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Old 03-24-2011, 12:22 AM   #1
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Default New to water chemistry.

On my quest to become the best brewer that I can possibly be,I have decided to research water chem. and ph.I have hard water that is high in iron as i'm on a well.I have made some great beers with my water but would like to see if I can improve them.I have not had a water report done yet,but will shortly.I want to start with ph.I currently have Calcium Chloride and Carbonate on hand.What other minerals and or salts should I have on hand now that I am getting into water chemistry?.Is raising and lowering PH as simple as adding the two afforementioned minerals that I have?Sorry if this post is redundant,I have found a wealth of info using the search function,maybe to much as it has become somewhat daunting.

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Old 03-24-2011, 12:32 AM   #2
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I'm not an expert, but I think these would be the way to start:
1)Get a PH meter
2)Get a water analysis
3)With the above and free water calculator (Kai's, EZ, etc...), you will estimate what salts you may need for each recipe you plan to brew or if you need to mix your water with RO
4)Always use your PH meter to verify your mash PH, making adjustments as necessary.

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Old 03-24-2011, 12:36 AM   #3
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Without a water report, you'd just be guessing. Get the water report first.

With iron in the water, you may find that you will need to buy reverse osmosis or distilled water instead of using your tap water. I have hard, alkaline water but no iron so I can mix RO water and my tap water with good results!

Generally, for adjustments you'll need some calcium chloride, lactic acid, and possibly some gypsum.

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Old 03-24-2011, 12:37 AM   #4
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I have a ph meter.How long into the mash should I check PH?

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Old 03-24-2011, 04:04 AM   #5
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Calcium chloride is the most important - you will use that frequently - possibly on every brew. Calcium sulfate (gypsum) is probably the salt most used by brewers though not all people like the effects of even modest levels of sulfate on hops is beer. Calcium carbonate is used to raise mash pH in dark beers in cases where mash pH goes too low. Magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) is used by brewers who want to emulate a particular brewing water that contains magnesium. Emulators will also need sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and CO2 gas. Most do not actually attempt to duplicate a particular water and so can get by with calcium chloride, sulfate and carbonate.

Most important is a acid of some sort. The easiest to use comes from acidulated malt (sauermalz). Lactic acid is the working ingredient in sauermalz. It is available in liquid form at home brew supply shops.

Iron is relatively easy to remove from water but wait to see how much you have before deciding to undertake this. One of the easiest paths to good brewing water is dilution with RO or DI water. If you wind up doing that the iron will be reduced.

See the Primer in the Brewing Science stickies for general guidance on starting out in water treatment.

The most important pH reading is one made in the mash at dough-in. If sauermalz has been used that reading may be deceptively low as the lactic acid from that source takes a few minutes to react so if readings are low continue to take them until a suitable pH is reached.

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Old 03-24-2011, 01:54 PM   #6
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Thank you very much for the informative replies,I greatly appreciate it.

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