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Old 12-08-2012, 09:08 PM   #11
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Advising someone to brew with water with that high of a pH seems irresponsible unless they were brewing a dark beer....but a blonde? 5.2 works fine if you use it according to directions.
My advice would be to completely ignore that water report, it's from 2010! Your just as likely to create unfavorable water by using an inaccurate water report as anything else.
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:15 AM   #12
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My advice would be to completely ignore that water report, it's from 2010! Your just as likely to create unfavorable water by using an inaccurate water report as anything else.
Yes, I suppose you are right... Most community water supplies change so drastically year-to-year that one should just assume that everything is fine... Get real. A water supply doesn't suddenly change without some outside influence. In the world of modern water treatment, consistency is the norm, not the boogie man suddenly changing everything to screw with your brewing. Yes, an updated report would be nice, but it would be down right ignorant to assume that the water changed drastically. The information the OP has is what it is, not what you want to assume it is.
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:17 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by BigB View Post
Advising someone to brew with water with that high of a pH seems irresponsible unless they were brewing a dark beer....but a blonde? 5.2 works fine if you use it according to directions.
You guys are way off. Water pH means almost nothing. It's about the residual alkalinity.
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:21 AM   #14
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You guys are way off. Water pH means almost nothing. It's about the residual alkalinity.
Please enlighten us oh wise one. Rather than just making a general statement, contribute to the discussion. If the acidity of the mash means nothing, then why would brewers ever care about it?
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:23 AM   #15
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Please enlighten us oh wise one. Rather than just making a general statement, contribute to the discussion. If the acidity of the mash means nothing, then why would brewers ever care about it?
I didn't say anything about acidity of the mash. That obviously matters. The pH of the water used has very little effect on the mash pH. This is well established. You can search for yourself if you like.

Here is a quote from Martin Brungard, creator of Bru'N Water:

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My respects to Yooper and the Stickies, but they are not going to provide an understanding of brewing water chemistry. The 'primer' only directs brewers to use RO water and add salts. For anyone that wanted to learn something about brewing water chemistry, sites like How to Brew, Braukaiser.com, and Bru'n Water are good resources. The Water Knowledge page on the Bru'n Water site is especially informative ;-)

As mentioned above, tap water pH is almost totally meaningless in brewing. In addition, the fact that the OP's pH strips read to 6.2 doesn't provide any information if the strip is maxed out. Strips that read to at least 9 pH might help the OP decipher what the tap water pH is. Having a water test result for the tap water should be the first thing that a brewer should have in order to begin understanding if their water is usable and what they might do to make it better. That is the real beef I have with the Water Primer, it directs brewers to switch over to RO water without any regard to the utility of the brewer's existing water. That switch does make the recommendations of the Primer practical and accurate, but what if the brewer's water is already well suited for brewing? That would be a shame that they were inappropriately directed to abandon their water. Understanding the tap water should be the first thing that any brewer does when they are looking into advancing their brewing practice.

While I appreciate the simplicity of the EZ Water program, I also recognize that it can get brewers into a lot of trouble unless they actually know quite a bit about water chemistry. It's unfortunate that brewing water chemistry can be difficult, but there are plenty of pitfalls that can occur. I wrote Bru'n Water to help brewers avoid those pitfalls and help guide them from the mistakes that many programs 'allow' or even guide their users to make.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/water-ph-315917/
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:44 AM   #16
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I would start simple and make sure you are filtering the water before using it. Get the chemicals out, learn to brew, and improve from there.

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Old 12-09-2012, 04:21 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by pabloj13 View Post
I didn't say anything about acidity of the mash. That obviously matters. The pH of the water used has very little effect on the mash pH. This is well established. You can search for yourself if you like.

Here is a quote from Martin Brungard, creator of Bru'N Water:



http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/water-ph-315917/
You still don't provide anything meaningful. You just merely quoted some dicta from Martin. The question still remains... If one was not concerned with mash pH then why would the tap water pH matter? Look at it this way, if you start out with two separate mashes of the exact same grain bill. The only difference is in one you started with tap water that had a pH of 8.0 and one you had a pH of 3.0. Are you seriously saying that they would end up being the same beer all other things being equal? If so, provide some science to back it up. Because that is not what I read Martin saying at all.

What I would agree with is that if the mash ends up having a proper pH then adjustments would not be necessary... but one is unlikely to get a proper pH when starting out high and using light grains.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:25 AM   #18
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I think the point is that initial pH doesn't mean much if you don't know the buffering capacity of the water. I use a pH 5.2 buffer and don't worry about it much. My water has a pretty high pH, about 8, but it doesn't have much carbonate so it easily changes. Water with a high carbonate would be tougher to acidify.

What I'm not clear on is what the pH of the mash is if distilled water were to be used and whether a small buffer addition makes any difference.

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Old 12-09-2012, 05:28 AM   #19
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Yes, I suppose you are right... Most community water supplies change so drastically year-to-year that one should just assume that everything is fine... Get real. A water supply doesn't suddenly change without some outside influence. In the world of modern water treatment, consistency is the norm, not the boogie man suddenly changing everything to screw with your brewing. Yes, an updated report would be nice, but it would be down right ignorant to assume that the water changed drastically. The information the OP has is what it is, not what you want to assume it is.
FWIW, I didn't say it was drastically different just that there is just as good as a chance that is wrong in one way or another than it is right. Your home prices don't change drastically from year to year normally either but your home certainly isn't worth the same amount today as it was 2 years ago. The significance of that changes depends on a lot of factors, maybe you had an addition put on, maybe there was a flood, or a fire, or maybe a roof leak, or tornado. . . So if I looked at a 2 year old appraisal of your home then I would have no way to know if or how it changed, therefore it is best for me to assume that the 2 year old information is mostly worthless. Water is mostly the same. It's entirely possible that the municipality is drawing water from a different location, has updated their treatment facility, or their treatment practices. I have no way to know this. An updated water report is cheap and easy, there is no reason to use the information off that 2 year old report. The OP already said he intends to get something up to date. BTW, don't go around here calling people ignorant, that isn't cool. Your sarcasm and negative attitude is unappreciated.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:03 PM   #20
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You still don't provide anything meaningful. You just merely quoted some dicta from Martin. The question still remains... If one was not concerned with mash pH then why would the tap water pH matter? Look at it this way, if you start out with two separate mashes of the exact same grain bill. The only difference is in one you started with tap water that had a pH of 8.0 and one you had a pH of 3.0. Are you seriously saying that they would end up being the same beer all other things being equal? If so, provide some science to back it up. Because that is not what I read Martin saying at all.

What I would agree with is that if the mash ends up having a proper pH then adjustments would not be necessary... but one is unlikely to get a proper pH when starting out high and using light grains.
Those are really nice strawman arguments. My point, which can be found repeatedly on this forum, is that initial tap water pH tells you almost nothing about the pH. In fact, if you put his water into Bru'N water you get a mash pH of 5.3 with a typical IPA grain bill (10# 2 row, 0.5# crystal 60, 0.5#carapils). Weird, huh? Mash pH matters. Tap water pH tells you almost nothing about mash pH. Again.

Side note to the OP, your water report lists chloramine. Make sure you use Campden tablets (1/4 tablet per 5 gallon batch) to get rid of the chloramine so you don't get beer tasting like bandaids.
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