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Old 07-12-2012, 09:31 PM   #1
lmckenny
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Default Arlington, VA Water Report Help!

Would the hardness be OK for AG? I am making my first switch from extract so any help reading this would be of great help!




http://www.arlingtonva.us/department.../file86239.pdf

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Old 07-13-2012, 11:12 AM   #2
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What you have here is the typical largely useless (to brewers) fluff report put out by the water authority to reassure consumers that they aren't going to get typhus nor lead poisoning from the water. Arlington gets its water from the Corps of Engineers Dalecarlia plant. Go to http://www.dcwater.com/waterquality/test_results.cfm. The first item there is a .pdf download of the District's water quality report. As they also take their water from the Dalecarlia Plant the results pertain to Arlington water as well.

Reports aside, lots of people do all grain in Arlington without much treatment or no treatment at all. It is the alkalinity which is of major concern and while it is a wee bit higher than one might like at 64 ppm as CaCO3 it is not much to worry about when starting out. This water is good for lots of styles of beer.

When you get more into it you might want to look at the Primer which will recommend cutting the water with RO water and using supplemental calcium chloride and possibly calcium sulfate. More and more people in the DC area are doing this. It makes better beers but the ones you make with the water straight out of the tap will certainly be decent.

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Old 07-13-2012, 09:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
What you have here is the typical largely useless (to brewers) fluff report put out by the water authority to reassure consumers that they aren't going to get typhus nor lead poisoning from the water. Arlington gets its water from the Corps of Engineers Dalecarlia plant. Go to http://www.dcwater.com/waterquality/test_results.cfm. The first item there is a .pdf download of the District's water quality report. As they also take their water from the Dalecarlia Plant the results pertain to Arlington water as well.

Reports aside, lots of people do all grain in Arlington without much treatment or no treatment at all. It is the alkalinity which is of major concern and while it is a wee bit higher than one might like at 64 ppm as CaCO3 it is not much to worry about when starting out. This water is good for lots of styles of beer.

When you get more into it you might want to look at the Primer which will recommend cutting the water with RO water and using supplemental calcium chloride and possibly calcium sulfate. More and more people in the DC area are doing this. It makes better beers but the ones you make with the water straight out of the tap will certainly be decent.
Wow thanks for the help. The local homebrew store told me not to use the water at all! It seems to me I should boil/ crush half a camden tablet in at the very least.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:14 PM   #4
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Wow thanks for the help. The local homebrew store told me not to use the water at all!
I assume that was not Derek.

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It seems to me I should boil/ crush half a camden tablet in at the very least.
That you probably should do. 1/4 tablet should be enough for 5 gallons.
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Old 10-11-2013, 01:51 AM   #5
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Sorry to resurrect an old thread - but I just moved to Arlington and am excited to start my first batch. Forgive me if I'm asking dumb questions, but I haven't had chemistry in quite a long time. A refresher never hurt.

Since the Arlington water profile is a little low in Calcium and Magnesium with semi-high alkalinity, I'm thinking I'd add Calcium Sulfate for most brews, and Calcium Carbonate for darker beers. Based on the fact (and John Palmer's numbers) that I'd want to add about 50 ppm of Calcium, I'd add .75 tsp of gypsum to the average batch. I don't think I'd be overdoing the sulfate since its low already.

I'm unsure the effect RO would have on the water. Do I cut the tap water by 20%? Would I cancel out my gypsum additions with this? Should I do one or the other?

Thanks!

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Old 10-11-2013, 02:55 AM   #6
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There is no simple answer which satisfies all men for all beer styles. The Primer does a fairly decent job of doing that but is only intended to serve as a starting point. The philosophy behind it, which applies to all water supplies, not just Corps of Engineers water, is that alkalinity is the enemy. You get rid of alkalinity by diluting it away with RO water with the reduction being to 1/2 for 1:1 dilution, to 1/3 for 2:1 and so on. Calcium, magnesium and everything else get diluted by the same factors but given that you are doing whatever is necessary to topple alkalinity you take the hit on the other ions and then make up for the losses by adding calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, sodium chloride....

This is the simplest approach and can be as sophisticated as you want to be. You can make any physically realizeable (I only mention this because a lot of the 'profiles' in books and articles are not physically realizeable) ion profile from RO water and a few common salts. But there are other ways to get rid of alkalinity i.e. you can wipe it out with acid. This is a bit more complex as you must consider the anion of the acid. One approach is to use phosphoric acid and ignore the anion on the basis that it hasn't much flavor.

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