Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Is my local water report enough? And did I enter them in correctly?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 10-29-2013, 01:12 PM   #1
mtnagel
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 6 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,943
Liked 177 Times on 139 Posts
Likes Given: 162

Default Is my local water report enough? And did I enter them in correctly?

Here is what my local water report looks like. Is this good enough? I was planning on getting my water tested, but do I need to or is this good enough? I assume I should use the "Finished Water" section and the average for 2012, correct?



And here is where I tried to enter it in the Bru'n water sheet. Did I enter them correctly? For the bicarbonate and carbonate, I used the section where I entered total alkalinity and pH and then entered the resulting numbers in the input table. But then it's tell me my cation/anion difference is too big. Did I do something wrong?

__________________
-Matt
mtnagel is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-29-2013, 02:25 PM   #2
mchrispen
accidentalis.com
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
mchrispen's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Bastrop, Texas
Posts: 429
Liked 47 Times on 38 Posts
Likes Given: 46

Default

It looks like there are pretty big swings that are generating the averages. Martin will have more specifics, but it seems doubtful that averages across the 5 years for a given value will create a balanced report. You may also find an issue with a Ward Labs report, in that, it seems that your municipal water will change (dramatically in some cases) between brews, and the report will be a single data point. That said, I would do it to find your baseline and compare to other reports available. It is useful to know specifically what is coming out of your tap.

At a minimum, you should filter and use campden tablets.

Without more specifics on bicarbonate and carbonate levels, it seems that it will not balance. I tried plugging in Min and Max profiles and they are even worse than the averages, I suspect they are running mins/maxes, and not specific reports.

On Brewer's Friend I was able to find two Cincinnati water profiles and they balanced fine. One says to be a 2010 Ward Labs report...
http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/water-profiles/ - however, no idea on the accuracy or what area within the city. The values differ from your report above.

__________________
Matt Chrispen
Bastrop, Texas
www.accidentalis.com - blogging from the garage brewery
Bru'n Water Walkthrough
mchrispen is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-29-2013, 02:40 PM   #3
jbaysurfer
Former future HOF Brewer
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 3 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 2,115
Liked 417 Times on 315 Posts
Likes Given: 663

Default

I would say a Wards lab report is going to be better for you. When you have averaged numbers from both very high and very low max/min numbers...what you're entering into the spreadsheet could be radically different then what's pouring out your tap, and that's likely why the spreadsheet is saying the water report is unbalanced (cation/anion).

The interim step (if you don't want to go with a Ward labs test just yet) is to call an engineer at the water department. I've found them to be quite helpful and maybe they'll be able to help you know more specifically where YOUR water falls in those min/max ranges.

Matt's right, at a minimum make sure you filter and use campden...but I would go easy on any additions you might have calculated in Bru'n Water until you know more specifically what your measurements are.

__________________

First Brew was thanksgiving 2011, I'm at 93 batches and counting (as of 8/17/2014), and ran out of room in my signature to list them all.

jbaysurfer is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-29-2013, 03:18 PM   #4
jbaysurfer
Former future HOF Brewer
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 3 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 2,115
Liked 417 Times on 315 Posts
Likes Given: 663

Default

BTW OP, kudos on the very nice screenshots which make your question so much easier to understand. A pleasant relief from the "what did I do wrong (followed by no details) kind of advice that is frequently solicited.

Also kudos to MattC for that Bru'n water tutorial. The instructions are good, but it took me some time to discover all of that stuff for myself. Wish I had your tutorial when I started out!

__________________

First Brew was thanksgiving 2011, I'm at 93 batches and counting (as of 8/17/2014), and ran out of room in my signature to list them all.

jbaysurfer is offline
mchrispen Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-29-2013, 06:34 PM   #5
ajdelange
Senior Member
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 5,801
Liked 563 Times on 464 Posts
Likes Given: 15

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaysurfer View Post
When you have averaged numbers from both very high and very low max/min numbers...what you're entering into the spreadsheet could be radically different then what's pouring out your tap, and that's likely why the spreadsheet is saying the water report is unbalanced (cation/anion).
It doesn't appear that the averages are the means of the high and low numbers but that doesn't change the fact that they are averages and do not represent any real, particular water sample. It is, therefore, not surprising that the numbers do not balance though it is surprising that they imbalance is as large as it is.

