Help with my water report (how to hit desired profile)

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zman_

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Hey guys, it is yet another thread asking for some assistance with my water report. I recently got my town's water department to conduct a new "secondary contaminant" report and give me the results. I have done my best to summarize them below and have also attached the full report.

  • Iron: ND
  • Manganese 0.0023ppm
  • Alkalinity (as CaCO3): 34ppm
  • Calcium: 30ppm
  • Magnesium: 5.6ppm
  • Hardness (as CaCO3): 97ppm
  • Potassium: 16ppm
  • Turbidity: ND
  • Aluminum: ND
  • Chloride: 240ppm
  • Color: 0.0 C.U.
  • Copper: 0.070ppm
  • Odor: 2
  • pH: 7.6
  • Silver: ND
  • Sulfate: 12ppm
  • TDS: 500ppm
  • Zinc: ND

From this I calculated the following values:
  • Bicarbonate: 41.3ppm
  • Carbonate: 0.3ppm
  • Sodium: ~112ppm

I run this water through a 10" carbon block filter, but it is my understanding that should not affect the above concentrations. To my inexperienced eye these results don't look great (High chloride, high sodium). I mainly brew NE-styled hoppy beers and am looking to have fairly high chloride/sulfate in a 1:1 ratio at around 150-250ppm (going to experiment with this). I am not sure if I should care about hitting other target ion concentrations (Mg, Ca, etc) or just focus on the chloride and sulfate.

I was hoping that you guys could check this report and my calculated values to make sure that I am in the right neighborhood and provide any advice about if I should try to work with this profile or focus on diluting or building off RO or DI. I have access to deionized water from my work, however I have to haul whatever I want a fair distance so I would like to minimize any need for DI water.

At least initially it looks to me like I should dilute with ~3-5 gallons of DI water (going to use an empty 1/6bbl keg for transport) and then use CaCl2 and CaSO4 with minimal MgSO4 to hit my target concentrations.

As always, any advice is greatly appreciated!

View attachment Grafton Water Report.pdf
 

stickyfinger

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Hey guys, it is yet another thread asking for some assistance with my water report. I recently got my town's water department to conduct a new "secondary contaminant" report and give me the results. I have done my best to summarize them below and have also attached the full report.

  • Iron: ND
  • Manganese 0.0023ppm
  • Alkalinity (as CaCO3): 34ppm
  • Calcium: 30ppm
  • Magnesium: 5.6ppm
  • Hardness (as CaCO3): 97ppm
  • Potassium: 16ppm
  • Turbidity: ND
  • Aluminum: ND
  • Chloride: 240ppm
  • Color: 0.0 C.U.
  • Copper: 0.070ppm
  • Odor: 2
  • pH: 7.6
  • Silver: ND
  • Sulfate: 12ppm
  • TDS: 500ppm
  • Zinc: ND

From this I calculated the following values:
  • Bicarbonate: 41.3ppm
  • Carbonate: 0.3ppm
  • Sodium: ~112ppm

I run this water through a 10" carbon block filter, but it is my understanding that should not affect the above concentrations. To my inexperienced eye these results don't look great (High chloride, high sodium). I mainly brew NE-styled hoppy beers and am looking to have fairly high chloride/sulfate in a 1:1 ratio at around 150-250ppm (going to experiment with this). I am not sure if I should care about hitting other target ion concentrations (Mg, Ca, etc) or just focus on the chloride and sulfate.

I was hoping that you guys could check this report and my calculated values to make sure that I am in the right neighborhood and provide any advice about if I should try to work with this profile or focus on diluting or building off RO or DI. I have access to deionized water from my work, however I have to haul whatever I want a fair distance so I would like to minimize any need for DI water.

At least initially it looks to me like I should dilute with ~3-5 gallons of DI water (going to use an empty 1/6bbl keg for transport) and then use CaCl2 and CaSO4 with minimal MgSO4 to hit my target concentrations.

As always, any advice is greatly appreciated!
Holy chloride! I'd dilute it down, as you say, or get an RO setup. You could *try* brewing with added gypsum to see if it counters the chloride roundness. It might just taste too minerally, or it might be ok. I've never used chloride that high before. Maybe others have. The carbon block will remove chlorine/chloramine, some organics and it will drop the pH some.
 
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zman_

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If it was 240ppm final chloride concentration I wouldn't be too concerned since I've seen lots of people using 200-250ppm sulfate & chloride in a 1:1 ratio but as a starting concentration it would end up really high in the final product. I can taste the chloride roundness pretty much everytime that I drink the water. I think my best option will be to use a high % of DI water and then build back up from there.
 
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zman_

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So, I have comitted to getting ~5 gallons of DI water and using municipal water for the remaining ~2.5 gallons. Do you guys exclusively use gypsum/calcium chloride for hitting your values? Is there any consideration for raising calcium too high (or is high calcium a desired thing)? Beersmith is estimating ~10g gypsum and ~8g calcium chloride to hit ~200ppm of each (1:1 ratio). Will also raise calcium to 168.8.

Just want to check that I am on the right track. Should I have any consideration for Mg/Na/HCO3 levels? Dilution dropped them to 1.9ppm/37.3ppm/13.8ppm respectively
 

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So, I have comitted to getting ~5 gallons of DI water and using municipal water for the remaining ~2.5 gallons. Do you guys exclusively use gypsum/calcium chloride for hitting your values? Is there any consideration for raising calcium too high (or is high calcium a desired thing)? Beersmith is estimating ~10g gypsum and ~8g calcium chloride to hit ~200ppm of each (1:1 ratio). Will also raise calcium to 168.8.

