Hard Water in SD
I've just transitioned to from Extract to AG and have been doing a lot of reading about water and ph.
I would like to brew without diluting or using RO water, as I live in a rural area and it isn't readily available. I have a charcoal filter from B3 that I ran the water through before sending to Ward Lab.
Please help me with my "logic". When I enter this info int Bru'n water, I ascertain that some lactic acid in my mash and sparge water should get me where I need to be. My numbers for calcium, sulfate and chloride don't look to far off (I or at least that is what I think!).
Any help from you pros would be greatly appreciated!
Electrical Conductivity 0.81
Sodium, NA 15
Potassium, K 5
Calcium, CA 108
Magnesium, MG 39
Tot. Hardnes, CACO3 428
Nitrate, NO3N 0.5
Sulfate, SO4-S 46
Chloride, Cl 6
Carbonate, CO3 15
Bicarbonate, HCO3 323
Total Alk, CaCO3 290
I'd consider decarbonating by boiling or lime addition. If you try to knock all that alkalnity out with acid you'll wind up with a fair amount of the anion of that acid (replaces the bicarbonate ions 1 for 1).
I'd say the lime treatment is the best alternative due to the elevated Mg that should be knocked down if possible. Excess lime treatment should be able to drop the Mg to around 10 ppm and the Ca to around 30 ppm.
The other issue with this water could be the sulfate concentration. Its on the high side and would likely make it tougher to make a softer or maltier beer style. Lime treatment doesn't improve that. Maybe a RO unit should be on your wish list.
Thank you for your help!
Follow Up & Thank you
Just wanted to give a follow up and say thank you to AJdelange and Mabrungard. I just finished the water section of Gordon Strong's book and thought...hey, I know those guys! (well sorta).
I decided to install a home RO system and have since brewed 4 batches with minute water adjustments.
I had high hopes of using my tap water, but it didn't work out. These last 4 batches of beer are GREAT!
Thank you very much for your professional input and the time you spend giving advice to homebrewers.
Thank you for the thank you. It is most gratifying to hear that the advice is actually benefiting brewers.
In an interesting aside, my wife got us a summer place on which we settled a couple of weeks ago and we are here trying to get the place squared away for winter. The first time I drank a glass of water from the faucet in the kitchen I was impressed with how really awful it tasted. As if someone had put baking soda into decent water. And, as it turned out there was a reason for that. The water out of the well runs 80 mg/L Ca++ and 28 mg/L Mg++ with alkalinity of 276 ppm as CaCO3. Not quite as bad as damdiver's but close. There is a softener so the water out of that is essentially a baking soda solution. Ecch. So deciding I couldn't drink this stuff we went to the store and bought bottled water. It didn't taste much better. Then I looked at the label. 230 mg/L bicarbonate (and my softened water would be about 337 mg/L). Now the reason for posting this is that my wife, son and some guests all think I'm nuts. They think this water tastes fine. The really intersting part was when I tried to buy an RO filter. The "Home Deopt" logical equivalent, Canadian Tire, doesn't sell the cheapie units we get in the states (this is Quebec) so I had to go to a (2 actually) water treatment places. Now their English is much better than my French but still there's a bit of a communication barrier. Neither wanted to sell me a unit without an analysis so I gave them the analysis. One place did an analysis of its own and recommended a carbon filter. They didn't analyze for alkalinity. My wife asked that establishment to taste the water and they agreed that it was fine. But would sell me a system for $750 installed!
Bottom line is it seems that I find bicarbonate distasteful more so than others and perhaps that should be kept in mind when reading my railings against it.
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