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Old 09-13-2012, 02:29 PM   #1
wyzazz
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Default My Water

I pull my water from a shallow well (~35' deep) on my property and send it through a sediment filter, water softener & finally a carbon filter to drink/brew with. Something I've noticed is a harshness in my lighter beers, but my darker beers (Ambers, Porters, Stouts, Dark Milds) all come out great!

I'm a water Noob and don't quite grasp water chemistry yet but would greatly appreciate it if anyone can help me out. I sent a sample of my water out to an Reverse Osmosis supplier to see what they would recommend but would also like to get some advice from you guys as to what my next steps should be. Below is what I got back from PuriTeam. What should I do? Go with RO water? Dilute my water with RO water? Treat my water? Should I leave it be with my darker beers and just treat it when brewing lighter beers? Thanks for any advice thoughts you might have for me.

We appreciate the opportunity to test your water and provide you with a water treatment solution. The areas of concern are highlighted in red; following are your test results below:



SAMPLE RESULTS



Appearance – Clear

Smell – No Smell

Copper – 0

Chlorine – 0

Nitrate – 0

Nitrite – 0

Alkalinity – 200

Hardness – 0 GPG * levels – 0-3.5 ok, 3.5 – 7 Moderate, 7 – 10 Hard, 10.5 & higher very hard

TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) – 529

pH 6.5 – Your pH level is borderline - a neutral pH level is between 6.8 and 7.2

Iron – 0



It was a pleasure speaking with you today Danny. To lower your TDS count and remove the Salt used in the water softening process you need a nano type of filtration. For this we recommend our Hydrotech Push Button monitoring reverse osmosis system under your kitchen sink. We use a high quality one-piece manifold system and it comes with a water quality monitor.

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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:43 PM   #2
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You are missing your sulfate:chloride levels -- that would tell you if you are accenting malts or hops.

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Old 09-13-2012, 02:55 PM   #3
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According to your water profile, your mash ph will be a little high using typical grains used in light beers. Your darker beers will bring the ph closer to its optimal point not to mention that darker beers can easily hide minor flaws and still taste great, light beers not so much. Try and lower your mash ph a bit. Personal preference but I use lactic acis to get me in the range I need to be in. A little goes along way. Start with about 2ml in your mash water and see what kind of a difference it makes.

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Old 09-13-2012, 03:20 PM   #4
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To give you a full discourse on the suitability of your water for brewing we would need a complete analysis from the water prior to its entry into the water softener. These can be had from Ward Labs at reasonable expense and I recommend that you get one even if you choose to go to an RO unit. If you do choose to install and RO option then the only thing that really counts is the TDS at the output of the RO system. With RO water you can make any style of beer you choose by adding (or not adding) appropriate quantities of, at most, a couple of salts.

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Old 09-13-2012, 05:04 PM   #5
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So is the general consensus that I get this retested (prior to going in to the softener) to get a complete analysis from Ward Labs, in the interim add just a little lactic acid to my brewing water to see how my next light beer turns out?

Thanks for the advice guys!

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Old 09-13-2012, 06:03 PM   #6
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That water report provides little help in deciphering the problem. But, its probably just a high sodium content and excessive alkalinity due to the softening process. Both factors make crappy beer flavor. There is a good possibility that the unsoftened water might produce good beer as long as there isn't any iron or manganese that the softener is in place to treat.

Do have the unsoftened water tested and be sure that the testing includes iron and manganese. Well to tell you the truth, the testing doesn't really have to include the iron and manganese testing since you should be able to taste them as metallic flavor in the unsoftened water. If you don't pick up a metallic taste, its probably OK. If there are water stains on exterior hose bibs or toilets, then those metals might be a problem.

Remember that moderately hard water is typically preferred for brewing. There are only a few styles that benefit from significant deviation from that condition. Of course, its important that most of that hardness is from calcium and not magnesium.

By the way, nanofiltration is preferred for brewing use since it leaves a modest quantity of ions in the water. RO strips out almost all ions. Unfortunately, nanofiltration membranes are not typically available for the small home-sized RO type systems and that boosts the cost of owning a system. In most cases, you are forced to use RO membranes for small systems. That is still OK and may be preferred if your tap water contains some poor ion content.

Enjoy!

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Old 09-13-2012, 06:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
That water report provides little help in deciphering the problem. But, its probably just a high sodium content and excessive alkalinity due to the softening process. Both factors make crappy beer flavor. There is a good possibility that the unsoftened water might produce good beer as long as there isn't any iron or manganese that the softener is in place to treat.

Do have the unsoftened water tested and be sure that the testing includes iron and manganese. Well to tell you the truth, the testing doesn't really have to include the iron and manganese testing since you should be able to taste them as metallic flavor in the unsoftened water. If you don't pick up a metallic taste, its probably OK. If there are water stains on exterior hose bibs or toilets, then those metals might be a problem.

Remember that moderately hard water is typically preferred for brewing. There are only a few styles that benefit from significant deviation from that condition. Of course, its important that most of that hardness is from calcium and not magnesium.

By the way, nanofiltration is preferred for brewing use since it leaves a modest quantity of ions in the water. RO strips out almost all ions. Unfortunately, nanofiltration membranes are not typically available for the small home-sized RO type systems and that boosts the cost of owning a system. In most cases, you are forced to use RO membranes for small systems. That is still OK and may be preferred if your tap water contains some poor ion content.

Enjoy!
Thanks for the response! I can certainly tell you that there is iron in the water, my sediment filter (before the softener) gets changed every 2moz or so and the filter is caked with black and orange sediment/muck. Stinks to high heaven! The water itself tastes good to me when it comes out of the tap, straight out of the well it wouldn't get past my nose.
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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:36 PM   #8
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Should I pull the water directly from my well to test or should I bypass the softener and allow it through the Sediment Filter? Or should I bypass the softener and allow it to run through both the sediment and carbon filter? Thanks again!

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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:32 PM   #9
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If there is an iron and/or manganese problem, there is no need to sample prior to the softener. The water can't be used without that metal removal. If the raw water hardness is low, then it may be possible that the sodium content in the softened water may be low enough to use. I doubt that this will be the case since the alkalinity suggests that the hardness was significant.

You may end up with little choice but using a RO unit.

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Old 09-13-2012, 09:22 PM   #10
wyzazz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
If there is an iron and/or manganese problem, there is no need to sample prior to the softener. The water can't be used without that metal removal. If the raw water hardness is low, then it may be possible that the sodium content in the softened water may be low enough to use. I doubt that this will be the case since the alkalinity suggests that the hardness was significant.

You may end up with little choice but using a RO unit.
Hmmm, sounds like my situation is dismal. Thanks for the info my friend, I guess I'll get a sample tested to see what I've got and then post back.

Thanks all!
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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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