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Old 10-16-2009, 02:48 PM   #1
IrregularPulse
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Default First Time Building Water

I'm planning 10G of Bier Muncher's Centennial Blonde for my next brew. I can't get any info from my water company so I want to start from Distilled or RO water and build from scratch.
I know nothing about water chemistry.

What base water should I start with and what should I add to it for the ideal water for a blonde? I plan on building the water for about 15 Gallons going into the HLT all together.

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Old 10-16-2009, 03:13 PM   #2
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IMO, it isn't worth the trouble to build water from scratch by adding various chemicals and minerals to RO or distilled water. There's a lot to it and unless you are an advanced chemist it will be hit or miss with the odds leaning towards a miss. The feds require your water company to provide you with a free water report. I would ask again politely and if you they refuse to provide it, threaten to report them to the authorities. That should get you some results. I don't know anyone who builds water as you plan to do. Some add minor amounts of stuff like calcium chloride, brewing salts or sometimes acid, but most don't. I will blend distilled water with my tap water to soften it for light lagers, and I use the salts for some brews, but my water modifications are minor. I do carbon filter my tap water, but not much more than that. Is there something that makes you think that your water is not good enough to brew with?

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Old 10-16-2009, 03:30 PM   #3
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Glad to hear you are wanting to experiment with water. First off is read as much as you can, start here if you haven't already:
http://howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html

I could say a million things but the thing is you need to understand what is happening behind the scenes and just telling you doesn't let you understand to make your own water for every batch you do.

One of the main things is the Cl to SO4 ratio which will have a considerable determination in how malty or bitter the beer is. The other thing is ph, you really need to track your ph and know what you should be at, then know how to change it if needed.

Toward the bottom of the link above, the main contributing ions are listed, what they do, what is a good range to be in and such. I have not done BMs Cent Blonde but am thinking it should be a well balanced beer between malt and bitterness so you would want to keep your Cl/SO4 ratio pretty even depending on your hop schedule and if there will be any residual sweetness in the beer. I am still very much a beginner at this too but I am picking a few things up.

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Old 10-16-2009, 04:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humann_brewing View Post
I could say a million things but the thing is you need to understand what is happening behind the scenes and just telling you doesn't let you understand to make your own water for every batch you do.

I have not done BMs Cent Blonde but am thinking it should be a well balanced beer between malt and bitterness so you would want to keep your Cl/SO4 ratio pretty even depending on your hop schedule and if there will be any residual sweetness in the beer. I am still very much a beginner at this too but I am picking a few things up.
I agree with humann_brewing and will add this.

If you want to use your tap water then call your local water plant. I found your water report online and it lacks the needed info so call them and ask the basics of how much Ca, Cl, Mg, Alkalinity(is on the report but see if they measure it as CaCO3 or HCO3), Sulfates, and Sodium are in your water. It should fluctuate so they should give you a range and an average. I called my local water plant and they were helpful. Especially when I told them what I was using it for.
Here's your report with contact info.
http://www.rosscowater.org/wp-content/reports/rcwc6.pdf

Next download an online spreadsheet and enter your water profile numbers. Palmer has one and a guy in my homebrew club made one. Both can be found here:

http://www.antiochsudsuckers.com/tom/residual-alkalinity.xls
http://howtobrew.com/section3/Palmers_Mash_RA_ver2e.xls

If you still use RO water just use the 100% option on the spreadsheets and the mineral content will start at zero.

There's plenty of info here and elsewhere online on this subject and it took me a while to digest. From personal experience I would recommend keeping the mineral additions to a minimum. I have screwed up a batch making adjustments to my water armed with a spreadsheet and a lack of knowledge so I highly recommend moderation when adding brewing salts. Hell...I recommend moderation with most everything these days. Good luck.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
Is there something that makes you think that your water is not good enough to brew with?
Previous light beer attempts having a harsh bitterness in the back of the throat.

[QUOTE=LeeF;1613949]

If you want to use your tap water then call your local water plant. I found your water report online and it lacks the needed info so call them and ask the basics of how much Ca, Cl, Mg, Alkalinity(is on the report but see if they measure it as CaCO3 or HCO3), Sulfates, and Sodium are in your water.
/QUOTE]
I've already done this. I got a water report, when it came I saw the info I was needing was missing so I called again. They don't test for these things is what I was told. This is why i want to start from scratch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by humann_brewing View Post
Glad to hear you are wanting to experiment with water. First off is read as much as you can, start here if you haven't already:
http://howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html

I could say a million things but the thing is you need to understand what is happening behind the scenes and just telling you doesn't let you understand to make your own water for every batch you do.

