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Old 04-21-2007, 12:55 PM   #1
Martin F
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Default water and high sulfate

I'm new to this forum. I haven't mashed in 10 years but it is time to try again. I just got a water report from the city and my sulfates are 978 ppm. Can I brew with this? I don't have a complete report of the other minerals, but judging from local reports combined Mg/Ca is over 200 ppm and carbonate is likely 450 ppm plus. Very hard water.

I think I could make do but the sulfate level worries me.

Last time I brewed was half a world away from where I live now, with totally different water.

Martin F.


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Old 04-21-2007, 02:04 PM   #2
FlyGuy
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Welcome!

Over 900 ppm of sulphates in your water is really high. My city water report says that sulphates of less than 500 ppm are desired for aesthetic reasons.

According to Noonan, sulphate levels above 500 ppm lend a harsh bitterness. Levels of 150 ppm or less are preferable for most beers, unless they are highly hopped. Palmer states that levels greater than 400 ppm are harsh and unpleasant, and that ideal levels should be between 50 and 150 ppm.

Unfortunately, I don't think sulphates are easy to remove from your water. You might consider buying spring water, or using demineralized water + salts.

I just noticed that on page 157 of Palmer's 3rd edition of How to Brew, he actually states that sulphate levels over 750 can cause diarrhea. You might want to check with your city water supply technicians to confirm that 978 ppm figure, or ask why those sulphates are so high.
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Old 04-21-2007, 02:31 PM   #3
Martin F
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Thanks for the tips. Palmer in "How to Brew" generally says bad things about how sulfates in mash water. I do notice, however, that the Burton-on-Trent water is 820 ppm sulfate.

I was doing some research on groundwater for my part of the state (southwest Minnesota) and noticed that this region pulls from very high sulfate aquifers. I sent an e-mail to the district water engineer for more information.

I may need to start with distilled or reverse osmosis water from the local water seller and add my own minerals.
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