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Old 12-12-2013, 10:14 PM   #1
Bluedog
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Default Need some chemistry help here

I got a water report from the city and it's like reading Chinese. It's my understanding that levels of carbonate 50-300 mg/l and levels of calcium 50-150 mg/l are acceptable but my water report lists "hardness" as 300 mg/l, 99% of which is calcium carbonate(CaCO3) and 1% magnesium. Is calcium carbonate the same thing as calcium? Another problem I have is Chloride is tested annually and ranges from 5-90, hardness is tested daily and ranges from 190-340. pH is 7.6-8.0. 300 was the hardness as of yesterday at the facility, but who knows whats in the pipes. Please explain like you're talking to your kid, I'm not at all familiar with chemistry Thank you all for help.



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Old 12-12-2013, 10:35 PM   #2
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If you really want to understand water chemistry you should re-post this in the Brew Science forum. Some really great people over there that are very knowledgeable, they will explain it to you at any level you need.



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Old 12-12-2013, 10:39 PM   #3
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Chemistry PhD student here. Levels of calcium only account for the calcium ions in the water - Ca 2+. Water "hardness" accounts for CaCO3 as a whole. CaCO3 "weighs" more than Ca alone, so the mg/L value is larger. The molar concentration of the two are the same since carbonate and calcium exist in an equal ratio. I hope that made sense...let me know if you have any further questions.

In any case, if the ions in the water change so dramatically from day-to-day, and if you think its impacting the quality of your beer, you should start out with R.O. water and add ions back in. This sticky is extremely helpful:http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/brewing-water-chemistry-primer-198460/
I recently started fiddling with the water chemistry with my beers, and I've noticed a big improvement.

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Old 12-14-2013, 11:41 AM   #4
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Thanks guys, I really appreciate it

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