Just want to check that I am on the right track. Should I have any consideration for Mg/Na/HCO3 levels? Dilution dropped them to 1.9ppm/37.3ppm/13.8ppm respectively
I wouldn't plan on hitting 200 ppm of both chloride and sulfate- that would be a pretty minerally beer to me.

I'd go with less than 100 ppm of chloride in all but a rare case, and in the cases of chloride over about 80 ppm, I'd keep the sulfate low.

The ratio doesn't matter a bit. Think of it this way- 2 ppm of chloride and 1 ppm of sultate is 2:1, but so low as to be negligible. 400 ppm to 200 ppm is also 2:1, but would be hard for most people to choke down.

You want to look at amounts, NOT the 'ratio'.

A calcium at 50 ppm or more, but under 100 ppm is good for reducing things like beerstone in the kettle and really helps with yeast flocculation. Otherwise, "less is more" applies for me. Think of these brewing salts as seasonings for food- you might enhance a dish with a little salt or seasoning, but too much is far worse than a little too little.

The main thing to consider is hitting a proper mash pH, generally 5.3-5.5 or so. The flavor ions are the "seasoning" and can be used in modest amounts until you know you love more chloride or more sulfate in some recipes.
 
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zman_

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I wouldn't plan on hitting 200 ppm of both chloride and sulfate- that would be a pretty minerally beer to me.

I'd go with less than 100 ppm of chloride in all but a rare case, and in the cases of chloride over about 80 ppm, I'd keep the sulfate low.

The ratio doesn't matter a bit. Think of it this way- 2 ppm of chloride and 1 ppm of sultate is 2:1, but so low as to be negligible. 400 ppm to 200 ppm is also 2:1, but would be hard for most people to choke down.

You want to look at amounts, NOT the 'ratio'.

A calcium at 50 ppm or more, but under 100 ppm is good for reducing things like beerstone in the kettle and really helps with yeast flocculation. Otherwise, "less is more" applies for me. Think of these brewing salts as seasonings for food- you might enhance a dish with a little salt or seasoning, but too much is far worse than a little too little.

The main thing to consider is hitting a proper mash pH, generally 5.3-5.5 or so. The flavor ions are the "seasoning" and can be used in modest amounts until you know you love more chloride or more sulfate in some recipes.
It is my understanding that pushing the levels up chloride and sulfate pretty high (and keeping them in an even ratio) is part of the "New England IPA" style. I have talked to people that routinely go for ~300ppm to enhance the perceived softness and hop profile. I appreciate that traditionally people try to keep things more restrained, however the style that I am going for looks to push the sulfate/chloride levels. As this is a "kitchen sink" beer, throwing my remaining grain into a kettle and seeing what comes out, I think I will take a risk and try to hit ~200ppm sulfate/chloride and see how it turns out. If it is terribly minerally, no big deal.

On another note, someone analyzed Tree House Alter Ego and got a chloride level of 421 and a sulfate level of ~360...and I have never thought that beer was mineraly.
 

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remember, a lot of chloride and sulfate also comes from the malt
Correct.

When I do a NE IPA, I do up the chloride quite a bit but not the sulfate at the same time. It gives 'roundess' to that juicy flavor. It is a balancing act, but my feeling is "less is more". Adding less than you think you need is better than too much, as less might not be exactly right the first time, but if it's too much it renders the beer pretty much unpleasant and undrinkable.

I'd go with less at first. Add more to the glass and see where the sweet spot is. But that is just me, of course.
 
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zman_

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Thanks for the input. I think I'll be a bit more conservative with my targets, something around 100-150ppm each and see how it turns out. I might play around with it on a glass by glass basis, as mentioned above, to see how it influences the flavor/mouthfeel as research for future batches.
 

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remember, a lot of chloride and sulfate also comes from the malt
I don't think so. All the 'mineral' analyses I've seen list metals and phosphate but I've never seen sulfate or chloride. Yes, there's lots of sulfur in the form of sulfur containing amino acids but it takes the action of yeast to break it loose. Have you seen something in the literature suggesting that these ions are released from malt?
 

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I don't think so. All the 'mineral' analyses I've seen list metals and phosphate but I've never seen sulfate or chloride. Yes, there's lots of sulfur in the form of sulfur containing amino acids but it takes the action of yeast to break it loose. Have you seen something in the literature suggesting that these ions are released from malt?
My only source is one of the threads on this site that was discussing the mineral content of NE IPAs. I think it was maybe the huge Heady Topper clone thread? Someone said that the final amounts of sulfate and chloride is impacted by the malt as well as the initial brewing water. Here is an example of a post from that thread:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showpost.php?p=7352877&postcount=3627

There may be other posts talking about this, my memory is a little hazy now. I think the gist of it was that the analyzed beer has way more minerals than are accounted for by the brew water minerals, so they have to come from the malt. Someone may have posted a link about minerals coming from the malt somewhere as well. I don't have time to look right now.
 

ajdelange

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I think the gist of it was that the analyzed beer has way more minerals than are accounted for by the brew water minerals, so they have to come from the malt.
No question about this being true with the metals and no question about it being true with phosphate. As I said in the last post there is sulfur in some of the amino acids in barley protein and as anyone who has ever been near a lager fermentation knows the yeast can run it up and down the redox scale so I suppose it is possible that some of it winds up as sulfate. But chloride?
 

stickyfinger

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i really don't know. i'd have to research the literature. i don't remember what people said in that thread on the HT clone. i thought they said sulfate and chloride could come from malt.
 
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Just curious to see how your brew turned out? Mostly because I live in the same town and also have been trying to make juicy northeast ipas haha
 
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