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Old 03-28-2009, 02:57 AM   #1
comj49's Avatar
Mar 2008
Lambertville, MI
Posts: 112
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

I tracked down my local water report and got some interesting numbers:

ph- 9.5
total alkalinity- 45
total-hardness- 80
calcium- 28
magnesium- 2.5
sodium- 16.7
sulfates- 23
free ci2- 1.04

It looks like my water is really soft with high Ph. Does this explain why most of my dark beers get an ultra-dry, istringent flavor to them due to a really high Ph and very littlle calcium? I really only notice any off-flavors in my darker beers. I made a Mild that is virtually undrinkable. My lighter beers turn out fine though.
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:54 PM   #2
Mar 2009
Boulder Junction
Posts: 46

It is most likey due to the lack of buffering minerals. Mostly the carbonates and the result would be a low mash pH. If you don't already have some software to help you out as far as what you need you could try Brewater or check John Palmer's site for help in deciding what amount of minerals you need to add to your mash.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:42 PM   #3
menschmaschine's Avatar
Jun 2007
Posts: 3,272
Liked 41 Times on 33 Posts

That report is, for lack of a better word, wacky. You could practically make pretzels with that water without adding any lye! (well, not really) Soft water usually has a low pH. 9.5 is way high for hard OR soft water. If you brew all-grain, you really need to get that pH down. You may have to add an inordinate amount of minerals to do it that way, so you might consider the 5.2 stabilizer or, better yet, acid addition. If you brew all-grain, get the pH of the sparge water down, too.

Your calcium is a little low, but I don't think that's a big contributer to your off-flavors. I think if you fix the pH, you'll fix the problem. You might add a little gypsum to bring the calcium and sulfates up, though, especially for flavorful ales.

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Old 03-28-2009, 11:10 PM   #4
Apr 2008
Posts: 140

That's a crazy high pH for the softness of the water. I'd also advocate adding acid. Just get a bottle of lactic acid and a medicine syringe. It's super cheap and easy.

For dark beers you could go with a mix of chalk and baking soda. Using just one would give you too much calcium or sodium. This may be a good case for cutting it with RO water.

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Old 03-28-2009, 11:47 PM   #5
Nov 2004
Posts: 2,622
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A low mineral content soft water with a high pH is of little importance. The pH of the mash is important. Most municipal water supplies add slaked lime or some other salt to keep the pH of the water up. This makes the water less corrosive to metal pipes.

The water's residual alkalinity along with it's calcium content and some other factors combined the grains' reaction with the water in the mash pretty much determine the pH of the mash. If you are having trouble with dark beers that points to the residual alkalinity being too low for darker beers and the addition of calcium carbonate to the mash would be indicated.

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Old 03-29-2009, 12:50 PM   #6
mandoman's Avatar
Jun 2007
abingdon, virginia
Posts: 361
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i'll bet if you pour a glass of water from your sink and let it sit for 2 days the ph is around 7ish. Without a buffer the ph won't stay that high. Try it.

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