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Old 01-01-2013, 08:28 PM   #1
lewishowardm3
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Default Water treatment question

Hi all. I have just found my water supply figures and my alkalinity is 141 ppm does this seem too high? Also they only took one sample all year. I don't really know what to do

Please help!


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Old 01-01-2013, 10:15 PM   #2
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Its not too high if you are mashing a stout. But it will require neutralization under every other situation! So sparging water has to be acidified and the mashing water for all less acidic grists will need some too.

Visit the Water Knowledge page on the Bru'n Water website for more information on the need to control alkalinity.


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Old 01-01-2013, 10:40 PM   #3
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Thanks ill check it out
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:47 PM   #4
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Yes, that's too high for most beers including some stouts. You'll need to either neutralize it with acid, precipitate some of it out with lime or dilute it away with low ion water. The latter is clearly the easiest to do (provided you have RO or other low ion water available). But how much to dilute depends on what else is in the water and the type of beer you are trying to brew. Depending on other mineral content some supplementation of calcium, chloride and possibly sulfate will be required.

More and more brewers who don't want to be bothered with the calculations required to determine dilutions, acid additions and mineral supplementations simply use straight RO water. This can be a great simplifier if your water is variable. For example if the yearly average alkalinity is 141 but it varies from 70 to 210 you would treat quite differently depending on the alkalinity at the time. With RO you simply use enough to swamp the max or do not blend using 100% RO at all times and things are then the same for each brew.

Have a look a the Primer in the Stickies to see how to start out using this approach.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:09 AM   #5
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Thanks for the reply. Although I don't know how they test the water in the US but it seems to me that alkalinity is only tested once a year here on the UK so do you think that it must not change much otherwise they would test it more frequently?
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:43 PM   #6
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Phosphoric Acid (85%) will be a good friend to you. Available for a fairly low cost from Duda Diesel via Amazon...
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewishowardm3 View Post
Thanks for the reply. Although I don't know how they test the water in the US but it seems to me that alkalinity is only tested once a year here on the UK so do you think that it must not change much otherwise they would test it more frequently?
Don't know but I'll guess they test it more often than that. They may just not make that information available. OTOH it may be quite constant. You could call or e-mail the supplier and ask if it is variable and if so how much.

Alkalinity is a very simple thing to test. You can buy inexpensive test kits at aquarists, hardware stores, scientific supply houses etc. Or you can test it simply by adding 0.1 N HCl to 100 mL of water until the pH reaches 4.5 as indicated by a pH meter or indicator dye such as brom cresol green - methyl red. The alkalinity, in units of ppm as CaCO3, is the number of mL of acid it takes.

Some breweries and brewers simply add enough acid (in the US usually phosphoric, over there you have CRS) to bring the mash water to pH 5.5. In so doing they are eliminating most (89%) of the alkalinity and, at the same time, measuring it if they keep track of the amount of acid required.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:43 PM   #8
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Yeah I've been looking at CRS and also DLS. I have worked out how much I need assuming that 141 ppm o alkaline is correct. I might try and contact the water supplier. Thanks for the help people


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