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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Water Chemistry
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Old 01-29-2010, 02:26 AM   #1
Steelers77
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Default Water Chemistry

So this is the makeup of my water according to the water authority.
Ca-64.2
Mg-40.5
Na-11.9
Cl-27.1
SO4-13.7
Alkalinity-286 ( I used the total Alkalinity on the report.
I was trying to use the ezwater adjustment calculator to keep my ph up when I brew a imperial stout. The last one I brewed seemed too acidic so I was thinking of a way to prevent that from happing again.
Accordig to the calculator I would have to add:
.5 gr of chalk
1 gr of gypsum
1 gr calcium chloride
2.5 gr baking soda
These additions would get me into optimal range for all the minerals but it says that my residual alkalinity is best suted for a beer with an srm 0f 18-23.
Any input on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-29-2010, 03:00 AM   #2
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I'm suspicious of the water reports that are posted on the internet. I bought kits at home depot 3 or 4 times in the last year and the numbers never agree. I'm curious if the mineral content is accurate.

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Old 01-29-2010, 03:01 AM   #3
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I called them and they emailed me this report says it was the most recent and it was not on the internet yet. What makes you suspicious about my report, is there something unusually high?

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Old 01-29-2010, 05:20 AM   #4
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Sorry steelers, I didn't mean I was suspicious of yours, just in general. I'm trying to learn water chemistry.

The ones posted for my water on the internet are always old and I need to contact them as you did. A lot of people post about internet reports on here and I'm just suspicious of the reports because the reading I get with home test kits. Maybe the test kits are that far off. I did use 3 different things to measure pH though. ColorpHast strips, kit from the store, and a pH meter at homebrew club (It was calibrated with buffer solution). The store kit also measures hardness and alkalinity. Which never match the report, but remian fairly constant.

I've liked the results I've gotten based on the assumption the water minerals are correct.

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Old 01-29-2010, 04:22 PM   #5
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I would take the report from the water company with a grain of salt. Sometimes they can be representative of your tap water, other times they may not.

The best way to determine is to have your tap water tested by ward labs or something similar.


Also, when you say according to the calculator, you ahve to add x amount of minerals, do you mean to get them into the 'acceptable' range at the bottom of the spreadsheet?

I would start out by trying to get the RA to where you want for SRM of the beer you are making, then adjust the chloride/sulfate ratio to where you want (malty, hoppy, balanced, etc).

Are you adding salts/minerals to both mash water and sparge/boil (you can check the boxes on the adjustment section), or just the mash? Also how much sparge water and mash water?

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Old 01-29-2010, 04:46 PM   #6
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I am using 6.25 gal mash water and 6 gallons sparge water with a little over 20lb of grain. 1.25 l/lb. This is not typical of my brew days, but I have a couple guys coming over so we will do a pati-gyle.

As for adding the salts, the spread sheet calculates additions to both the mash and sparge water. Those additions get me in the acceptable range but still leaves me low on my RA with a range of 18-23 srm. I am making a RIS so I know I need my RA higher but it really throws everything elso out of whack when I do. Also, I'm not sure how much adjustment is too much. Dave miller's book says you don't want to make too big of an adjustment.

This is really the first time I have ever needed to make adjustments so I'd like to be a little cautious.

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Old 01-29-2010, 06:03 PM   #7
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Weird, I entered your values; mash and sparge water and adjustments, and I get an srm range of 23-28. I zero'd the adjustments and added 2g of gyp, 2 of baking soda and 2 of non-iodized salt (along with whatever it calculates for sparge additions) to get up to an RA of 264 (which says it should be good for 27-32 srm) and a balanced chloride to sulfate ratio. Even with the straight up salt, the sodium stays within range.

I think the main thing you have to do with the base water is up the sulfate and chloride to get them into range, then strike the balance you want depending on malty or hoppy, and also bring up the RA for the stout. One thing I have noticed is that some of the RA/SRM calculators (especially palmers) will come up with some insanely high RA numbers for SRM >35. I heard/read somewhere that you want to keep it around 250 or so max...maybe someone else can chime in.

What is the calculated SRM for the beer, or even better, the recipe?

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Old 01-29-2010, 06:20 PM   #8
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I downloaded the spres shee and got some differant numbers, I think there is something wrong with it. I can not choose so4-Alkalinity on the spreedsheet..

The calculated SRM for the beer is 39.3. What about the magnesium, do you think it is too high? Can it cause a problem? Is canning salt suitable for the NaCL addition, I know it is not iodized and I think it doesn't have any anti-clumping agents.

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Old 01-29-2010, 11:54 PM   #9
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Not sure on the magnesium. Palmers how to brew site (the chapter on all grain > water modification) has some decent explanations on the different minerals and their effects when there is too much. Didn't seem like your magnesium was way off the charts. The only way I know of that would bring it down would be to cut the water with distilled water at some ratio to bring it in line.

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