Coldbreak Brewing HERMS Giveaway!

HomeBrewSupply AMCYL Brew Kettle Giveaway!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Is my water too hard?
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-15-2012, 03:15 PM   #1
badbrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: l.a., ca
Posts: 1,372
Liked 12 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default Is my water too hard?

I just read the water quality report from 2011 and see:

Alkalinity as CaCO3: 250 to 360 ppm (typical: 303 ppm)
pH: 7.5 to 7.8
hardness as CaCO3: 250-520 ppm (typical: 440 ppm)
calcium: 72-150 ppm (typical: 120 ppm)
magnesium: 18 to 54 ppm (typical 34 ppm)
Chlorides: 77 to 120 ppm (typical: 97 ppm)


Does this sound too hard to brew with? Should I add in part distilled water? Any recommendations for what to do?

http://clwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2..._webfile_4.pdf


badbrew is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 03:21 PM   #2
Sarrsipius
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 246
Liked 6 Times on 5 Posts

Default

I too have extremely hard water where I live and I've had great success with cutting the tap water with RO. I have my own RO system but you can also get 5 gallon jugs of RO water from many pet stores that sell fish.

I run my tap water through the 3 stage carbon filter that is part of my RO system and then I cut that with the RO water. I vary the ratio depending on the beer style and have dialed it in through trial and error for my regular recipes.

I find that with my water, a 50/50 RO/Tap works well for IPA's and Stouts. 80/20 RO/Tap works well for light ales, laggers, belgians and wheats. You can experiment on the ratio's to find what works best for your local water.

I've recently started experimenting with using RO water with salts/minerals added per the water calculator in beersmith but the verdict is still out on how well that works.

Hard water will work well with some beers and not with others. Read CH15 of palmers how to brew for more info. There is also a primer on water chemistry in that section of HBT that has some good info.


__________________
Conical : bohemian pils
Keg 1: Brown Ale__Keg 2: Hellas
Keg 3: Hellas__Keg 4: air
Keg 5: AIR 6: Edworts Apflewien

My HERMS rig
Sarrsipius is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 04:29 PM   #3
mabrungard
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
mabrungard's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Carmel, IN
Posts: 3,350
Liked 340 Times on 284 Posts
Likes Given: 30

Default

Yes, that is very mineralized water. The Mg and Cl are fairly high and will produce a flavor impact. The water does produce a high Residual Alkalinity and that would make it difficult to brew a nice light colored beer. Even a dark beer might have problems with that RA.

I like the recommendations above. Diluting with RO would be a good idea. Bru'n Water provides you with the tools to figure that stuff out.
__________________
Martin B
Carmel, IN
BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook for occasional discussions on brewing water and Bru'n Water
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brun-...?ref=bookmarks
mabrungard is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 04:34 PM   #4
ajdelange
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 7,756
Liked 1032 Times on 817 Posts
Likes Given: 32

Default

You could just add 9 parts of RO or DI water for every part of source water. This would divide everything in the report by 10 i.e. alkalinity would go down to typically 30 and calcium to 12. Alkalinity at 30 is good. Calcium at 12 not so good hence you would want to supplement with some calcium chloride and/or sulfate depending on what you are doing. See the Primer. Where a dilution of 9:1 is required the obvious question is "Why bother with the source water at all? Why not just use DI?" and many brewers adopt exactly that approach.

This water is an excellent candidate for softening. All you have to do is heat it to boiling for a couple of minutes and it will drop a lot of the hardness and alkalinity. After decanting off the precipitate you could then dilute 2:1 with RO and have a pretty low mineral water. Though chloride would be around 30 alkalinity would be down to about 20 and calcium to less than 10. See the Primer on how to get started with such a water.

Another approach is lime softening which doesn't require heat but is a little trickier in that you need to insure that you have restored the post treatment pH to the proper value.
ajdelange is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 05:15 PM   #5
badbrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: l.a., ca
Posts: 1,372
Liked 12 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

If I was to experiment with say 25% tap and 75% distilled (instead of ro), then wouldn't the values be essentially 25% of what they currently are and possibly avoid having to add in more minerals? Or is this still too hard? It couldn't hurt to try though right?

