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Old 08-26-2009, 03:21 PM   #1
Jkane101
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Default My water report from Ward Labs...what does it all mean?

Hey gang,

Just got my water report from Ward labs and maybe some of you can help me determine what exactly I am looking at! I going to reference it to Plamers book when I get home but would love to get feedback from some smarter/more experinced brewers.

I'm going to be moving over to AG in the next week, so maybe you can help determine if my tap water is a viable alternative for brewing. What measures do i need to take in order to use it. Maybe it's only usable for certain styles?

Any feedback at all is truly welcome!

pH 7.7
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 314
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.52
Cations / Anions, me/L 5.0 / 5.0

ppm
Sodium, Na 57
Potassium, K 2
Calcium, Ca 38
Magnesium, Mg 7
Total Hardness, CaCO3 124
Nitrate, NO3-N 1.0 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 4
Chloride, Cl 104
Carbonate, CO3 <1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 106
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 87
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

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Old 08-26-2009, 03:33 PM   #2
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The thing to do now is plug the applicable numbers into the Palmer's Spreadsheet ( at Source Water (15) ) listed in the sticky in this sub forum.

You tell it what color you want to brew at upper left (8) and start with no dilution of your water with RO, and see what it tells you at the lower right (39).

If the results tell you a higher color level than you aimed for, try diluting by 50% with RO water, and then look for the result.

You may then need to add some salts, and watch that chloride Cl- and sulfate SO4- are balanced.

Right off the thing I see is a higher (more alkaline) pH that may need to be addressed, depending on what color beer you are aiming for.

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Old 08-26-2009, 04:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkane101 View Post
pH 7.7

ppm
Sodium, Na 57
Potassium, K 2
Calcium, Ca 38
Magnesium, Mg 7
Total Hardness, CaCO3 124
Nitrate, NO3-N 1.0 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 4
Chloride, Cl 104
Carbonate, CO3 <1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 106
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 87
Your profile looks pretty good, just a tad bit high on the sodium. Sodium contributes to an overall sweet flavor, which or may not be desirable.

For a five gallon batch, add 1 - 2 teaspoons of calcium sulfate to drive down the pH and balance the chloride. If you desire a sweeter, maltier brew, add 1 tsp of calcium chloride in place of calcium sulfate.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:59 PM   #4
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ok...so I'll admit to being confused.

Tell me if i'm reading this correctly. Say I want to brew the following:
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056)
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.078
Final Gravity: 1.018
IBU: 32
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 30.8 SRM

Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
11.00 lb Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.8 SRM) Grain 64.7 %
2.50 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 14.7 %
1.50 lb Brown Malt (65.0 SRM) Grain 8.8 %
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 5.9 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 2.9 %
0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 2.9 %
0.75 oz Magnum [14.00%] (60 min) Hops 29.1 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00%] (10 min) Hops 5.0 IBU
2.00 items Vanilla Bean (Secondary 14.0 days) Misc
1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale

Mash Profile
Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Mash Grain Weight: 17.00 lb
Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F
Sparge Water: 3.6 gal

Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Mash In Add 21.25 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F 75 min


What I'm really focusing on here is the SRM of 30.8, so if I'm using Palmers chart correctly i basically need to up my RA from abour 56 to say 240-ish?
Now I have to figure out just how to do that....
adding baking soda would send my sodium sky high...correct?

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Old 08-27-2009, 09:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
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What I'm really focusing on here is the SRM of 30.8, so if I'm using Palmers chart correctly i basically need to up my RA from abour 56 to say 240-ish?
Now I have to figure out just how to do that....
adding baking soda would send my sodium sky high...correct?
Your water profile is fine for an American Brown Ale as is. Going darker is easy, just add dark malt. Going lighter is where it becomes more difficult. To brew a lighter beer, you would need to dilute your tap water with, say, 70% RO water and add a tsp of calcium to hit a low SRM.

If you're trying to emulate a specific water profile (e.g., Burton), then, by all means, you could add calcium carbonate to boost the RA. But, that isn't necessary unless you're trying to emulate a specific water profile.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:40 PM   #6
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I suspect that the pH will still be too high without an acid addition, but that is where playing with your numbers in Palmer's gets to be self-satisfying.

Yeah, I have 315 CaCO3, beers of +40SRM, no problem.

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Old 08-27-2009, 09:47 PM   #7
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I suspect that the pH will still be too high without an acid addition, but that is where playing with your numbers in Palmer's gets to be self-satisfying.
Possibly, but I based my answer on the grain bill he posted. Between the large additional of caramel, brown, and chocolate malts, the pH should drop below 5.8.

My water is much harder than his and I could easily hit 5.8 with that much dark malt.
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:44 AM   #8
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Thanks for the responses gents..my head is spinnig a bit after spending the last 3-4 days reading everything I can on water treatment, as well as listening to the 4 hour podcast from brew strong. I am slooowly..I mean sloooowly starting to get a small understanding. I think my first mistake in this undertaking was to try and emulate a specific regional water type i.e. London & Dublin.
Let me back track a tad...my next two brews, which will be my first two AG brews, are the porter listed previously and a dbl chocolate oatmeal stout. So I figured emualting a regional water may be the easiest tact. After trying to tackle that and getting a little frustrated I started thinking of hitting water more in terms of general style rather then a region.
A couple of things I have taken away so far...
My water looks pretty good, as is, for amber/copper brews.
I will have to dilute for lighter SRM brews and then build from there
I could probalby stand to up my RA a bit for porters and even a bit more for stouts.
I have learned that using roasted malts will naturally lower my ph, I still haven't figured out how to effectively calculate that.
Also i think it may be wise to use SS 5.2 for the time being, with any style I brew.

I really appreciate your feedback and I'm determined to getting a working knowledge of this, at least as far as brewing is concerned! I know this may take some time and a number of batches until I get it dialed in.

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Old 09-08-2009, 06:28 PM   #9
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Based on my mash PH tests, the modifications that I made at the later posts on this thread http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/bobby_ms-brew-water-adventure-127155/ it appears I did OK.

Your sulfate is really 4? I think that would mean off the charts as far as "malty" accentuation.

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