Troublesome water report
After trying to contact the local water department and getting no help, I decided to send in my water to ward lab. I tried brewing a couple lighter highly hopped beers and never got a good result so i thought something might be up. This was the result:
Sodium, Na 23
Potassium, K 1
Calcium, Ca 94
Magnesium, Mg 33
Total Hardness, CaCO3 373
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 9
Chloride, Cl 41
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 397
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 325
It looks like I have very high bicarbonate and very low sulfate. The total opposite of what I would want for my brewing style. It looks like i will either have to dilute every batch or start from all distilled which I really did not want to do. What would you recommend?
This water is pretty disastrous for brewing. It is off the charts in terms of alkalinity. About the only thing you could do with it is lime decarbonation. It would be much simpler, IMO, to obtain and install an RO system or buy RO water for your brewing. RO systems are available now for a little over $100. I would assume with water this hard you would have a softener installed. The RO system should be fed with softened water.
General notice to everyone: when posting Ward Lab (or any) reports it helps to have pH info. I can't do an analysis without pH and if you don't give me one I have to guess. It also helps to give the cation/anion figures.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 441
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.74
Cations / Anions, me/L 8.5 / 8.3
I used 7 for the pH and while an actual pH of 7.7 does change the picture somewhat it is not dramatic and does not change the general conclusion. The Cations/Anions figures let me know that I've transcribed the number correctly and, more importantly, represent a quality control measure for your Ward Labs analysis. Theoretically they should be exactly the same. The closer they are, the better.
Adding in a RO system is probably out of the question because I dont really want to be here more than a year anyway and its an apartment. I guess I might just go with distilled water for the next couple batches to see how it goes. I am doing a black IPA next with 1/2 lb of carafa III and 1/2 lb of crystal. Is the ez water calculator spreadsheat pretty accurate when adding in specific grains.
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