Got my water report...how bad is it?

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Wables

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I'm new to this water chemistry stuff. It looks like my hardness and alkalinity are rather high. Any other thoughts? What is the best way to address my water? Thanks!


pH 7.6

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 329

Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.55

Cations / Anions, me/L 6.0 / 5.7

ppm

Sodium, Na 8

Potassium, K 1

Calcium, Ca 62.6

Magnesium, Mg 30

Total Hardness, CaCO3 283

Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.1 (SAFE)

Sulfate, SO4-S 8

Chloride, Cl 36

Carbonate, CO3 < 1.0

Bicarbonate, HCO3 257

Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 211

Total Phosphorus, P < 0.01

Total Iron, Fe 0.01
 

Golddiggie

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Adding calcium chloride can help bring down the levels to give you a more malt friendly (or character in the beer) water.

Easiest way to figure out how to get what you want is to enter the water information into some brewing software and then start playing with additions. The PH of your water is a good deal higher than what my latest came back with (mine came back with a PH of 6.6). If you're going to add acid to reduce your mash PH, you'll be using more than I do (per gallon of mash). It's all part of the game IMO.

You might want to invest in a filtration setup for your brewing water. Even a simple single 10" carbon filter will help. I have one mounted on my brew stand to make it easier to use (I send it directly into the MT and HLT from there).
 

day_trippr

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Water pH really doesn't matter. What matters is alkalinity, and that water's pretty high, as is the magnesium level.
A brewing water calculator should definitely be used...

Cheers!
 

Golddiggie

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Water pH really doesn't matter. What matters is alkalinity, and that water's pretty high, as is the magnesium level.
A brewing water calculator should definitely be used...

Cheers!
Just looked at my latest Ward Labs report. My total Alkalinity was 20. Magnesium was 6.

IMO, OP should seriously look at filtering that water for brewing. Probably need more than the single carbon filter (10" tall) I'm using. ;)
 

day_trippr

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Not sure "filtering" per se would change much of anything.
And while it would be easy to just say "Get an RO system!" I don't think it's necessary in this case.

The excess alkalinity can be countered with the appropriate use of phosphoric acid (or sauermalz for the "religious" ;)).
The magnesium should be respected - by not adding any more!
Finally, the sulfate, chloride and sodium levels are low enough to be manageable.
But again I strongly recommend using one of the "brewing water" calculators for that water...

Cheers!
 

Golddiggie

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A single carbon filter reduced a LOT of values in my water report (over a spun filter that just takes out sediment).
Sodium went from 51 to 11. Total hardness went from 163 to 85. Sulfate went from 66 to 9. Magnesium went from 15 to 6. Samples were taken the same day, at roughly the same time. Where I don't think a single filter element will get Wables water to where he wants, it can make a large impact (as I found). Instead of dumping chemicals into the water to try and balance things out. IMO, it would be worth spending a few dollars (I've seen the housings for about $35 and filters for about $10 each) to see how it can get his water closer to a better starting point.

I plugged the water report results into BeerSmith and only plan to add minerals/salts when I want to increase the malt character of the beer being brewed. I'm happy with the malt level in my pale ales as the water sits (only reducing PH for the mash).
 
OP
W

Wables

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I’ll definitely get a spreadsheet. Brew’n water? I also have BeerSmith. I’m in the process of moving from the garage to the basement and I have a blank slate to work with if I need to install a filter.
 

TheMadKing

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OP That level of alkalinity makes the water very difficult to brew pale beers well. I used to have brewing water with ~300ppm bicarbonate and it was a big problem for me for years. The amount of acid you'd need to add would be above the flavor threshold (at least for lactic anyway)

My recommendation is to buy 5 gallons of RO water, like a single culligan jug, for each batch and dilute your water to get the total alkalinity down.

On the plus side you can make stouts and porters all day long without fussing much!

As stated above you could look into installing an RO water system too, that may be more cost effective in the long run but definitely more expensive up front.
 

TheMadKing

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Instead of dumping chemicals into the water
You mean like malt, hops, calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, carbon dioxide, and ethanol?

Sorry using the word "chemicals" with a negative connotation is a pet peeve of mine lol. Literally all matter is made of chemicals including you and me.
 

Golddiggie

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You mean like malt, hops, calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, carbon dioxide, and ethanol?
I like to add the minimum of additional chemicals into my beer when brewing. So far I'm only adding acid to reduce the PH to try and get better mash efficiency. I really don't need to do anything else to the water. I just went through the recipes on deck and removed the additions except where it relates to the mash PH.

