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Old 12-04-2008, 10:03 PM   #1
Dec 2007
Merritt Island, Florida
Posts: 888
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My goal is to brew a great IPA. Until now they have been far from great and I think it's because I have been using softened water. I did make one really good IPA but I used extract for that one. All of the others have been all grain and they have no hop flavor at all. I have read everything I could find about water and I'm still confused about it.

The water I have been using is from a well, it goes thru a plastic bead type water softener and then a white filter and then a carbon filter. I have a valve that is straight well water before it goes thru anything and it's hard water, maybe very hard water. I am thinking that I should hook up my RV hose to the valve and use an RV filter that goes on the hose and try that water for an IPA.

Should this work and/or should I be using that 5.2 buffer stuff??

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Old 12-04-2008, 10:43 PM   #2
hopsalot's Avatar
Sep 2007
Corpus, Texas
Posts: 1,553
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get a ph sample, try the water from your water hose, or maybe its not the water...
In Illa Brettanomyces Nos Fides

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Old 12-04-2008, 11:53 PM   #3
Dec 2007
Merritt Island, Florida
Posts: 888
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I checked the ph using the tester for my pool, hopefully thats ok. Anyway I got 7.2 - 7.5 out of the regular faucet and out of the "hard" water faucet.

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Old 12-05-2008, 05:06 AM   #4
Jul 2007
Posts: 385
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I use well water for brewing. I had the water analyzed at Ward Labs to learn the mineral content. I recommend you have the unsoftened water tested and then proceed from there.

Ward Laboratories, Agricultural Testing, Consulting, Kearney, Nebraska

Test W-5 or W-6.

The water pH is only part of the puzzle. The mash pH is more important - and that is determined by the calcium, magnesium and carbonate in the water and the acidity of the grain.

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Understanding the Mash pH
"You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning."

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Dry peppering - Jalapeno Wheat
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:30 PM   #5
Grinder12000's Avatar
Jul 2008
Columbus WI
Posts: 2,995
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Water PH will tell you nothing - you need the PH from the mash.

+1 on Palmer. Plus - when you REALLY get into "water" it's not even the PH you are worried about. PH is the result, you want fix how you GET that PH.

you COULD us Buffer 5.2 but that fixes the symptom and no the problem. Still - 5.2 is the easy fix.
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:42 PM   #6
Brutus Brewer
Jul 2006
Upper Sandusky, OH
Posts: 459
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The supply store I use, Grape and Granary sells a package of water emulation salts to mimic certain water types from famous brewing areas of the world. They are cheap and you add them to distilled water. This is what I do.

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Old 12-05-2008, 01:01 PM   #7
Apr 2008
Madison, WI
Posts: 980
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Getting your pH (mash) in line is #1.

Then when you're going to match water profiles or shoot for targets, and IPA should be higher (than middle-of-the-road, relatively) in carbonates and sulfates. You'll have to start with an analysis of you water first to determine your starting point. Like grinder said, if you get your water profile in line, your pH should fall into place.
~~ Malted barley wants to become beer. ~~

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Old 12-10-2008, 11:46 PM   #8
Dec 2008
Sunnyvale, CA
Posts: 279
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I just responded to a similar post with a more elaborate answer, so I will make this one quick.

There are three common water parameters: pH, alkalinity, hardness. They are all totally different and separate things. pH is a measure of free hydrogen concentration. Alkalinity (or carbonates) is a measure of the ability of the water to resist a drop in pH. Hardness is a measure of dissolved mineral ion concentration. Changing one will not affect the others (unless you are using something that changes all of them).

Measuring pH will tell you nothing about hardness or alkalinity(carbonates) and vice-versa. There are three separate tests that must be done to give you a measure of each parameter.

It might seem like just a technicality, but I like technicalities.

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