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Old 01-07-2013, 03:16 PM   #1
thekage
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Default Water profile advice...

I am a newb to water chemistry. I just got my water report from the city water plant. And I have read the primer stickied at top several times. But I'm not sure I'm reading the report accuratly. I'm not really looking for any style specific suggestions at this point, but more like anything in general I should be doing to my water to make it more compatible for brewing all styles of beer. Thanks!

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Old 01-07-2013, 03:51 PM   #2
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Here's the important stuff, in mg/l:

Total Alkalinity: 96
Calcium: 45
Magnesium: 10
Chloride: 25
Sulfate: 50
Sodium: 22
Metals: OK
Chlorine/Chloramine: not mentioned

Your first step is to de-chlorinate the water. The exact levels aren't mentioned, but it's not ultimately important. Read the Campden tablet sticky.

The alkalinity will need to be neutralized for most beers. Acid malt will be easier to measure than small doses of phosphoric or lactic acid, but either will do. (Edit: although acid malt will begin to have a flavor impact with the amounts you'll need for lighter beers.)

The sulfate is at the top end of my brewing spectrum, and the low end for many others'. (Opinions are like assholes, right?) There are lots of words to describe what sulfate does to hops. "Accentuate". "Enhance". I think it makes them more "harsh", but you should experiment for yourself.

Otherwise it looks really good. I would probably dilute with RO and add calcium chloride because it's really easy for me to get and use RO water.... but it's not necessary. Nothing screams dilute me, like high magnesium or sodium levels. Just deal with that alkalinity for most beers and watch the pH if you have the ability.

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Old 01-07-2013, 06:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by GotPushrods View Post
I would probably dilute with RO and add calcium chloride because it's really easy for me to get and use RO water.... but it's not necessary. Nothing screams dilute me, like high magnesium or sodium levels. Just deal with that alkalinity for most beers and watch the pH if you have the ability.
So let me get this straight...
Lets say I'm brewing a 5.5 gallon batch, total of 9 gallons of water. Treat 4.5 gallons tap water with camden tablet to kill chlorides, dilute 1:1 with RO water, and use sour malt or brewing salts to treat alkilinity.. sound about right?
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by thekage View Post
So let me get this straight...
Lets say I'm brewing a 5.5 gallon batch, total of 9 gallons of water. Treat 4.5 gallons tap water with camden tablet to kill chlorides, dilute 1:1 with RO water, and use sour malt or brewing salts to treat alkilinity.. sound about right?
Pretty close.

Chloride is just a chlorine atom with a -1 charge. This is quite desirable in brewing water and can enhance maltiness and give an overall round flavor.

The chlorine or chloramine is what you want rid of, and is really a misnomer for most peoples' initial understanding. It is usually an oxygen-chlorine or chlorine-ammonia molecule in very small concentration that disinfects the water. This is probably under 3 ppm. Don't try to calculate a dose of Campden with the chloride number.

Sour malt and acids will reduce the alkalinity. The salts are for flavor and other reasons throughout the process. Calcium will play a small role in reducing the mash pH, but for the most part, combating alkalinity requires dilution or acid.

Once you've diluted 1:1, cut all your numbers in half and decide what you want to do flavor-ion wise. (Chloride and sulfate. There's really no need to ever add magnesium or sodium) You might want a little more calcium after dilution for many beers, but you're going to get that whether you add CaCl2 or CaSO4 for the chloride or sulfate.

Enter the numbers in the most popular spreadsheets these days... Bru'n, EZ, Kai's, etc. Use them all. Get a feel for what each does and, preferably, how they each do relative to your own pH measurements.
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