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Old 12-06-2012, 02:39 PM   #1
storytyme
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Default water advice

I wasn't sure where to post this, but I figured this was the best bet. I have done 6 batches so far of 5 gallons. I have gone to the store and purchased the water for the batches. I did this to be absolutely sure nothing would screw up my brews. It has worked. I now want to eliminate buying all that water and use my water from the garden hose. Should I get a filter? Where to buy one? Make one? I saw some cool DIY water filters. I don't want to pre-boil all the water. Thoughts on this. Below I think is what the water is here in Chico:

https://www.calwater.com/wq/ccr/2011...ico-ch_web.pdf

Just trying to get the best water without buying it! I appreciate the time everyone. Thank you in advance!

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Old 12-06-2012, 02:42 PM   #2
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You should be fine using municipal water. I recommend buying an RV hose (they are blue and made for safe for drinking water). If you aren't doing full boils, I would still recommend boiling your top off water to make sure any microbes are dead. However, I have heard of people topping off without boiling the water first and have been fine. It depends on your risk tolerance.

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Old 12-06-2012, 04:17 PM   #3
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I wouldn’t use that water. Use RO or distilled. Consider getting your own RO system if you’re tired of lugging bottles.

Your water report lists hardness as 77-220 ppm. That’s a moving target that goes from somewhat hard to very hard. Apparently they have multiple sources and switch periodically.

You would need to acidify the water to get the mash pH right. The problem is that you would never know how much acid to use. You should also treat the sparge water.

If you decide to take a chance on the tapwater be sure to remove the chlorine. 1/4 of a campden tablet will work. If it’s free chlorine a carbon filter will work, but it doesn’t work so well with chloramine.

Check the primer on Brew Science.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/bre...primer-198460/

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Old 12-06-2012, 06:41 PM   #4
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I didn't actually read the water report when I posted,because most municipal water is safe enough to brew with. I assumed since he was new, he was using extract and not all grain, so mashing wouldn't be a concern. That said I went back and had a look after the last post and find myself confused.

I thought hardness was a function of calcium and magnesium, and both those levels were fairly low. I wonder if by hardness they are referring to alkalinity? (Ie bicarbonate). I don't know though because hardness and alkalinity are totally different. That high number seems more like a bicarbonate level then a calcium/magnesium level to me.

If it is supposed to be bicarbonates, then you could still use your water, but to mash light to copper colored beers, you'd want to add gypsum or calcium chloride. If mashing a dark beer you'd probably be fine as is because if the natural acidity of the darker grains.

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Old 12-06-2012, 08:04 PM   #5
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OK, you got me. I was figuring that if the hardness was high, the alkalinity and bicarbonates would be too. The sulfate and chloride is low so there has to be a bunch of bicarb. I calculated hardness as 81-272 using their Ca and Mg numbers so something is off, maybe they meant alkalinity.

I didn’t think about extract. Even a partial mash needs proper pH, especially for pales. If you play with the spreadsheets most beers could use a little acid. Calcium chloride and calcium sulfate lower the pH a little, but not much.

I think if the OP goes from softwater to moderate-high alkalinity he’ll be disappointed. Maybe not. I’d hate to screw up a batch to find out. The scary part to me is the wild range of the numbers, you just don’t know.

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Old 12-07-2012, 02:38 AM   #6
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Thank you for the replies. Please excuse my ignorance on this subject. First off, I am not doing all grain at the current moment (maybe down the road though). Also, I am not sure what RO stands for? I was hoping I could hook my garden hose up to this:

http://morebeer.com/view_product/167..._Kit_-_10_inch

or this:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/wate...r-setup-29145/

and brew without buy water. Trying my best to keep it simple and to brew good beer.

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Old 12-07-2012, 02:54 AM   #7
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RO = reverse osmosis.

Don't use your garden hose - garden hoses can leach bad stuff into your water. If you want to use a hose, buy a food grade hose (R.V. Hose for campers etc.)

If you are doing extract, I would use the R.O. water, personally. If you refill jugs it is only .39 a gallon most places. Small price to pay compared to everything else and your time. Extract contains all the minerals you need. I would be especially hesitant if you cannot nail down exactly what is actually in your water from one brew day to the next.

The other thing you could do that would probably work pretty well is to go 50/50 with water from your house and R.O. water.

Again though - get a foodgrade hose. I bought mine at walmart for cheap. I also have a basic water filter that hooks into the garden hose - they are relatively cheap too. Carbon filter - takes the chlorine, etc. out.

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Old 12-07-2012, 02:56 AM   #8
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Also - those are basically the type of filter I use.

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Old 12-07-2012, 02:39 PM   #9
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So after processing the info I have narrowed down what I may do.

1. Pre-boil 7.5.-8 gallons and somehow store it until brew day (least favorite option)

2. Get a RV hose and just go for it (makes me a little nervous)

3. Get a RV hose, run it through http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/wate...r-setup-29145/ or this http://morebeer.com/view_product/167..._Kit_-_10_inch (option 3 might be excessive but will give me peace of mind)

Am I close to be right with these options???

Thanks everyone

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Old 12-07-2012, 03:08 PM   #10
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One thing I'm not 100 percent clear on, are you doing full boils or partial boils with top off? U mentioned pretty-boiling 8 gallons, if your capable of doing that all at once, I would go that route drawing water through an RV hose. If you want to add an inline filter that is up to you, I would say it depends on how your tap water tastes. Can you drink your tap water or does it have a funny taste? If it tastes ok and that's how you drink it anyway, you should be fine without a filter. If not, add the filter.

I know some have expressed concern over the wide ranges in detectable elements in your water report. Personally, I would be more concerned about that If I was mashing, but even then I'd probably still use it but throw in some 5.2 stabilizer and let it fix my mash pH for me. (Can buy at LHBS).

I'm a big fan of keeping things simple. I think it was in Palmers book where he said if your water is good enough to drink, it's good enough to brew with, so maybe let that be your guide.

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