Water profile - total hardness? - Home Brew Forums

 Home Brew Forums > Water profile - total hardness?

02-09-2013, 04:53 AM   #1
foodplusbeer
Recipes

Apr 2011
stamford, connecticut
Posts: 160
Liked 10 Times on 7 Posts

· Calcium (Ca +2 ) 16.6 mg/L

· Magnesium (Mg +2 ) 4.3 mg/L

· Sulfate (SO 4 -2 ) 27.4 mg/L

· Sodium (Na + ) 29.2 mg/L

· Chloride (Cl -) 26.9 mg/L

· Bicarbonate (HCO 3 -) we don't test for bicarbonate

· Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) we don't test for CaCO3- Total Hardness is 59.2 mg/L

· Alkalinity 33 mg/L

· pH Avg 7.0

· Chlorine Avg 0.83 mg/L

They don't test calcium carbonate or bicarbonate, so what does 'total hardness' mean and more importantly, what does this mean for my beer?

02-09-2013, 12:58 PM   #2
ajdelange
Recipes

Aug 2010
McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 9,463
Liked 1570 Times on 1196 Posts

Your calcium is at 16.6 mg/L. The equivalent weight of calcium is 20 mg/mEq so you have 16.6/20 = 0.83 mEq/L calcium hardness stated in the US as 50*0.83 = 41.5 ppm as CaCO3.

Your magnesium is 4.3 mg/L and the equivalent weight of magnesium is 12.15 for 4.3/12.15 = .354 mEq/L for magnesium hardness of 17.7 ppm as CaCO3. Adding calcium hardness to magnesium hardness gives total hardness which is, in this case 59.2.

They do test for bicarbonate when they measure alkalinity but even they may not realize that. I guess they wouldn't have told you they don't test for it if they did. Anyway alkalinity of 33 measured to a titration end point of 4.5 in a water at pH 7 implies a bicarbonate content of 38.85 mg/L. Many people just take 61*alkalinity/50 = 40.26 as an approximate value.

Thus overall with it's modest alkalinity and lowish mineral content in general is suitable for a lot of beers without much treatment. For many beers some calcium, chloride and sulfate (with the latter being a matter of personal taste) are probably appropriate. You can get into a world of complexity with this stuff if you want to or take the easy way out and dilute this water 1:1 with low ion (RO) water and follow the Primer in the stickies or start with that route and move on to the more sophisticated stuff while you are drinking the good beer the Primer will give you.

02-09-2013, 07:25 PM   #3
foodplusbeer
Recipes

Apr 2011
stamford, connecticut
Posts: 160
Liked 10 Times on 7 Posts

Thanks for the help dude! you rock!

02-09-2013, 10:20 PM   #4
mabrungard

Recipes

Feb 2011
Carmel, IN
Posts: 4,318
Liked 682 Times on 529 Posts

+1 for AJ's comments, excepting that this is a fine brewing water and suitable for most brewing with only minor adjustment. RO is not needed (or even desired) under almost all cases. AJ just mentions it to make it easier on the novice brewing water dabbler.
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