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Old 08-09-2007, 04:32 PM   #1
glorifiedbusdriver
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Default Water report

I just sent two samples to Ward Laboratories. One was my tap water in Lexington, KY and one was filtered tap water from my fridge. I was extremely impressed with them. It was $15 per sample and the results were emailed to me the day after they received them.
So here's the thing...I am no water expert. Can anyone make sense of these findings. I think I read in a book that for all-grain brewing you should use water with total hardness less than 200. If this is correct I guess my filtered water should be fine at 150.
I am confused because some of the mineral content is higher in the filtered water than the tap water. Can someone explain this to me and also assure me that my filtered water is fine for mashing? Thanks.

TAP WATER

pH 7.5
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 326
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.54
Cations / Anions, me/L 5.6 / 5.4

Sodium, Na 18
Potassium, K 4
Calcium, Ca 51
Magnesium, Mg 26
Total Hardness, CaCO 3 236
Nitrate, NO 3-N 0.3 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO -4S 49
Chloride, Cl 19
Carbonate, CO 3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO 3 112
Total Alkalinity, CaCO 3 92

FILTERED WATER

pH 8.4
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 343
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.57
Cations / Anions, me/L 5.7 / 5.6

Sodium, Na 61
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca 25
Magnesium, Mg 21
Total Hardness, CaCO 3 150
Nitrate, NO 3-N 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO -4S 43
Chloride, Cl 21
Carbonate, CO 3 6
Bicarbonate, HCO 3 125
Total Alkalinity, CaCO 3 113

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Old 08-10-2007, 04:46 AM   #2
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Total hardness can be above 200 and make great beer. Burton-on-Trent water has total hardness well over double that. Your tap water is very similar to a profile I saw for London well water used in brewing some commercial beers (yours/London):

Calcium, Ca 51/52
Magnesium, Mg 26/32
Total Hardness, CaCO 3 236/261
Sulfate, SO -4S 49/32
Bicarbonate, HCO 3 112/104
Total Alkalinity, CaCO 3 92/85

Ideal SRM for your tap water and the London water is between 8 and 13.

Your filtered water is higher in bicarbonate so you have a higher pH. You would need a bit more darker grains to lower the pH for a good mash. Ideal SRM for your filtered water is 11 to 16.

I don't understand the increase in sodium in your filtered water either. All that aside, I would actually use your tap water for brewing, not the filtered water. If you want to brew really light lagers, you are might want to use distilled or RO water (not the same as filtered water) and adjust it with Calcium Chloride, and Epsom Salt. If you want stouts, add Calcium Carbonate to your tap water.

If you have Excel on your computer, I have a Mash Water Calculator posted in the Software forum that you can mees with.

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Old 08-10-2007, 02:14 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply...It's nice to know that my tap is ok since it takes so long to dispense 9 gallons of water out of the fridge.
I have been having 60 percent consistently throughout my 4 all grain brews. That's fine since it seems to consistent, but I would like to improve by focusing on one thing at a time so I can pinpoint what the problem is. I have just focused on the water, now I will try the crush.

Charles

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Old 08-10-2007, 03:40 PM   #4
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When water is filtered the main process (apart from removing chemicals like chlorine (NOT chloride ions), which is added to tap water to kill bugs) is ion exchange, the metal ions that make the water hard (dosent lather easily with soap) are magnesium and calcium mainly. These are exchanged with sodium ions which do not cause "hardness" in the usual use of the word. This can be seen in that sodium ion concentrations are much higher in the filtered water while calcium oin concentration and total hardness as CaCO3 has fallen.
The confusion comes from the fact that for simplicity many home brew books advise to just take the total concentration of ions when not all of these affect what most people would call "hardness".
As for the effects of ions like sodium when brewing with the water, I have no idea.
I think that the main reason Burton-on-Trent is regarded as such good water is becuase of a high concentration of sulphate ions and low conc. of calcium ions.
Presumably, therefore to "Burtonise" your water you should boil it for 10 mins, siphon it off the precipitate and add a teaspoon of magnesium sulphate.
I have read that you should use hard water for light beers and soft water for dark beers as a general rule?

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Old 08-10-2007, 06:34 PM   #5
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Suggest reading (and rereading again at least 2 more times to understand) the Palmer section about water

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15.html

Using Palmer's Nomograph I get a Residual Alkalinity of around 25 ppm CaCO3
That should give you a nice water for most styles. Pilsners and Stouts you'll probably want to adjust your water. Haven't run it through the spreadsheet he has, but that's another tool to look at.

Overall, looks like a decent water report.

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Old 08-11-2007, 02:59 AM   #6
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Burton-on-Trent has an extremely high concentration of both SO4 and the hardness ions Ca and Mg. I have seen their Ca++ reported between 250 and 300 ppm. Some of it is temporary hardness because the HCO3 is around 150 to 200 ppm. But it is still fairly hard water from the standpoint of high Ca and Mg.

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