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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Help with Johannesburg Water Analysis
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:55 PM   #1
Bru
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Default Help with Johannesburg Water Analysis

I got a water report reflecting most elements except Hardness is expressed as CaCO3 instead of HCO3 which makes using Brewers Freind difficuilt. I'd appreciate some help.

pH : 8.05
Hardness as CaCO3 : 72.36

The following elements are in mg / L :
Ca : 16.87
Cl : 10.11
Mg: 7.35
Na : 7.92
SO4 : 16.7

What I'd like to know is which style is the water suited to as is ?
If I wanted to brew a stout what do I need to add and how much ?
Same if I wanted to brew a pilsner ?
Any other comments to help me understand water analysis would be appreciated.

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Old 07-31-2009, 02:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bru View Post
I got a water report reflecting most elements except Hardness is expressed as CaCO3 instead of HCO3 which makes using Brewers Freind difficuilt. I'd appreciate some help.

pH : 8.05
Hardness as CaCO3 : 72.36

The following elements are in mg / L :
Ca : 16.87
Cl : 10.11
Mg: 7.35
Na : 7.92
SO4 : 16.7

What I'd like to know is which style is the water suited to as is ?
If I wanted to brew a stout what do I need to add and how much ?
Same if I wanted to brew a pilsner ?
Any other comments to help me understand water analysis would be appreciated.
First thing I'm going to do is throw this link at you: Water And Homebrewing

It's a very nice and concise primer into brewing water. While not exactly Pilsen water yours is fairly soft with low mineral content. To keep it simple I would just add some calcium chloride to get the Ca+ up to 50-75ppm (mg/L) to brew a pils. You will want to use some calcium carbonate for both calcium content and buffering function for a stout or similar dark ale. There are other online water calculators and programs available but if you boost the CO3 up to 150ppm or so it will at least get you started.
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Old 07-31-2009, 07:27 AM   #3
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Thanks for the help.
Is the low magnesium a problem ?
Also - the pH is too high (8.05) - will the added Ca bring it down ?
Will I need to add lactic acid as well ?
Should the sparge water be treated the same as the mash water ?
When should I check the pH of the mash - how long after starting the mash ?
Free Chlorine is 1.21 - is that high ?
When does one add Calcium Chloride and when does one add Calcium Sulphate ?
(hi, Ive got 300 quick questions )

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Old 07-31-2009, 10:03 PM   #4
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Thanks for the help.
Is the low magnesium a problem ?
No. A little magnesium is good but you don't need much and too much is a problem so don't worry about Mg right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bru View Post
Also - the pH is too high (8.05) - will the added Ca bring it down ?
The pH of the water is of little importance. It is the pH of the mash that is of prime concern. Once you achieve the correct ion balance in the water for the beer being brewed the pH of the mash should fall into place.

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Will I need to add lactic acid as well ?
No.

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Originally Posted by Bru View Post
Should the sparge water be treated the same as the mash water ?
You can although the sparge water is where an acid addition makes the most sense. A small quantity of lactic or phosphoric (my preference) acid to bring the water pH to 7 or below will help insure that the pH of the runoff does not rise too quickly.

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When should I check the pH of the mash - how long after starting the mash ?
Make sure everything is thoroughly mixed, the temperature is stable and give the molecular process 10 minutes or so to get its' act together.


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Originally Posted by Bru View Post
Free Chlorine is 1.21 - is that high ?
1.21 what? If the chlorine taste and/or smell is noticeable then take steps to eliminate it before brewing. Letting the water stand overnight or preheating it will drive off elemental chlorine.

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When does one add Calcium Chloride and when does one add Calcium Sulphate ?
Generally I would use calcium chloride for lagers and calcium sulphate for ales. Sulphate enhances the hop edge that is more likely to be a pale ale component.


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(hi, Ive got 300 quick questions )
Yes, you do.
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:58 AM   #5
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Thanks for the help BigEd.
Im concerned that by adding calcium sulphate alone the sulphate levels will rise too high - will it be better to add Calcium Chloride as well ? I was thinking of 5g of each.
What should I add to the sparge water to bring the ph down ?
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bru View Post
Thanks for the help BigEd.
Im concerned that by adding calcium sulphate alone the sulphate levels will rise too high - will it be better to add Calcium Chloride as well ? I was thinking of 5g of each.
What should I add to the sparge water to bring the ph down ?
Your SO4 is low to begin with, I wouldn't be concerned with adding calcium sulphate for any ale. As I said earlier I use calcium chloride for light & amber lagers to bump up Ca+ so as not to raise the SO4 for those beers which tend to have a different hop profile than the typical ale. Mixing the two salts is fine, I do that often. Again for acid additions to sparge water lactic and phosphoric acids are the most commonly used. I don't know what is available in your area but most homebrew retailers in the US at least carry lactic acid. Any non-flavor enhancing food acid could be used I suppose. Tartaric acid or even cream of tartar might work in a pinch.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:59 AM   #7
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Thanks again

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