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Old 01-12-2010, 02:46 AM   #1
murphyslaw
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Default Very Basic Water questions

I've read a few books, and lots of posts here on HBT, but I really just dont get water chem!

Here is my water profile, with Burton in ()'s and the best I can achieve with salts in []:

Ion My Water Burton w/Salts
Ca----44------(270)----[289]
Mg----9-------(24)-----[43]
Na----16------(50)-----[69]
SO4---53------(660)----[655]
CL----33------(35)-----[33]
HCO3-10------(219)----[282]
ALK----8------(238)----[180]

additions:
Chalk 6g
Baking Soda 5g
Gypsum 22g
Epsom 9g

Using the brewer's friend tool, that leaves everything pretty close (green in the difference column), except HCL. Are some minerals more important than others?

Also, even though the CA, MG and SO4 levels are about right, brewer's friend gives me a "Harmful, do not brew at this level!" for Ca and "Above recommended brewing range, but not harmful" for Mg and SO4. Is this a problem?

How can I get the CO3 up without getting the Ca or Mg out of wack?

I guess I really just don't really understand how close this stuff needs to be. I mean, the EZ water tool has 352 for Ca and 820 SO4. So maybe being off 71 on my HCL isn't too bad?

I'd rather not have to shell out another $9 or so to buy distilled water every time I brew, but I will if I have to. Though, I don't really see how that would solve any of these problems since I can still only get about the same results.

Any advice?


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Old 01-12-2010, 02:52 AM   #2
samc
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give this a try http://home.roadrunner.com/~brewbeer/ Brewater 3.0 . . . I find it to be helpful in saving me the time of tinkering with the numbers.


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Old 01-12-2010, 03:05 AM   #3
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You're fine. You will never be able to match exactly the ion ppm of a particular water profile. That is not the point anyway. As long as you are in the general area and have a roughly similar ration of ions to the water profile the beer should come out OK. The Ca+ is high but is in no way "harmful" and is close enough to the target number to be an almost perfect match. Mg+ @ 43ppm is more than enough but again is not in the area where you could expect problems. Too much magnesium can have a laxative effect and create an odd bitter/metallic off flavor so if you want to be better off safe than sorry you could back off the Epsom salt addition slightly. I'd say to leave the carbonates alone. Burton water does have some significant amounts but it is still at a much lower rate than the sulphates. This is the balance you want since this water profile is used for pale, hoppy beers.
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:32 AM   #4
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I heard that if you can drink it directly from the faucet it is good enough to brew with. I have major calcium in my water. I use a chlorine filter setup from Lowe's. It makes the water taste like bottled water. I know I just got into AG but I don't think I am ever going to get this intense with the water portion....Just my opinion
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:45 AM   #5
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+1 on Brewater 3.0, it is very helpful and does the hard work for you. Your Alk is 62 based on the report and your total hardness is 108. With those numbers you can plug them into Brewater and try different profiles. For what it is worth, the Burton water profile is very extreme and I would never brew with it.

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Old 01-12-2010, 03:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILOVEBEER View Post
I heard that if you can drink it directly from the faucet it is good enough to brew with. I have major calcium in my water. I use a chlorine filter setup from Lowe's. It makes the water taste like bottled water. I know I just got into AG but I don't think I am ever going to get this intense with the water portion....Just my opinion
I said this exact thing one year ago. I was wrong. You'll reach a point in your brewing where you have eliminating just about every hiccup in your process and you want to be sure you're making the best beer you can. Good enough for now, but keep it in mind when you get bored.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:05 AM   #7
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Ditto what Bobby M said. You should at least know what kind of water you are brewing with and what style it is good for. My water is very malty to begin with so I could never brew a solid IPA without modification.
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:25 AM   #8
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Default Sulfates are elevated

With SO4 at 620 - 800 you are risking some pretty nasty side effects if not in the beer, then the next day. From John Palmer - How To Brew:

Sulfate (SO4) Brewing Range = 50-150 ppm for normally bitter beers, 150-350 ppm for very bitter beers .... at concentrations over 400 ppm however, the resulting bitterness can become astringent and unpleasant, and at concentrations over 750 ppm, it can cause diarrhea.
http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html


I'd highly recommend cutting back SO4 by at least 50%. Even then the water only works for dark heavy beers. +1 on Burton water being over rated. Try a Fuller's ESB and you can taste the minerals. In this case, less is more.
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
My Water
Ca----44------
Mg----9-------
Na----16------
SO4---53------
CL----33------
HCO3-10------
ALK----8----
You have really good base water IMO. Count me as jealous...our water down here in Texas is extremely alkaline and makes certain styles a royal PITA.

I wouldn't touch it at all (for now) unless you have a very specific style in mind.
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:36 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the responses!

larry, harkin -- I thought the point was to use the target cities for the particular style, which is why I was trying to hit such a high SO4. Isn't Burton the target for Pale Ales? If not, where can I find proper targets? What is the proper target for an APA?

Charlos, ILOVEBEER -- I get what you're saying, but I think that if all it takes to refine the water is adding a spoon full of some mineral, that's a simple solution that according to some can have a big payoff...once I figure out how the math works!

samc, harking -- I'll check out brewater now that i'm at work. The problem is that I have a 64-bit OS at, and the program doesn't work on that.

APAs and IPAs are really my most common brews, so if I can know that adding 3tbs of this and 2tbs of that each time will help, that would be pretty easy.


Another question--I add the minerals pre-mash right?


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