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Old 07-26-2013, 12:46 PM   #1
roblanderson
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Default Water in Bloomington, Illinois

I've done a few all-grain brews and I'd like to figure out what water adjustments might improve my beer.

This is from the 2012 report (http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowD...ocumentid=5294):
__________________________________ Min-Max _______ Average
Total Alkalinity (as CaCO3) / (ppm) ______ 39-128 ________ 65
Total Hardness (as CaCO3) / (ppm) ______ 70-149 ________ 103
Calcium Hardness (as CaCO3) / (ppm) ____ 21-89 _________ 55
Magnesium Hardness (as CaCO3) / (ppm) _ 35-63 _________ 48
pH / (units) _________________________ 8.4-9.3 ________ 9.0

Sodium (highest detected level): 9.6 ppm

I called the water department and asked for cholride and sulfate:
Chloride: 43 mg/L
Sulfate: 23 mg/L

From these numbers do I have everything I need? Do I need to do any conversions before plugging these numbers into BeerSmith or other water calculators like Bru n Water?

I'd appreciate any help! We brew a wide range of beers, pale ales to dark stouts. Going to try our first lager soon as well.

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Old 07-26-2013, 07:52 PM   #2
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I don't really have any input as to what to do to our water, but am astounded to see someone else from BN here.

I have yet to make any adjustments to our water and all my beers from an almost clear Honey Weissen to a Smoked Porter have turned out find.

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Old 07-26-2013, 08:14 PM   #3
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With the variation in that water supply, it may be difficult to plan your water treatment very precisely. But you can get a sense of what will be required from those averages. You can convert those Ca and Mg Hardness values into actual concentrations with the conversion tools in Bru'n Water. Overall, the water doesn't look that bad. The alkalinity will need most of your attention.

If the water supplies varies that much, I suggest using aquarium test kits for alkalinity and hardness to give you an indicator of how the water is deviating on a particular brew day. They are cheap and quick. Colin Kaminski has variable water quality and he does this testing on every brew day for his commercial brewery, Downtown Joe's in Napa, Ca.

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Old 07-26-2013, 10:57 PM   #4
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BTW, I got a mailed copy of a water report that gave me these numbers:
pH 9 units

Total Dissolved Solids 200 milligrams per Liter

Sodium 17 milligrams per Liter

Potassium 1.5 milligrams per Liter

Calcium 15 milligrams per Liter

Magnesium 32 milligrams per Liter

Total Hardness as CaCO3 100 milligrams per Liter

Sulfate 24 milligrams per Liter

Chloride 48 milligrams per Liter

Carbonate 10 milligrams per Liter

Bicarbonate 50 milligrams per Liter

Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 60 milligrams per Liter

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Old 07-27-2013, 03:10 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies! I'll try look at the numbers and calculators more this weekend.

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Old 07-28-2013, 03:59 AM   #6
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I did my first all grain last weekend using the Bloomington water supply. I was concerned that I needed to adjust pH but didn't see it in the annual reports so ended up just asking around about people's experiences. The general impressions I got from 4 different home brewers and Brian from the Hop Shoppe was that the water was fine as is. I got decent efficiency and was pleased by the taste when I went to secondary. I'd be interested in finding out if you notice improvements in your beer if you end up tweaking anything. Good luck!

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Old 07-28-2013, 07:29 PM   #7
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drksky - the numbers from your mailed report look pretty similar to the 2012 report on the city website. Does the mailed report have a date?

kalcozar - we've done 5 all-grain brews now with Bloomington water and so far efficiency has been between 68-73%. It might not be worth the effort to make water adjustments, but I want to make sure I have at least a basic understanding of what is happening.

mabrungard - I used Bru'n Water to do the conversions for me, but I'm getting a .54 on the Cation/Anion difference, which tells me I need to question the reported concentrations.

I ended up with:
Calcium: 22.1
Magnesium: 11.7
Sodium: 9.6
Potassium: 1.5

Bicarbonate: 72.5
Carbonate: 3.3
Sulfate: 23
Chloride: 43

Playing around with the Water Adjustment tab it looks like my bicarbonate levels will be high for the "Yellow" and "Amber" profiles.

I forgot to mention that these all-grain brews have all been BIAB, so we've been mashing 10-12 lbs of grain in about 8 gallons of water. The only thing we've done so far is a campden tablet for chloramine.

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Old 07-29-2013, 11:00 PM   #8
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Wow...I live not far from Bloomington! When I don't want to guess about my water's quality and/or I'm too lazy to test it, I have used filtered water (I have a filter on one of my faucets) with some success.

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Old 07-31-2013, 01:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonshineJane73
Wow...I live not far from Bloomington! When I don't want to guess about my water's quality and/or I'm too lazy to test it, I have used filtered water (I have a filter on one of my faucets) with some success.
A basic carbon filter will not remove the minerals, only organics and gross smells/tastes. Unless it is an ion-exchange resin filter. You might check and see what you have, but you're probably removing somewhere between far less and none of what you think.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:54 AM   #10
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^^That could be; sometimes I have wondered. Does anything know something that would help?

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