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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Softened Well Water........
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:52 AM   #1
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Default Softened Well Water........

After brewing 20 batches of very tasty extracts, I recently began all grain brewing. As part of the move to AG, I sent a water sample to Ward Labs to better understand my water profile. We live in the sticks with a single well for a water supply. The water is softened with a typical salt based softener. As you can see from the info below, the sodium is very high along with pH. I really would prefer to not use bottled water, unless it is absolutely necessary. What do you experienced well water laden brewers have to suggest according to the lab report below?

Thanks!


pH 8.0
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 636
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 1.06
Cations / Anions, me/L 11.4 / 12.1
ppm
Sodium, Na 261
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca < 1
Magnesium, Mg < 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 3
Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 90
Chloride, Cl 7
Carbonate, CO3 15
Bicarbonate, HCO3 348
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 311
Total Phosphorus, P 0.35
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:13 AM   #2
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It's this a private well? I.e. do you have access to the untreated water?

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:17 AM   #3
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It is my private well. I have unsoftened well water available in my garage, but it tastes like hard, well water. I recently used the hard water to make a brown ale, and it wasn't too bad, but the water left a heavy calcium deposit on all of my brewing equipment.

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rickochet View Post
It is my private well. I have unsoftened well water available in my garage, but it tastes like hard, well water. I recently used the hard water to make a brown ale, and it wasn't too bad, but the water left a heavy calcium deposit on all of my brewing equipment.
But you can't use that softened water, unless you put an RO system after it. It is WAY too high in sodium and the alkalinity is outrageous.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:47 AM   #5
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I'd tap into the water before the Softener system, and plug in a nice big RO system.

www.bulkreefsupply.com has what you need.

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:49 AM   #6
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The water is very high in alkalinity (6 mEq/L) and is also very hard and sulfate laden. There really isn't much you can do with this water. I'm afraid another water source is going to be necessary unless you install your own RO system.

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickochet View Post
It is my private well. I have unsoftened well water available in my garage, but it tastes like hard, well water. I recently used the hard water to make a brown ale, and it wasn't too bad, but the water left a heavy calcium deposit on all of my brewing equipment.
Sodium is bad in beer and in softened water it is replacing calcium and magnesium that you do want, so the unsoftened water would probably be better for brewing - especially if preboiled. Do you have an analysis of that water?

Otherwise, I have a well and softener too, but get my brewing and drinking water from an RO filter under the kitchen sink. If cost and space are no object that is the approach I would recommend. The RO filter does need maintenance and it is a bit of a drag collecting water 2 gallons at a time, but it is still easier than going to the store and probably cheaper in the long run too.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:58 AM   #8
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I use my softened well water all the time for brewing, No Issues:-) + the ph lowers once the grain is added. I'd at least give one or two batches a go with what you have :-)

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Old 09-19-2012, 02:41 AM   #9
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I use my softened well water all the time for brewing, No Issues:-)
I can almost guarantee that your beer would be better if you didn't do that. I used to do it too but knowing what I know now would never do it again.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange

I can almost guarantee that your beer would be better if you didn't do that. I used to do it too but knowing what I know now would never do it again.
I have no issues :-) works fine, perfect PH, perfect efficiency!
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