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Old 07-31-2013, 06:37 PM   #1
marvso
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Default Water Analysis Question

Been brewing for awhile but like everyone else, always looking for ways to improve. I only recently got into trying to understand the importance of water profiles. It seems a steep learning curve. Here is the results I got back from Ward Laboratories:

pH 7.5
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 68
Cations /Anions, me/L 1.2/1.1


PPM

Sodium, Na 8
Potassium, K 1
Calcium, CA 10
Magnesium, MG 4
Total Hardiness CaC03 42
Nitrate, NO3-N 1.0 (safe)
Sulfate SO4-S <1
Chloride, CI 4
Carbonate, CO3 <1
Bicarbonate HCO3 56
Total Alkalinity CaCO3 46
Total Phosphorus,P 0.10
total Iron, Fe <0.01
"<"- Not Detected/Below Detection Limit


I have been trying to work through the spreadsheets but as I said, this is a huge learning curve for me. Does the above water profile ring any bells on anything I should be adding to my water in the way of additives?

Thanks !


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Old 07-31-2013, 06:42 PM   #2
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You should get some calcium cholride and/or some gypsum. Calcium helps with protein coagulation and feeds yeast and mash enzymes.


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Old 07-31-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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Ok thanks. I was reading somewhere that 50 to 100 ppm was desirable so it seemed a little low. I also read that Chloride should be 10 to 100 ppm. I am assuming that calcium chloride would raise both?
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:03 PM   #4
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Try to adjust the water for the style you are trying to brew. Simply adding this or that because your water is deficient in something is a waste of time. You want the ratio of your chloride and sulfate to be tweaked according to the profile of your beer. Chloride rounds out malty beers and sulfate improve hops. Get a good program to work with this--something like Bru'n Water.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:19 PM   #5
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Great advice. Is there a reference that I can use to find an ideal profile for beer I wish to make? I have seen them by location but would be better to have per style.
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:30 PM   #6
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Trying to hit a particular water ion 'profile' for a particular beer is often a waste of effort. It is usually only necessary to re-create the broad characteristics of the beers you are trying to brew. An Export is known for its highly mineralized water and Bohemian Pils for its very low water ion content. British ales are often brewed with high sulfate water. Munich beers with low.

The Primer in the Stickies should be enough to get you started. From there you must experiment until you achieve the result you want.

Beyond there Bru'n Water has carefully researched 'profiles' for various beer styles.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marvso View Post
Ok thanks. I was reading somewhere that 50 to 100 ppm was desirable so it seemed a little low. I also read that Chloride should be 10 to 100 ppm. I am assuming that calcium chloride would raise both?
yeah, this page has a neat chart that suggests that 1 gram raises calcium 72ppm and chloride 127ppm per gallon.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-4.html
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:57 AM   #8
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The book Brewing Better Beer has excellent information on water.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:06 PM   #9
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getting the hang of EZ WATER CALCULATOR. Pretty slick! Do you think one still needs to invest in a PH meter or are these calculations accurate enough?
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marvso View Post
getting the hang of EZ WATER CALCULATOR. Pretty slick! Do you think one still needs to invest in a PH meter or are these calculations accurate enough?
I've seen the term "water calculator" used more frequently lately and thought it was worth clarifying.

These spreadsheets and online "calculators" are all models, not calculators. There are mathematical calculations involved in the process, but are very much not calculators.

Calculator implies that if you put in the right inputs, you get out the "correct" output. The problem is there are thousands of input variables which you just can't completely know.

A model attempts to use a few known variables to get a decent representation of the system without knowing every last detail.

The authors of the various models have all used their own inputs and methodology to try and get as close to the "actual" pH across as many scenarios as possible.

So it's probably no surprise that these models all give different "answer" to the problem. This is because they are all using a small subset of the inputs in different ways. Ever looks at those hurricane forecast models with different lines for each model?

I guess I could have said "yes, you need a pH meter", but hopefully you have a better idea why.


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