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Old 09-19-2012, 01:01 PM   #1
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Default All grain water confusion

Hey all-

I'm about to brew my first all grain batch and am still a little lost on the water question despite reading a bit about it on here and in Palmer's book. It seems like several of the paramaters of my local water are out of Palmer's suggested ranges--am I right in thinking that? Do I have to tailor the water to each specific style I make or can I get away with something like just pH 5.2 stabilizer? I'd like to make a pale ale to start

Here's my water report:
http://www.concordnet.org/pages/Conc...y%20Report.pdf

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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I wouldn't worry about water chemistry to start. Just get your AG process down first & then circle back to more advanced topics like water chemistry. You'll still make a good pale ale without water adjustments....

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlssox524 View Post
Hey all-

I'm about to brew my first all grain batch and am still a little lost on the water question despite reading a bit about it on here and in Palmer's book. It seems like several of the paramaters of my local water are out of Palmer's suggested ranges--am I right in thinking that? Do I have to tailor the water to each specific style I make or can I get away with something like just pH 5.2 stabilizer? I'd like to make a pale ale to start

Here's my water report:
http://www.concordnet.org/pages/Conc...y%20Report.pdf
I love Palmers book but when I tried to use what he was explaning with my water report, Alexandria VA, I could not figure it out since it it was in a different format.

Now I tried to figure it out after 10 years of brewing with the water successfully, first extract and now All-grain. So about all I know is we have "Good Brewing Water"... I would go for it as suggeted by the other brewer.

Also just ask around at you LHBS or Homebrew Club... there is bound to be at least on person who can provide you that little bit of assistance you need..

I think there is a "Primer" about water on this site, so you can also read that.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:49 PM   #4
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Its not a very good water for brewing with elevated concentrations of K, Na, and Cl. The report is insufficient for assessing how the water will perform since it does not provide an alkalinity value.

But, the advice from jmd1971 is still appropriate for these early batches...there are a lot of skills to master first before worrying about the water. I can tell you that with the high Na and K content in this tap water that using 5.2 Stabilizer would not be helpful. It would just add a lot more sodium to the wort and that would be flavor negative.

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Old 09-19-2012, 02:12 PM   #5
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Going forward, what would the best action be to take? Dilute with distilled water?

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Old 09-19-2012, 02:34 PM   #6
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Going Forward...
Use RO water and add your minerals, this way you have full control over your water.
RO water is $1 per 5 gallons at my local supermarket (http://glacierwater.com/), but I don't know the availability of your area.
Don't waste your money on 5.2 stabilizer, brewing salts are dirt cheap.

Start at the primer and work from there:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/bre...primer-198460/
5lbs (~$10) of acid malt (sauermalz) will last you ~10x 5gal brews.
Minerals used: calcium chloride, gypsum, and epson salt. 1lb of each will run you <$10 and last you many years if kept dry.

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Old 09-19-2012, 02:42 PM   #7
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Thanks mredge--would you recommend I just go with the tap water for the first batch or is it worth it to go straight to the RO+minerals right away?

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Old 09-19-2012, 02:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlssox524 View Post
Thanks mredge--would you recommend I just go with the tap water for the first batch or is it worth it to go straight to the RO+minerals right away?

I don't know anything about your tap water, but if you've made good beer with extract with it, it might be just fine.

As was mentioned, the water report is insufficient, so if you really want to know what to do with your water you could contact Ward Lab (easy to find online) and get a water report for $16.50 from them. Then you'll know exactly what you have and what you need to do.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Thanks mredge--would you recommend I just go with the tap water for the first batch or is it worth it to go straight to the RO+minerals right away?
As others have said, I wouldn't worry so much about water minerals for the first few brews. But it wouldn't hurt to let your tap (brewing) water sit overnight with some campden tablets in it to drive off the chlorine. This simple precaution shouldn't divert much attention away from the brewing process.
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