60min

- You might try splitting your malt extract in half
    - one half at the start of the boil
    - the other half at the 45min mark