Kegconnection Complete Starter Kit and More Giveaway!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Should I stick with bottled spring water?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 10-17-2013, 05:12 PM   #1
Pelican521
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: , Connecticut
Posts: 407
Liked 10 Times on 9 Posts

Default Should I stick with bottled spring water?

Hi all, I was able to obtain more detailed water report by emailing my water company and requesting a report for my road. For all my beers that I've brewed I been using Poland Springs water (from what I'm told it's close to the characteristics of R/O water) and was thinking of switching to my water if it's ok for brewing.

Now that I have more detailed numbers and not the "general" report you get from their website, do you think it would be suitable for brewing? Here's the numbers (ppm):

Calcium - 12.8
Mag - 2.9
Sodium - 17.6
Chloride - 22.9
Sulfate - 18.8
Hardness - 43.9
Alkalinity - 16

Is the Alkalinity the same as PH? I did a quick google search and it seems not but I'm not sure how it will effect my water for brewing. The PH wasn't emailed to me but the PH from the report online is 6.7 - 8.

Thanks in advance!

__________________
Pelican521 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2013, 01:07 PM   #2
ajdelange
Senior Member
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 5,662
Liked 538 Times on 441 Posts
Likes Given: 15

Default

That's pretty good water and you can indeed brew many beers with it as is. See the Primer at http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/bre...primer-198460/ for some suggestions on how to get started.

No, alkalinity and pH are not the same thing but they are related. The main feature of your water is that the alkalinity is nice and low. In general, the less alkalinity the better though some dark beers will want more than you have and you will need to supply some if you brew those.

For an explanation of what alkalinity is and how to measure it see: http://wetnewf.org/pdfs/measuring-alkalinity.html

__________________
ajdelange is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2013, 01:56 PM   #3
Demus
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,166
Liked 143 Times on 116 Posts
Likes Given: 6

Default

Alkalinity is waters buffering power, or resistance to pH change. For the pH to drop, the alkalinity first must be overcome. This is why high alkalinity water can be a pain to brew with; it's tough to get down to mash pH. Yours is quite low if the report is accurate. Recheck it from time to time as water supplies can change seasonally. Also, I'd consider a water report from Ward Labs to confirm...

__________________
Demus is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2013, 02:43 PM   #4
ajdelange
Senior Member
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 5,662
Liked 538 Times on 441 Posts
Likes Given: 15

Default

Perhaps the most important consideration with respect to pH and alkalinity is that alkalinity is defined as the acid you need to get a liter of the water to a particular pH (4.5) irrespective of what the original pH was. Because mash pH and 4.5 are reasonably close the original pH doesn't matter much.

__________________
ajdelange is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2013, 05:38 PM   #5
Pelican521
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: , Connecticut
Posts: 407
Liked 10 Times on 9 Posts

Default

Thanks for the responses guys, I appreciate the feedback.

Could you tell me if this is an accurate target water profile for an American IPA? In the back of one of my brew books, there's a section on water profiles and there isn't one for an IPA, just a pale ale.

The pale ale profile is:
Ca - 90-150
Mg - 18-20
Sodium - 17-30
Carbonate CO3 - 0 (not sure what this is)
Sulfate - 300-425
Chloride - 30-55

Would these numbers be accurate for an IPA as well, or would you adjust any?

Thanks again for your help.

__________________
Pelican521 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2013, 05:55 PM   #6
ajdelange
Senior Member
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 5,662
Liked 538 Times on 441 Posts
Likes Given: 15

Default

There is no such thing as an 'accurate' profile. There is, however, an ideal profile and that is the profile that results in the beer that you and/or your 'customers' (friends, wives, girlfriends....) like best. It is generally characteristic of IPA's that the water contain a lot of sulfate but while some people love what that does to the hops others don't. For this reason I always suggest that brewers start with a low sulfate content and then add gypsum to the resulting beer to see if it improves the flavor. If it does, then use more in subsequent batches of this beer. As a consequence of this I think the profile above is way high on sulfate, at least for an initial attempt. IMO for the water you have I'd add 1/2 tsp each of calcium chloride and gypsum to each 5 gallons. You don't need sodium, you don't need magnesium. I'm not saying that your final ideal profile might not contain some (you experiment with table salt and epsom salts with your beers in the same way as with gypsum and calcium chloride to see). This is what the Primer I referenced earlier recommends.

__________________
ajdelange is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2013, 07:00 PM   #7
Demus
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,166
Liked 143 Times on 116 Posts
Likes Given: 6

Default

+1 to ajdelange's post. Sulfate accentuates hop bitterness to a point but can be astringent. Everyone's tastes are different so starting lower makes sense until you know what effects taste like to you. Your original profile definitely needs more calcium since it helps with mash efficiency, flavor and yeast health. Since you can't add just calcium a balanced approach of gypsum (calcium sulfate) and calcium chloride (chloride enhances malt character) to get your calcium in that 90 to 150 ppm range should do the trick. The other salt that adds calcium is calcium carbonate, or chalk. Carbonate and bicarbonate combine to make your total alkalinity. Since yours is so low chalk is an option to add calcium as well but I'd just be thankful of your low alkalinity; it will make it easier to hit your target mash pH of 5.4....

__________________
Demus is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2013, 08:09 PM   #8
ajdelange
Senior Member
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 5,662
Liked 538 Times on 441 Posts
Likes Given: 15

Default

The need for calcium is much exaggerated. Some very fine beers indeed are made with much less than 50 mg/L. Not to say that calcium doesn't have its advantages but what you are really after with calcium chloride additions is the chloride which has a very beneficial effect on the beer. Absent it beers taste thin and insipid. OP should add a modest amount of calcium chloride for his first attempt (or a modest amount of calcium sulfate as he already has some chloride).

Chalk (calcium carbonate) is not a viable source of calcium as it doesn't dissolve in water. To get it to do so one has to add an acid. If one adds calcium carbonate and hydrochloric acid one might just as well add calcium chloride and skip the acid. Beyond that calcium carbonate is quite alkaline. If some alkalinity is needed in a beer there are better choices than calcium carbonate though it can be used if pre-dissolved but that, of course, wipes out some of the alkalinity. Properly added it does become primarily a source of alkalinity but only secondarily a source of calcium. In a nutshell calcium carbonate should not be used at all unless you are willing to emulate nature and use carbon dioxide to get it into the water. That is the only way to emulate a typical carbonaceous water but we have, in general, moved beyond attempting to emulate a particular profile for a particular style of beer.

__________________
ajdelange is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-19-2013, 04:03 AM   #9
Pelican521
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: , Connecticut
Posts: 407
Liked 10 Times on 9 Posts

Default

Thanks again, this is very helpful info.

__________________
Pelican521 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Should I use this tap water or bottled spring water? thood6 General Beer Discussion 14 02-03-2013 04:54 PM
Basic water chemistry with bottled spring water Kosch All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 6 09-12-2012 11:05 AM
Wash Yeast with Bottled Spring Water? delvec28 Fermentation & Yeast 6 07-14-2012 06:01 PM
Sanitize Bottled Spring Water? wyclef General Beer Discussion 5 11-17-2011 09:20 PM
Bottled Spring Water joetothemo Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 19 01-29-2011 01:37 AM