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Old 05-27-2011, 04:38 PM   #1
carloski44
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Default Water, water everywhere, and not a drop I can use in my brew.

Sorry for the lengthy post.
I have had to purchase water to brew with for the last 2 years, since i found out that aweful flavor I was getting, was from the high alkalinity in my water. I usually use spring water for darker beers and half spring, and half distilled for my lighter beers. I have been adding the calcium cloride and using the acidulated malts to get my ph correct at mash, and using Phosphoric acid in my sparge to get to 5.7 or below, also since switching waters. This has been great until now, I am upgrading equipment to 20-25gal batches, and the water is pretty pricey for what it is. I would like to know what effect reverse osmosis would have on my own water? What effect would it have on the bicarbonate as this is what is so high. Would the use of acid, and RO on my water allow me to use it (Without the bad tastes) with the full range of beers, not just darker ones?

Water report = PH-9.2, Sodium-94, Potassium <1, Calcium <1, Mag. <1, Hardness <1, Nitrate-.1, Sulfate-4, Chloride-3 Carbonate-45 Bicarbonate-154

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Old 05-27-2011, 04:44 PM   #2
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RO/Di would bring your pH to neutral, kh and gh to near zero and TDS to about 5 ppm. I use this for aquarium setups requiring precise control.

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Old 05-27-2011, 05:36 PM   #3
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There are a couple ways to treat your water to lower the carbonate/bicarbonate levels. The first is boiling, and the second is treating with calcium hydroxide. Both result in the precipitation of calcium carbonate, which removes the bicarbonate and carbonate down to about 50 ppm. AJ has a very detailed explanation of both methods on his website that I highly recommend. I treat my hard well water with calcium hydroxide and can get the total alkalinity down from 270 ppm to 33 ppm, according to the Ward Labs analysis I had done a couple months ago.

You can adjust the other ions to the levels you want for the type of beer at the same time. I treat the total amount of water for the brew in a separate 20 barrel the night before brew day, and rack it off the CaCO3 precipitate as I need it during the brew.

Once you figure out how much calcium hydroxide to add to soften your particular water, the rest is easy. Canning lime is the stuff you use, available at most grocery stores.

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Old 05-27-2011, 05:38 PM   #4
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Having an in-house RO filter might make good sense. I use RO water for my lighter beers and if I brewed often enough, it would be a good portion of the cost of a batch. I can get it for $1 per gallon through my work.

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Old 05-27-2011, 05:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jd3 View Post
RO/Di would bring your pH to neutral, kh and gh to near zero and TDS to about 5 ppm. I use this for aquarium setups requiring precise control.
So if I read what you are saying correctly, all I need is a RO system, and I can build my water like everyone else, and not have to buy it?
This water would be very soft, great for light beers would it not?
PH neutral, can be adjusted lower with acid malt
kh and gh + TDS can be adjusted with salts higher if need be for darker beers
am i missing something here or am I on my way to buy a RO system?
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carloski44 View Post
So if I read what you are saying correctly, all I need is a RO system, and I can build my water like everyone else, and not have to buy it?
This water would be very soft, great for light beers would it not?
PH neutral, can be adjusted lower with acid malt
kh and gh + TDS can be adjusted with salts higher if need be for darker beers
am i missing something here or am I on my way to buy a RO system?
That is exactly what I am sayhing. What you will get is RODI water and discharge water. Use the discharge to water the plants, the yard, etc.

THe RODI should be next to zero TDS. If your tds is 0 then all of the other problems are up to you on how to create them.
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jd3 View Post
That is exactly what I am sayhing. What you will get is RODI water and discharge water. Use the discharge to water the plants, the yard, etc.

THe RODI should be next to zero TDS. If your tds is 0 then all of the other problems are up to you on how to create them.
Excellent thanks for the info
Now can anyone recommend an RO system for something like this, I already have a tank. that I could use to store the RO water, as I was thinking hard about using rain water instead, but this has sealed the deal for me, I will definately be getting an RO system.
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:55 PM   #8
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http://www.purewaterclub.com/catalog...roducts_id=321

This is what I run. A float valve and it stops when your tank is full.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:05 PM   #9
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Water report = PH-9.2, Sodium-94, Potassium <1, Calcium <1, Mag. <1, Hardness <1, Nitrate-.1, Sulfate-4, Chloride-3 Carbonate-45 Bicarbonate-154
Has this water been through a water softener? It certainly looks as if it has. If it hasn't it is only the second case of water I have ever seen with appreciable alkalinity but no temporary hardness.

Because there is no temporary hardness it will not be possible to decarbonate this water by boiling or lime treatment unless you add hardness i.e. calcium ion as either the chloride or sulfate salts.

RO is, IMO, a great way to go. Units are relatively inexpensive. 5 GPD units are available for a little over $100 and if you are paying $1 per liter for RO at the store - well you can do the math to see when you will break even. Larger capacity RO systems are, of course, available at higher prices but free you from having to collect your brewing water days in advance. Low capacity units can be fitted with larger pressure tanks to ameliorate this problem somewhat.

An RO system should remove at least 92% and sometimes up to 98% of all ions including bicarbonate. Thus buffering capacity (alkalinity) of the water will be way down. The pH will probably be somewhat less than 7 as RO membranes pass H+ ions but the low buffering capacity makes this unimportant. You will be starting each brew "with a clean sheet of paper". In most cases all you will need to add is some calcium chloride and, if you want it, calcium sulfate. Sauermalz for pH control will be required for most beers. Very dark beers may need a pinch of chalk.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:17 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=ajdelange;2960252]Has this water been through a water softener? It certainly looks as if it has. If it hasn't it is only the second case of water I have ever seen with appreciable alkalinity but no temporary hardness.

No water softeners here just well water from 625 ft, thanks for all the information, this will make my hobbie so much more enjoyable being able to use my own water.

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