Adding Salt to Beer Brews (& making Gose)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A good beer should be worth its salt 

Some beers even have salt added!

I once had a boss who added table salt to granny smith apples (the green, sour ones) as it made them taste even better, I tried it and she was right. By adding a pinch of salt, it tasted better.

It's the same reason bartenders will rim a glass with salt for a margarita.

Salt in beer is associated with the “rediscovered” German beer style, 'gose'.

The 'gose' can be described as a tart, spicy, wheat style where the salt adds a nice, crisp, briny note to contrast the tart flavors.

salted belgian chocolate trout

The reality is you can do all kinds of beer styles with the addition of salt.

  • An IP that features toasted coconut and Himalayan pink salt!
  • A salted caramel stout!
  • A saison featuring roasted sunflower seeds and Outer Banks sea salt!

The world is your oyster, even salted Oyster Stouts work!

gose beer salt added

Why do you add salt to a beer?

The intended effect of adding salt is to achieve 'beer balance'. It can act as a counter to a beer's bitterness.

However, when we think of salt, we generally think about table salt which is the kind found in the sea, sodium chloride.

But in the science realm, a salt can be many things and such salts can be added to your beer to change the make up.

There are all kinds of salts that can be added to beer though - gypsum salt being

Ultimately, it’s the trace minerals in the salt that are adding the additional flavor.

Salts can also be used to adjust mash pH, which is a crucial element of making good beer for example brewers can use lactic acid to reduce the pH level).

Brulospohy did an experiment to determine the effect on beer and confirmed it can alter taste and aroma - much to a drinker's satisfaction.

So, you add Sodium Chloride (table salt) to a beer to counter a tart taste and you can add all kinds of 'salts' mainly calcium and magnesium based to your beer to achieve a reduction in pH levels.

Make sense? 

'How to brew' has some great guidance on how to use these kinds of salts in your brews. 

To test if your briny addition has achieved ph balance, you'll need to use a pH meter or colour coded pH test strips (the same as Kombucha brewers use). 

When do I add salt to beer brew?

Make your mineral adjustments to your brewing water before mashing and fermentation i.e can be done during the boil. 

If you are making a pale ale, it may not be the salt you are after - you may be on the path of altering the alkalinity of your beer and may wish to consider adding calcium instead of sodium chloride

How do I add the salt to my wort?

We suggest you place the desired amount to a glass, add just enough water to dissolve it, and then pour in the beer wort. If you don't dissolve it first it can make the beer foam like crazy.

What is a Gose style beer?

Originating hundreds of years ago in Germany's Goslar region, where the mining town’s mineral-rich water gave the local wheat beer a saline edge, give the sour ale with a sharpness that played well with its twangy, lemony profile.

Modern craft brewers look for new twists on old brews have revived the ale, and it has become somewhat popular again.

Because of the use of coriander and salt, the goes style does not comply with the Reinheitsgebot, the famous German Beer Purity laws - however, it gets a pass due to it being a 'regional speciality brew'.


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