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Old 03-19-2012, 03:24 PM   #1
joevbrew
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Default Yet another Water Report-San Antonio

Good day to all,
I'm about to move up to all grain brewing and before i start i want to make sure my water profile is right for the mash. I'm looking at brewing Pale Ales with a desired SRM of about 6-10. I know the water in San Antonio is pretty hard with a high RA. I have a water softener but I don't plan on using any of that water since it will be high in sodium, so I plan on diluting the regular tap water with RO. I've used John Palmer's excel sheet to calculate how much dilution I'd have to do to get a target RA. turns out 70% RO water will give me an RA of about 51 and a SRM of 9-14. San Antonio also uses chlorine in the water, should i boil it before I dilute or will that impact any of the parameters? Should I also consider using a PH buffer since it's almost 8 here? Here is the 2011 report.
I appreciate any advice that can be given.



Bicarbonate (ppm) 220
Calcium (ppm) 76
Chloride (ppm) 16
Copper (ppm) 0.01
Iron (ppm) 0.007
Magnesium (ppm) 16.6
Manganese (ppm) 0.0003
Nickel (ppm) 0.002
pH 7.7
Sodium (ppm) 11
Sulfate (ppm) 24
Total Alkalinity as Calcium Carbonate (ppm) 218
Total Dissolved Solids (ppm) 311
Total Hardness as Calcium Carbonate (ppm) 183
Hardness as Calcium/Mg (ppm) 250
Zinc (ppm) 0.019

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Old 03-19-2012, 06:11 PM   #2
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Start out by forgetting that you ever heard about a relationship between RA and SRM. They are correlated but that does not mean one can use one to predict the other with anything like reasonable reliability. Dilute 7:1 or more to get the alkalinity down under 30. Then follow the guidelines in the Primer here. Later on when you are making good AG beer you can start to explore the spreadsheets and calculators.

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Old 03-19-2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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I'm not in the 'dilute the tap water' camp for this one. The main problem is the excessive alkalinity and that is an easy correction with an acid addition. The rest of the ions are not crazy high. If the OP is brewing something delicate, then dilution is the solution. In the case of a pale ale, this water should be fine as long as the alkalinity is addressed.

The alkalinity level would require a fairly decent dose of lactic acid to reduce to appropriate levels. The dosage might get to a level that the acid could be tasted. If that is experienced, then switching to phosphoric acid is a good alternative. Bru'n Water has the tools needed for figuring out acid additions. As AJ says, you can't rely on beer color as the only criteria for adjusting water chemistry. Its more complicated than that.

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Old 03-19-2012, 07:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joevbrew View Post
Bicarbonate (ppm) 220
Calcium (ppm) 76
Chloride (ppm) 16
Copper (ppm) 0.01
Iron (ppm) 0.007
Magnesium (ppm) 16.6
Manganese (ppm) 0.0003
Nickel (ppm) 0.002
pH 7.7
Sodium (ppm) 11
Sulfate (ppm) 24
Total Alkalinity as Calcium Carbonate (ppm) 218
Total Dissolved Solids (ppm) 311
Total Hardness as Calcium Carbonate (ppm) 183
Hardness as Calcium/Mg (ppm) 250
Zinc (ppm) 0.019
Hey Joe, what part of the city are you in, and is that a report from SAWS city water? I'd really be interested as I'm going to be doing my 3rd AG this weekend.

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Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
I'm not in the 'dilute the tap water' camp for this one. The main problem is the excessive alkalinity and that is an easy correction with an acid addition. The rest of the ions are not crazy high. If the OP is brewing something delicate, then dilution is the solution. In the case of a pale ale, this water should be fine as long as the alkalinity is addressed.

