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Old 08-03-2012, 03:12 PM   #1
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Default Brewing Water

The town i just moved to has a water analysis on their website. I have never adjusted my water before, but now that i have an analysis to base off of i dont see any reason why i shouldnt. Unfortunately i dont know understand the report. Can someone help me with brewing water for IPA/Pale ales?

http://www.cliftonforgeva.gov/files/CCR%202011.pdf

Thank You!!

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Old 08-03-2012, 03:59 PM   #2
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You need more info. For brewing the concentrations you need to know are Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Cl-, (SO4)2-, and alkalinity. The city probably tests for these and has this info, but you'll most likely have to call someone to get these values since they don't put them in the report.

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Old 08-15-2012, 02:26 PM   #3
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Well i finally heard back from the plant manager with this:

"We run PH, Cl2, fluoride and alkalinity tests on a daily basis. These results vary from day to day depending on various factors so if you could give me a call....."

Will this information help or will i just need to send my water off to get tested?

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Old 08-15-2012, 02:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nootay View Post
Well i finally heard back from the plant manager with this:

"We run PH, Cl2, fluoride and alkalinity tests on a daily basis. These results vary from day to day depending on various factors so if you could give me a call....."

Will this information help or will i just need to send my water off to get tested?
I'd send it for a sample. You still need sulfate (S04), and calcium. It's about $16.50 for a good test for brewing water from Ward Labs.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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The parameters that interest you for brewing are different than what interests them for general water quality. I would find a testing lab that tests what you want (as posted previously) and send it to them.

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Old 08-15-2012, 05:19 PM   #6
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If the guy is willing to take your call, take him up on it. Ask for
Alkalinity
pH
Calcium Hardness
Magnesium Hardness
(or total hardness and calcium hardness)
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Nitrate
Iron
Manganese
Chlorine/Chloramine

Tell him that you don't understand what all these mean but that you have access to people who will explain them to you.

The most troublesome aspect of this is the "These results vary from day to day depending on various factors..." part. Depending on how much variation there is the results of a Ward Labs (or other lab) test can be rendered useless as what comes out of the tap today may little resemble what came out on the day you collected the sample for analysis. And it also can render what he tells you on any given day if you don't brew that day useless. If the variability is wide your options are

1. Call this bloke each time you brew
2. Test the water yourself each time you brew
3. Install an RO system

Obviously option 3 is the least painful once the initial pain of buying and installing the system has been born. Even with wide fluctuation is input water quality the output quality will be about the same.

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Old 08-29-2012, 01:20 PM   #7
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well they sent me a pile of information. hopefully you can help weed through this:

Parameter Concentration Limit and Standard Test Result (Exceedances in Bold)
1002 ALUMINUM 0.05 – 0.20 MG/L SMCL < 0.05 MG/L
1005 ARSENIC 0.010 MG/L PMCL < 0.002 MG/L
1010 BARIUM 2 MG/L PMCL 0.022 MG/L
1015 CADMIUM 0.005 MG/L PMCL < 0.002 MG/L
1020 CHROMIUM 0.1 MG/L PMCL < 0.01 MG/L
1022 COPPER, FREE 1.3 MG/L Action Level < 0.01 MG/L
1028 IRON 0.3 MG/L SMCL < 0.05 MG/L
1030 LEAD 0.015 MG/L Action Level < 0.002 MG/L
1032 MANGANESE 0.05 MG/L SMCL < 0.01 MG/L
1035 MERCURY 0.002 MG/L PMCL < 0.0002 MG/L
1036 NICKEL < 0.01 MG/L
1045 SELENIUM 0.05 MG/L PMCL < 0.01 MG/L
1050 SILVER < 0.01 MG/L
1052 SODIUM 2.03 MG/L
1074 ANTIMONY, TOTAL 0.006 MG/L PMCL < 0.002 MG/L
1075 BERYLLIUM, TOTAL 0.004 MG/L PMCL < 0.002 MG/L
1085 THALLIUM, TOTAL 0.002 MG/L PMCL < 0.002 MG/L
1095 ZINC 5 MG/L SMCL < 0.01 MG/L

Parameter Concentration Limit and Standard Test Result (Exceedances in Bold)
0100 TURBIDITY < 0.1 NTU
1017 CHLORIDE 250 MG/L SMCL < 5 MG/L
1025 FLUORIDE 4.0 MG/L PMCL 0.99 MG/L
1044 ORTHOPHOSPHATE < 0.05 MG/L
1055 SULFATE 250 MG/L SMCL < 5 MG/L
1064 CONDUCTIVITY @ 25 C UMHOS/CM 80 UMHO/CM
1905 COLOR 15 COLOR UNITS SMCL < 5 CU
1910 CORROSIVITY SMCL 9.01 AGGR
1914 CALCIUM HARDNESS 27 MG/L
1915 HARDNESS, TOTAL (AS CAC03) 34 MG/L
1925 PH 8.5 pH SMCL 6.21 SU
1927 ALKALINITY, TOTAL 23.5 MG/L
1930 TDS 500 MG/L SMCL 40 MG/L


