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Old 12-08-2010, 12:38 AM   #1
the_mox
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Default water report question.

I tried posting this in the "Science" section, but didnt get any responses, thought I would move it over here...


Got my water report for Fairfax County Va. Here is what it says:

Calcium: 34.4
Magnesium: 9.5
Sodium:21.8
Chloride: 29.0
Sulfate: 46.3
Ammonia: .61
Nitrate: 1.0
Nitrite: BQL (Below Quantitation Limit)
PH: 7.4
Bicarbonate: 82
Carbonate:0
Total Alkalinity: 82


What the Heck does all this mean? I've tried searching and cant find anything that makes sense, (I'm sure the answer is probably staring me right in the face, I'm just to thick headed to see it). Man, if you had told me that Chem would have helped me make beer back in school, I would have paid much better attention! Is my water any good for making beer? Is there anything I should add to it? Do I need to find out more information that I have listed here?


Thanks guys for all your help!

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Old 12-08-2010, 01:03 AM   #2
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http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html

That's a good place to start.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:31 AM   #3
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Understanding water chemistry is similar to the process of understanding all grain... you do a huge amount of reading, sucking up every bit of information from every article you can find, and all of a sudden it makes sense to you.

Keep reading (pretty much anything John Palmer has written). Also, download Palmer's water chemistry spreadsheet and plug your numbers in.

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Old 12-08-2010, 03:36 AM   #4
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I also recommend Noonan's New Brewing Lager Beer. It's not really a sit-down-and-read kinda book, but it's a wonderful reference.

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Old 12-08-2010, 03:47 AM   #5
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Bobby M's videos on water chemistry are pretty good. Check them out. There's additionally a new version of the spreadsheet he uses here.



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Old 12-08-2010, 03:05 PM   #6
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I would read the water sections in Noonan or Fix as they are more complete than Palmer and take up fewer pages due to Palmer's large focus on a discredited RA to SRM model that he appears to no longer defend.

The good news is that you have fairly moderate alkalinity. Pale and amber beers will require acidification (as they do with nearly any water). You may want to add CaCl or CaSO4 to achieve 50 ppm or more of Ca. For some continental lagers you may want to dilute with RO water as your sulfate is fairly high.

Better water than most.

Check out the water chemistry primer which is stickied in the science section.

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Old 12-08-2010, 04:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post
Pale and amber beers will require acidification (as they do with nearly any water).
How do you do add "acidification" to water?

also, would a product like, 5.2 Mash Stabilizer help at all?

thanks for the tips guys!
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:10 PM   #8
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Acid makes water more acidic. You can buy several kinds, lactic, malic, tartaric, citric, etc. at homebrew stores. I use lactic acid to lower my mash pH.

A product like 5.2 adds a lot of ions (salts) to your brewing water and isn't a particularly effective buffer. If you have the desire to improve your brewing, I would suggest getting good pH strips (like colorphast) or a pH meter, and adjusting pH by hand, instead of relying on a phosphate buffer.

http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/for...=21773&start=0

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Old 12-08-2010, 06:59 PM   #9
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I also have .7 mg/l of free chlorine, and 3.1 mg/L of total chlorine. should I use campden tablets? or would the boil take care of that?

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Old 12-08-2010, 08:13 PM   #10
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You could use campden tabs, but I use an activated charcoal inline water filter to reduce chlorine smell/taste.

Chlorine in small amounts isn't a big deal. The taste threshold for chlorine is really high, meaning you can have a good deal of chlorine before you notice it. The problem with chlorine is that phenols, like the clove flavors in wheat or Belgian beers, can react with chlorine to make chlorophenols, some of which have very low taste thresholds.

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