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Old 10-19-2013, 03:09 PM   #1
motleybrew
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Default Help me with my water

I've begun to iron out the variables within my brewing process as much as possible. My water quality is actually the thing most in my control currently (no temp. control for ferment).

My local water report says this:

calcium: 3.82 ppm
chloride: 55.4 ppm
magnesium: 1.21 ppm
sodium: 8.56 ppm

calcium hardness (which means CaCO3 content, right?): 14.5 (ppm I'm assuming)

With that information, I arrived at adding .5 tsp of epsom salt (magnesium sulphate), and .5 tsp baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to each of my 4 gallon batches (6 gallons pre-boil).

Does that sound about right to achieve a balanced profile?

Oh yeah, stated pH is 7.55 from the water report, but during mashing, the natural acids in the grain should bring that down to about 5.56, according to the calcs I've found on the net.

Anyone have any suggestions for treating my water?



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Old 10-19-2013, 04:16 PM   #2
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This is probably a low alkalinity water, but the test results are not complete enough to state that with confidence. But with that said, there may not be a need for more alkalinity and blindly adding baking soda could be dangerous. The alkalinity of the mashing water needs to be coordinated with the needs of the grist. In many cases, adding acid is probably a need for the mashing and sparging water.

Don't add magnesium to the water unless you are brewing a bitter beer. There is enough magnesium in the malt for brewing.

Do try to complete the water report. You need the alkalinity (bicarbonate) and sulfate content of the water.



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Old 10-19-2013, 07:49 PM   #3
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I took the calcium hardness to mean TA based on this info:
http://www.linerworld.com/pool_info/articles/136/1/What-is-Calcium-Hardness/Page1.html#sthash.2X4PCM5w.dpbs

With that, I figured I had the whole picture as far as beer making is concerned. What other minerals should I be looking at? I have more info but only posted what I thought was most important as read in Palmer's book

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Old 10-19-2013, 09:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motleybrew View Post
My local water report says this:

calcium: 3.82 ppm
chloride: 55.4 ppm
magnesium: 1.21 ppm
sodium: 8.56 ppm

calcium hardness (which means CaCO3 content, right?): 14.5 (ppm I'm assuming)
A calcium content of 3.82 mg/L corresponds to 50*3.82/20 = 9.55 ppm as CaCO3 which has nothing to do with CaCO3 other than that 50 is half its molecular weight. Furthermore, the 55.4 ppm chloride amounts to 1.6 meq/L anions and the total of the three reported cations is only 0.7. Thus what you have reported cannot exist unless there is some other metal (or other cation) present in reasonable quantity. We know that there is going to be some bicarbonate and possibly some sulfate which only makes the cation/anion imbalance worse. Evidently you have mis transcribed or misunderstood some part(s) of your report.


Quote:
Originally Posted by motleybrew View Post
With that information, I arrived at adding .5 tsp of epsom salt (magnesium sulphate), and .5 tsp baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to each of my 4 gallon batches (6 gallons pre-boil).

Does that sound about right to achieve a balanced profile?
No. If you add something balanced (a real world salt) to something imbalanced (the profile you supplied) the result is imbalanced.



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Originally Posted by motleybrew View Post
Anyone have any suggestions for treating my water?
First step is to understand what you really have.
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Old 10-20-2013, 12:22 PM   #5
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This is the info I have.

First, I calculated the water profile with the brewerfriend tool. The results are in line with the beer I just made that came out really malty.
capture.jpg

So, when I plugged in my additions as suggested above, it balanced out, according to the tool.

The second image is the actual report released by the water authority.water.jpg
The last image is the additional info I received when I emailed them for extra info.extra.jpg

I put the additions in to my latest beer and can say that the hop profile is significantly more pronounced. And according to Palmer's table, my additions don't look too far off base.
palmertable.jpg

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html

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Old 10-20-2013, 09:15 PM   #6
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I'd suggest sending a sample off to Ward Labs, they have a report that is geared towards brewing. Looks like your missing Total Alkalinity and Calcium Carbonate numbers from the report you have.



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