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Old 06-14-2013, 12:23 AM   #1
sredz
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Default My Ward Report

I recently moved and sent a water sample into ward labs. The results don’t look too promising. I think I can brew with this water if I dilute with RO at 50% and treat with acid. The magnesium seems really high- Even at 50% dilution I’ll have about 25ppm. Should I go all RO? I was hoping not to have to invest in an RO unit right off the bat but it may be the best option.

Here’s what I’m looking at (straight off the report):

pH 7.8
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 428
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.71
Cations / Anions, me/L 8.0 / 8.2

Sodium, Na 22
Potassium, K 2
Calcium, Ca 59
Magnesium, Mg 49
Total Hardness, CaCO3 352
Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 18
Chloride, Cl 38
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 367
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 301
Total Phosphorus, P 0.75
Total Iron, Fe 0.08

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Old 06-14-2013, 03:44 PM   #2
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Expanding on my post above-

I’ve been working to understand how I may need to adjust my water based on my above water report. I thought it would be good to calculate my residual alkalinity based off the reported numbers. I’ve been using the Bru’n Water spreadsheet, which has been very helpful. This calculates my RA at 234. However, I have a formula of RA = Alkalinity - (Ca/3.5 + Mg/7). When I plug my numbers into this, I come up with 277. For the water experts out there, is this formula correct? Just trying to determine what the actual RA is.
I’ll be brewing an American Wheat beer soon. If I dilute with 50% distilled water and use acidulated malt in mash and lactic acid in sparge water and add some CaCL2 Bru’n Water is putting my PH at 5.4, alkalinity at 153 and So4/Cl ratio at .44. To me, the alkalinity still seems a bit high. Any thoughts on further adjustments would be appreciated, just trying to make sure I’m pointed in the right direction.

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Old 06-14-2013, 04:37 PM   #3
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That formula is correct if Alkalinity, Ca and Mg are all in the same units but in a Ward Labs report they are not. Alkalinity is in ppm as CaCO3 and the metal ions are 'as the ion'. To use the formula you must convert the metal ions to ppm as CaCO3. For calcium: ppm as CaCO3 = 50*Ca/20 = 50*59/20 = 147.5. For magnesium: ppm as CaCO3 = 50*Mg/12.15 = 50*49/12.15 = 201.6. Note that the sum of these is approximately the total hardness and probably differs from it because the metals were determined by AAS and the total hardness by titration.

Putting these numbers into the formula you would have

RA = 301 - (147.5 + 201.6/2)/3.5 = 230

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Old 06-14-2013, 05:26 PM   #4
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Thank you for your help clarifying this. I trust the spreadsheet, but like to try and understand the calculations behind it. This makes more sense.

After running some different scenarios through the Bru’n Water spreadsheet, it’s pretty clear that I’m going to have to invest in an RO unit. My hardness and alkalinity are just too high.

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Old 06-14-2013, 05:34 PM   #5
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sredz, the spreadsheet has an area to do those "Ion concentration conversion calculations" on page one toward the bottom just in case you ever need to be able to do it without the help of AJ...which is invaluable btw. AJ and Mabrungard are my H20 heroes. Fixing my water fixed by beers. I brew much better since I started paying attention to it.

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Old 06-14-2013, 05:34 PM   #6
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Well, those significant digits finally caught up with me. Sorry for the error.

Yes, the magnesium content of that water will make brewing good beer difficult. 50% dilution would be OK for a beer focused on bitterness, but a more substantial dilution is recommended for all other beers.

Yes, the alkalinity is crazy high and that requires neutralization. The dilution will help, but that diluted water will likely need acidification to bring the mash pH into a desirable range.

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Old 06-14-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tip jbaysurfer, I didn’t notice that on the spreadsheet. I’ll take another look at it. And thank you Martin for your input. Your spreadsheet and information you’ve provided on brunwater has been a tremendous help. I reran some numbers with a 75% dilution in a “yellow balanced profile” with a small amount of acid malt in mash, lactic acid in sparge water and some gypsum and calcium chloride. This seems much better for the American Wheat beer I will brew next. Looks like I need to start shopping for an RO unit. Buying water is going to get old.

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Old 06-14-2013, 06:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sredz View Post
Thanks for the tip jbaysurfer, I didn’t notice that on the spreadsheet. I’ll take another look at it. And thank you Martin for your input. Your spreadsheet and information you’ve provided on brunwater has been a tremendous help. I reran some numbers with a 75% dilution in a “yellow balanced profile” with a small amount of acid malt in mash, lactic acid in sparge water and some gypsum and calcium chloride. This seems much better for the American Wheat beer I will brew next. Looks like I need to start shopping for an RO unit. Buying water is going to get old.
I'm in the same boat, but I just buy the water. 1.50 for 5g from my local water kiosk, so I spend an extra 3 bucks on a batch of beer. The RO process wastes a lot of water fwiw, so I figure the expense of an RO unit (other then the tiny undersink unit we have installed which doesn't quite produce 1G/hr) and the extra water, maintenance, filters, etc.... makes the "rent vs. own" equation a bit more balanced.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:58 PM   #9
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I thought Milwaukee had good brewing water? You will be buying some water but dilution is the solution! jbay has some good pricing at $1.50 for 5 gallons. Maybe you can find a good source?

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Old 06-14-2013, 08:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassman2003 View Post
I thought Milwaukee had good brewing water? You will be buying some water but dilution is the solution! jbay has some good pricing at $1.50 for 5 gallons. Maybe you can find a good source?
We'll I'm actually outside of Milwaukee, so I don't have the good Lake Michigan water that they get. Mine comes from 3 different ground sources. I'll have to check our local Walmart to see what the pricing is on their RO water. $1.50 for 5 gallons seems like a great deal.
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