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Old 11-25-2009, 03:21 AM   #1
ultraplop
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Default Questions about CaCO3

I asked my water department for the concentration of calcium carbonate and I got the answer: 160 mgl.

After doing further research I have noticed that multiple measurements are expressed as CaCO3. Calcium and magnesium can both be expressed as CaCO3.

My questions are: Can total alkalinity be derived from that number? Is the number relevant to brewing or does Calcium Carbonate have to be referenced as an expression of another ion?

For reference here is the rest of the information they gave me:

Calcium 62 mgl, Calcium Carbonate 160 mgl, Chloride 20 mgl, Chloramine .5-1 mgl, Magnesium 70 mgl, Chlorine 1-2 mgl, Flouride 1-2 mgl, Iron .05 mgl, Manganese .02 mgl



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Old 11-25-2009, 04:51 AM   #2
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I think it is unclear what they gave you. You need to get more information from them anyways, so you can probably have them clarify. Palmer's spreadsheet uses "total alkalinity as CaCO3". That may or may not be what they gave you.

You'll also want to know the sodium and sulfate concentrations. The sulfate can help accentuate the hop bitterness.

I think your chlorine and chloramine levels might be too high. I've read that they can lead to off flavors at less than 1ppm. Carbon filtering can help remove those.

Edit: I also noticed your magnesium is too high. You want it to be 10-30ppm


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Old 11-25-2009, 06:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultraplop View Post
I asked my water department for the concentration of calcium carbonate and I got the answer: 160 mgl.

After doing further research I have noticed that multiple measurements are expressed as CaCO3. Calcium and magnesium can both be expressed as CaCO3.

My questions are: Can total alkalinity be derived from that number? Is the number relevant to brewing or does Calcium Carbonate have to be referenced as an expression of another ion?

For reference here is the rest of the information they gave me:

Calcium 62 mgl, Calcium Carbonate 160 mgl, Chloride 20 mgl, Chloramine .5-1 mgl, Magnesium 70 mgl, Chlorine 1-2 mgl, Flouride 1-2 mgl, Iron .05 mgl, Manganese .02 mgl
No, it cannot be calculated (except from bicarbonates HCO3 which you don't have either). I would call back and ask if the CaCO3 they gave you was alkalinity as CaCO3. If not, ask for that number. Otherwise ask for bicarbonates (HCO3). They should have one of those and you'll need one or the other in order to do water calculations.
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:54 PM   #4
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Interestingly enough I emailed my water department back asking for clarification on the Calcium Carbonate number they gave me and also asked for information on bicarbonate and here is what they said:

"CC is CaCO3. I do not have a HCO3 number."

So either they don't have that information or don't want to share. At least I have the other information and know now that they put chloramine in the water. The beers I have been making with this water have had too much phenolic taste and I have been wondering what was causing it. I plan on using a little campden to get rid of it.

That magnesium is problematic though. From the research I have done, it seems that I will have to dilute the water by 1/2 to 2/3 distilled water to get it down to reasonable levels or get an RO system.
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