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Old 09-29-2012, 04:47 PM   #1
rhenson
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Default BeerSmith 2 Water Profiles and the Water Primer

Okay, I'm just getting into looking at water. Low efficiency brought me here.

So, the first thing I did is order a brew test on my water from Wards - I'll post my results below, but that is not what my question is about.

Putting the results into beersmith, and then asking it to calculate what I need to do to make my water be similar to that say in Denver, CO, I get a set of additions to make - including epsom salt, chalk, etc.

Is this just to get my levels similar to Denver, CO - which has a ph around 7-8 - and then I need to also make the recommendations in the primer (Baseline: Add 1 tsp of calcium chloride dihydrate (what your LHBS sells) to each 5 gallons of water treated. Add 2% sauermalz to the grist.) to get the ph down?

So...tweak my local RO water to model a region and then also treat it as the primer notes to get the ph down?

If this is the case - I think my first step would really be to just apply the primer to my RO source to get this process working first - would you agree?

Okay - thanks for the great section, and for any help.

Here are my RO water source results from Ward Laboratories:

pH 7.1
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 8
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.01
Cations / Anions, me/L 0.2 / 0.1

Sodium, Na 2 ppm
Potassium, K < 1 ppm
Calcium, Ca 2 ppm
Magnesium, Mg < 1 ppm
Total Hardness, CaCO3 5 ppm
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.1 (SAFE) ppm
Sulfate, SO4-S < 1 ppm
Chloride, Cl < 1 ppm
Carbonate, CO3 < 1 ppm
Bicarbonate, HCO3 6 ppm
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 5 ppm
Total Phosphorus, P 0.26 ppm
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01 ppm

"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit


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Old 09-29-2012, 06:06 PM   #2
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Low mineralization in the brewing water does not reduce efficiency. In fact, the total gravity potential for a grain or malt is found by mashing in a "Congress Mash" procedure which uses distilled water. Look at other components of the mashing process for improvements in efficiency. The primary culprits are typically the fineness of the crush and the speed of the wort runoff from the mash tun.

I don't recommend trying to duplicate any city or region. I suggest targeting recommended ranges of specific ions that benefit the style of beer being brewed. The color-based water profiles in Bru'n Water provide guidance of that sort.

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Old 09-29-2012, 06:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhenson View Post

So...tweak my local RO water to model a region and then also treat it as the primer notes to get the ph down?
The Primer assumes you do not want to deal with your local water or variations in its composition so that it assumes that you will dilute it first before applying the recommendations of the primer thus...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhenson View Post
If this is the case - I think my first step would really be to just apply the primer to my RO source to get this process working first - would you agree?
...this is exactly what you do. If you want total control and independence you use straight RO and adjust it to resemble whatever water supply you want or to have any mineral profile you want by adding acids, bases and salts. But you can consider your tap water a source of certain acids, bases and salts and use it as a source of these though that approach is limited in flexibility and is definitely subject to variability in your source water. Plus the calculations get tougher. This is great if you are interested enough in how all this works and like optimization problems (How much of this salt, that salt and the other salt plus how much of my tap water do I add to my RO water to most closely approximate the following ion profile.....?) but you can't do those terribly accuately with most of the available spreadsheets/calculators.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rhenson View Post
Here are my RO water source results from Ward Laboratories...
Your RO system is apparently working. You don't really need an analysis of RO water beyond TDS. You can buy inexpensive TDS testers for about the cost of a Ward Labs analysis. All you need to do is monitor TDS over time. As long as it stays low you can assume the system is working and plug in 0's for all the ions in any spreadsheet you are using. When the TDS starts to creep up that's when you turn your attention to maintenance of the system.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input - I will say that I really enjoy the brewing process, and I like to have a home brew while doing so...I like to get into it and learn, but in the end, my goal is really to nail down a process that results in really good beer without having to do technical analysis each time - I don't enjoy that - Once I get this figured out, knowing myself, I suspect that I will identify a process that I can follow session after session, achieving quality results...and that will be good enough for me.

Thanks again!

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