Quantcast

Want to start BIAB and curious about my water

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

camonick

Mediocre brewer... Expert drinker
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 25, 2018
Messages
2,398
Reaction score
9,953
Location
Northeast CO
Hello all,
I’ve been brewing extract kits for many years now and I have decided to advance to all grain via the BIAB method. I also have a few partial mash stout batches under my belt. Chemistry wasn’t a good subject for me and I’m not understanding all the nuances to water profiles. I’ve always followed the rule “if you can drink it, you can brew with it.” I live in the country in very rural Colorado and my drinking water is untreated well water. I do just live a mile away and upstream in the same aquifer from our nearest town of 200 people. I can get a copy of their water profile but wouldn’t have the slightest clue how to decipher it. My long winded question is— do I just BIAB with what I’ve got or enroll in a remedial chemistry class? I read the “sticky” article at the top of this forum and like the simple idea of the no sparge method described and will follow that technique to begin with.
Thanks for any help you can offer.
 

deadwolfbones

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,285
Reaction score
1,116
Location
Bend
My recommendation is to use RO/distilled water (I get water from the machine at the grocery store; the Walmart in Sterling probably has one) and buy a bag of gypsum, a bag of calcium chloride, and a bottle of 88% lactic acid. Those three will cover you for most needs.

I use this calculator for water volumes: http://pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc/#Advanced

And this one for water treatment: https://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-chemistry-and-brewing-water-calculator/

Google "_______ water profile" for whatever style you're trying to brew, look for some sort of consensus or authoritative opinion (Tonsmeire aka @Oldsock is usually dead on), and go from there when figuring out salt levels. Aim for 5.2-5.4 mash pH.
 
Last edited:

4of7

60sqftbrewhouse
Joined
Apr 16, 2017
Messages
549
Reaction score
110
I also have well water to the house.. My water is treated by 3 filters for drinking...Is my water that bad no,i am just that way.can i drink it unfiltered yup ..The question is what does your water taste smell feel like?if you are good with what you got ,brew to that type of water profile..Just for haha can you light it up with fire?
 
OP
camonick

camonick

Mediocre brewer... Expert drinker
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 25, 2018
Messages
2,398
Reaction score
9,953
Location
Northeast CO
Our water is clean and clear and tastes great. Out of town guests comment on how good it tastes... probably because it isn’t chlorinated. I do know it is fairly hard. And it’s not flammable.
 

mongoose33

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
8,017
Reaction score
7,575
Location
Platteville, WI
Water matters. When people say it doesn't, it's almost always because they got lucky with what they're brewing.

EZ Water and Brun'Water are two spreadsheets that take the pain out of trying to figure out the chemistry. You put in information about the water (that water report would be important for this), then the grains you're using, and it allows you to adjust the outputs in terms of various elements in the water.

I use calcium chloride, epsom salts, gypsum, 88% lactic acid for the most part. If you need a water profile for stouts or porters, then having some pickling lime might help with that.

Here's a leg up for understanding this. Dark grains (like chocolate malt) are more acidic than light grains like 2-row or pilsen. Since during the mash you want your pH of the mash to fall between about 5.2 to 5.6, you need to compensate at times for the kind of grains you're using. That's where the spreadsheets are a godsend.
 
Last edited:

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,460
Reaction score
5,182
Location
Solway
Start with a small batch with the water from your well. If you like how the beer turns out you can upsize the next batches. If you don't like it, then is the time to start learning basic water chemistry. It will have cost you a small amount of money for the grains plus the time it takes to brew, bottle, and let it carbonate.
 

jschein

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
1,270
Reaction score
486
Location
Long Neck LSD
Start with a small batch with the water from your well. If you like how the beer turns out you can upsize the next batches. If you don't like it, then is the time to start learning basic water chemistry. It will have cost you a small amount of money for the grains plus the time it takes to brew, bottle, and let it carbonate.
Great advice
 

mongoose33

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
8,017
Reaction score
7,575
Location
Platteville, WI
If it were me--and it has been me--I'd learn a little about water first. Since you apparently can get a water report, flying blind isn't going to teach you a thing.

Further, and more important, is this: different styles and recipes require different water. Are you going to do mini fermentations for every different style, waiting the weeks of time to figure out what you need?

And further and even more important yet: what if the mini-fermentation doesn't produce acceptable beer for you? What will you change? Yeah....

Better to learn about it. It may appear daunting but if you have a water report then it's far easier than the trial-and-error method.
 

4of7

60sqftbrewhouse
Joined
Apr 16, 2017
Messages
549
Reaction score
110
Our water is clean and clear and tastes great. Out of town guests comment on how good it tastes... probably because it isn’t chlorinated. I do know it is fairly hard. And it’s not flammable.
Yes that is great to read.I have homebrewers come over for water to use..Others have said water reports will be good..data from them will help with adjustments..one more question from the Beer Troll..How many beers have you brewed from the water location ? Have you dumped any bad ones? Just brew
 

BrewnWKopperKat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
2,122
Reaction score
1,213
do I just BIAB with what I’ve got or enroll in a remedial chemistry class?
Brew a batch with your current water (like @RM-MN suggested).

If you like the results, you can skip the water analysis, spreadsheets, brewing salts, and remedialchemistry.

If you don't like the results, there are simple approaches to basic water treatment that don't require that remedial chemistry class. For example:
* https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/a-brewing-water-chemistry-primer.198460/
* Zymurgy, Nov 2015: "Water Chemistry: Simple Adjustments"
* http://beerandwinejournal.com/easy-aqua/
* http://www.bertusbrewery.com/2012/02/water-chemistry-how-to-build-your-water.html
* https://accidentalis.com/brewing-water-series-introduction/
 
OP
camonick

camonick

Mediocre brewer... Expert drinker
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 25, 2018
Messages
2,398
Reaction score
9,953
Location
Northeast CO
Thanks for all the input. I’ll get the report from the town clerk tomorrow and might need everyone’s help with the results. I understand that every style has optimal water requirements and I’ll have to make a decision how involved I want to get. My brother, who just lives 2 1/2 miles from me, does all grain brewing on a 3V setup and says he’s never experienced any problems doing any style he’s tried and I enjoy drinking his beer.
This will be a new adventure for me for sure.
Nick
 
OP
camonick

camonick

Mediocre brewer... Expert drinker
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 25, 2018
Messages
2,398
Reaction score
9,953
Location
Northeast CO
Back to square one... the water report the town clerk gave me doesn’t contain the information needed for brewing calculators. It is a “Drinking water quality report” that only lists health violations pertaining to lead, copper, inorganic contaminants, etc. I’ll just brew as usual since my brother isn’t having any issues and consider an analysis when I can afford one.
 
Top