New to water chemistry, help w/ mineral content - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > New to water chemistry, help w/ mineral content

Thread Tools
Old 10-24-2012, 01:16 PM   #1
Jul 2009
Posts: 129


I'm an AG brewer who is just beginning to read about water chemistry. I found a report on the water I usually brew with:

I know that I need to determine the content of several minerals in the water(sodium, calcium, magnesium, etc). The problem is that everything on the chart is a chloride, sulphate or carbonate. How do I interperate this??? For example three types of sodium are listed on the chart. Do I add them together??? Also the chart is measured in grains per gallon instead of PPM. I found a calculator to convert to PPM. Is this the correct way to do this???

Thanks for any help.
BOTTLED: Wild Strawberry Blonde, Oatmeal Stout, Amber Ale
KEGGED: Nut Brown, Smoked Porter, Blue Moon Clone 1, Blue Moon Clone 2, Something Red Amber Clone
CONTEMPLATING: Flanders Red, English IPA, Sack Mead

The elusive Beer Baron continues to thumb his nose at the authorities. Swaggering about in a garish new hat, he seemed to say "Look at me, Rex Banner! I have a new hat!" - The Simpsons

Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2012, 01:32 PM   #2
krispy3d's Avatar
Feb 2012
Davis, California
Posts: 60
Liked 12 Times on 9 Posts

Adding them together sounds way too simple. I'm sure a chemist could tell you exactly how to transfer this information into the information you need, but they are in short supply around here. If you have a minute, you might try calling them directly. Perhaps someone at the water department can simply list for you the ppm for each ion you're after. Here's the number I found on the town's website:
Berkeley Springs Water Works: 271 Wilkes Street, Phone: 304-258-1290.
Check out my brewery

Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2012, 03:36 PM   #3
Aug 2010
McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 9,426
Liked 1564 Times on 1190 Posts

I regard this report with a bit of suspicion. When these materials are in solution you have sodium ions, potassium ions, bicarbonate ions etc are whirling around quite independent of one another. If you boil off all the water then the salts form and they will form in certain relative proportions but how would you tell that there is so much potassium chloride and so much potassium sulfate from the powder? FTIR perhaps but would these guys go to the trouble and expense of FTIR analysis?

In any event how much sodium came from the nitrate and how much from the sulfate is immaterial to you. You are only interested in the total sodium, total chloride etc. Taking these numbers at face value it is a simple matter to figure out the ion contents. For sodium chloride, for example, convert the grains per gallon to mg/L. Then look up (Wikipedia is fine) the atomic/molecular weight of sodium, chlorine and sodium chloride. Divide the mg/L sodium chloride content by the molecular weight of sodium chloride. This gives the millimoles of sodium and chloride per liter. Multiply by the atomic weight of chlorine to get the mg/L chloride and by the atomic weight of sodium to get the mg/L sodium from sodium chloride. For the sulfate and carbonate salts it's a little trickier. Divide mg/L by the molecular weight of the salt. That again gives the millimoles of the salt but note that the formula of potassium sulfate, for example, is K2SO4 whereas for magnesium sulfate it is MgSO4. Thus 1 mmol of potassium sulfate contains 1 mmol of sulfate but 2 of potassium whereas 1 mmol of MgSO4 contains 1 mmol of each. For the carbonates it gets a bit trickier still. In the case of magnesium carbonate, for example, the formula is MgCO3 but in solution it is really Mg(HCO3)2. When the water was boiled off to get the dry salts analysis one CO2 molecule flies off for each molecule of MgCO3 precipitated.

Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2012, 04:34 PM   #4
helibrewer's Avatar
Nov 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 3,813
Liked 326 Times on 275 Posts

This does not look like a drinking water report, it's a mineral analysis that I presume demonstrates the "homeopathic quality" of the spa water. You need a drinking water report.
Something is always fermenting....
"It's Bahl Hornin'"

Kegged: Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
On Deck: German Lager

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
bottled water - mineral content? Braufessor General Beer Discussion 0 07-13-2012 03:06 PM
Best spring water brand - mineral content justsayn General Beer Discussion 1 02-07-2010 03:08 PM
5.2 Stabilizer - Does it affect mineral content jamest22 Brew Science 6 09-16-2009 02:37 PM
Anyone send their water to be tested for mineral content? Stevorino General Beer Discussion 10 02-13-2009 06:37 PM
Water chemistry brewing for low/zero mineral levels larrybrewer All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 7 02-07-2009 04:06 PM

Forum Jump