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Old 10-10-2013, 12:33 PM   #11
Pelican521
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Thanks AJ, I've read about chalk not dissolving well (probably from something I've read from you, so could I substitute baking soda for it?

On a side note, I'm wondering if my water is suitable for brewing? Could you tell me what you think of my water report? I'm not sure if any of the inorganic compounds would be a problem or anything else would make it unsuitable for brewing.

Or would it be better idea to "cut" some of my water with spring water? I do 5 gal boils so I was thinking 3 gal spring water to 2 gal my water.

Would that be a good idea or should I stick with my spring water (or go all tap water).

Thanks for your help.

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Old 10-10-2013, 01:13 PM   #12
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Your supplier has really gone out of his way to conceal the important information from you as neither hardness (Ca++, Mg++) nor alkalinity data are given. Absent those it is pretty hard to draw any conclusions or make any recommendations. Sodium, chloride and sulfate are all at reasonable levels and your harndesses and alkalinity probably are too but you need to find out what those are. You can easily test for those yourself (get kits from Hach) or (less expensive but one shot) send a sample off to Ward Labs. None of the organics would be problematical as they are all at compliant levels and it is very likely that the alkalinity and harndess numbers will be reasonable too.

The one scheme that always works is to use RO water as consideration as to what is in the original supply is, once the RO system is designed and installed, no longer a factor. The big disadvantage with RO, IMO, is that brewers are no longer forced to learn any water chemistry. The big advantage is that it is a blank sheet of paper you are starting with and the same every time you brew. Just add a few salts and go.

Lime and sodium bicarbonate are both acceptable sources of alkali should any be needed (RO or your tap water).

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Old 10-10-2013, 02:21 PM   #13
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hmmm, that's strange. Maybe I'll just stick with the spring water since I don't want to buy a R/O unit at this time.

My local grocery store doesn't sell it either.

I may do a mash test with 2 gal of my tap water and see what happens.

Thanks for your help.

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Old 10-11-2013, 12:33 PM   #14
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I'm not sure what you are calling strange. Not publishing the information needed by brewers is not strange at all. In fact I have only heard of one utility that does have a portion of their report specifically dedicated to brewers (bless them!). Many utilities post a thorough analysis but most just what is required by regulation. Regulations do not require that hardness or alkalinity data be given but hardness information is of value to the average consumer in that it helps him make decisions as to whether he needs a water softener or not.

There are several things you can do. The first should be to find out what you are working with. A Ward Labs test is not expensive and will include the data you need. Simple, inexpensive alkalinity and hardness test kits are sold at aquarium, swimming pool and hardware stores. Talking to other home brewers in your area will not only give you an idea of what the water is like but of what works with it.

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Old 10-11-2013, 02:26 PM   #15
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Thanks AJ, I think I'm going to send a sample to Ward Labs and see how my water really looks.

My last oatmeal stout is undrinkable even after 6 months bottled. I used the Poland Spring water and wasn't aware that I should have added some minerals/etc and didn't know I needed to check mash ph/etc, (live and learn i guess). Seeing that my process was pretty dialed in (mash temp held at 152º for an hour, yeast pitched under 70º, wort aerated well, temp controlled ferm chamber@63º), I'm thinking my problem has to do with water chemistry and/or mash ph control so I'm trying to learn as much as possible in hopes to improve my beer.

This may be a double post since I posted this question as a separate thread but I'm trying to fill out a water calculator with the Spring Water data I use and a lot of it's compounds have a "range", should I just take an average of those numbers to input?

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Old 10-11-2013, 05:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelican521 View Post
Thanks AJ, I think I'm going to send a sample to Ward Labs and see how my water really looks.

My last oatmeal stout is undrinkable even after 6 months bottled. I used the Poland Spring water and wasn't aware that I should have added some minerals/etc and didn't know I needed to check mash ph/etc, (live and learn i guess). Seeing that my process was pretty dialed in (mash temp held at 152º for an hour, yeast pitched under 70º, wort aerated well, temp controlled ferm chamber@63º), I'm thinking my problem has to do with water chemistry and/or mash ph control so I'm trying to learn as much as possible in hopes to improve my beer.

This may be a double post since I posted this question as a separate thread but I'm trying to fill out a water calculator with the Spring Water data I use and a lot of it's compounds have a "range", should I just take an average of those numbers to input?
Yep. If you mashed all the grain together and used that very nice low-alkalinity Poland Spring water, the mash pH was probably lower than desirable.
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:27 PM   #17
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What to do when a report lists a range is not clear. If the range is small then you can use the average of the high and low numbers with confidence but if it is huge then you have to ask yourself how the numbers in between are distributed (in the statistical sense). If the high number occurs on the one day a year when the utility has to buy water from an adjacent utility but hovers around the same value near the low for the other 364 then clearly you should weight the low number higher in calculating the 'average'. Usually you aren't given enough information to let you make this determination. Frequent samples to Ward Labs or frequent self testing (of the parameters you can test yourself) are one way around this problem and the other is to wipe out the variation by use of RO.

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