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Old 03-12-2014, 11:53 PM   #1
newfiebrew
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Default Help with my water.

Hello everyone... I am new to brewing and I haven't actually brewed any beer yet as I am just gathering my equipment for all grain brewing but I have a question about how to deal with my water for brewing lighter beers like a cream ale. I have pretty alkaline water and alot of bicarbonate deposits on my faucets at home so i'm guessing lighter beers will need some water adjustments but stouts and porters would be ok as is.

Here is my water info:

Ca:43mg/l
mg:12
alkalinity:160mg/l
hardness:157mg/l
CL:12mg/l
NA:13mg/l
so4:6mg/l

So I have used John Palmers graph from how to brew and it says I need to add approx 187mg/l per liter to lower my alkalinity for lighter beers but in doing so I put my calcium and sulfates to high so should I dilute 50/50 with deionized water (I can get for free) and if I do how would that change the above values? If I knew the changes caused by diluting I can plug the new values into palmers water spreadsheet and get a adjusted value for the amount of salts to add.Also how much bicarbonate can be removed by boiling your water?

thanks

Jamie.

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Old 03-13-2014, 12:02 AM   #2
abrix
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You could use lactic acid to bring your pH down on lighter beers or dilute with DI water (which reduces all your ion counts proportionately).

Honestly, though, for your first beer? Maybe consider brewing something simplye and brown-ish, get a feel for the process (and managing your fermentation temps!), and enjoy your first batch of homebrew.

Then, maybe for the second batch, brew something more challenging like a cream ale and make some water adjustments.

Just my $0.02.

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Old 03-13-2014, 12:07 AM   #3
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Thanks abrix maybe the cream ale isn't the best place to start but my wife likes lighter beers so I figured that would suit her well... a good first beer impression

So I know a 50/50 mix di and tap water would decrease my minerals by half but how would a 50/50 mix di and tap water affect the alkalinity value would that be halfed also?

I think my mineral counts are kinda low so I really think diluting may put me low on the low side for most of them...maybe lactic acid is the best option?

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Old 03-13-2014, 12:14 AM   #4
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I suppose you want to be sure that you get a chance to brew a second batch, huh?

Alkalinity would be reduced by half, yes.

If you dilute 50/50 (or more), you may want to add back some calcium chloride -- the calcium will help the malt bring the mash pH down to a good place. You will probably still want to acidify your sparge water (say, to 5.7) to be on the safe side; it's surprisingly easy for the pH to rise toward the end of the sparge and leave you with a rough, tannic cream ale.

Finally, I personally prefer Bru'n Water over Palmer's spreadsheet. I am impressed that you are attacking your first batch in this level of detail, so you might as well go a little further down the rabbit hole.

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Old 03-13-2014, 06:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Also how much bicarbonate can be removed by boiling your water?
I think your calcium level is too low for boiling to be effective.

5-6 ml of 88% lactic acid should reduce 8 gallons of water to around 47 ppm alkalinity, and guessing at pH, around 6 or so. That gets you into the range of the Water Primer recommendations stickied above... dilution is also effective. You have to decide what is best. Regardless, your mineral levels are low and will need supplemented. For a cream ale, you won't need a lot.

+1 to Bru'n Water. It is useful to learn how to manage pH and salt additions which can compete in the mash.

I should add, if you are using acid, you really should invest in a good pH meter.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:41 PM   #6
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Starting out with a darker beer like a Brown ale is not a bad idea for this water. That reduces the need for acidification, but it may not eliminate it. That water is actually quite nice, excepting for the alkalinity. Using a tool like Bru'n Water will help decipher how much acid you should dose your mashing and sparging water with for better results.

While I agree that obtaining a good pH meter could be a wise investment to confirm what a program like Bru'n Water tells you, it might be a stretch at an early point in your brewing efforts. I wouldn't worry about that equipment until far down your brewing road. But learning how to dose your water with acid will make a WORLD of difference in your beers.

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Old 03-14-2014, 05:34 PM   #7
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As the DI water is free the obvious approach is to dilute 4:1 or 5:1 and then supplement the salts as directed in the Primer. This will get you started.

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Old 03-18-2014, 03:03 PM   #8
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Thanks for the help guys... so if I dilute with 4 parts my tap water and 1 part de-ionozed water the alkalinity should be reduced enough by this dilution that I would only have to use salts rather than an acid??

I've invested in a 15g boil pot,mash tun and soon a chiller so a ph meter isn't in the cards at the moment.

Jamie.

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Old 03-18-2014, 04:31 PM   #9
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No, it's the other way round - i.e. 4 parts DI water to 1 part tap water. This will reduce all ion concentrations, including alkalinity, to 1/5 the the value given in your report.

You will still need acid - you would even if your alkalinity were 0. 2 - 3% sauermalz should do it. And you will want to supplement the chloride you diluted to practically nothing and having a bit of calcium is a good idea too. See the Primer.

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