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Old 01-15-2013, 01:09 PM   #1
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Default Merging two hobbies, RO/DI & Beer

Been brewing for many years, but just started up a reefing hobby (and you thought brewing gadgets got pricey) well I bought a 5 stage 75gpd RO/DI unit that I'm thinking of using to brew with also. I always send out a sample to wards every year or so and its always different results. I'm sure the issue is with my county water and not with wards. I'm thinking with a ro/di unit I will always have a constant starting point. I would rather not modify my ro/di because monkeying around with these things just makes stuff leak. Should I send out a sample to get tested to get my baseline or will everything just be zero? Anyone else doing this?

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Old 01-15-2013, 01:22 PM   #2
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Been brewing for many years, but just started up a reefing hobby (and you thought brewing gadgets got pricey) well I bought a 5 stage 75gpd RO/DI unit that I'm thinking of using to brew with also. I always send out a sample to wards every year or so and its always different results. I'm sure the issue is with my county water and not with wards. I'm thinking with a ro/di unit I will always have a constant starting point. I would rather not modify my ro/di because monkeying around with these things just makes stuff leak. Should I send out a sample to get tested to get my baseline or will everything just be zero? Anyone else doing this?
I've been a reefer for 25 years. Sorta got out of it when my tank crashed about 3 years ago (lost most coral, fish are OK), but in the last few weeks I've been messing with it again.

I've got an RO/DI that feeds a makeup water tank. That tank gravity feeds into my sump through a float valve. Maybe that sounds complex, but it's not, and it keeps my tank full all the time (I've got metal halides and VHO actinics and I get a ton of evaporation).

I've never measured the content of the RO/DI output. I have used that water for brewing pilsners. Can't tell you if it improved anything. My pilsners are just meh.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:33 PM   #3
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I don't have the DI part, just the RO. I used an aquarium hardness test kit, and my hardness is dropped substantially, as is the alkalinity. It took one drop to change the color.

In other words, close enough to 0 for me!

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=At_home_water_testing

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Old 01-15-2013, 01:52 PM   #4
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All you really need is a TDS meter. It's more a thumbs-up / thumbs-down approach to your RO membrane than knowing exact numbers. Low or not-low.

Know your baseline TDS and shoot for <5% from the RO. The DI should put you at 0 or 1 (ppm, not %), but I'd also take a sample after the RO to see how the membrane is performing and what kind of demand you're putting on the DI filters as well.

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Old 01-15-2013, 02:50 PM   #5
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You definitely don't need DI water, but RO is a good starting point. To avoid exhausting your DI resins prematurely, you could probably insert a tee in the RO product line with a valve and draw RO water off for brewing. That would be a very consistent source with known quality (essentially zero) to which you can add minerals for brewing water. The recommendations of the Water Primer in this forum are applicable excepting for the occasional need to add alkalinity for grists with high crystal or roast content.

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Old 01-15-2013, 05:09 PM   #6
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I have a dual TDS meter on it, I don't check the incoming water much but I think its around 5 but the water (out) going to my holding tank is 0.

I'll look into placing a tee prior to the DI chamber when I get home, but there's no real harm in using the DI filter right? I've already done up one batch using it. Anyone know what the water is that comes out the waste line of the ro/di?

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Old 01-15-2013, 05:45 PM   #7
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I have a dual TDS meter on it, I don't check the incoming water much but I think its around 5 but the water (out) going to my holding tank is 0.

I'll look into placing a tee prior to the DI chamber when I get home, but there's no real harm in using the DI filter right? I've already done up one batch using it. Anyone know what the water is that comes out the waste line of the ro/di?
No harm at in in using DI water. Its just unnecessary to get brewing water that mineral-free. You do want those minerals in your brewing water and will likely add some back in. The utility of RO water is that you know about what those ion concentrations are and can rely on that relatively 'clean slate'.

The waste water has the same ions as your feed water, excepting at higher concentrations. Since high or variable ionic concentrations are what you are trying to avoid by using RO water, the waste water is of little use. In some cases, the water can be so mineralized that it will kill plants if used for watering.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:39 AM   #8
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I save the waste water to pump through my plate chiller on brew day to cool wort. I figure the occasional plate chiller soak in star san reduces scale buildup from using the RO waste brine.

In my water calculations, I treat the RO water as distilled. TDS meters show it around 2-3 ppm, but my new membrane has only been used for about 5 batches and to filter humidifier water for Virginia winters.

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Old 01-24-2013, 12:27 PM   #9
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No harm at in in using DI water. Its just unnecessary to get brewing water that mineral-free. You do want those minerals in your brewing water and will likely add some back in. The utility of RO water is that you know about what those ion concentrations are and can rely on that relatively 'clean slate'.

The waste water has the same ions as your feed water, excepting at higher concentrations. Since high or variable ionic concentrations are what you are trying to avoid by using RO water, the waste water is of little use. In some cases, the water can be so mineralized that it will kill plants if used for watering.
Martin, since I use your software to brew by, would you suggest setting all my ions to zero? The last batch I did I just "fooled" the program by use 100% dilution RO water, but not all the values defaulted to zero like they do when I select distilled. Whats the best way for me to set up the software?
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:30 PM   #10
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It depends on the water you are using. If you are using that DI water, set the dilution water to distilled. They are equivalent.

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