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Old 08-07-2011, 12:49 AM   #1
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Default Chlorine/PH Levels

What should my levels read for Chlorine and the PH? Currently my Chlorine level is ideal for a swimming pool around 2.5, that just does not seem right! My PH levels is through the roof, above 8.5, I believe if I am correct, it should be around 5.2
Any ideas on how to remove Chlorine? I bought an inline RV filter that was supposed to remove Chlorine but in fact it did absolutely nothing. Any suggestions on what I should do or how I can lower the Chlorine and PH balances without having to always buy gallons of water from the store.

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Old 08-07-2011, 01:46 AM   #2
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A activated carbon filter will remove chlorine effectively when the flow rate is properly limited. That means that for the typical 10" undersink filter canisters, the flow rate should be no greater than 1 gal/min. If the filter is smaller, then the flow rate must be further reduced.

Water pH means almost nothing out of the tap. The more important measure is the water's alkalinity. Alkalinity and pH can be reduced effectively with acid addition. The problem with acid is when the alkalinity is high and the amount of acid needed to reduce the alkalinity to desirable levels leaves a noticable taste in the beer. AJ Delange worked up the equations for estimating proper acid dosing based on the starting water alkalinity and pH. Bru'n Water has those calculations incorporated.

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Old 08-07-2011, 02:23 AM   #3
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Wow, that's slow... I turned the flow rate down and it changed the taiste a little but the chlorine was still swimming pool quality. I just went and bought spring water as a temporary fix until I can become more educated on the chemistry of water pre-boil.

Had to throw out 4 kegs of beer due to an overly bad flavor and I think it was due to the chlorine levels of the water (?)... I thought it was maybe a bacteria at first so out of sheer curiosity, I let them sit four five months, periodically checking them but it resulted in the same off flavor with nothing "growing" inside. I noticed some of them had a difficult time carbing as well. Does that sound like bad water chemistry??

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Old 08-07-2011, 02:23 AM   #4
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You are confusing chloride ion (Cl-) reported as such in mg/L with the combination of hypochlorite ion (OCl-) and chloramine, if you supplier uses it and he probably does, (NH2Cl). Both of these, are reported as the amount of chlorine they contain. Chloride ion is not detrimental to beer at reasonable levels. Quite the contrary, it contributes to roundness, body and sweetness. The combined forms of chlorine (OCl- ion and NH2Cl), conversely, can form chlorphenolics which are plastic or phenolic like in smell. They must be removed from water before it is used in brewing.

"Free" chlorine (OCl-) is easily removed by simply letting the water stand over night or bringing it to a boil. Chloramine (NH2Cl) can also be removed by these methods but the water must stand for a week or more and the boil must be hours in duration. With free chlorine the heat can be removed as soon as the water boils.

As noted, activated carbon filters will remove both forms of chlorine.

A much simpler approach, and the one used by most home brewers is to add one Campden tablet (about 600 mg of potassium or sodium metabisulfite) to each 20 gallons of water being treated. The chloramine will be gone. Chloride, sulfate and sodium or potassium will be increased slightly and some ammonium ion will also be present. These are at small enough levels they can be safely ignored.

You are also confusing desired mash tun pH (5.2 - 5.4) with water pH which, also as noted in #2, generally has little bearing on the effects of the water in the mash tun pH.

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Old 08-07-2011, 02:34 AM   #5
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Well, another place I might be going wrong is the test kit I grabbed and used out of curiosity was our pool test kit. Any suggestions on a fairly decent priced home brew water test kit?

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Old 08-07-2011, 02:51 AM   #6
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A lot of home brewers use kits from aquarium supply stores. For hardness you need a kit that does magnesium and total or calcium and total and I'm not sure whether the aquarium kits do that. Also, many are of German origin and, thus, caibrated in dH (degrees Hartung) the German measure of hardness (and alkalinity). Kits for chloride and for chlorine/chloramine ara also available from Hach as are kits for iron, copper, manganese etc. You would only test for these if you had a problem with them. There is no inexpensive test for sulfate or for sodium. pH measurement requires an electronic meter which is a "nice to have" for water testing but a critically important instrument when it comes to measruiing mash pH.

I have always used kits from Hach (www.hach.com) but LaMotte also makes them.

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Old 08-07-2011, 02:56 AM   #7
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Thank you for your advice and knowledge! It is greatly appreciated!!

Brian

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Old 08-07-2011, 03:40 AM   #8
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Another potentially dumb question. Has anyone created a "chart for dumbies" on what levels are ideal for brewing?

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Old 08-07-2011, 10:33 AM   #9
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No because "ideal" can be described in various ways in brewing. Some of those are
1. Most pleasing to brewer
2. Wins contests
3. Most authentic
4. Pleases mother in law
5. etc.

That aside there are some guidelines in the Primer in the Stickies section of this topic that will get you started. The general philosophy there is to start with a "blank sheet of paper" i.e. water with low mineral content (RO, DI...) and add small amounts of salts with what those salts are determined by broad categorization of the type of beer (i.e. continental lagers, british ales, dark beers, light beers...).

With regard to the testing: I should have mentioned that most beginning brewers send their water out to Ward Labs for testing. You get a complete (includes sodium and sulfate which you cannot reasonably test for at home), fairly accurate test for around $20 which is a lot less than a set of the kits will cost you. It'd usually the advanced guys that do their own testing and few of those do.

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Old 08-08-2011, 02:28 PM   #10
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I use the Primer that AJ did, great way to adjust your water. Before that I used several of the profiles in BreWater 3.0, many of which are Mosher generated or targeted to various brewing cities. In the end it's easier to go with AJ's method and for most of my beers I can use the same adjustment.

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