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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Buffalo NY water profile
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:47 AM   #1
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Default Buffalo NY water profile

I made four batches and three have zero hop bitterness. On all four I used tap water. They started out tasting wonderful, and now that the SG is down to where they should be they are all bland tasting (3-4 weeks). I had one survive but the IBUs were insane: >100.

Two of the batches were pale ales, IBS in the mid 50s and there is absolutely no hint of hops at all. One PA batch had pellets, the other whole, different distro. Two of the beers were extract, one partial and one all grain.

I got the yearly printout two-three months ago, but the wife grabbed it and I never saw it. I noticed there were a few fellow brewers from Buffalo, anyone have a report handy or know what needs to be added to the water for brewing?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 08-03-2011, 02:53 PM   #2
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I think this is the report it sends out. I'm not a brewing water expert so i'm not sure what you might need to adjust, or if it's the water at all. http://www.ecwa.org/awqr/2010.pdf

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Old 08-03-2011, 04:35 PM   #3
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Thank you sir! I was able to round up that one also and I realized that not all of the salts I needed analyzed are on there.

Do I need to specifically ask for a salt analysis? And honestly I don't if water is my problem, it was the only constant. I'm stuck.

Thanks for your time!

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Old 08-03-2011, 05:22 PM   #4
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I can't speak to your beers but I was consistently getting this weird background flavor in a lot of my beers that would get stronger over time while my flavors got dull, especially any hop character. After about a year and a half of trying to track it down, I ended up just using RO water and adding my own salts. Its made a huge improvement in my beers and the stability of the flavors. In my specific case it was chloramine in the water causing issues. Try doing your next batch with RO water or bottled water instead and just adding your own brew salts.

The way I see it with using bottles water like that is that with city water if there is too much of a specific mineral in the water its a pain to try and remove it in some cases. Better to just start with water that will have an extremely low amount of salts and minerals.

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Old 08-04-2011, 12:11 AM   #5
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I was trying to move away from using poland springs water, as it was getting expensive. I learned my lessons, cutting corners only results in inferior beer.

I live in Hamburg actually, and we just got "joined" in to Erie County's system. I'm wondering if we got blasted with chlorine or something or there is new lines and they were over sanitized.

I discovered a semi-fix. I tossed an oz of chinook pellets in one keg and forced carbed it. There is a crap load of pellet....eh.. pellets floating in my beer, and I'm sure I'm going to get garbage in my keg lines/post, but its kinda of like drinking beer with unboiled hops added. Its not bad! Its not great, but it will do.

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Old 08-12-2011, 02:47 PM   #6
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I used Erie county water for a handful of batches and got horrible astringent flavors associated with chlorine. (You can see on the report that Chlorine is .80 mg/liter) I switched to Poland Spring water and haven't had a problem since. However, like you, buying gallons and gallons of bottled water every time I want to brew is a pain. I've been looking into buying an RV sediment/chlorine filter and using metabisulfite so I can just use water from the tap.

I don't know a ton about water quality, but here's water I have been able to figure out from Palmer and Daniels.

Chloride: 20 (Brewing Range = 0-250 ppm; increases sweetness/stability; usually 1-100 for light beers)
Alkalinity: 90 (Brewing Range = 0-50 ppm for pale, 50-150 ppm for amber, 150-250 ppm for dark)
Calcium: 93 (Brewing Range = 50-150 ppm; necessary for enzyme activity; promotes clarity, stability)
Magnesium: Not Listed (Brewing Range = 10-30 ppm; astringent above 30)
Sulfate: Not Listed (Brewing Range = 50-150 ppm normally bitter beers, 150-350 ppm very bitter beers; produces dry, fuller flavor some sharpness)
Sodium: Not Listed (Brewing Range = 0-150 ppm; at levels of 70 - 150 ppm it rounds out the beer flavors; harsh and harmful to yeast in excess)

Maybe I will give them a call to see if they will give me the other info...

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Old 08-12-2011, 03:12 PM   #7
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I got a phone call answer from ECW lab (Bill Smith, thank you sir!!) and this is what I was able to get:

Ca: 32
Mg: 8.5
Na: 14.1
Cl: 20
So4/3: 21.2
Alkalinity: 95
Ph: 8

All in mg/l where appropriate.

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Old 10-06-2011, 03:34 AM   #8
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I'm just outside the B-lo and I've had tremendous success with hoppy beers. Where are you getting your hops and do you Have any recipes/processes?

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Old 10-06-2011, 11:44 AM   #9
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I get most of my ingredients from Niagara Tradition. I've been very happy with the quality.

As far as adjustments I've been using <1/4 teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite for the chlorine and 1/2 teaspoon of gypsum per 5 gal batch with great results.

I've been meaning to switch to grams to standardize better.

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Old 10-06-2011, 12:45 PM   #10
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I have done bocks, stouts and ipa's using the tap water here. I havent had any problems yet with any off flavors. When doing the ipa's the hop flavor slowly diminishes by the 2nd month. I actually moved and had 10 gallons of ipa in my fermenter for almost 2 months and dry hopped it for 1 month. When I bottled it the beer didnt have that "fresh" hop flavor until it was carbed. Dont know why that was but it tastes great. Ive thought about getting a water print out but I probably wouldnt know what to do with it. I figure ive had no problems yet so dont worry about anything. Niagara Tradition is a great knowledgable store by the way.

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