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Old 02-05-2013, 02:36 PM   #11
JPFuller
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Ken, I agree that our water is generally good, except for bicarb. When using dilution I have found that the slightly more expensive DI water is superior to R/O, and now you have discoverd why-thanks. How are you generally acidifying your mash for light beers, acid malt, lactic or other? On a side note, what if any area clubs do you belong to, been considering joining one for sometime and looking for recommendations.

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Old 02-05-2013, 02:49 PM   #12
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On pale-colored beers like pilsner, helles, blonde ales, extra-pale ales, etc. I will typically use some amount of CaCl to boost the calcium and chloride (and lower pH) and then use 88% lactic acid in the mash and I check the mash pH with ColorpHast strips which are the better/more expensive strips. Probably not as accurate as a meter but many brewers tell me that they are plenty good for checking the pH of the mash and sparge. I will use acid malt as well (usually around 4 ounces in 5 gallons of beer) and I'm usually a little careful when I do that because I can never tell what effect it will have on pH. I don't want to get everything set with water, grains, additions, acid, etc. and find that I am slightly lower pH-wise because of the acid malt. I realize it's not like dropping an acid bomb into the mash but it sometimes seems like an unknown so I watch it carefully. I also agree about the distilled water. I watch to see if I find it someplace for 69¢ a gallon or something and then pick up 12 or 15 bottles. I do not belong to a "club" but there is a great local board here... http://www.free90free.com/peshchat/ ... and I know most of the brewers there. We get together occasionally (just last week at Emmett's in Palatine) at a brewpub or someone's house, have a few beers, discuss brewing, etc. This is a great group of guys who make some great beer. The board can get a little slow but it's a good place to hang out if you want to meet some of the locals. Head over there and register and I guarantee you there will be a gathering in the next few months. Cheers.

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Old 02-05-2013, 02:54 PM   #13
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will do, thanks

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Old 02-05-2013, 03:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenlenard View Post
My path was clouded a little bit because I was picking up bulk "RO" water and diluting for pale-colored beers and my beers were not coming out much better. I finally decided to send some of that "RO" water to Ward Labs and found that it still had a TDS number of 68 and a bicarb number of 50 which is not right for RO water.
Ah, the poster child of why all RO users should have a TDS meter. A RO unit is a machine with components that eventually fail. That meter is cheap insurance that allows you to confirm the water you expect is what you are getting. TDS meters are inexpensive and fairly rugged.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:10 PM   #15
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Ah, the poster child of why all RO users should have a TDS meter. A RO unit is a machine with components that eventually fail. That meter is cheap insurance that allows you to confirm the water you expect is what you are getting. TDS meters are inexpensive and fairly rugged.
That issue alone caused some confusion for me and made me wonder what else I might be doing wrong. I made a lot of beer with that water thinking that my numbers were better than they were. I should have checked that water earlier but now that I know... a lot of things are making much more sense and I feel like I have all the right tools in my toolbox. Thanks again to all the water guys who share their knowledge and expertise of this subject. I feel that it's one of the areas that brewers need to embrace a little more enthusiastically.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:53 PM   #16
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]Look to see if you can find a current Evanston water report. The source is the same but they do their own analysis. Not sure if they treat the water the same but that shouldn't change the mineral numbers.

Good idea, I will look, don't know if Evanston posts theirs or if they would mail a copy to me, but it would be a good way to double check Chicagos quarterly report.
Arlington Heights posts theirs online. Its the Evanston water.
http://www.vah.com/assets/1/public_w...Report_(3).pdf

And this is from an older link here:

Hey everybody in Evanston, IL, I have the water report for all the minerals and whatnot...

pH: 7.8
Total Dissolved Solids: 214 (units?)
Electrical Conductivity: 0.36 mS/cm
Cations/Anions: 3.6/3.2 me/L

Sodium, Na: 11 ppm
Potassium, K: 1 ppm
Calcium, Ca: 41 ppm
Magnesium, Mg: 12 ppm
Total Hardness, CaCO3: 153
Nitrate, NO3: 0.2 ppm
Sulfate, SO4: 9 ppm
Chloride, Cl: 13 ppm
Carbonate, CO3: < 1 ppm (undetectable)
Bicarbonate, HCO3: 136 ppm
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3: 112

Looks pretty good for brewing right?
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:14 PM   #17
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I'm in Buffalo Grove (Lake Michigan water) and my numbers, as analyzed by Ward Labs look like this:

pH: 6.6
Total dissolved solids (TDS): 264
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm: 0.44
Cations/Anions, me/L: 3.3 / 3.4

Sodium: 13
Potassium: 2
Calcium: 34
Magnesium: 12
Total Hardness: 135
Nitrate, No3-N: 0.4
Sulfate, SO4-S: 9
Chloride: 21
Carbonate, CO3: <1
Bicarbonate, HCO3: 138
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3: 113


I would say that it's generally good for brewing but I like styles on the low end of the SRM range and the bicarbonate level can be troublesome.

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