Alkalinity as CaCO3: from 303 to ~ 75
pH: 7.5 to 7.8
hardness as CaCO3: from 440 to 110
calcium: from 120 to 30
magnesium: from 34 to ~ 9
Chlorides: from 97 to 24
badbrew is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 05:17 PM   #6
badbrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: l.a., ca
Posts: 1,372
Liked 12 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
...This water is an excellent candidate for softening. All you have to do is heat it to boiling for a couple of minutes and it will drop a lot of the hardness and alkalinity. After decanting off the precipitate you could then dilute 2:1 with RO and have a pretty low mineral water. Though chloride would be around 30 alkalinity would be down to about 20 and calcium to less than 10. See the Primer on how to get started with such a water...
I'm going to research this, but are you saying to boil my tap water by itself and pour off the water from the minerals?
badbrew is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 06:28 PM   #7
Sarrsipius
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 246
Liked 6 Times on 5 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by badbrew View Post
If I was to experiment with say 25% tap and 75% distilled (instead of ro), then wouldn't the values be essentially 25% of what they currently are and possibly avoid having to add in more minerals? Or is this still too hard? It couldn't hurt to try though right?

Alkalinity as CaCO3: from 303 to ~ 75
pH: 7.5 to 7.8
hardness as CaCO3: from 440 to 110
calcium: from 120 to 30
magnesium: from 34 to ~ 9
Chlorides: from 97 to 24
Too hard is a term relative to the beer you are making. It may be too hard for a pilsner but not "hard" enough for a stout. Different components of the water will serve different purposes. One aspect you should be considering is what the mash ph will be based on your recipe. Will the ph of your water allow for the correct ph during the mash. Another thing to consider is the affect of your water chemistry on flavor. For example, sulfer components in your water will tend to accentuate hop bitterness which may or may not be a good thing. And there is always too much of a good thing.

There is no yes or no answer to your question.
__________________
Conical : bohemian pils
Keg 1: Brown Ale__Keg 2: Hellas
Keg 3: Hellas__Keg 4: air
Keg 5: AIR 6: Edworts Apflewien

My HERMS rig
Sarrsipius is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 07:02 PM   #8
badbrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: l.a., ca
Posts: 1,372
Liked 12 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Alright I'll just try it out with 25% tap, 75% distilled on my next german ale batch. This might answer why the pilsner kit I brewed has a nasty spoiled like aftertaste. Doesn't seem infected, just odd- almost wheat beerish taste.
badbrew is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 07:39 PM   #9
ajdelange
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 7,756
Liked 1032 Times on 817 Posts
Likes Given: 32

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by badbrew View Post
I'm going to research this, but are you saying to boil my tap water by itself and pour off the water from the minerals?
Yes. You should have already noticed that the water turns milky when it is heated and should have encrustations around shower heads, in tea kettles etc. That's calcium carbonate in all cases. Just put the tap water in a kettle, heat it to the boil and boil it for a couple of minites - that's all it takes. Let it cool and the cloudy stuff (precipitated chalk) will settle to the bottom. Siphon off the clear water leaving the chalk behind.

Note that it isn't enough to just remove the bicarbonate. Most beers require some acid as well. See the Primer.


ajdelange is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Help Analyzing Water Report - Very Hard Water BrewThruYou Brew Science 6 04-18-2012 06:17 PM
Hard Water in SD damdiver Brew Science 6 10-22-2011 11:45 AM
MD hard water - what styles? clex25 Brew Science 4 06-29-2011 05:49 PM
Hard Water lschiavo Brew Science 22 05-27-2011 12:50 PM
Water quality, what to do....Hard water and high pH. BroadStreetBrewery Brew Science 9 09-11-2010 04:12 AM


Forum Jump

Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS