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Old 04-23-2013, 09:41 PM   #1
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Default How good or bad is my water?

I don't really know anything about water treatments or how to tell if my tap water is good to use for brewing. My township has these charts about their water. Is this water OK to brew with? I made a small key at the end for the acronyms. I apologize in advance at how crappy this looks. I wanted it to resemble a chart and this is the best I could come up with. Copying and pasting from a PDF did not work.

Disinfectants and Disinfection By-products

Substance---------------------Unit--------MCL------MCLG----Average------Range of -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Detected------Detected ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Level---------Levels

Haloacetic Acids (HAA5) *-------PPB-------60--------NA-------3.2-----------2.2 to 3.6
Total Trihalomethanes (THMs) * PPB-------80---------NA-------3.1-----------2.3 to 4.2
Chloramine **------------------PPM-------4-----------4-------2.7-----------2.0 to 2.7

* By-product of drinking water chlorination
** Water additive used to control microbes

Unregulated Contaminants

Substance---------------------Unit--------Average-------Lowest-------Highest----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Detected------Detected------Detected--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Level----------Level---------Level

Sodium ***--------------------PPM--------130-----------130-----------130

*** Natural constituent of groundwater



SUBSTANCES WE MEASURED AT THE WATER CONDITIONING PLANT

Substance---------------------Unit--------MCL------MCLG----Highest------Range of ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Detected-----Detected -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Level--------Levels

Barium ****--------------------PPM-------2----------2--------0.01----------0.01 to 0.01
Fluoride *****------------------PPM-------4----------4--------0.88----------0.88 to 0.88

**** Discharge of drilling wastes; discharge from metal refineries; erosion of natural deposits
***** Erosion of natural deposits; water additive which promotes strong teeth; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories

PPB - Parts per Billion, or micrograms per Liter (ug/L)
PPM - Parts per Million, or milligrams per Liter (mg/L)
MCL - Maximum Contaminate Level (The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water)
MCLG - Maximum Contaminate Level Goal (The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health)

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Old 04-23-2013, 11:46 PM   #2
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You don't have all you need for great information for brewing (calcium, magnesium, chloride, sulfate, alkalinity) but the stuff I do see- sodium and chloramine isn't good.

Chloramines can be removed with campden tablets (one tablet crushed and stirred into 20 gallons of brewing water will remove it), but that sure is a boat load of sodium if 130 ppm is correct.

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Old 04-24-2013, 06:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I guess I'll just start buying spring water from the grocery store.

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Old 04-24-2013, 06:59 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. I guess I'll just start buying spring water from the grocery store.
If you're going to buy water, I'd buy reverse osmosis water from the store. It's normally in those big "water machines". Then you can add just a little bit in the way of calcium chloride and/or calcium sulfate (gypsum) to get exactly the water right for brewing.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:02 PM   #5
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Thanks. Is there a thread here or a link you can send my way to help figure out how much of those I I should add?

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Old 04-24-2013, 07:07 PM   #6
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Yes, this one is a "sticky", just above: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/brewing-water-chemistry-primer-198460/

It's very very basic, but it gives a general idea.

I find that using a spreadsheet to help predict mash pH has been a great help for me in brewing. Bru'nwater is a great one, with lots of good water information, but I found it hard to work with at first. I'd still suggest trying that one- as it's really full of wonderful information on water.

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Old 04-26-2013, 03:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
If you're going to buy water, I'd buy reverse osmosis water from the store. It's normally in those big "water machines". Then you can add just a little bit in the way of calcium chloride and/or calcium sulfate (gypsum) to get exactly the water right for brewing.
I'm in a similar dilemma....I have very soft water with high alkalinity and it just doesn't work well for light colored (blondes) beer. I've thought about trying some of that water that's in the "machines" but I can't find out what the analysis is for those either. I've gone to a few different "brands" websites and I get much the same kind of info the OP included, but none of the numbers we need for brewing.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:03 PM   #8
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So first... what kind of beer do you want to brew??? I mean this is the most important thing you need to know when talkinga about water....

We have all these lovely styles in the world because of someone deceide to make beer in: (list of cities from Palmers Book)

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-2.html

I would research first and brew a batch or two for your water second.

Then think about changing the water the water...

DPB

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Old 04-28-2013, 01:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidry View Post
I'm in a similar dilemma....I have very soft water with high alkalinity and it just doesn't work well for light colored (blondes) beer. I've thought about trying some of that water that's in the "machines" but I can't find out what the analysis is for those either. I've gone to a few different "brands" websites and I get much the same kind of info the OP included, but none of the numbers we need for brewing.
Most of those machines are Reverse Osmosis. If you use Bru'n Water you can set your water dilution to 100% Reverse Osmosis and then use it to calculate your additions and pH.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidry View Post
I'm in a similar dilemma....I have very soft water with high alkalinity and it just doesn't work well for light colored (blondes) beer. I've thought about trying some of that water that's in the "machines" but I can't find out what the analysis is for those either. I've gone to a few different "brands" websites and I get much the same kind of info the OP included, but none of the numbers we need for brewing.
I've called Culligan (name brand of water machine at the local Walmart). I asked for information about calcium, magnesium, chloride, sulfate, alkalinity. I got nowhere after 4 phone transfers. When I read the machine more closely it stated that it does a UV treatment, Reverse Osmosis (RO), and a carbon filter treatment. So all that means is that you are getting just water, zero or near zero for the minerals and salts. A blank canvas so to speak. I have been using that water and the The Saq 's water spreadsheet for a year with great results.
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