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Old 01-08-2013, 03:06 PM   #1
craq5
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Default Water Testing Question

I ordered a test kit package from Ward Labs to test my tap water. In the meantime I have found a store near me with a very fancy RO water system which I can purchase RO water for brewing. I have also read some who combine RO water with their tap water to make up their profile.


Should I send my tap water to Ward Labs for testing and with those results cut it with RO water when brewing. I assume it would be a waste of money to send the RO water in for testing? I am totally new to messing around with my brewing water.

In the end I hope to use the EZwatercalculator and use X Gallong of Tap + X Gallons of RO. Just want to make sure there is no reason to test the RO water as well.

OR

Should I just go all RO water and adjust with salts and just forget about TAP. Then would it make sense to send in the RO water fort testing?????

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Old 01-08-2013, 05:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by craq5 View Post
I ordered a test kit package from Ward Labs to test my tap water. In the meantime I have found a store near me with a very fancy RO water system which I can purchase RO water for brewing. I have also read some who combine RO water with their tap water to make up their profile.


Should I send my tap water to Ward Labs for testing and with those results cut it with RO water when brewing. I assume it would be a waste of money to send the RO water in for testing? I am totally new to messing around with my brewing water.

In the end I hope to use the EZwatercalculator and use X Gallong of Tap + X Gallons of RO. Just want to make sure there is no reason to test the RO water as well.

OR

Should I just go all RO water and adjust with salts and just forget about TAP. Then would it make sense to send in the RO water fort testing?????
Wait until you get the results of your tap water test until you start thinking about how you're going to alter it. If it's really high in calcium or bicarbonate for example, you may want dilute it with RO from the store. But that may not be necessary if you have soft water. It will also depend on the particular style you want to brew. I change the water profile for each style that I brew. The water used to make a Burton ale wouldn't work well at all for a Czech Pilsner. I also don't think it's necessary to test the RO water from the store, unless it's a shady store and you don't trust them.

I suggest reading the chapter on water in John Palmer's book before doing any water modification. If you don't have his latest copy, you can read the 1st edition online for free. Using the EZ water calc is a great tool, also. Once you understand the concepts and learn the tool, you'll start noticing a (good) difference in your beers. So, read up, look at your report when it comes, and ask questions if you have any, and we'll go from there.

TB
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On tap:
1. Porter 2. Kentucky Common 3. IPA 4. Pils 5.[Nitrogen] Dry Stout
Primary:
1. Dry Stout 2. Dry Stout 3. Cali Common 4. Cali Common 5. none 6. none
Secondary:
1. Brett Ale 2. none 3. none 4. none
Bottled:
About 58 gallons of beer & 4.2 gallons of mead
Kegged & conditioning:
Imperial Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout x2, Belgian Dubbel, German Pils (lagering), Oatmeal Blonde x2
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:05 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tip. So I finally got the report back from Ward Labs

Sodium 63 ppm
Potassium 3 ppm
Calcium 34 ppm
Magnesium 15 ppm
Total Hardness 148
Sulfate 25
Chloride 75
Carbonate 6
Bicarbonate 109
Total Alkalinity 99

Looking to brew a Milk Stout, 31.7 SRM. Tried entering parameters in EZwater but still confused. Don't see where I compare SRM with values entered OR Where I can enter in water profiles (London etc......) Any help would be great. Do I have the water profile to brew a stout?

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:00 AM   #4
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I don't think srm has to do with your water profile, it's just the color of your beer.

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:01 AM   #5
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Though who knows water probably affects color too, but it doesn't sound like the figure you're looking for.

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:05 AM   #6
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There is a John Palmer spreadsheet on the internet (see link, toward the bottom of the page) to help you predict water chemistry. Enter in your intial water chemistry, and it will help you with the additions to get you where you need to be for the beer type you are brewing. Works perfectly.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-3.html

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Old 01-16-2013, 12:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by craq5 View Post
Thanks for the tip. So I finally got the report back from Ward Labs

Sodium 63 ppm
Potassium 3 ppm
Calcium 34 ppm
Magnesium 15 ppm
Total Hardness 148
Sulfate 25
Chloride 75
Carbonate 6
Bicarbonate 109
Total Alkalinity 99

Looking to brew a Milk Stout, 31.7 SRM. Tried entering parameters in EZwater but still confused. Don't see where I compare SRM with values entered OR Where I can enter in water profiles (London etc......) Any help would be great. Do I have the water profile to brew a stout?
That is a pretty tough water to brew with. By the way, I see that you didn't change the SO4-S concentration to SO4. The actual sulfate concentration is 75 ppm. Unfortunately, there are several programs out there that don't have the capability to tell you that you made this mistake.

Both chloride and sulfate are a little high for some brews, so dilution may be something to consider. The alkalinity will probably need some neutralization for some brews, but its not out of this world. Overall, this is a water that can be used as long as you understand the changes needed for your brews. I suggest reading the Water Knowledge page on the Bru'n Water website.

The recommendation to use the Palmer recommendations for water is not a good one. The 'beer color' based approach to brewing water adjustments was long ago found to be useless. The Palmer recommendations are particularly way off when brewing darker styles.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:11 PM   #8
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Do I have the water profile to brew a stout?
Yes, and many other beers too. For light (in body - not color), dry stout (Irish stout) your mash pH might be a tad high but probably acceptable. As you add more dark malts mash pH will decline and may get to the point where it goes too low. My experience with stouts like that is that it's easier to put charcoal briquettes in the blender with some water. What I am getting at is that as long as you are reasonable with the black stuff and go easy on the high color caramel malts you will probably be OK. But I'll never to pass on the opportunity to suggest that you ought to obtain a pH meter and learn how to use it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post

The recommendation to use the Palmer recommendations for water is not a good one. The 'beer color' based approach to brewing water adjustments was long ago found to be useless. The Palmer recommendations are particularly way off when brewing darker styles.
I believe you're referring to Palmer's old water calc spreadsheet. The new water spreadsheet is more accurate and applicable. Also, in his new editions, Palmer corrects many mistakes made in previous editions.
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On tap:
1. Porter 2. Kentucky Common 3. IPA 4. Pils 5.[Nitrogen] Dry Stout
Primary:
1. Dry Stout 2. Dry Stout 3. Cali Common 4. Cali Common 5. none 6. none
Secondary:
1. Brett Ale 2. none 3. none 4. none
Bottled:
About 58 gallons of beer & 4.2 gallons of mead
Kegged & conditioning:
Imperial Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout x2, Belgian Dubbel, German Pils (lagering), Oatmeal Blonde x2
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:38 AM   #10
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If I am starting with "rough" water then am I better off just starting with RO and adding additions. Can any of the calculators go off just using 100% RO water? I dont mind diluting my tap with RO and the extra cost to pick up a few gallons.

Appreciate the advice.

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