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Old 11-11-2008, 06:34 PM   #1
Judochop
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Default NW burbs Chicago - bad water?

Just started brewing here in my new location, and all of my beers are turning out astringent. My first was a British IPA, and my second was a Foreign Extra stout. Astringency was noted in the first, but overpowering in the second. It’s undrinkable.

- My crush is being performed by my local HB shop, so I think I can trust them.

- I really don’t think there’s any way I’m sparging at temperatures too high. Even though I’ve got my sparge water @ 180, I can see my mash drop in temp from 155 on down. So maybe just at the surface I’m extracting tannins, but I can’t think that makes the difference that I’m tasting.

So… is it my water? My HB shop guy thought maybe chlorine. How much chlorine is too much?

As a reference to anyone else in the Libertyville area, this is the info I got from the station:

Alkalinity (as CaCO3)…….95-108 ppm
Calcium……………………35.0 ppm
Chloride……………………13.0 ppm
Hardness (as CaCO3)…..110-140 ppm
Iron…………………………<50 pp billion
Magnesium………………...11.0 ppm
pH…………………………...7.8-7.9
Sodium……………………..10.0 ppm
Sulfate………………………25.0 ppm (or as low as 10 ppm)

‘Free’ Chlorine………….0.67–1.02 mg/L

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Old 11-11-2008, 06:46 PM   #2
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you're in better shape than me. But like I said in the other thread, I've been using bottled and also distilled/tap.

Sodium, Na 35
Potassium, K 14
Calcium, Ca 64
Magnesium, Mg 23
Total Hardness, CaCO3 256
Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 16
Chloride, Cl 12
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 326
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 267

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Old 11-11-2008, 06:47 PM   #3
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Well at least you don't have any chloromines.

Anyway that is fairly hard water. I live in Dundee and we have really hard water. I generally brew using water from my water softener and it turns out fine. Before that I used my water cut by half with distilled water.

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Old 11-11-2008, 06:55 PM   #4
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I have the same water as you and haven't had any trouble with mine. Did you get any husks in the boil?

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Old 11-11-2008, 06:58 PM   #5
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I may be oversparging. I've just been collecting to 7 gallons (to account for a crazy high evaporation rate) and stopping there. I really can't say I know either the pH of my mash, nor the gravity of my run-off, at that point.

Next round I'm popping some Campden tabs and watching my run-off gravity a little more closely.

But does anybody know about that chlorine level in my water? Can I tell if my levels are too high from my free chlorine levels alone?

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Old 11-11-2008, 06:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slimer View Post
I have the same water as you and haven't had any trouble with mine. Did you get any husks in the boil?
Really don't think so. I vorlaufed (sp?) and didn't notice any chunks. Good point though. I'll check that closer next time too.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:51 PM   #7
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I am in California and my water is fairly the same so you might use some 5 Star 5.2 conditioner if the mash PH is too far out of range. Get some PH test strips to find out. Test the mash liquid only at room temperature.

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Old 11-12-2008, 06:10 AM   #8
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Two minor tips. Your pH is high - as said, use the 5.2 pH to reduce the pH of your mash. Read good texts eg Palmer's "How To Brew" , but there are many others to understand a little about pH and alkalinity in the mash. Secondly, don't over sparge. After a good sparge, if you haven't got your ideal boiling amount, add water. Gravity too low - add a bit of malt extract or sugar. Many brewers sparge and sparge thinking the coloured water coming out is good wort. Actually its low gravity and likely just leaching tannins. If you are nervous about your efficiency, add more grain to the mash. You are better adding a few extra pounds of grain and getting good beer than oversparging and effectively wasting a brew.

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Old 11-13-2008, 07:45 PM   #9
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I live in Knollwood (corner of Rockland and Waukegan), and im assuming you LHBS is Perfect Brewing, and yes, Billy knows what hes doing- their crush has always been good to me

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Old 01-13-2011, 03:36 PM   #10
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Looking for some water treatment info, I came across this old thread of mine and thought I’d close it off for good: the problem was never the water, it was the garden hose I was using to dispense the water.

Don’t use a garden hose for your brewing water. Unless of course you like the taste of the inside of garden hoses.

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