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Old 06-29-2013, 05:30 PM   #1
storytyme
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Jun 2012
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Hello everyone. As I dive deeper into this great hobby of homebrewing I start to learn that I really don't know much about brewing at all. My newest mountain to conquer is understanding water. I have my Ward Labs water report and I have read Palmer's How to Brew Ch 15 "Understanding the Mash pH" numerous times and have started to get a slight grasp on what he is explaining. I am now a bit stuck in what to do going forward. My beers thus far have been good since going all grain, but I think we are all in search of the perfect beer. Do I leave my water alone and just continue to run it through a charcoal filter or should I start doing some additions to make a better beer. Any suggestions on tools to use for this or good and bad experiences please let me know. It is much appreciated. My water summary is below. My location is Chico, CA (Northern California home of Sierra Nevada Brewery)

SODIUM: 14 ppm
CALCIUM: 26 ppm
MAGNESIUM: 16 ppm
SULFATE: 2 ppm
CHLORIDE: 10 ppm
BICARBONATE: 141 ppm
TOTAL ALKALINITY: 126

Thank you!

 
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:34 PM   #2
ajdelange
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My personal advice would be to put Palmer's book aside, dilute the water with RO, follow the Primer in the Stickies here and continue to do that until Palmer's new book comes out this fall.

 
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Old 06-30-2013, 04:15 AM   #3
storytyme
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Thanks for the advice. Looking to maybe add some Ca since my water is a bit low in that regard. Didn't realize he had a new book coming out although I don't think water chemistry is going to change much.

 
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:58 PM   #4
ajdelange
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No, the chemistry hasn't changed but John's perspective on it has - dramatically. And, while the chemistry hasn't changed home brewers now have, in addition to much better knowledge, tools to let them deal with it more effectively: inexpensive pH meters and RO systems and powerful computing.

If you want to try SN's approach (treatment with phosphoric acid) the article and graph at http://wetnewf.org/pdfs/alkalinity-reduction-with.html may help. The graph will appear (with alkalinity spelled correctly) in the new book along with others for alkalinity 50, 150 and 200 but you can roughly scale the results from the 100 ppm chart to other actual alkalinities.

 
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Old 06-30-2013, 03:56 PM   #5
storytyme
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Great. I appreciate the response.

 
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:52 AM   #6
mabrungard
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AJ's advice is sound. However, most of the ions in that Chico water are at low levels. It is well suited for brewing, but the alkalinity is probably higher than desirable for many beer styles. Simple acidification could be used to solve the alkalinity problem for most brewing purposes. Bru'n Water has acidification tools for mashing and sparging water.
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