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Old 11-16-2012, 04:31 PM   #1
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Default Water report

I just got a water report back it reports
pH 6.6
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 97
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.16
Cations / Anions, me/L 1.5 / 1.6
ppm
Sodium, Na 3
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca 18
Magnesium, Mg 6
Total Hardness, CaCO3 70
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.7 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 1
Chloride, Cl 3
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 85
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 70
Fluoride, F 0.03
Total Iron, Fe 0.06
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection

EZ water basically says I have some hard water and will need acidulated malt or lactic acid. Does that sound right?

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Old 11-16-2012, 09:45 PM   #2
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No, it's not very hard and hardness is not necessarily a bad thing. There are those who will tell you that you must have 50 mg/L calcium (125 calcium hardness). What is a bad thing in most cases (there are exceptions) is alkalinity. Even with 0 alkalinity acid is needed for most beers. Most people breathe a sigh of relief if their water comes back with alkalinity at 50 or less. Yours is a bit over that but not seriously so. There are lots of beers you could brew with this water and, of course, it can be treated in various ways to allow you to tailor it in detail to particular needs for particular brews if you want to do that.

For most beers all you need to do is cut it 1:1 with RO water, add a tsp of calcium chloride and/or gypsum and use some sauermalz. See the Primer. You don't even really need to do that but it's a very simple way to consistently guarantee a good beer though improvement is often possible by additional adjustments or refining of the ones given in the Primer.

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:10 PM   #3
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It does look like I can do most browns and porters/stouts with little change to my water due the acidity of the crystal and roasted malts. I don't want to dilute what I have as that is more $ than using a little lactic acid. From what I can tell 2-3ml of 88% la ti coordinate acid would cut the alkalinity enough to make this water work for about the lightest of grain bills. Does that seem like a reasonable solution if not diluting with RO or distilled water?

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:25 PM   #4
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Well, tried using Palmer's water chart to suggest beer color/style. Chart doesn't work with your numbers, Mg & Ca low. Anyone use this chart?

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:38 PM   #5
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Palmer's chart doesn't work with most peoples numbers. AFAIK few people use it as it is now understood that color really has little to do with the chemistry of the water from which the beer was brewed. Put another way, in 'designing' an ion profile for a particular beer its color doesn't even come into consideration for most people. What does is setting mash pH correctly and having the desired flavor effects.

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Old 11-18-2012, 04:23 PM   #6
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That is an excellent tap water! The alkalinity is a bit high for some styles, but is easily neutralized with a minor acid addition. There is absolutely no need or desire to dilute this water with RO or distilled water. If a brewer wants to calculate what an acid addition should be for this water and their grist, I suggest looking into Bru'n Water. It has the calculators to assist the brewer in getting it right.

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Old 11-18-2012, 08:08 PM   #7
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I'm going to jump back in because I think 'absolutely no need' is a bit strong. There are cases where you would want to dilute with RO. Your alkalinity will have to be dealt with and there are several ways to do this. The obvious one is to remove it. RO more or less completely removes it. Dilution with RO is a means of partially 'removing it'. The other approach is to use acid to neutralize the alkalinity. The acid can come from dark malts (in which case the approach is simply 'brew a dark beer'). The acid can come from acidulated malt or sauergut or it can come from a bottle of either mineral (hydrochloric, sulfuric, phosphoric) or organic (lactic) acid. Which method you use depends on the style of beer you are trying to brew and what your personal tastes are.

I personally like the delicate continental lagers. They benefit from very soft water and so I (with alkalinity very similar to OP's) use RO water for almost everything. Conversely, for a brewer who likes the punch of hops, sulfuric acid would be an obvious choice (though additional sulfate supplementation would be required in many cases). For someone who wants the full, round, sweet mellowness that comes from chloride hydrochloric is the clear choice (though again additional chloride would probably be wanted). And so on.

Using deionized (literally DI or approaching DI as RO does) has one tremendous advantage over all the other schemes: it is always the same and you always know what's in it (or more precisely, what isn't in it). This enables you to set the ion content to exactly what you want (within the limits of physical realizability) each time you brew.

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Old 11-19-2012, 01:31 PM   #8
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What kind of flavor changes would you expect to see with a dilution of Phosphoric acid?

Would 2-3ml of lactic acid at 88% be detectable in flavor or how would that affect the taste of the end result?

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Old 11-19-2012, 02:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nashbrewer View Post
What kind of flavor changes would you expect to see with a dilution of Phosphoric acid?

Would 2-3ml of lactic acid at 88% be detectable in flavor or how would that affect the taste of the end result?
Phosphoric will have minimal flavor effect. I used to add about 4 ml of 88% lactic to 5 gal of sparging water when I was in Tallahassee and never detected a flavor impact. The modest alkalinity of the OP's water make using lactic acid quite acceptable.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:08 PM   #10
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Thank-you Martin, and AJ. I always enjoy reading what you guys have to say about brewing water. It was good to have met both of you at the AHA conference in Seattle this past June. The 'Water Panel' seminar you guys did with John Palmer, and Colin Kaminski was great. Thanks for all the help and info you share with the brewing community. Colin is giving our homebrew club (Sonoma Beerocrats) a presentation tomorrow on water chemistry. Thanks again

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