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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Orlando area water
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:11 AM   #1
ASantiago
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Default Orlando area water

Does anyone know if the Orlando area water is considered soft or hard? Any particular concerns with this water?

I've lived in the south Orlando area for about 11 years and brew with store-bought drinking water. Wondering if I should give tap water a try.

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Old 02-18-2011, 01:46 AM   #2
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I have used Orlando tap water through the filter on my refrigerator with no issue. I have been meaning to send it out to one of those mail-order labs, but given the scale it leaves on everything I'm going with hard water. At least here in the Baldwin Park area.

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Old 02-18-2011, 02:00 AM   #3
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My water is from Orange County Utilities. Is yours the same?

I'm pretty sure you can get a chemical analysis from your water provider. For free. I haven't mainly because I've been using bottled water, but I've been thinking about asking for one.

My main reason for using bottled water is the smell of the water. It's, I don't know... sulfurus? It does leave scaling. But is that the type of water you get from a swamp?

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Old 02-18-2011, 05:08 AM   #4
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I have been using unfiltered OUC water for a while with no issues. I am in Colonialtown if that makes any difference.

I haven't done any testing of the water aside from pH to ensure it wasn't out of control. I add a bit of gypsum and do nothing extra. I originally thought I was getting off flavors from the water, but once my fermentation was done with consistent temperature that went away.

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Old 02-18-2011, 12:51 PM   #5
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I have no quantitative info but I know it is not soft. And the sulphur although that is not as bad as it used to be. I wonder what they do to reduce that and if that treatment yields water that makes a difference to brewers? Mine is also chloramine-ated. I used bottled Spring water (generally only a gallon or two) and the rest is RO from the machine at the grocery store. The RO stuff from the machine is only 25 cents a gallon and is 'almost' distilled, i.e. very soft.

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Old 02-18-2011, 12:58 PM   #6
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SpanishCastleAle: Do you do extract only or do you do all/partial grains? I ask because I'm wondering about the effects of using almost destilled water with no minerals in it. That has a marked effect on the mash, no?

I haven't gone destilled and I've been using bottled drinking water because of that.

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Old 02-18-2011, 01:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASantiago View Post
SpanishCastleAle: Do you do extract only or do you do all/partial grains? I ask because I'm wondering about the effects of using almost destilled water with no minerals in it. That has a marked effect on the mash, no?

I haven't gone destilled and I've been using bottled drinking water because of that.

Sent from my DROID X using the HomeBrewTalk app.
All-grain. Check out the water chemistry primer sticky at the top of this forum. There are lots of minerals in the malt, the only one we really need to add (when using very soft water) is Calcium (preferably with no carbonate). But the alkalinity of our water is bad for brewing. I've been using 'primer water' for only a little while and haven't tasted most of the beers I've brewed with it but the early results are very encouraging. FWIW, I was having more problems with astringency with dark beers and less problems with lighter-colored beers but I was treating the water differently for dark vs light beers and didn't have a pH meter. Now I have a meter.

Also, I can't say it's the same for all bottled water but Zephyrhills Drinking water has more alkalinity than their Spring water, everything else is almost the same (Drinking water has double the Sulphate but it is still low). I'd use Spring water over Drinking water.

Info on Florida's aquifers. I assume here in Central Florida we get our water from the Floridan aquifer.
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:42 PM   #8
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I called Orange County Utilities, Water Division, and got answers to some of my questions. For the remaining questions, they gave me the e-mail address of one of their water quality people who hopefully will be able to answer them.

Basically, Orlando area water is considered "moderately hard", with measurements of 7.7 "grains/gallon" (I don't know what that means). I live in south Orange and the water there measures 7.8 grains/gallon and/or 133.2 ppm.

The OCU water quality web page has a link to the 2010 Water Quality report in PDF format, which contains an analysis of the water provided by each processing plant. For the report itself, click here.

One key piece of information that is, strangely, missing from the report is water pH. That's one of the questions I've asked via e-mail.

So far for brewing I've been using Crystal Springs Natural Spring Water, which I can get quite inexpesively from Costco. I got a copy of their water analysis. To get it, click here.

I don't do all grain yet. I've been doing partial mashing. However, I'm going all grain with my next batch, so mash pH will be of more importance. And, quite frankly, while it's quite convenient and inexpensive to use bottled water, I'd like to use the local water instead. Call me crazy...

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Old 02-18-2011, 04:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_FL View Post
I have been using unfiltered OUC water for a while with no issues. I am in Colonialtown if that makes any difference.

I haven't done any testing of the water aside from pH to ensure it wasn't out of control. I add a bit of gypsum and do nothing extra. I originally thought I was getting off flavors from the water, but once my fermentation was done with consistent temperature that went away.
So, what are some of the pH measurements you are getting?

I, too, have gotten slightly weird flavors. And I, too, believe it's a temperature thing (fermentation in the mid-70s). Now I'm looking at getting a chest freezer to ferment in. I got my eye on this Frigidaire 9 CF Chest Freezer, Model LFFC09M5HW, from Lowes.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASantiago View Post
I called Orange County Utilities, Water Division, and got answers to some of my questions. For the remaining questions, they gave me the e-mail address of one of their water quality people who hopefully will be able to answer them.

Basically, Orlando area water is considered "moderately hard", with measurements of 7.7 "grains/gallon" (I don't know what that means). I live in south Orange and the water there measures 7.8 grains/gallon and/or 133.2 ppm.

The OCU water quality web page has a link to the 2010 Water Quality report in PDF format, which contains an analysis of the water provided by each processing plant. For the report itself, click here.

One key piece of information that is, strangely, missing from the report is water pH. That's one of the questions I've asked via e-mail.

So far for brewing I've been using Crystal Springs Natural Spring Water, which I can get quite inexpesively from Costco. I got a copy of their water analysis. To get it, click here.

I don't do all grain yet. I've been doing partial mashing. However, I'm going all grain with my next batch, so mash pH will be of more importance. And, quite frankly, while it's quite convenient and inexpensive to use bottled water, I'd like to use the local water instead. Call me crazy...
That OCU water report doesn't contain the info we brewers need (unless I missed it). The pH of the water itself isn't very important here, it's the mash pH that is important.

The report for the bottled water does have most of the info we need, that stuff is considerably less alkaline than the Zephyrhills report (which is 140ppm Bicarb for Spring and 190 ppm Bicarb for Drinking, quite low in just about everything else brewers care about except Calcium @ 60 ppm).

And you're not crazy for wanting to use tap water, I thought I was the crazy one having to fill up two plastic carboys from the grocery store RO machine every week (plus the $2.50 to buy it).
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