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Old 12-31-2010, 05:40 AM   #1
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Default Clarifying my Bicarbonate/Alkalinity for Beersmith

It's been way too long since quantitative analysis in college so I defer to the experts.

I have my water report with the usual numbers but Beersmith is looking for bicarbonate as HCO3 and my water report has the following.

Total Alkalinity (CaCO3) = 44
Noncarbonate Hardness (CaCO3) = 75
Total Hardness (CaCO3) = 120

IIRC you can get HCO3 from CaCO3 by multiplying CaCO3 * 1.22

Which of the CaCO3 values from my water report am I supposed to use here?

Thanks in advance~!!

While I'm in here, my Chlorine-Free (not chloride or chloramine) level is 1.5ppm. I haven't had any issues with off flavors yet but is this a potential problem being the level is so low?

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Old 12-31-2010, 12:09 PM   #2
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Of the three value reported "as CaCO3" none actually is the amount of calcium carbonate dissolved but rather a measure of the equivalence of, respectively, the amount of acid required to lower sample pH to 4.3 (alkalinity - this is the one you are interested in), the equivalence of the amount of EDTA required to chelate all the calcium and magnesium (total hardness) and the total hardness minus the equivalence of calicum and magnesium, all muliplied by 50 (because if 100 mg of calcium carbonate is dissolved in a liter of water using natures way, i.e. carbon dioxide) there will be, at normal potable water pH, 2 mEq/L calcium and approximately 2 mEq/L bicarbonate. 2 mEq/L * 50 = 100 ppm "as CaCO3". So total alkalinity of 44 corresponds to 44/50 = .88 mEq/L. As nearly all the acid in the alkalinity titration would go into H+ + HCO3- --> H2O + CO2 the equivalence of bicarbonate is the same and, as the equivalent weight of bicarbonate is 61 the bicarbonate concentration is 0.88*61.

If the chlorine is indeed all free (as opposed to the amount in chloramine expressed as free chlorine) then you should have no problem with it but it is simple enough to test whether it is likely to be problematical. In a nutshell, if you can't smell it it won't bother you. Let some of the water stand in a beaker overnight. If it doesn't smell of chlorine in the morning then there was no chloramine and you can proceed. If it does, there is chloramine in which case just add a quarter of a Campden tablet for each 5 gallons and brew with that.

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Old 12-31-2010, 01:46 PM   #3
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There's no hint of chlorine in the water either fresh or left over night so I think I'm good there. Like I said, I've been brewing with it for 2 years with no issues. I was just debating about putting a filter inline with the new brewing rig.

So if I understand your breakdown of the bicarbonate (which I may not since I just woke up) my value of HCO3 for beersmith is .88*61 or 53.68. Am I tracking right here?

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Old 12-31-2010, 03:25 PM   #4
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Yes, = 44.*1.22

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Old 12-31-2010, 03:31 PM   #5
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Thanks! It's ringing some bells, but way off in the corner of my mind. Time to forget everything I learned again.

Thanks again, have a Happy New Year!!

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