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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Water quality, what to do....Hard water and high pH.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:32 AM   #1
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Default Water quality, what to do....Hard water and high pH.

Called my local water company and found out we have some hard water. Any harder it would come out in chunks I think.

Mankato, MN
Calcium - 112 ppm
Magnesium - 108 ppm
Sodium - 34 ppm
Sulfate - 153 ppm
pH 8.8 -9.0

I have a RO/DI unit, but just use the RO side of it. Water in is 220 TDS, water out is 8 TDS. My first brew will be a double IPA, then a wheat. Should I mix tap with RO water? Start with just R/O and readjust? Any suggestions would be a great help while I do a little more research.

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Old 06-10-2010, 03:59 AM   #2
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do you have the figure for alkalinity? My CaCO3 is HIGH, so I have to dilute my tap water with some RO, then use a spreadsheet to add back some calcium, sulfate, and sometimes chloride.

I really like -TH's EZ water spreadsheet- it can give you the same info as Palmer's nomograph, but it's so easy to use!

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Old 06-10-2010, 04:25 AM   #3
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Need a alkalinity figure, like Yoop said, but none the less the magnesium is too high. I believe the recommended range is 10-30ppm. It looks like some dilution is in order at least.

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Old 06-10-2010, 04:32 AM   #4
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Thank's for the help, I will work on get that info tomorrow.

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Old 06-10-2010, 03:04 PM   #5
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Here we go with Alkalinity. It seems like every time I ask for this, I get the same answer. Every time I call I talk to the same guy.

City "You mean total hardness?',
Me: "No, I am looking for Alkalinity."
City: Oh.....it's about 200 ppm.

When I ask for Chloride:
City: "We put 2 ppm of chlorine in our water."
Me: "I am actually looking for Chloride."
City: "oh...you mean Fluoride."
Me: "Ummm...no, Chloride is what I am looking for.
City: "Oh, yea the Chlorine is not really present at your drinking water."
Me: "Ok, nevermind."

Mankato, MN
Calcium - 112 ppm
Magnesium - 108 ppm
Sodium - 34 ppm
Sulfate - 153 ppm
Alkalinity - 200
pH 8.8 -9.0

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Old 06-10-2010, 05:38 PM   #6
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Forget it guys....

On yet another phone call to the water department, different guy.

"We don't test for Calcium, magnesium or chloride.:

Needless to say, my testing supplies are on order from Ward Lab. I will update once I get the correct data. Word of advice, just pay the $16.50 to get it done correctly.

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Old 09-11-2010, 04:08 AM   #7
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Ok I finally got it tested, what they guy at the city was telling me over the phone was way off.

pH 8.3
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 364

Sodium, Na - 30
Potassium, K - 6
Calcium, Ca - 35
Magnesium, Mg - 33
Total Hardness, CaCO3 - 225
Nitrate, NO3-N - 3.2 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S - 67 (Adjusted to 201 because of this...http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/ez-...5/index18.html
Chloride, Cl - 30
Carbonate, CO3 - 3
Bicarbonate, HCO3 - 37
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 - 35

As you can see Sulfate is very high. I like IPAs. What would you do?

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Old 09-11-2010, 04:38 AM   #8
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You actually have pretty good water for IPA in the sense that it has negative RA and is loaded with sulfate so for that style I'd just go with what you've got.

For many other styles the sulfate may be a problem for you. It really depends on your personal taste. For such cases you can use the RO water blended with some percentage of tap water. Obvioulsy a 9:1 dilution would give you sulfate at 20 mg/L, a 4:1 40 and so on. The other ions are similarly diluted. 9:1 would lower the calcium to 3.5 and the chloride to 3; 4:1 would yield 7.0 for the calcium and the chloride to 6. If you do dilutions to these levels to control sulfate you would probably want to use some calcium chloride to get the calcium level up a bit. Or you can just use the RO water with 5 grams (about a tsp.) CaCl2.2H2O per 5 gallons treated

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Old 09-11-2010, 04:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
You actually have pretty good water for IPA in the sense that it has negative RA and is loaded with sulfate so for that style I'd just go with what you've got.

For many other styles the sulfate may be a problem for you. It really depends on your personal taste. For such cases you can use the RO water blended with some percentage of tap water. Obvioulsy a 9:1 dilution would give you sulfate at 20 mg/L, a 4:1 40 and so on. The other ions are similarly diluted. 9:1 would lower the calcium to 3.5 and the chloride to 3; 4:1 would yield 7.0 for the calcium and the chloride to 6. If you do dilutions to these levels to control sulfate you would probably want to use some calcium chloride to get the calcium level up a bit. Or you can just use the RO water with 5 grams (about a tsp.) CaCl2.2H2O per 5 gallons treated
Thank you! I was always playing around with the spread sheet trying to get things right with lots of additions, but it seemed like a lot of messing around. Part of the problem was the Ward Lab results of Sulfate as SO4-S, so I was messing around with 67 as sulfate. Until I stumbled upon your re-math. Thank you for that one.
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Old 09-11-2010, 05:12 AM   #10
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Really, it's perfect pale ale and IPA water.

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