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Old 10-29-2013, 01:30 AM   #1
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Default Ward Labs Report for my water

Hey all, just got my results back and they're somewhat encouraging. I haven't tried to brew with this water yet, I just moved here, but I plan on working on water next in my long list of things to "improve" my beer. I read the Bru'n Water - Water Knowledge page, whew, that's a LOT of information. Here's the results:

pH - 7.8
Sodium, Na - 70 ppm
Potassium, K - 1 ppm
Calcium, Ca - 28 ppm
Magnesium, Mg - <1 ppm
Total Hardness, CaCo3 - 74 ppm
Sulfate, SO4-S - <1 ppm
Chloride, Cl - 17 ppm
Carbonate, CO3 - <1 ppm
Bicarbonate, HCO3 - 261 ppm (eek)
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 - 214 ppm

Using the formula on Bru'n Water, I calculate my Residual Alkalinity at around 206, which is pretty high as I understand it. It appears that my water will be better suited for stouts without significant additions. Am I understanding that correctly? The remaining minerals seem to be in relatively good quantities I think.

My utility report says that there is approximately 2.37ppm Chloramines in the water from their test. So I'll definitely need to invest in Campden Tablets to get rid of that (although the smell test didn't work for me...I don't smell chlorine at all straight out of the tap).

What do you guys think?

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Old 10-29-2013, 04:12 AM   #2
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Total alkalinity is high to the extent that something will have to be done about it for the great majority of beers. 'Something' means neutralization with acid (substitutes and acid anion for each bicarbonate ion), reduction by boiling or lime treatment (calcium will have to be supplemented first and this also results in an anion replacing each bicarbonate ion removed) or dilution with RO water. This last is the most conservative and robust approach as it also wipes out variations in your water. As you will need a large dilution ratio to get alkalinity down to a desirable level using straight RO water with mineral supplementation is an attractive approach.

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Old 10-29-2013, 04:06 PM   #3
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ajdelange, thanks for the update. My water knowledge is slim, but I believe I understand what you're saying. Total Alkalinity is high, and to balance I can add acid (which counters bicarbonates) or I can boil or use lime (counters bicarbonates also). Or I could dilute, but the amount that I would have to dilute it may make more sense to just use RO water and add specific minerals in choice amounts since each beer has significant differences that diluting would be more difficult to approximate.

Thanks!

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Old 10-31-2013, 01:42 AM   #4
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With 70 ppm sodium, its not great brewing water. But it can be used. I don't think that pre-boiling or lime softening are going to be great solutions to this brewing problem.

If the Marine is adventurous, he can brew with that water as long as acidification is used to neutralize the alkalinity. I suggest that phosphoric acid would be best since the degree of neutralization is significant.

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Old 10-31-2013, 03:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
With 70 ppm sodium, its not great brewing water. But it can be used. I don't think that pre-boiling or lime softening are going to be great solutions to this brewing problem.
Well it won't take care of the sodium but he still ought to be able to get the alkalinity down to 1 mVal provided he preloads the calcium as I indicated in #2. The resulting mix of sodium sulfate and/or sodium chloride is going to be better than sodium bicarbonate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
If the Marine is adventurous, he can brew with that water as long as acidification is used to neutralize the alkalinity.
This won't do anything against the sodium either and the result is the same - sodium chloride, sodium sulfate or sodium phosphate instead of sodium bicarbonate (or really the ions thereof) depending on which acid(s) are selected.

Quote:
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I suggest that phosphoric acid would be best since the degree of neutralization is significant.
I don't follow the reasoning here. 1 mVal of HCl or H2SO4 provides as much proton surfeit as 1 of phosphoric. If the flavor effects of SO4-- and/or Cl- are not desired then phosphoric has the advantage of being more flavor neutral. And it always has the advantage of easier availability in the US.

The sodium, if he wants to be free of it, will have to be disposed of by dilution or RO or RO/DI.
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