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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > What to do with Water Quality
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:48 AM   #1
StoneHands
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Default What to do with Water Quality

My annual report from the local water board lists a range for the brewing parameters (all but Chloride) all in mg/L or ppm:

Calcium - 19.8 to 46.8
Magnesium - 3.68 to 6.75
Sodium - 3.45-7.58
Chloride - 6.21
Sulfate - 27.8 to 40.0

Total Hardness - 62.0 to 128
Total Alkalinity - 58.0 to 104

When I first looked at this, the ranges seemed wide, but after playing around with the EZ Water adjustment spreadsheet, perhaps they aren't. What would you enter in when making water adjustments? The higher number? Avg? Lowest? Are these ranges close enough to not make a huge impact on adjustments? From the few AG batches I've done, it seems my darker beers are more bitter than the lighter ones. I tend to gravitate toward maltier, lighter colored beers. Munich Helles, Oktoberfest, etc. Any advice?

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Old 06-08-2010, 10:44 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by StoneHands View Post
I tend to gravitate toward maltier, lighter colored beers. Munich Helles, Oktoberfest, etc. Any advice?
Add calcium as calcium chloride and gypsum in about equal quantities to get to 75ppm (on the order of 1/3rd of a gram per gallon) to get some nice general purpose brewing liquor. Maybe sub chalk for the CaCl2 in dark beers. Or don't eff with it and keep doing what you do!
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:53 PM   #3
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Thanks. The ranges threw me a little bit at first, but it seems they are fairly narrow. If I'm using it right, the spreadsheet lists this as "very bitter", I noticed I can get a maltier beer by adding NaCl, is this common? For the most part, I'm pretty happy with my water, perhaps I shouldn't mess with it. I do think dark beers would improve though with an addition or two though.

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Old 06-08-2010, 08:41 PM   #4
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After listening to Colin Kaminski on the BN, I like his default sulfate:chloride of 2, as low as 1 for bocks, as high as 6 for IPA.

I recently had a pint of commercial beer (a hoppy APA) that was much improved with a few ppm of NaCl so I know it's not a myth, but you can hold off on it until packaging or even serving time.

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