One of the main things is the Cl to SO4 ratio which will have a considerable determination in how malty or bitter the beer is. The other thing is ph, you really need to track your ph and know what you should be at, then know how to change it if needed.

Toward the bottom of the link above, the main contributing ions are listed, what they do, what is a good range to be in and such. I have not done BMs Cent Blonde but am thinking it should be a well balanced beer between malt and bitterness so you would want to keep your Cl/SO4 ratio pretty even depending on your hop schedule and if there will be any residual sweetness in the beer. I am still very much a beginner at this too but I am picking a few things up.
I would love to start experimenting but have no base to go off since my water company seems to be the SUXORZ. hence the desire to build from scratch.


I appreciate the help for the links to educate my self and I plan on it, but I also am hoping to order ingredients today in the next 3.5 hours and would like to order any chemicals at the same time? Anyone experienced know any specifics?
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:43 PM   #6
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Building your water isnt hard at all. I have been building mine from Distilled almost all year.

#1. Id suggest using a suitable water profile calcualtor. Either Brewater 3.0 or the calc. at Brewers Friend. Use one that TELLS YOU how much of each salt to use... I hate slide rules, the program should be able to tell YOU what to add.

#2. There are plenty of water profiles out there. From "How to Brew" online to the library contained in Brewater3.0, the hard work is already done.

Add your mash water addition to the MASH (wont dissolve in just water) and add your sparge water addition to the BK when you boil.

You WILL need a highly accurate jewelers scale (down to .1g) to measure the additions. These are available on Amazon/Ebay for $20 or less Here is mine: http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Digital-Pocket-Accurate/dp/B000O37TDO/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1255715528&sr=8-9

You arent ordering chemicals... really, you are ordering salts, minerals... etc. that naturally occur in water. I have on hand:

Calcuim Chloride
Gypsum
Canning Salt
Calcium Carbonate
Baking Soda
Epsom Salt

With these additions and an accurate scale, you can nail any water profile easy. I DO recommend Brewater3.0

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Old 10-16-2009, 05:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrregularPulse View Post
Previous light beer attempts having a harsh bitterness in the back of the throat.


I would love to start experimenting but have no base to go off since my water company seems to be the SUXORZ. hence the desire to build from scratch.


I appreciate the help for the links to educate my self and I plan on it, but I also am hoping to order ingredients today in the next 3.5 hours and would like to order any chemicals at the same time? Anyone experienced know any specifics?
I understand, I know some stuff about my local water but I am not confident in the consistency so I usually dilute half and half to compensate or just go 100% neutral water and build up.

Where are you ordering from? I would suggest getting all the basics (gypsum, CaCl, chalk) on your order, the others like Epson salt and baking soda, you can get from your local store. Do you use beersmith? It has a water adjustment thing built right in. The key to starting is to know what you water has and if you do 100% distilled, that is easy. Next determine the number in ppm of each ion you want to have or get close to.

Next start playing with the tools like in beersmith or there are tons on the internet too. I know POI has one he likes that is in web form

EDIT: wow my ears must be burning, POI made it in here before I could mention his name.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:51 PM   #8
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I wouldn't skip over directly to building from RO if you can't get a report from your waterco. Just send a sample to wardlab. It's a lot easier to correct a slightly off profile than it is to build from scratch (unless you want to). My problem is that distilled runs about $1.15 a gallon around here and the payback on an RO system will take at least 100 gallons. I came to find that my water is generally right down the middle only requiring 1-2g of any salt no matter what I brew. Gypsum for light/amber beers and Chalk/Baking Soda for dark. I only need to dilute with RO for Pils/Helles.

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Old 10-16-2009, 06:00 PM   #9
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FWIW, a lot of brewing software programs have "water profilers". But, they dont calculate what you need, they just show you what happens when you change the additions.

Brewater 3.0 needs TWO things:

Your current water profile
Your target water profile (has a full library of water profiles to choose from)

Push "Calculate"

It will tell you exactly what salts to add, and in exactly what quantities. This is why I love this software. Trial and error stinks.

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Old 10-16-2009, 06:19 PM   #10
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My municipality told me the same thing. I did send off to wards lab and I had the results in just a few days. I use Palmers_Mash_RA_v_2d excel program. What a wonderful tool. You can enter in all of your information, and viola, done. I don't know how to post the spreadsheet, or even where I got it, but I use it on every brew. My water is extremely hard, and I have to cut it with distilled water, and add the appropriate minerals and salts.
My PH comes out right in every mash.
It is my understanding that no salts are needed in the sparge water, only the ph needs to be adjusted. I might be wrong, but I only add a small amount of acid to the sparge water to put it in place.

Good luck and play with that Palmer spread sheet, it is wonderful.

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