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Old 04-22-2009, 09:44 PM   #1
brundage
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Default My Water: Too much bicarbonate & sodium

I am trying to understand the water chemistry in my area. My water has two annoying problems.

Soduim: 200 ppm
Bicarbonate: 459 ppm

The rest of it is quite low in minearals:

Calcium: 3 ppm
Chloride: 54 ppm
Hardness (Ca/Mg): 8.14 ppm
pH: 7.8
Magnesium: 0.7 ppm
Sulfate: 9 ppm
Total Alkalinity: 376 ppm

Reading Palmer's book I figure dilution with reverse osmosis water is the easiest way to
alleviate
the bicarbonate problem. A dilution of about 8:1 RO to tap water will get bicarbonate down around 50 ppm where I can brew pale beers. 4:1 will get me in the dark beer range. However, with this technique the pH might not fall to 5.1-5.5 during mashing.

How am I doing here?

Thanks for the input,
--Dean
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:56 PM   #2
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So far so good but you are going to need to add calcium. I would use some calcium sulphate (gypsum) to get both the Ca+ and SO4- up for pale ales. Dark beer is going to require some carbonate alkalinity so you might consider doing the same dilution rate and then get both the calcium and carbonates balanced for dark brews using calcium carbonate added to the mash. Calcium chloride can also be employed both for possible blending and for use with pale lagers if you brew those.

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Old 04-23-2009, 03:09 AM   #3
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I would try to avoid the CaCl2 for adding Calcuim because your sodium is high unless you are diluting the water. CaSO4 is going to be your friend in adjusting your Calcuim levels.

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Old 04-23-2009, 04:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boulderbrewer View Post
I would try to avoid the CaCl2 for adding Calcuim because your sodium is high unless you are diluting the water. CaSO4 is going to be your friend in adjusting your Calcuim levels.
He indicated he's diluting with RO, so it depends on the target water profile. Malty profile, add CaCl2. Bitter profile, add CaSO4.

Have you plugged your numbers into Palmer's spreadsheet to check the SRM range and water profile? I highly recommend it if you haven't. That should answer most of your questions.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:11 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I figured I needed to add something since I'm getting so close to RO water with the heavy dilution. I'll play around with calcium chloride and gypsum.
--Dean

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Old 05-06-2009, 03:10 PM   #6
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Since College Station has the same water problems. I have taken to using mostly RO or buying bottled water. Trying to fix our water with dilution is almost a lost cause.

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Old 05-19-2009, 03:56 PM   #7
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This looks an awful lot like softened water. Are you sure you took your sample before the softener?

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