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azscoob 07-15-2010 02:45 PM

Help an idiot understand his water profile
 
I got the water report from my city, and I now realize I have no idea what it means, I know what to look for, just not what to do with it. I am hoping to get up to speed on the whole water thing, but for now I need assistance deciphering it.

sodium 170 mg/L
sulfate 370 mg/L
calcium 110 mg/L
magnesium 15 mg/L
alkalinity 96 mg/L


I believe the total alkalinity is as CACO3

so what the heck does this stuff mean? What is my water good for? I went back over Palmer's info on water and am starting to pick up a rudimentary understanding, but I am a bit overwhelmed at this point, I have always used RO cut with tap water at a ratio of 3gal RO to 1 gal tap and the beers turn out pretty damn good but it can get better I'm positive of that.

Please help me get a better grasp of this subject!!

DustinHickey 07-15-2010 02:51 PM

use the little graph thing in the back of Palmer's book. It makes it easy to determine what your water is good for as well as where items in your water would have to be for other beer colors.

I was very concerned with water when i first started brewing but Ive been making many different beers from stouts to pale ales and haven't had any problems with any of them using regular filtered water. Maybe I just don't notice the water as a problem because I havent messed with it to deem it so but I would try brewing different styles before worrying about the water. Thats just for my area though.. I'm on long island Ny.

azscoob 07-15-2010 03:00 PM

I have brewed stouts with just tap water on advice of a fellow brewer,and it turned out pretty well, I do a lot of pales, blondes, and hefes, and have always just used bottled spring water until a few months ago. With all of the beers I have brewed, they have all been pretty good, no astringency or off flavors, I just want to have a better understanding of this key brewing ingredient.

944play 07-15-2010 03:02 PM

Between these two calculators:
http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/EZ-...calculator.htm
http://www.brewersfriend.com/water-chemistry/
...you should be able to work it out.

Basically, I add gypsum to all beers and CaCl2 to soft, pale beers. My water has plenty of alkalinity and Mg. Yours would be really nice without all that Na - it doesn't need Ca, Mg, or sulfate!

You're missing a value for chloride though.

azscoob 07-15-2010 03:09 PM

crap, I will try to dig up the chloride value

they gave me a chlorine value of .9 to 1.0 mg/L no chloride value given.

Mateo 07-15-2010 03:21 PM

I bet my water is the same as yours. Probability comes out of one of the canals. I only use RO water and build from that. A bit of a hassle to go and get 10 gallons of water for brew day but it makes all the difference.

For my Pilsner beers I add:

Chalk .5 grams
Gypsum NA
Calc. Chloride .5 grams
Epsom Salt .5 grams
Baking Soda NA
Non-Iodized Salt NA

and my Altbier I add

Chalk 1 gram
Gypsum 1 gram
Calc. Chloride 1 gram
Epsom Salt 1 gram
Baking Soda 1 gram
Non-Iodized Salt 1 gram

All of these beers turn out with a great mouth feel and flavor profile.

I cannot emphasis enough, do not use too much.

m.

Mateo 07-15-2010 03:24 PM

I will also add this. I will never again use AZ tap water. When I moved to AZ in '95 I got right to brewing and I did not brew a good batch of beer. I could not figure out what the problem was, as in Maryland I was brewing excellent beers. I did not change anything but the water. Back then I knew nothing about water's effect on the beer flavor.

m.

Captain_Bigelow 07-15-2010 04:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by azscoob (Post 2161909)
I have brewed stouts with just tap water on advice of a fellow brewer,and it turned out pretty well, I do a lot of pales, blondes, and hefes, and have always just used bottled spring water until a few months ago. With all of the beers I have brewed, they have all been pretty good, no astringency or off flavors, I just want to have a better understanding of this key brewing ingredient.

I also do the bottled spring water thing. But it is getting expensive and a pain to get all of the water from the grocery store to back of my house. I have been looking at the filtration threads on here and thinking of trying a standard 10" carbon filter.

DustinHickey 07-15-2010 04:33 PM

I use a filter designed for Mobile homes and trailers. It screws right on the end of my hose and is good for something like 8000 gallons? not sure but it works great and was 40bucks or so. Bought it at Ace Hardware to remove chlorine form my water.

azscoob 07-16-2010 03:47 PM

So I played with the ez water calc. and if I take my tap water,with my mash and sparge volumes plugged in, cut it 50% with RO and add 3 grams non-iodized salt to the mash it puts my RA on target for my pale ale, and gives me a style profile on the bottom end of balanced, since I mash at 154 and it is 48 IBU, this should be a decent place to start? thats it? just play with additions and see where it puts the range? I guess in time the knowledge of what does what becomes second nature, like looking at a recipe and knowing what it should taste like?


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