About to send a sample to Ward labs

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Homer

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I apologize if my questions were already stated somewhere here, but I just want to make sure.

First of all, which test is best for me, I live in Chicago and I plan on running the sample through my carbon filters that I use when brewing and into one of those small flask shaped vodka bottles so it fits in a small flat rate box. I'm thinking the brewers test (W-5A) for $27.25, but I keep seeing people say that test W-6 is good enough for some people and would only cost $21. I also have seen people to want the W-5 test because it tests the fluoride instead of the phosphorus. What do you think?

Thanks
 
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think fluoride or phos have any effect on brewing water, other than taste if they are super off the charts high (which city water isn't). I would get the cheapest test that gives you Ca, Mg, Na, SO4, Cl, Bicarb and alkalinity. I got the Brewer's test last summer, and it had everything I needed to see.
 
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I just looked over at the Ward Labs site. I got the W-6 last summer. Looks like the only differnce between W5/W5A and W6 is that W6 doesn't give you Iron, Fluoride or Phos. Fluoride and Phos, to me, are not important. Iron could be if there is a lot of it. Do you get rust stains around faucets and drains in your house?

Never mind, if you're charcoal filtering you're going to get rid of any Iron in the water. I would go with the W-6 and spend the $6.25 on beer!
 

ajdelange

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If you have clearwater iron (Fe(II)) it will sail right through a carbon filter. If you have Fe(III) it will form a hydroxide gel which will plug up the pores in your carbon filter unless you have a pre-filter to catch it first. It would be good to know, for these reasons, and because it can negatively effect the quality of your beer if above 0.1 mg/L, if you have iron. The phosphate isn't so important. I only use phosphate data if doing a very precise analysis usually for academic rather than practical purposes. Same for fluoride.
 
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If you have clearwater iron (Fe(II)) it will sail right through a carbon filter. If you have Fe(III) it will form a hydroxide gel which will plug up the pores in your carbon filter unless you have a pre-filter to catch it first. It would be good to know, for these reasons, and because it can negatively effect the quality of your beer if above 0.1 mg/L, if you have iron. The phosphate isn't so important. I only use phosphate data if doing a very precise analysis usually for academic rather than practical purposes. Same for fluoride.
Thanks for the info AJ. Would you recommend sending a sample straight from the tap?
 
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Homer

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I brew in the garage of an old apartment building so, I run some RV hose from the spout on the building into the garage and through my filters, which is a sediment filter then charcoal filter. I was planning on taking the sample after the filters so I know what my numbers are going into the HLT. Is this not a good idea?
 

ajdelange

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It really doesn't matter that much as filters don't change the ion content of the water and it is ion content you are concerned with. The possible exception is iron. If your water is cloudy or gray or yellowish it may contain Fe(III) some of which will deposit on a wound or charcoal (or any other type) of filter. The total iron reading from a test will then not be reflective of the source. But you may not care about that.
 
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