The issue of the reference pH value for the alkalinity measurement (from which, with pH, the bicarbonate is calculated and from that the balance) is always there as no one ever (or rarely ever) tells you what the reference pH is though Standard Methods requires that the analyst do so. The imbalance is worst if the Methyl Red endpoint (4.3) is used, a bit better if the ISO endpoint (4.6) is used and better still if the equivalence endpoint (4.615) is chosen though it should be clear that at least with respect to the last two there isn't much difference. Also many spreadsheets do not account for the alkalinity of the water itself (i.e. the pure water in the physical sample) but, again, this is a small difference compared to the errors induced by using averages. So no, I don't think you did anything wrong. It's that the data you have to work with isn't very good from this POV.
__________________
ajdelange is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-29-2013, 08:25 PM   #6
mabrungard
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Carmel, IN
Posts: 2,685
Liked 181 Times on 158 Posts
Likes Given: 24

Default

I expect that this is Ohio River water. More than likely, the sodium value is skewed from road salting runoff during the winter. However, I don't see the range in chloride that should accompany the sodium excursions. While many of the ion concentrations are confined to small ranges, some are excessive. Matt's comments about other Cincy profiles are a good alternative for now. Another thing to do is call the water utility and ask to speak to someone in the water quality lab. They will be able to tell you what the normal or typical values are likely to be. If that fails to give you an acceptable result, send a sample to Ward.

__________________

Martin B
Carmel, IN
BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook for occasional discussions on brewing water and Bru'n Water

mabrungard is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-30-2013, 11:26 AM   #7
mtnagel
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 6 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,943
Liked 177 Times on 139 Posts
Likes Given: 162

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mchrispen View Post
It looks like there are pretty big swings that are generating the averages. Martin will have more specifics, but it seems doubtful that averages across the 5 years for a given value will create a balanced report. You may also find an issue with a Ward Labs report, in that, it seems that your municipal water will change (dramatically in some cases) between brews, and the report will be a single data point. That said, I would do it to find your baseline and compare to other reports available. It is useful to know specifically what is coming out of your tap.

At a minimum, you should filter and use campden tablets.

Without more specifics on bicarbonate and carbonate levels, it seems that it will not balance. I tried plugging in Min and Max profiles and they are even worse than the averages, I suspect they are running mins/maxes, and not specific reports.

On Brewer's Friend I was able to find two Cincinnati water profiles and they balanced fine. One says to be a 2010 Ward Labs report...
http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/water-profiles/ - however, no idea on the accuracy or what area within the city. The values differ from your report above.
Yeah, Cincinnati is pretty big and we have 2 treatment plants and one suburb on their own water source.

As for filtering, it's my understanding that filtering only removes chlorine. Isn't chlorine removed in the boiling step in brewing?

As for campden tablets, doesn't that remove chlorine and chloramine? I will confirm with the person at my local water company, but I don't believe they are using chloramines here, so if I were to confirm that for sure and then filter the water, wouldn't that remove the chlorine? Please educate on my I would filter and use campden tablets.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaysurfer View Post
BTW OP, kudos on the very nice screenshots which make your question so much easier to understand. A pleasant relief from the "what did I do wrong (followed by no details) kind of advice that is frequently solicited.
Thanks. I try to make it easy for people when I'm asking for their help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
It doesn't appear that the averages are the means of the high and low numbers but that doesn't change the fact that they are averages and do not represent any real, particular water sample. It is, therefore, not surprising that the numbers do not balance though it is surprising that they imbalance is as large as it is.

The issue of the reference pH value for the alkalinity measurement (from which, with pH, the bicarbonate is calculated and from that the balance) is always there as no one ever (or rarely ever) tells you what the reference pH is though Standard Methods requires that the analyst do so. The imbalance is worst if the Methyl Red endpoint (4.3) is used, a bit better if the ISO endpoint (4.6) is used and better still if the equivalence endpoint (4.615) is chosen though it should be clear that at least with respect to the last two there isn't much difference. Also many spreadsheets do not account for the alkalinity of the water itself (i.e. the pure water in the physical sample) but, again, this is a small difference compared to the errors induced by using averages. So no, I don't think you did anything wrong. It's that the data you have to work with isn't very good from this POV.
Thanks for the info on pH. And of course I shouldn't have realized that the averages weren't a single analysis, so they probably wouldn't balance the cations and anions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
I expect that this is Ohio River water. More than likely, the sodium value is skewed from road salting runoff during the winter. However, I don't see the range in chloride that should accompany the sodium excursions. While many of the ion concentrations are confined to small ranges, some are excessive. Matt's comments about other Cincy profiles are a good alternative for now. Another thing to do is call the water utility and ask to speak to someone in the water quality lab. They will be able to tell you what the normal or typical values are likely to be. If that fails to give you an acceptable result, send a sample to Ward.
Thank you very much. I will email the water company again and ask for a single analysis to see what it says.
__________________
-Matt
mtnagel is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-30-2013, 11:32 AM   #8
mtnagel
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 6 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,943
Liked 177 Times on 139 Posts
Likes Given: 162