I'm really about minimally processing what I brew. At least as far as possible. Using CO2 to carbonate is not adding additional chemicals.

With the water the OP posted (I didn't add it to BeerSmith here to see what it would do to my recipes or how to offset it's effect) at least filtering the base water would be a good idear. If he wants to get a full on RO system to handle it, more power to him. Where I'm currently living, I'm not going to install one. I'm renting currently and hope to be moving next year into a house of my own. The carbon filter I DO have mounted to my brew stand gives me great water for my recipes. Implying that even a single carbon filter won't be worth doing, that you have to go with an RO system, or buy water, is crazy. I know, first hand, how running the water through a single 10" carbon filter can make a significant impact on the water profile (for the better).
 

TheMadKing

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I like to add the minimum of additional chemicals into my beer when brewing. So far I'm only adding acid to reduce the PH to try and get better mash efficiency. I really don't need to do anything else to the water. I just went through the recipes on deck and removed the additions except where it relates to the mash PH.

I'm really about minimally processing what I brew. At least as far as possible. Using CO2 to carbonate is not adding additional chemicals.

With the water the OP posted (I didn't add it to BeerSmith here to see what it would do to my recipes or how to offset it's effect) at least filtering the base water would be a good idear. If he wants to get a full on RO system to handle it, more power to him. Where I'm currently living, I'm not going to install one. I'm renting currently and hope to be moving next year into a house of my own. The carbon filter I DO have mounted to my brew stand gives me great water for my recipes. Implying that even a single carbon filter won't be worth doing, that you have to go with an RO system, or buy water, is crazy. I know, first hand, how running the water through a single 10" carbon filter can make a significant impact on the water profile (for the better).
You failed to mention how much your carbon filter reduced the total alkalinity of your water. Do you have that info? I'd be honestly curious to know. Also what model of filter do you have and what flow rate do you run it at? How new was it when you tested the water? At what rate does the effectiveness of the filter decrease? Those things will have a large impact on the overall effectiveness of the filter and ensuring consistent results.

The total alkalinity is really the only issue OP needs to focus on since that will be pulling his mash pH toward basic. The other minerals are not harmful to his beer whatsoever
 

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Total Alk for my water only dropped one point (from 51 to 50). I'm on well water (in NH) which is actually really good for drinking and such (one you get past the granite flakes that come up sometimes). I'm using the carbon filter that MoreBeer sells. I got it new earlier this year and it's not had a ton run through it. I plan to order a few more to have in reserve for when I need to change it.

I'm sure there are water system pro's out there that could give more help to the OP around filtering options. I've not bought bottled water in over a decade. Always using under sink filter setups that turned even city water into something I could drink (I cannot tolerate chlorine in my water, if it's there in anything more than a miniscule amount, I smell it).

Just looked at the filter description.. "Good for 750 gallons" I might be 1/3 of the way into that amount (probably closer to 1/4). I do have a ball valve at the filter housing inlet so that I can control the flow rate through it. I allow some (several gallons) run through it before letting it flow into the MT and HLT. Then it gets turned off, the water disconnected, drained and the filter removed to allow to dry out.
 

TheMadKing

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I’ll definitely get a spreadsheet. Brew’n water? I also have BeerSmith. I’m in the process of moving from the garage to the basement and I have a blank slate to work with if I need to install a filter.

Bru'n water and mash Made easy are both good options. I don't find BeerSmiths water features to be comprehensive enough for my liking.
 

VikeMan

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A single carbon filter reduced a LOT of values in my water report (over a spun filter that just takes out sediment).
Sodium went from 51 to 11. Total hardness went from 163 to 85. Sulfate went from 66 to 9. Magnesium went from 15 to 6. Samples were taken the same day, at roughly the same time.
There are literally thousands of references out there (many of them scholarly) that say carbon filters do not remove significant amounts of hardness (calcium/magnesium), or sodium, or sulfates. Here are a few of them.


If I got test results like yours, I would repeat them.
 

hout17

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Bru'n water and mash Made easy are both good options. I don't find BeerSmiths water features to be comprehensive enough for my liking.
I double check my results in Beersmith with Brewin water. Ever since they came out with the BW model the acid additions have been very close to brewin water and I find brewing salt additions to be a synch in Beersmith as well making it super easy to adjust my water profile. Much easier and just as accurate as brewin water (I love brewin water) in my experience.

