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Old 04-24-2012, 07:05 PM   #1
HopRodGR
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Default Missing Information in my water report

Hello,

I'm just starting to get my arms around water chemistry and how to start adjusting it for my mash. I've read through my municipality's water report, and after reading Palmer's chapter on water in How to Brew, and a number of threads on HBT, I'm not sure if the report tells me everything I need to know. Below is the pertinent information that I found in the report that would relate to brewing:

Sodium (ppm) 34.3
Sulfate (ppm) 51.1
Calcium (ppm) 36.0
Chloride (ppm) 94.0
Hardness (ppm) 180.0
Magnesium (ppm) 29.0
Link to Report: http://www.plainfieldchartertwp.org/pdf/misc/water/PCTWaterReport2012.pdf

It doesn't look like they specify whether the Total Hardness is specified in Bicarbonates (HCO3) or Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3).

If I performed a GH/KH test as outlined by BrauKaiser (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=At_home_water_testing) and used an aquarium ph test, would that fill in the blanks from my water report, or is there something I'm missing? Any help that can be provided from all of you water experts out there would be appreciated.

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Old 04-24-2012, 08:19 PM   #2
mabrungard
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Using Bru'n Water, I can get a sense of the water report. There are errors in the reported parameters since that amount of Ca and Mg is well above 180 ppm hardness. But assuming that the Ca and Mg are correct, the alkalinity can be estimated by balancing the cations and anions and assuming that there aren't any other major ions missing. That indicates about 120 ppm bicarbonate or 99 ppm alkalinity as CaCO3.

Overall, that is a pretty mineralized water and it might not be the greatest for brewing all styles. It could work, but I'm betting that the water is more likely to impart a minerally taste to some lighter flavored beers.

You might also check out the Water Knowledge page on the Bru'n Water website for more intensive water information.

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Old 04-24-2012, 09:19 PM   #3
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Funny report. They list, for example, harndess as "amount detected 180" and "range low - high 118 - 180" IOW they report the maximum as the amount detected. Using the middle of the range for all parameters with ranges and adding carbo to balance electrically I can crudely estimate the alkalinity (4.3 end point) as being 144 ppm as CaCO3 assuming the water's pH is 7. This is a very rough estimate as my approach of taking the average of the minimum and maximum is hardly robust.

Your best bet would be to send a sample off to Ward Labs who will return a report with the missing pH and alkalinity data. You will also be able to compare its numbers to the ones listed on the municipal report.

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Old 04-25-2012, 01:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the insight guys. Nice to know there was a reason I kept feeling like I was missing something. I was leaning toward getting the Ward Labs test anyway, then monitoring the alkalinity and hardness throughout the year with an aquarium test kit, but hearing from you both made getting the test a no brainer. Should be interesting to see how it matches up to the township's water report.

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