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Old 10-26-2012, 02:35 AM   #1
moomack
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I got the report for my well water. This is the water that bypasses the softener. I've been reading the primer and have been playing with spreadsheets but I haven't quite gotten those figured out yet. Is this even suitable water to start from for most styles?

pH 7.6

Sodium, Na 6
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca 76
Magnesium, Mg 45
Total Hardness, CaCO3 378
Nitrate, NO3-N 5.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 5
Chloride, Cl 16
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 411
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 337
Total Phosphorus, P 0.71
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moomack
I got the report for my well water. This is the water that bypasses the softener. I've been reading the primer and have been playing with spreadsheets but I haven't quite gotten those figured out yet. Is this even suitable water to start from for most styles?

pH 7.6

Sodium, Na 6
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca 76
Magnesium, Mg 45
Total Hardness, CaCO3 378
Nitrate, NO3-N 5.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 5
Chloride, Cl 16
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 411
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 337
Total Phosphorus, P 0.71
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
Only if you like really dark beers. That alkalinity is super high. Your magnesium is also on the high side. I personally would not brew with it unless making a dark beer and cutting it with some RO or distiller water.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:49 AM   #3
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The water is very hard and is unusual in that the hardness is split about equally between calcium and magnesium. It is alkaline to match and the good news with that is that you can simultaneously remove much of the alkalinity and hardness by treatment with lime or simple boiling. To do this properly is a little tricky and really requires the use of a pH meter and you'll only be able to get rid of a bit more than half the magnesium. A much simpler but more expensive approach is a water softener (which you already have - no surprise there) followed by an RO unit. This will give you a very low mineral content water which you can build up to spec by adding a few salts.

As is it is completely unsuited to brewing.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:57 AM   #4
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The water is very hard and is unusual in that the hardness is split about equally between calcium and magnesium. It is alkaline to match and the good news with that is that you can simultaneously remove much of the alkalinity and hardness by treatment with lime or simple boiling. To do this properly is a little tricky and really requires the use of a pH meter and you'll only be able to get rid of a bit more than half the magnesium. A much simpler but more expensive approach is a water softener (which you already have - no surprise there) followed by an RO unit. This will give you a very low mineral content water which you can build up to spec by adding a few salts.

As is it is completely unsuited to brewing.
Thanks. I knew enough to know it was hard just not to what extent or if it was fixable. So until I can take more permanent actions as you suggest (RO unit after softener -- or dialing in with Lime)... should I just be starting from getting a bunch of Distilled or Spring Water from the grocery store and building the water chemistry from there?
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:04 AM   #5
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Yes, you can do that or you can just try bringing the water to a boil. It should turn cloudy and, upon turning off the heat, chalk should precipitate. You'll still have appreciable alkalinity and magnesium but you ought to be able to brew some beers. RO or DI from the store will make better ones.
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