I can see why some would consider it not up to their standards though.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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To drop your 211 ppm Alkalinity water to ballpark 20 ppm, and also to ballpark 5.4 pH, for every 5 gallons of your water add one of the following:

6.3 mL's of 88% Lactic Acid
7.1 mL's of 80% Lactic Acid
19.8 mL's of AMS (CRS)
66.6 mL's of 10% Phosphoric Acid
19.8 mL's of 30% Phosphoric Acid
5.9 mL's of 75% Phosphoric Acid
4.9 mL's of 85% Phosphoric Acid
5.75 grams of Anhydrous Citric Acid crystals
 

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You failed to mention how much your carbon filter reduced the total alkalinity of your water. Do you have that info? I'd be honestly curious to know. Also what model of filter do you have and what flow rate do you run it at? How new was it when you tested the water?
Just for fun as a reference point, I have a Mavea C50 running at 40%. I pull about 10 gallons a month. When it was pretty new I did back to back Wards tests, and another one recently as well (about 2 years later). Minneapolis, MN area of the country. I don't think the water source has changed but can't verify. Not huge differences, maybe even counter-intuitive, maybe just normal measurement variation. Won't try to claim effectiveness just sharing data for those interested (as am I).

Tap (2 years ago)
pH 8.8
Na 28
Ca 30
Mg 2
Tot Hard CaCO3 83
Sulfate SO4-S 5
Cl 50
Tot Alk CaCO3 58

Filtered at 40%, new (2 years ago)
pH 7.8
Na 32
Ca 25
Mg 2
Tot Hard CaCO3 71
Sulfate SO4-S 6
Cl 54
Tot Alk CaCO3 45

Filtered at 40%, recently
pH 7.2
Na 24
Ca 24
Mg 4
Tot Hard CaCO3 77
Sulfate SO4-S 9
Cl 41
Tot Alk CaCO3 37
 

Silver_Is_Money

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To drop your 211 ppm Alkalinity water to ballpark 20 ppm, and also to ballpark 5.4 pH, for every 5 gallons of your water add one of the following:

6.3 mL's of 88% Lactic Acid
7.1 mL's of 80% Lactic Acid
19.8 mL's of AMS (CRS)
66.6 mL's of 10% Phosphoric Acid
19.8 mL's of 30% Phosphoric Acid
5.9 mL's of 75% Phosphoric Acid
4.9 mL's of 85% Phosphoric Acid
5.75 grams of Anhydrous Citric Acid crystals
Since Citric Acid is the most likely of these acid choices to add an undesirable taste at this level, I'd say it is definitely out.

Lactic Acid is beginning to be suspect of the same negative flavor potential at these levels, so it 'may' be out as well.

Phosphoric Acid is not likely to be tasted, but it is highly likely that at this level of Alkalinity it will precipitate out some of your precious calcium. This is to me a big negative.

Since your Sulfate and Chloride levels are rather low, the very best of these acids is clearly the retail product AMS (also known at the commercial level as CRS). It's two acids (Sulfuric and Hydrochloric) are not going to interfere with the beers flavor, and it will not precipitate out any of your Calcium ions. Plus at the quantity I recommended above it will raise your levels of Sulfate and Chloride ions by 33.5 ppm and 24.3 ppm respectively. The highly unfortunate problem is that AMS/CRS is only available in the UK.

PS: Your waters sulfate ion ppm is actually 24 ppm, and not the reported 8 ppm. This is due to the way Ward Labs reports only the 'S' ion contribution within what is actually an 'SO4' ion. Their shorthand way of informing you of this is to inform you that they are reporting SO4-S (and not SO4).
 

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PS: Your waters sulfate ion ppm is actually 24 ppm, and not the reported 8 ppm. This is due to the way Ward Labs reports only the 'S' ion contribution within what is actually an 'SO4' ion. Their shorthand way of informing you of this is to inform you that they are reporting SO4-S (and not SO4).
Yep, I x3 when I use the calculators. But thanks for mentioning it, I may not have known. Others may not either.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Citric Acid 'may' not be a bad thing if your intent is to brew a citrusy IPA.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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You may be OK with Phosphoric Acid. For water with 200 mg/L (ppm) initial Alkalinity, Calcium Apatite precipitates out at and above ~78 mg/L, leaving ~78 mg/L as the upper limit for Ca++ to remain in solution.

At your 211 mg/L Alkalinity level you should be able to retain about 75 mg/L of Calcium ions in solution when using Phosphoric Acid to reduce your Alkalinity to ~ 20 mg/L and bring your water to ~5.4 pH.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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The higher the initial Alkalinity, the less Calcium you can retain when using Phosphoric Acid.