The alkalinity level would require a fairly decent dose of lactic acid to reduce to appropriate levels. The dosage might get to a level that the acid could be tasted. If that is experienced, then switching to phosphoric acid is a good alternative. Bru'n Water has the tools needed for figuring out acid additions. As AJ says, you can't rely on beer color as the only criteria for adjusting water chemistry. Its more complicated than that.
With the alkalinity issues with our water along with the thought of too much lactic acid creating an off flavor, would you recommend just going with phosphoric acid to reduce the alkalinity to a correct level, or use a combination of the two?
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:53 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input. I really wasn't too concerned about SRM, I guess I'll have to do more reading to understand water chemistry better.
I live in NW San Antonio, I got my report from SAWS. D Ranged, what have you been using for water here?
I don't mind diluting but if using the acid would be easier, where would I even get phosphoric acid? I guess a LHBS would carry it, right?
So is the acid addition all I would need? No boiling required for the 1ppm chlorine?

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Old 03-19-2012, 10:03 PM   #6
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Remember that when you treat water with acid to remove alkalinity (bicarbonate) the reaction is HA + HCO3- --> CO2 + H2O + A-
Thus every bicarbonate removed is replaced by one acid anion, A-. I'm not saying you shouldn't do this but just be aware of what you are doing. If, for example, you want to increase chloride, use hydrochloric acid. Your ~220/50 = 4.4 mEq/L bicarb (the posted bicarbonate, alklainity and pH numbers don't jive) will be replaced by 4.4 mEq/L chloride (154 mg/L). That's a bit so you might want to use less HCl and neutralize the rest with sulfuric (this assumes you can get and know how to safely use food grade acids). If you use any acid you must know when you have added enough and the only way to know that is by the use of a pH meter. Your water's alkalinity is not 218. It is whatever comes out of the tap on the day you brew (average may be 218 but the chance of what you see actually being that is 0). And the 4.4 mEq/L is just the acid you need to take care of the alkalinity of the water. More is needed to offset the alkalinity of the malt. Thu you can't calculate the amount of acid to add (though you can calculate approximately how much to add and you should for guidance) thus mash pH measurement is necessary. I'm all for that but it seems to me that for a beginner just diluting with RO is a better place to start.

As to the chlorine - assume that it is really at least in part chloramine. Add 1 Campden tablet to each 20 gallons of water treated to take care of that.

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Old 03-19-2012, 10:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joevbrew View Post
Thanks for the input. I really wasn't too concerned about SRM, I guess I'll have to do more reading to understand water chemistry better.
I live in NW San Antonio, I got my report from SAWS. D Ranged, what have you been using for water here?
I don't mind diluting but if using the acid would be easier, where would I even get phosphoric acid? I guess a LHBS would carry it, right?
So is the acid addition all I would need? No boiling required for the 1ppm chlorine?
I'm on the north side of town (281/Overlook just south of Bulverde)

Our water was being supplied by BexarMet, but they were recently aquired by SAWS and so I imagine the numbers are similar seeing as the city is drawing from the same aquifer for water.

Thank you for the information and the insight to water. I recently did an extract (WPA) with just water from the hose, and on the hyrdo sample I took last night while transfering for dry hoping, tasted amazing. There were no off flavors detectable from using that.

On the other hand, I have an ESB I'm about to bottle that will be interesting to taste as it was an all grain using water from the hose as well.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:16 PM   #8
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Joe, I live about 45 miles north of you, and I get my water from the aquifer. I have a similar water profile, but with a tad more bicarb. After about 1.5 yrs brewing, I can say that the water has been my biggest obstacle in making good beer. I usually dilute my tap water with 75% RO water from the Glacier machines that Walmart and other stores have. I then treat the mash with acid to get the RA where it needs to be. If you read ajdelange's water primer sticky, that's what I usually do. I dilue tap water to get a ballpark of ~35ppm alkalinity and then acid in mash. Keep in mind though, for pale ales (or anything less than 10 SRM) it's more efficient in my process to buy ALL RO water (under $3) and build the salts up from there.

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Old 03-22-2012, 09:02 PM   #9
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All good info. Thanks everyone for your inputs. I'm gonna dilute about 70% and add some camden tabs and possibly acid in the mash. I'm about a month away from my first all grain brew. Now onto my next plan. Saving for a jet or hurricane burner and running it off the natural gas in my house.

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