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Old 06-22-2011, 03:27 AM   #1
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Default Water Report help

My water Report came in and I don't think I got exactly what I was asking for. They reported water hardness as the water softener setting in (grains) as 9.338. My iron content is .335 mg/L. The rest of the information they gave me was things such as arsenic, barium, fluoride, nitrate, alpha emitters, beta emitters, chlorine, lead and copper. Is this really the information I need to know? I asked for a lot more, this is what I asked for in my email:

Hardness, Total (as CaCO3)
ph
Alkalinity*
Total Dissolved Solids
Calcium
Chlorine
Fluoride
Nitrate
Sulfate*
Sodium
Chloride
Magnesium*
Iron
Carbonates/Bicarbonates

Help is appreciated, thanks!

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Old 06-22-2011, 04:35 AM   #2
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It looks like they gave you back a standard drinking water report. Not really what you asked for, but probably what they usually test for when asked to do a work up on a residential well. The things they tested for are required to be below a certain EPA standard for drinking water, while most of the things you asked for are important for brewing, high levels aren't necessarily a health hazard.

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Old 06-22-2011, 10:18 AM   #3
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Find out more about your water source. I ran into the same issue as you. My yearly water report comes from MWRA. They put out yearly water reports that list things that you describe. My small town mails this report out once a year. When I called them they had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for more info, thats when I hit the internet and found out about MWRA, they do monthly reports and they list everything. They also talk about the testing station, path to my town, etc.

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Old 06-22-2011, 01:00 PM   #4
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The 0.335 ppm iron content is at the point where you might be able to taste it. Watch out there.

If possible, try and talk directly with someone in the water company's water quality lab. They have the answers you need.

Look over Bru'n Water to learn more about brewing water chemistry.

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:09 AM   #5
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Got my water report:

Ph 7.4
Total alkalinity as caco3 174
Bicarbonate 212
Fluoride .26
Chloride 52
Sulfate 14
TDS 290
Calcium 50.9
Iron .335
Mg 8.28
Sodium 39.7

All these are in mg/l which I assume is the same as ppm? Anything jump out?

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:33 AM   #6
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Yes, the iron is, as Martin noted, above the secondary limit established for it (0.3 mg/L) and will probably deliver beers with a metallic taste. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to remove from small (brewing size) batches of water but you probably have problems with staining of porcelain, dishes, clothes etc. throughout the house and might want to consider a whole-house iron reduction system.

Other than that the alkalinity at 174 is going to require action in order that mash pH be correct for the beers brewed with this water. The simplest way to deal with alkalinity is to dilute it down to a more manageable level with RO or DI water. If, for example, you diluted 1 part of this water with 2 parts of RO water the alkalinity would drop to 58 and the iron to .111. That's a good level for the alkalinity but the iron is still just over taste threshold. A 3 + 1 dilution would cut the alkalinity to 43 (better still) and get the iron down to .086 which should be low enough. Calcium would be down to 12.7 and chloride to 13. Diluted to this level the water is soft enough that it can be treated for brewing using the recommendations in the Primer in the stickies which are pretty straightforward.

There are alternatives to the dilution/calcium supplementation approach. Here you would have to treat for the iron and remove the alkalinity by boiling, lime treatment or acid neutralization. Each has their advantages and disadvantages but none is as simple as dilution if you are not troubled by the necessity to travel for RO water or the expense of installing an RO system.

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Old 06-29-2011, 12:50 PM   #7
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I have a pur filter on my refrigerator and could use that as my brewing water. Does that filter get rid of the iron?

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Old 06-30-2011, 02:39 AM   #8
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I took your advice and I used a combination of EZ water calculator and Bru'n water calculator to build water for my pale ale. How's this look?


Starting Water (ppm):
Ca: 50.9
Mg: 8.28
Na: 39.7
Cl: 52
SO4: 14
CaCO3: 174

Mash / Sparge Vol (gal): 3.5 / 3.5
RO or distilled %: 75% / 75%

Total Grain (lb): 11.25
Non-Roasted Spec. Grain: 0.5
Roasted Grain: 0
Beer Color (SRM): 7.6

Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:
CaSO4: 5 / 5
CaCl2: 0 / 0
MgSO4: 2 / 2
NaHCO3: 0 / 0
NaCl: 0 / 0
CaCO3: 0 / 0
Lactic Acid (ml): 0
Sauermalz (oz): 0

Mash Water / Total water (ppm):
Ca: 98 / 98
Mg: 16 / 16
Na: 10 / 10
Cl: 13 / 13
SO4: 273 / 273
Cl to SO4 Ratio: 0.05 / 0.05

Alkalinity (CaCO3): 44
RA: -36
Estimated pH (room temp): 5.41

Using 75% RO with filtered water from my fridge. In summary, 5g of gypsum and 2g of epsom in the mash, then an additional 5g gypsum and 2g of epsom in the sparge water. How does this look?

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Old 06-30-2011, 03:27 AM   #9
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That's a lot of sulfate but if that's how you like it then that's fine.

Don't know what's in a Pur filter. I think there is an ion exchange element because they claim it gets lead. It should be easy enough to get an idea. Take some of the unfiltered water and aerate it thoroughly then strain through a coffee filter. There should be an ugly orange-brown stain (iron). Now repeat with water which has been through the Pur. If the stain produced is less (or no stain forms) then the filter has removed some (all) of the iron.

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Old 06-30-2011, 11:37 AM   #10
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Ya, it is a lot, the Brun water calculator had a target sulfate level of 300 for a pale ale. Should I back it down below 200? Never had any experience brewing like this...

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