Example for targeting 5.5 pH with Phosphoric Acid:
1) For water with 50 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Calcium Apatite precipitates out at and above ~420 mg/L, leaving 420 mg/L as the upper limit for Ca++ in solution.
2) For water with 100 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Calcium Apatite precipitates out at and above ~180 mg/L, leaving 180 mg/L as the upper limit for Ca++ in solution.
3) For water with 150 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Calcium Apatite precipitates out at and above ~110 mg/L, leaving 110 mg/L as the upper limit for Ca++ in solution.
4) For water with 200 mg/L initial Alkalinity, Calcium Apatite precipitates out at and above ~78 mg/L, leaving 78 mg/L as the upper limit for Ca++ in solution.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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My source for the above is from interpreting the charts toward the end of the book titled 'Water', by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski. I believe they sourced the charts from AJ deLange. The above however presumes that my interpretation of the charts is valid. YMMV, so trust but verify.
 

bwible

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To drop your 211 ppm Alkalinity water to ballpark 20 ppm, and also to ballpark 5.4 pH, for every 5 gallons of your water add one of the following:

6.3 mL's of 88% Lactic Acid
7.1 mL's of 80% Lactic Acid
19.8 mL's of AMS (CRS)
66.6 mL's of 10% Phosphoric Acid
19.8 mL's of 30% Phosphoric Acid
5.9 mL's of 75% Phosphoric Acid
4.9 mL's of 85% Phosphoric Acid
5.75 grams of Anhydrous Citric Acid crystals
How about acid malt?
 

bwible

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People talk about chloride to sulfate ratio. My chloride is 84 and my sulfate is 5. The calculators and John Palmer will tell you high chloride favors malty beers, very low sulfate will affect your perception of hoppy beers. They need to be balanced. A 16 to 1 ratio in my case is way out. I’ve been adding gypsum to my water to bring up sulfates.
 

mabrungard

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A single carbon filter reduced a LOT of values in my water report (over a spun filter that just takes out sediment).
A regular carbon filter won’t remove any significant ionic content. The only thing I can surmise from your results is that the filter unit includes cationic and anionic ion exchange resins that accomplished the ion removal. I think some filters like the Brita type include those resins.

The OPs water isn’t terrible, but it could be problematic. As mentioned above, the magnesium level is getting on up there and you probably wouldn’t want any more in typical brews. The alkalinity is also high and that could create problems in acidifying with some acids. Larry did a good job of illustrating options for acidification.
 

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Acid malt is just another way of adding lactic acid.

These figures are the only ones you need to worry about.

Sodium, Na 8

Calcium, Ca 62.6

Magnesium, Mg 30

Total Hardness, CaCO3 283

Sulfate, SO4-S 8 (since this is SO4 as Sulfur, your actual Sulfate is 24).

Chloride, Cl 36

That water is great for brewing Russian Imperial Stout or similar.

If you like brewing pale beers, I would recommend buying a few cases of distilled water to dilute your water by about 40% so you can back off on the acid requirement or just get an RO filter. The latter is $100 and will make you about 5000 gallons of brewing water.

Don't succumb to the idea that adding back in the same ions that are already in water is in any way a bad thing.
 

Dgallo

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If you like to brew dark beers your water would be decent. For pale beers you will want to dilute your tap to about 50% with RO or Distilled water. My tap has pretty high bicarbonate/alkalinity but you still have me by about 90 ppm
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Per Ward Labs, my well water stands at 377 ppm Alkalinity. It also has 165.7 ppm Ca++ and 55 ppm Mg++. And it's pH is 7.7. I've been thinking of adding Phosphoric Acid to pH 5.5, letting the white precipitate settle out, decanting, and then filtering it to assure the removal of any remaining Calcium Apatite precipitate, and sending it off to Ward Labs to see how much Ca++ and Mg++ remain. The main thing stopping me is that I'm retired and living on a fixed income.
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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As to my 377 ppm Alkalinity well water, I've only used it once to make beer, wherein I added 2 parts RO to one part well water, and then acidified the blended water to ~pH 5.4 with 88% Lactic Acid. The ~15 SRM color scale Lager I made from this water blend was mainstream decent by my standards as to mouthfeel and flavor. But it was more effort than just using mineralized RO water.

From the perspective of accurately sampling (or using) our well water I have the distinct advantage of having a hand pump in my ~ 140 Ft. deep well in addition to the homes electric well pump. With the hand pump I can get water from my well that has no possibility of having picked up any level of "back contamination" from our homes softener system.
 
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KBW PilotHouse

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Great info here; thanks all. General consensus is using RO system and adjusting. I agree if you have space for it. So opinions will very greatly but what’s a good system (brand & model) for less than $200? Bobby M. mentioned one(s) for around $100. I’ve seen some in that range at the big box stores, but I’d think quality for brewing varies between them.