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaysurfer View Post
I would say a Wards lab report is going to be better for you. When you have averaged numbers from both very high and very low max/min numbers...what you're entering into the spreadsheet could be radically different then what's pouring out your tap...
Isn't the average going to be closer to any given time point than one single analysis done at one time point? Even though the averages don't balance out the cations and anions, wouldn't it be better to use the average values over a long period of time than one single analysis at one point in time?

For a crazy example to illustrate my point. Let's say I get the Ward report and the numbers come out closer to the minimums in my city's report. Then I plan a brew around those numbers and go to brew in one week from when my water was tested and the water coming out of my tap is actually closer to the maximums on my city report. (I know it's probably not likely, but it is possible since the water varied between the minimum and the maximum last year). Therefore, wouldn't using the averages over a year actually get me closer to what is coming out of my tap at any given time?
__________________
-Matt
mtnagel is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-30-2013, 03:04 PM   #9
bdh
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 161
Liked 18 Times on 9 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnagel View Post
Isn't the average going to be closer to any given time point than one single analysis done at one time point? Even though the averages don't balance out the cations and anions, wouldn't it be better to use the average values over a long period of time than one single analysis at one point in time?

For a crazy example to illustrate my point. Let's say I get the Ward report and the numbers come out closer to the minimums in my city's report. Then I plan a brew around those numbers and go to brew in one week from when my water was tested and the water coming out of my tap is actually closer to the maximums on my city report. (I know it's probably not likely, but it is possible since the water varied between the minimum and the maximum last year). Therefore, wouldn't using the averages over a year actually get me closer to what is coming out of my tap at any given time?
Well this is getting into the more esoteric side of statistics, but the answer is it depends on the likelihood and size of the 'extreme' events. Many things in nature that have a tendency to 'spike' occasionally are well modeled by power law distributions. Classical examples that are relevant to brewing water are maximum river flows and maximum daily rainfall. The tricky thing about power law distributions is that they can potentially have infinite means, so the central limit theorem no longer applies. Essentially what this means is that the probably of getting a very large number occasionally is big enough so that as you collect data over a longer and longer time period the mean you calculate from your data never converges and slowly creeps up over time. In cases like this, a single data point is more representative of 'typical' values than the estimated mean.

Anyway, power-law behavior usually only occurs when you're trying to estimate 'worst-cast' type scenarios, (I.E. you might have trouble trying to estimate how bad your water could possibly be), but most likely the day-to-day variations in water chemistry aren't following a power-law. But, that being said, even if you can reasonably calculate a mean, if the water does have large spikes in ion concentrations from time-to-time you probably want to get a TDS meter to make sure you're not brewing your beer with salt water.
__________________
bdh is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-30-2013, 03:33 PM   #10
mtnagel
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 6 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,943
Liked 177 Times on 139 Posts
Likes Given: 162

Default

Thanks for that. It just seems weird to me that people get their water analyzed once and then use that for who knows how long to adjust their water.

I like the TDS meter idea. That will at least tell you if there so crazy spike for some reason.

__________________
-Matt
mtnagel is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Local water report. t0m Recipes/Ingredients 3 01-30-2013 11:58 PM
Richmond, VA Water Report - Can't find the Ca or Mg in water report alers22 Brew Science 2 10-29-2012 01:00 PM
Yet Another Water Report ( Local Spring Water) HansBlix Brew Science 3 11-13-2011 10:42 PM
Water report for local spring I'm thinking of using AScott Brew Science 3 10-28-2011 06:54 PM
local water report - now what? JLem Brew Science 4 07-18-2009 11:40 PM