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Old 01-25-2010, 02:38 PM   #1
pilotdane
 
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I have just received my water test results from the state. The results are for my untreaded water. I have a water softener but so far I have been brewing with un-softened water. Does anyone have any advice?

All results are mg/liter except for PH.

Total Alkalinity 197 mg/l
Floride <.2
Chloride 25
Sulfate 29
Arsenic <.005
Copper <.05
Lead <.005
Manganese <.03
Zinc .21
Barium <.1
Cadmium <.001
Chromium <.01
Silver <.05
Selenium <.005
Iron <.1
PH 7.5
Calcium 61
Magnesium 13
Total Hardness 210

 
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:33 PM   #2
Bobby_M
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Sodium?

You've got great water for malty/balanced dark beers as is. In fact, English Browns and Porters are the ticket.

You can start getting into hoppy Amber beers like West Coast style American Ambers and ESBs with this:

Starting Water (ppm):
Ca: 61
Mg: 13
Na: 27
Cl: 25
SO4: 29
CaCO3: 197

Mash / Sparge Vol (gal): 5 / 4
Dilution Rate: 0%

Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:

CaSO4: 6 / 0
CaCl2: 2 / 0
MgSO4: 1 / 0

NaCl: 0 / 0
HCL Acid: 0 / 0
Lactic Acid: 0 / 0

Mash Water / Total water (ppm):
Ca: 162 / 117
Mg: 18 / 16
Na: 27 / 27
Cl: 76 / 53
SO4: 226 / 139
CaCO3: 197 / 197

RA (mash only): 71 (11 to 16 SRM)
Cl to SO4 (total water): 0.38 (Very Bitter)

If you want to go lighter than 11 SRM, you'll have to start looking at partial dilution with RO/distilled. You could maybe get to a copper colored IPA by pushing the gypsum in the mash to maybe 9 grams. After that you'd be adding too much calcium.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:55 PM   #3
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I have been using 5.2 in my mash. Would I discontiue it's use if adjusting my water chemistry?

The common salt and epsom salt should be easy to find locally and I assume calcium sulfate is just gypsum. Do you think I should add individual chemicals to my mash or use a all-in-one like Burton Water Salts?

 
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:42 PM   #4
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Skip the 5.2 once you dial in via salts. I wouldn't do all in one additions because you can't tweak individual things.

You'd pick up Gypsum and Calcium Chloride at the brew shop, baking soda and epsom at the pharmacy/grocery.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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To the OP..sorry for hijacking here a little....

Bobby, I've noticed you really don't like adding anything to the boil, just the mash and I've never been able to wrap my hands around why. Could you dive into that a little more. Curious why it's always a feature on these water adjustment charts, etc...but why some believe it's not needed.

Thanks.

 
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:18 PM   #6
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It conceptually simple. We are trying to use salts to fix mash pH and flavor profile. Some do both at the same time. If I have to use a ton of gypsum to lower my RA in the mash, I may want to leave it out of the boil (sparge volume) so that I don't overload Ca and SO4 in the final product. On the other end of the spectrum, if I use NaHCO3 to add more mash alkalinity, I see no reason to add more into the boil because all it would do is boost my sodium levels which is hardly ever a good thing.

I know it can look complicated. It can actually get worse. I've thought of situations where it would be best to hold back a certain salt and ONLY use it in the boil. What if you want to really boost SO4 in the finished beer but don't want to lower your mash RA?
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:55 PM   #7
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Can I determine bicarbonate from my water test?

I am confused because even Palmer's webpage about how to read a water test. His sample test does not include bicarbonate but he talkes about it just like any other element of the test.

 
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:08 AM   #8
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Bicarbonate is HCO3 but you can also use your Total Alkalinity as (CaCO3) (197 on your report)
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:24 PM   #9
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Thank you for your help and advice.

 
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:41 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=Bobby_M;1835860]It conceptually simple. We are trying to use salts to fix mash pH and flavor profile. Some do both at the same time. If I have to use a ton of gypsum to lower my RA in the mash, I may want to leave it out of the boil (sparge volume) so that I don't overload Ca and SO4 in the final product. On the other end of the spectrum, if I use NaHCO3 to add more mash alkalinity, I see no reason to add more into the boil because all it would do is boost my sodium levels which is hardly ever a good thing.[QUOTE]

Excluding the mash, does hardness change the flavor of the beer?

If you skip the baking soda addition in the BK, how does that change the flavor of the finished product.

OP... stay away from brewing with softened water. keep using the unsoftened.
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