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Old 06-05-2010, 10:22 PM   #1
ihearthops
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Default Ward Water Report - Few Questions

First off, i'm relatively new to brewing (started in February), but i've done a few extract and mini mash batches and am going to be trying my first AG batch in the next few weeks. I sent off a water sample to Ward a few weeks back and am making an attempt at deciphering the information and determining what additions I am going to need to make to achieve a balanced profile.

Anyways, here is my report from my well (pre-softened):

pH 7.3
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 108
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.18
Cations / Anions, me/L 1.9 / 1.6
ppm
Sodium, Na 14
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca 15
Magnesium, Mg 6
Total Hardness, CaCO3 63
Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 2
Chloride, Cl 4
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 82
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 67
Fluoride, F 0.41
Total Iron, Fe 0.15


From what I can tell, it looks relatively workable, however one my concerns is the amount of Iron present in the sample. I know Iron has some ill effects and was wondering if it is below the point that I should be concerned. I have also been tinkering with the EZ water adjustment spreadsheet and it looks like I can get away with a pretty balanced profile by using CaCl, Gypsum, and Epsom additions in the mash.


Am I missing anything? Should I be concerned about the Iron level and dilute? (or just build from RO)

Again, I apologize for any noob questions -- I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on everything (thanks to the plethera of information you guys contribute to this site), however i'm really struggling with water modifications. Thanks in advance for your help!

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Old 06-05-2010, 11:04 PM   #2
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That does look like a pretty good water report. I would not sweat the Fe. It's REALLY low. You're talking about 150 parts per billion.

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Old 06-06-2010, 02:06 AM   #3
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Read this if you haven't already : http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15.html

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Old 06-06-2010, 02:17 AM   #4
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Very good water for brewing. You are definitely going to want to add calcium (50-100ppm). But from there, you are free to build for your recipe. I second the howtobrew link above.

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Old 06-06-2010, 07:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for the comments and reassurance. I had read the section in palmers book a few months back before I started working towards AG, but it was definately good to re-read. I'm kicking off the AG process with a Belgian Wit I just ordered from AHS, which seems to be held in pretty high regard. I'm planning to shoot for water ideal for a low SRM and chloride to sulfate ratio for a balanced brew.

Wish me luck.

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Old 06-06-2010, 09:30 PM   #6
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This makes it east to do the calculations if you don't already have it.

http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/EZ-...calculator.htm

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Old 07-08-2010, 02:13 AM   #7
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I just got my own report back from Ward Labs. Rather than litter the section with a new thread, I figured I would post mine on this one and see seek some feedback on a couple of items that stood out to me.

Not sure about the sodium and sulfate numbers. I was comparing my base water makeup to the recommended levels on the ezwatercalculator site. It recommended 50-350 on Sulfate. I am at 3. And although sodium calls for a recommended range of 0-150. I really don't want salty beers. Any thoughts on my 23?

Also, this water is run through a charcoal filter. The water is softened but I usually bypass the softener a day or 2 before brewing. I collect the water through a hose attached to the outside faucet and run through the filter. Before I use the water for brewing, I run the faucet 5 min or so to clear the line of any water that might have hit the softener.

pH 7.6
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 308
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.51
Cations / Anions, me/L 6.0 / 5.5
ppm
Sodium, Na 23
Potassium, K 1
Calcium, Ca 56
Magnesium, Mg 26
Total Hardness, CaCO3 248
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.6 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 3
Chloride, Cl 10
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 302
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 247
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

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Old 07-08-2010, 02:32 AM   #8
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Your Na is fine. 23 ppm is not going to be salty. You can raise your SO4 levels with either gypsum or epsom salt, neither of which will raise your Na. I prefer the epsom salt because yeast love the Mg.

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Old 07-08-2010, 02:47 AM   #9
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Well I'll throw my 2 cents in, since responses in this subforum can be scarce.

Don't worry about the 23 sodium. This number would need to be a lot higher before you would even detect a salty taste in your beer.

As for the sulfate, unless you are brewing a pilsner or another very light lager, you will want this number to be higher. Sulfates accentuate hop bitterness so if you are brewing a pale ale or IPA, you will want the sulfate number to be significantly higher.

The biggest problem with your water is that it is very high in bicarbonates, which means that you will have trouble brewing anything other than a dark SRM beer. I have the same problem. I always wondered why my stouts and porters ended up being great, while my hefeweizens and pale ales suffered from off flavors. Once I got my water report back, I knew why. In order to brew lighter colored beers, you will have to dilute your tap water with RO or distilled water. This will lower the ppm of your other minerals as well, which means you may have to add certain salts to bring everything back into the recommended ranges.

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Old 07-08-2010, 03:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stein View Post
Well I'll throw my 2 cents in, since responses in this subforum can be scarce.

Don't worry about the 23 sodium. This number would need to be a lot higher before you would even detect a salty taste in your beer.

As for the sulfate, unless you are brewing a pilsner or another very light lager, you will want this number to be higher. Sulfates accentuate hop bitterness so if you are brewing a pale ale or IPA, you will want the sulfate number to be significantly higher.

The biggest problem with your water is that it is very high in bicarbonates, which means that you will have trouble brewing anything other than a dark SRM beer. I have the same problem. I always wondered why my stouts and porters ended up being great, while my hefeweizens and pale ales suffered from off flavors. Once I got my water report back, I knew why. In order to brew lighter colored beers, you will have to dilute your tap water with RO or distilled water. This will lower the ppm of your other minerals as well, which means you may have to add certain salts to bring everything back into the recommended ranges.

That's what i have been finding when tinkering with the spreadsheet. And my practical experience bears that out as well. Family and friends rave about my stouts and porters. I got picked apart in a blonde ale contest beer earlier..

So it sounds like the best route (and Palmer's chapter on water bears this out) is to dilute and build for other minerals. I have been specifically tinkering with the chart using the lighter profiled beers as a guide because I have always suspected that my ultra hard water is better for dark beers.

The problem I keep running into when diluting and then trying to build a pale beer profile, is Calcium. It appears to be attached to almost everything I want to use to soften the water. I was specifically looking at the Vienna sample profile and I could not bump the other minerals without making the water harder again and having it tell me I am better off brewing a bitter beer.
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