Brewing with hard water...

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The Pol

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SO, what do I do? I moved into a new house, we have semi hard water... my last home had very soft water. What should I add to my water to brew with it? OR, should I spring for bottled water from the store (the bulk one gallon jugs). Money is not really an issue here, but I dont want to get a water softener JUST to brew LOL
 

Lil' Sparky

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Do you have a water report? You can be very precise with what you add if you know what your water makeup is. If not, you can just use some 5.2 pH buffer and RDWHAHB. :mug:
 

TexLaw

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A water softener really isn't an answer. Unless you are talking about actual RO (and I doubt you are), the softener will replace the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium or potassium ions. You're just trading one problem for another.


TL
 

david_42

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Definitely get a water report. My water is almost mineral-free, so I frequently have to add salts in addition to using 5.2.
 

Lil' Sparky

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Hey TexLaw, I know you're in Houston and have the same ultra-alkaline water that I do. What do you do for your water? I've been using 50% RO and adding the 5.2 buffer just to make sure.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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I will have to get a report, in the meantime I am going to talk to my LHBS and get some 5.2 as well. THX
 

Lil' Sparky

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TexLaw said:
I get the RO water out of those kiosk things that are at the grocery store and in parking lots. I add minerals and 5.2 buffer to that.


TL
Yeah, that's not bad for $0.03/gal. Do you mind explaining your mineral additions?
 

Kaiser

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The Pol said:
Money is not really an issue here
Get an R/O water filter system with a 7 gal storage tank. That's what I did when I moved into a new house and had to deal with hard water and arsenic.

I can give you some R/O+salt water recipes that worked very well for me so far, but I have to check my notes

Kai
 

2pugbrews

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Kaiser said:
Get an R/O water filter system with a 7 gal storage tank. That's what I did when I moved into a new house and had to deal with hard water and arsenic.

I can give you some R/O+salt water recipes that worked very well for me so far, but I have to check my notes

Kai
I have a R/O system like yours and have been doing extract brewing with that exclusively. I've been adding gypsum when the recipe calls with the assumption that mineral balance is ok because of the extract but don't when it doesn't.
I am in the process of putting together my equipment for AG so I expect the same assumption wouldn't hold.

Therefore I'd be very interested in your R/O+salt water recipe.
 

TexLaw

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Lil' Sparky said:
Yeah, that's not bad for $0.03/gal. Do you mind explaining your mineral additions?
It's more like $0.30/gal, but it's a low enough cost, nonetheless. For mineral additions, I keep gypsum, Burton salts, chalk, epsom salts and (of course) table salt on hand to treat my water as I need it. I don't have any recipes or formulas at my fingertips, but I try to get my water as close as I can to the typical brewing water for whatever style I'm brewing (e.g., Dublin for a dry stout, Munich for a dunkel). I rarely can get it just right, but I can get it close. Usually, though, I have to make some choices about which ion is more important to be right on.


TL
 

scottthorn

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Kaiser said:
Get an R/O water filter system with a 7 gal storage tank.
We run an R/O filter and store water in 30gallon Rubbermaid trash cans. We keep a lot of H2O on hand in case of power failure (no electricity means no well pump), or salt water fish tank disaster.

I usually grab 4-5 gallons of R/O for a 5 gallon AG batch and use well water for the rest.

Did I mention that our well water is hard? It's F*-ing crunchy!
 

Lil' Sparky

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TexLaw said:
It's more like $0.30/gal
Yeah, that's what I meant. Just fat-fingered.

TexLaw said:
For mineral additions, I keep gypsum, Burton salts, chalk, epsom salts and (of course) table salt on hand to treat my water as I need it. I don't have any recipes or formulas at my fingertips, but I try to get my water as close as I can to the typical brewing water for whatever style I'm brewing (e.g., Dublin for a dry stout, Munich for a dunkel). I rarely can get it just right, but I can get it close. Usually, though, I have to make some choices about which ion is more important to be right on.
This is the part I'm really interested in. Where are you drawing your information from to determine what to add?
 

Jo3sh

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I've brewed with water as hard as 600+ppm of total hardness, and it works fine (depending of course on your actual profile). In my case, it made lovely Burton-style ales, but I used RO water for everything but that. I want to say I used to pay 18 cents a gallon, but it's been a few years.

Where I live now, the water is nice - about 120 ppm total hardness and good flavor, so I just brew with it. 5.2 is cheap insurance against worry.
 

TexLaw

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Lil' Sparky said:
And now I also see that this is built into Brewsmith - duh!
I was going to point you towards a couple references, but if you're working with Brewsmith, you're set. I use ProMash for the same thing, although I used to just use a table.


TL
 

Brew-boy

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I buy RO water as well and use minerals. I have seen Promash-Beersmith and Beertools water builder sections and it stinks. Google brewater 3.0 by Ken Swartz it has a wizard in there that automatically tells you how much salts to add for a given style, it is a great program plus it's Free.
 
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