Parameter Concentration Limit and Standard Test Result (Exceedances in Bold)
2251 METHYL TERT-BUTYL ETHER < 5 UG/L
2378 1,2,4-TRICHLOROBENZENE 0.07 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2380 CIS-1,2-DICHLOROETHYLENE 0.07 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2941 CHLOROFORM 0.0075 MG/L
2942 BROMOFORM < 0.5 UG/L
2943 BROMODICHLOROMETHANE 0.002 MG/L
2944 DIBROMOCHLOROMETHANE < 0.5 UG/L
2955 XYLENES, TOTAL 10 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2964 DICHLOROMETHANE 0.005 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2968 O-DICHLOROBENZENE 0.6 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2969 P-DICHLOROBENZENE 0.075 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2976 VINYL CHLORIDE 0.002 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2977 1,1-DICHLOROETHYLENE 0.007 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2979 TRANS-1,2-DICHLOROETHYLENE 0.1 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2980 1,2-DICHLOROETHANE 0.005 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2981 1,1,1-TRICHLOROETHANE 0.2 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2982 CARBON TETRACHLORIDE 0.005 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2983 1,2-DICHLOROPROPANE 0.005 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2984 TRICHLOROETHYLENE 0.005 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L
2985 1,1,2-TRICHLOROETHANE 0.005 MG/L PMCL < 0.5 UG/L


Also in the email was this:

"As far as chlorine results are concerned, you may be better positioned to offer historical data that are specific to the particular neighborhood, but the latest bacteriological sample submitted to us reported chlorine of 0.45 ppm"

These samples were taken in April 2012.

Thanks for the help!

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Old 08-29-2012, 01:55 PM   #8
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Here's the list of things I suggested you ask for and the results extracted from their report:

Alkalinity 23.5
pH 6.21
Calcium Hardness 27 ppm as CaCO3 (10.8 mg/L)
Magnesium Hardness 17 ppm as CaCO3 (4.1 mg/L)
Chloride < 5
Sulfate < 5
Sodium 2.03
Nitrate --
Iron 0.05
Manganese < 0.01
Chlorine/Chloramine ~ 0.45?

This is pretty good stuff. It must be well or spring water judging from the low pH and as I recall Clifton Forge is in a mountainous region over near the West Va border.

This water is soft enough that you can use the recommendations of the Primer and that's doubtless the simplest route for you at least to get you started. I'd have a look there and come back here with additional questions. An alternative to the Primer is to use one of the spreadsheets or calculators. They, however, require some investment in time to understand what they are telling you. At some point you should make that investment but probably not as you are just starting out.

WRT to the chlorine/chloramine: if you can smell chlorine in a glass full of your water after letting it sit over night and while pouring it back and forth between glasses then it needs to be treated for chloramine. Add 1/4 Campden tablet to each 5 gallons being treated.

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Old 08-29-2012, 02:09 PM   #9
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Thanks! So based on the primer:

"Double the calcium chloride and the gypsum."

Thats what i should be doing for a pale ale/ipa, correct? The baseline is 1tsp of calcium chloride, but doesnt mention gypsum. Also, since i have chlorine/chloramine, should i be adding a 1/4 of a campden per 5 gallons? Also, does anyone have a recommendation for a ph meter?

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Old 08-29-2012, 02:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nootay View Post
Thanks! So based on the primer:

"Double the calcium chloride and the gypsum."

Thats what i should be doing for a pale ale/ipa, correct? The baseline is 1tsp of calcium chloride, but doesnt mention gypsum.
Quote:
For British beers: Add 1 tsp gypsum as well as 1 tsp calcium chloride

For very minerally beers (Export, Burton ale): Double the calcium chloride and the gypsum.
That is what it says but I really think you should start out with just calcium chloride. That will certainly get you a drinkable beer provided you do everything else (sauermalz, tight control of mash temperature and pH, healthy yeast pitch, proper oxegenation, proper fermentation temperataure) right. Then, when the beer is ready to drink, taste it and then taste it again but with a little gypsum added to the glass. If you find that this improves the taste then brew it again with some gypsum added to the mash water. Again I recommend that you work up gradually. Perhaps half a tsp of gypsum and half of calcium chloride. If you like this beer better then you are a sulfate lover (not everyone is) and should continue experimenting with different levels of sulfate. Remember that no one can tell you what the proper levels are (not that I'm carefully avoiding mentioning ratios as it is the absolute amounts of sulfate and chloride that determine what the beer is like) as you are tuning for your own palate.

Be sure to work up to the 1 tsp each level slowly. I predict that you will not like 'very minerally' beers as most people don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nootay View Post
Also, since i have chlorine/chloramine, should i be adding a 1/4 of a campden per 5 gallons?
We don't know that you have chloramine. That's another question for the supplier: "Do you chloraminate?" If the answer is yes then you can either do the sniff test as described in #8 or use the 1/4 tablet as insurance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nootay View Post
Also, does anyone have a recommendation for a ph meter?
I stay away from this question because I haven't tested all the meters out there. Let's face it. You aren't going to get a good pH meter for less than several hundred dollars. You have a choice of several that are adequate for under $100 but you need to be aware that what those extra couple hundred dollars are buying you is stability. If you check calibration frequently during the brew day, e.g. before and right after each reading then you are going to be OK with an inexpensive meter. The only one I have any experience with is the Hanna pHep and I know lots of people here use them with success.
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