Suggestions/recommendations?

Cheers🍻
 

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Great info here; thanks all. General consensus is using RO system and adjusting. I agree if you have space for it. So opinions will very greatly but what’s a good system (brand & model) for less than $200? Bobby M. mentioned one(s) for around $100. I’ve seen some in that range at the big box stores, but I’d think quality for brewing varies between them.

Suggestions/recommendations?

Cheers🍻

It's 98 bucks with free shipping. There may be very small quality variations between this system and systems in the 200-300 range but honestly I don't know how that would be measured. I have a slight variation of this system from the same vendor and my well water goes into it at 400ppm of total dissolved solids and the RO comes out of it at 8pmm TDS. That means it's working very well, removing 98% of the "stuff" in the water.

The only other gear you may want to get is a 1/4" push fit tee, a couple of inline shutoff valves (also 1/4" push fit) and a float valve for collecting brewing water in larger bucket or in your brewing kettle.



1634393127716.png
 

KBW PilotHouse

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It's 98 bucks with free shipping. There may be very small quality variations between this system and systems in the 200-300 range but honestly I don't know how that would be measured. I have a slight variation of this system from the same vendor and my well water goes into it at 400ppm of total dissolved solids and the RO comes out of it at 8pmm TDS. That means it's working very well, removing 98% of the "stuff" in the water.

The only other gear you may want to get is a 1/4" push fit tee, a couple of inline shutoff valves (also 1/4" push fit) and a float valve for collecting brewing water in larger bucket or in your brewing kettle.



View attachment 745827
Thanks Bobby, much appreciated. Will order one today and try it out.

Cheers 🍻
 

mabrungard

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Thanks Bobby, much appreciated. Will order one today and try it out.
Oh boy, please set that system up somewhere where it won't be a disaster when something leaks. Good equipment and filters cost money and that system with all the extras and that questionable storage tank, worry me.

Buy once, cry once, is a good rule of thumb when buying verifiable, quality equipment that probably costs more than a cheap system. When you buy trash, its probably buy twice and cry (or curse) many times.
 

KBW PilotHouse

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Oh boy, please set that system up somewhere where it won't be a disaster when something leaks. Good equipment and filters cost money and that system with all the extras and that questionable storage tank, worry me.

Buy once, cry once, is a good rule of thumb when buying verifiable, quality equipment that probably costs more than a cheap system. When you buy trash, its probably buy twice and cry (or curse) many times.
Thanks for the response; I agree and was thinking of canceling order. Recommendations for $200?

Cheers 🍻
 

KBW PilotHouse

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It's 98 bucks with free shipping. There may be very small quality variations between this system and systems in the 200-300 range but honestly I don't know how that would be measured. I have a slight variation of this system from the same vendor and my well water goes into it at 400ppm of total dissolved solids and the RO comes out of it at 8pmm TDS. That means it's working very well, removing 98% of the "stuff" in the water.

The only other gear you may want to get is a 1/4" push fit tee, a couple of inline shutoff valves (also 1/4" push fit) and a float valve for collecting brewing water in larger bucket or in your brewing kettle.



View attachment 745827
I checked the web link above last night. It just smacks of suspicion.

First: it’s an unsecured site, even if you go to purchase.

Second: I generated an account to test the site. Account created, made small purchase through PayPal. As of this AM I’ve yet to receive an e-mail confirmation for purchase; PayPal had sent receipt within seconds.

Third: Waited a few hours and tried to log into account. Every attempt was greeted with account access failure notice.

Forth: tried the “forgot my password “ (which I didn’t - use a PW manager). Entered account e-mail address, which wasn’t confirmed but said “..if this is valid account e-mail…reset instructions will be sent to address..”. As of now, no e-mail from them.

Fifth: URL is PureWaterClub.com but it bills to Cutie Pet Inc. Their contact e-mail is to a gmail address.

SUMMARY: I’m not saying they’re not legit (a small business start-up faces countless challenges at times); I have no proof. But IMHO it’s mighty suspicious, so be forewarned.
 
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KBW PilotHouse

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Oh boy, please set that system up somewhere where it won't be a disaster when something leaks. Good equipment and filters cost money and that system with all the extras and that questionable storage tank, worry me.

Buy once, cry once, is a good rule of thumb when buying verifiable, quality equipment that probably costs more than a cheap system. When you buy trash, its probably buy twice and cry (or curse) many times.
Just checked your Brunwater.com website. Yet another example why this forum is such an excellent resource. We have some industry experts who offer insight and advice. Thank you!

Cheers 🍻
 
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