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Old 12-25-2012, 01:28 AM   #31
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I would recommend adding 1.2 tsp of calcium carbonate to your mash water since you will need a little more Ca+ for the enzymes.
Ca from water is beneficial in the brewing process, but not necessary. I have brewed with RO water without problems.


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Old 12-25-2012, 03:13 AM   #32
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Kai, Can you give me more details regarding the division you mentioned in the earlier post?

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Old 12-25-2012, 04:03 AM   #33
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After a few AG batches with my new RO water setup, my beer has a much better finish than when I used softened water only. I am now using only straight RO water, with nothing added to tailor the water style. Short of sending in another water sample, is there a way to calculate the RO water report? My TDS was 636 and according to my tester, it is now 10!!!

Below is my softened water report:
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
Rick, I'm surprised with the water result. I see that you are from Marion and I know that they lime-soften their water and there is no need whatsoever to ion-exchange soften. I know the Director and Assistant Director of the utility personally, so I assume you are not on the city supply. Oh well! You should enjoy the RO unit in comparison to your softened water.

Yes, you CAN brew with straight RO water successfully. But I can assure you that it does not produce the best beer typically. There are only a few light lagers that rely on a very clean palate, that benefit from low or no ionic content in the brewing water. In my opinion, having a dose of calcium, along with either or both sulfate or chloride are important contributors to beer flavor. Including a modest dose that is geared for your beer style is a good way to go.
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Old 12-25-2012, 04:28 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by onthekeg View Post
I would recommend adding 1.2 tsp of calcium carbonate to your mash water since you will need a little more Ca+ for the enzymes.
I would also recommend adding 1T of Caco to the boil if you are making a stout with RO water.
I would strongly recommend not doing this. Some calcium is beneficial yes but calcium carbonate is not a good source of calcium ion as it is 1) not very soluble and 2) to the extent that it is soluble it releases alkali into the mash which is not a thing you want to do except with some dark beers. Calcium chloride or calcium sulfate are reasonable sources of calcium. Which to use depends on your personal tastes.
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Old 12-25-2012, 02:52 PM   #35
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Rick, I'm surprised with the water result. I see that you are from Marion and I know that they lime-soften their water and there is no need whatsoever to ion-exchange soften. I know the Director and Assistant Director of the utility personally, so I assume you are not on the city supply. Oh well! You should enjoy the RO unit in comparison to your softened water.

Yes, you CAN brew with straight RO water successfully. But I can assure you that it does not produce the best beer typically. There are only a few light lagers that rely on a very clean palate, that benefit from low or no ionic content in the brewing water. In my opinion, having a dose of calcium, along with either or both sulfate or chloride are important contributors to beer flavor. Including a modest dose that is geared for your beer style is a good way to go.
Martin,
Yes we are on well water, softened by a good system and now supported by a good RO system. I supplied my original water report in hopes that I would be able to find out what my report would be now from the RO water. Is this possible, or should I send another sample to Ward Labs? Any info that you can share in terms of numbers & quantity are appreciated.

Also: You mentioned that you know the Marion Water Utility Director. Bill McElhaney just recently retired. His property and homestead adjoin mine--we live out in the boonies, so even though we can't see each others homes, we still consider ourselves neighbors.

Merry Christmas!!!
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Old 12-25-2012, 03:30 PM   #36
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Rick,

Yep, Bill and I served on a government affairs committee for the primary wastewater trade group in the state. Bill's retirement surprised me! But I suppose he was ready. Chuck and David are now in charge. I think I had mentioned to Bill that I am a brewer, so he would get a chuckle if you mention me.

With the typical removal efficiency of a RO process, you can pretty much guess that the RO water has very low concentrations and you wouldn't be far off. Bru'n Water has a typical profile that came from my system that uses pre-softened water as the feed water. The Na content of the product water is slightly higher than it would have been if unsoftened water was used. But its not enough to worry about.

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