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Water Analysis Results - San Marcos, Texas

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dipdop

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I finally got my water analyzed thinking about it for ten years. I have been reasonably happy with my beer (accepting off flavors as largely a result of mistakes I've made) but I wanted to start making kegged mineral water and so I got curious about the specific contents. Our water in theory comes partially from the Edwards Aquifer but because the levels have to be maintained it is supplemented in large part with water from Canyon Lake.

If anyone has any suggestions to help my beer making based on these results, please share. I'll be plugging it into Beersmith for my next batch but haven't really explored what all the numbers mean.

Anyway, just hoping to help anyone else out, this is water from the municipal water supply (Hopkins Historical District):

pH
8​
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm
355​
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm
0.59​
Cations / Anions, me/L6.2 / 6.5
ppm
Sodium, Na
15​
Potassium, K
2​
Calcium, Ca
79​
Magnesium, Mg
18​
Total Hardness, CaCO3
273​
Nitrate, NO3-N1.2 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S
11​
Chloride, Cl
24​
Carbonate, CO3< 1.0
Bicarbonate, HCO3
311​
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3
257​
Total Phosphorus, P
0.03​
Total Iron, Fe< 0.01
 

day_trippr

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Woof. That's some high RA water right there - but I have no idea if that's good or bad wrt "mineral water" :)

fwiw, my well runs only slightly lower in both TDS and RA, and I went all-in on a Reverse Osmosis system, which makes brewing water simple.
You might consider giving HBT member Russ at @Buckeye_Hydro a PM, he can set you up with a system that will meet your needs.

Russ helped me put my 100gpd system together in an effective and efficient manner and I really do believe it improved my brews - certainly the lighter color ones that dominate my pipeline...

Cheers!
 

Silver_Is_Money

Larry Sayre, Developer of 'Mash Made Easy'
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Add 80 mL of 10% Phosphoric Acid to every 5 gallons and it will be very nice brewing water with a pH of ~5.45 and an Alkalinity of ~26 mg/L (ppm). If you have access to food grade 85% Phosphoric Acid the addition of 5.9 mL per 5 gallons will accomplish the same.

You likely know this already, but because of the way Ward Labs reports Sulfate your SO4-- ion is actually at a concentration of 33 mg/L (ppm).
 

Silver_Is_Money

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I just noticed that your water is dual sourced due to supplementation. That could make for problematic analytical consistency.
 
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If nothing else, and unrelated to brewing, we'd talk with you about getting a whole house water softener. My goodness your water is hard. If you don't already have a softener, expect troubles with your water heater, dishwasher, and washing machine, as well as deposits on all your plumbing fixtures.

Russ
 

Silver_Is_Money

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The logic behind adding 80 mL of 10% Phosphoric Acid is as follows:

Given = 257 mg/L Alkalinity (as CaCO3)
Molecular Weight of CaCO3 = MW = 100.0869
Valence of Ca++ = 2
Equivalent Weight of CaCO3 = MW/Valence = 100.0869/2 = 50.04345 mEq/L

Removal of Alkalinity to hit pH 4.3 requires 100% Alkalinity removal
Removal of Alkalinity to hit pH ~5.4 requires ~90% Alkalinity removal (not exact, but ballpark close for typical fresh water pH's)

257 x ~90% = ~231.3 mg/L of Alkalinity to be removed whereby to hit pH ~5.4

231.3 mg/L / 50.04345 mEq/L = 4.622 mEq/L to be removed

5 gallons x 3.7854 Liters/Gallon = 18.927 L

4.622 mEq/L x 18.927 L = 87.48 mEq of Alkalinity to be removed

The 'acid strength' of 10% Phosphoric Acid at specifically a pH of 5.40 = 1.09032 mEq/mL

87.48 mEq / 1.09032 mEq/mL = 80.23 mL of 10% Phosphoric Acid to be added to hit a pH of ~5.40

257 - 231.3 = 25.7 mg/L (ppm) of remaining Alkalinity at pH 5.40

I rounded 80.23 mL to 80 mL so we will not quite hit pH 5.40 pH and also not quite remove 231.3 mg/L of Alkalinity

I therefore called it 26 mg/L (ppm) of remaining Alkalinity at ~ pH 5.45

Addendum:
The 'acid strength' of 10% Phosphoric Acid at specifically a pH of 5.45 = 1.09235 mEq/mL
 
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cire

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Excellent water for brewing, very similar to my own for my most recent 45 years of brewing. My water is treated with a range of acids available specifically for brewing in UK.

For pale beers, alkalinity should be reduced to 20 ppm as CaCO3 using acid. For darker beers up to 50 ppm of alkalinity will be required to keep pH within the acceptable range and for stouts and porters 70 ppm alkalinity as CaCO3 or higher may be required depending upon the grains.

Your water has sufficient magnesium for yeast health, so calcium sulphate and/or calcium chloride will probably be the only necessary additional salts.

Softening your water will replace the calcium and magnesium with sodium. All others will remain unchanged, including alkalinity, which is greater than advisable for producing beers of all types.
 
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dipdop

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Wow I really appreciate all of your suggestions. I will be getting some phosphoric acid.
I have looked into the water source and it sounds like it doesn't change much from year to year, I will probably do this again in a few years to see if it changes.

Water softeners are popular in this area, one day we might budget for one but our house is old and needs a lot of other work first. I have already experienced the need to descale and replace things because of the water, fortunately nothing major yet but our kettle looks like it is made of limestone inside.

What got me moving on this was the mineral water calculator at Khymos – – dedicated to chemical curiosities in the kitchen
 

mabrungard

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That can be good brewing water. The chloride and sulfate are reasonably low along with other flavor ions. The real kicker is the high alkalinity. Pre-boiling that water would be an effective pretreatment, but that’s kind of a pain.

I’m assuming that you have plenty of hardness deposits in your plumbing, but it’s still fine to drink.
 

cire

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I have already experienced the need to descale and replace things because of the water, fortunately nothing major yet but our kettle looks like it is made of limestone inside.
Buy some citric acid to clean your kettle when it will be as good as new. Then brew some beer to celebrate.
 
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Water softeners are popular in this area, one day we might budget for one but our house is old and needs a lot of other work first. I have already experienced the need to descale and replace things because of the water, fortunately nothing major yet
Think about the inside of every pipe in your house.
 

KennyCason

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I’m just down the road in San Antonio, moved here from Seattle. The difference in water was immediately obvious, very hard and tasted oily. A water softener fixed that but they are not cheap. Even so, I still get my RO brewing water from H-E-B and add salts to match the style I am brewing, plus some acidúlated malt to bring the pH down a bit.
 
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