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Old 12-28-2010, 10:11 PM   #1
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Default First all grain - water question

Thanks to Santa Claus, I will be brewing my first all-grain batch on Friday. I wasn't planning on dealing with the chemistry of my water at all because I don't understand it much and there will be enough new stuff going on as is. However, I live in Seattle, and from what I've gathered, we have very clean and very soft water... not so ideal for brewing. So is it worth it for me to try and get it at least a little figured out before Friday? Or should I just go with my tap water as is and see how it goes?

I have done three extract brews so far and have liked them all so far but I want to love this next one.

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Old 12-28-2010, 10:49 PM   #2
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This is my water profile;
Ca: 17
Mg: 1
Na: 4
Cl: 4
SO4: 2
HCO3: 18

And I would like to brew an Sweet Stout

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Old 12-28-2010, 11:18 PM   #3
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Your water is good for pale ales, but you might want to consider adding gypsum or calcium carbonate to add some hardness for a stout. I also have soft water, but have found it's not the end of the world if I don't treat my water. It makes a stout roastier/ what some would consider harsh. If you're going for a softer sweet stout, I'd make the water harder. Using Beer Tools, I see you should be golden if you add a teaspoon of calcium carbonate (chalk), and a half teaspoon gypsum to your mash. If you don't want to get geeky over water chemistry yet, an easy solution would be to add Star San's ph 5.2 buffer: that at least dials in your mash ph to always be optimal for whatever style you're using.

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Old 12-28-2010, 11:28 PM   #4
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I live in Seattle also and have brewed several dozen batches of all grain without even checking my water, and it turned out very good beer, at least for me and few friends.
So if you want to skip this variable for now, not a big deal I believe.
I recently got my water tested by ward lab, still taking my time to learn before I attempt any water adjustments, if any.

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Old 12-28-2010, 11:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nilo View Post
I live in Seattle also and have brewed several dozen batches of all grain without even checking my water, and it turned out very good beer, at least for me and few friends.
So if you want to skip this variable for now, not a big deal I believe.
I recently got my water tested by ward lab, still taking my time to learn before I attempt any water adjustments, if any.
Have you done any porters or stouts? I'm torn because I kind of want to try brewing with out adjusting the water so that I can see the differences when I do. However, I don't want to make a mediocre beer.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:42 PM   #6
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Stouts and brown ales, no porters. I brewed and it tasted great! :-)
Relax, you water will get you good beer.

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Old 12-29-2010, 12:43 AM   #7
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Brewing water chemistry is easy man. There are some great primers on this board and really good spreadsheets.

You definitely will want to make some changes to your water. It's as easy as using Gypsum, Chalk, or Calcium Sulfate, all of which you can buy for pennies at the LHBS.

You'll want to boost your calcium level up, and add some hardness. Do some searching on here and get some water spreadsheets.

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Old 12-29-2010, 01:07 AM   #8
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Relax, you water is fine and will get you good beer
worry about this being your first all grain, and after you pour your first one of this batch,
screw with the water if you think you need to
pete

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Old 12-29-2010, 01:34 AM   #9
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Here's a start:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/bre...primer-198460/

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