noob water questions
So I just got my water report back from Ward Labs, and I figured I would post it up here to see if anyone notices anything horribly wrong with it.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 171
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.28
Cations / Anions, me/L 2.9 / 2.8
Sodium, Na 7
Potassium, K 1
Calcium, Ca 33
Magnesium, Mg 10
Total Hardness, CaCO3 124
Nitrate, NO3-N 1.2 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 3
Chloride, Cl 5
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 148
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 122
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit
My next beer I plan on brewing is the Hop Jack Pale Ale by Widmer Brothers, I've brewed this once before with this water and I loved the malty flavor of it. The target SRM for the recipe is 19. I tried playing with TH's EZ Water Calculator at http://www.ezwatercalculator.com and with a 4 gal mash and 5 gal sparge, I figured I would add 2 grams of Chalk (CaCO3) 2 grams of Epsom Salt (MgSO4) and 2 grams of Non-Iodized Salt (NaCl). From what I think I understand, having more chloride brings out the maltier flavors, and sulfate brings out the bitterness. I tried to bring up my sulfate along with the chloride because I figure it's important to keep somewhat of a ratio, confirm/deny? I also brought up my sodium just because the scale of the good range is 0-150 and mine was so low at 7, is a more mid range number of sodium like 59 better or worse for any reasons? Another thing I've been wondering about is what most people do about the chlorine in their tap water, I don't think mine has much chlorine, and I haven't been doing anything to remove the chlorine from my water on previous brews. I've been using the 5.2 pH buffer, when I build a water profile should I still add the 5.2 buffer or will that mess up the modifications I've made?
Thanks in advance to anyone who fields all these questions :mug:
Doesn't look too bad. I see that it comes up with a malty indicator, which may be what you want for this beer. If you swap the 2 grams of MgSo4 for 2 grams of CaSO4, it would keep the RA in line for the SRM of your beer, while moving the flavor into balanced territory.
As far as chlorine, I think you can boil it out ahead of time, or run your water through a charcoal filter, or add a campden tablet to the water the day before or something. My water isn't chlorinated, so I have not had to worry about it.
I also have a charcoal filter installed in my sink. Cost about $30 I think when I bought it and the once-a-year cartridges run about $8. (Although I suspect you could change them our more often.) I only bought that because i used to be at the end of our water system, and they have since re-routed things so our water has a better flavor.
I know nothing about 5.2 buffer personally.
I think that a reasonable amount of sodium can be a good thing in certain styles. I think it helps produce a fuller flavor.
I would definitely be down to run my water through a charcoal filter, would the filter remove any of the minerals from my water? it would suck to have to hook up a filter and then test my water again right after I just got it tested. I was also thinking that even though the ezwatercalculator said my water is on the malty spectrum, since my water has so few minerals, my beer would have little added maltiness or bitterness.
Guess what.........I'm wasted right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You may be right about the water being too soft. They list an expected range of minerals, and it would seem proper to try and get them in that range.
As far as the charcoal filtering out minerals, I don't think it will. I think it basically just removes odors. Good question to find out though.
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