# Water Analysis

### Help Support Homebrew Talk:

#### Amff

##### Well-Known Member
My next batch will be my first AG batch and I was looking to save a little cash by using my tap water. Unfortunately, I have hard water. I'll be brewing an IPA so should I try and treat this water or just buy some water in the 5 gallon jugs? If I buy the bottled water would I need to mess with the PH?

#### 300RUM

##### Well-Known Member
I just fooled around with Kaisers spreadsheet and I would say brew it. The only concern I would have would be how do you plan to sparge, because you could get a PH above 6 but you could also acidify your sparge water.

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#### Amff

##### Well-Known Member
I'm going to batch sparge.

#### 300RUM

##### Well-Known Member
I would try to play with the calculators and maybe add some lactic acid (about 2-3 ml tops) to the sparge water. It's also going to depend on you water volumes of strike and sparge.

Let's say you want 7g preboil volume and have about a 12.5lb grain bill (estimated of coarse)
Water use
total water 9 gal
Strike water 5.5 gal
Sparge water 3.5 gal
That would give you a mash ph of 5.6 and you would need 2.3ml of lactic acid in sparge water

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#### Amff

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks for the calculator tip. I was messing around with it. I still have a lot to learn about the science behind brew water

My grain bill will be 13.5

BeerSmith is calling for 8.81 gallons of water
Strike water of 5.52 and Sparge water of 4.34

I'll look into the acid additional. I appreciate the insight.

#### bobbrews

##### Well-Known Member
For IPAs,

High Alkalinity = Bad ------- High Hardness = Good

Calcium & Sulfate could be boosted a bit via Gypsum.

Bicarbonate is quite high.

Sodium is a little high, but not ridiculous.

Take a look at http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15.html - pH of the water isn't really a big deal. It's the pH of the mash that matters.

#### tagz

##### Well-Known Member
Don't forget to deal with the chlorine if there is any.

#### 300RUM

##### Well-Known Member
Don't forget to deal with the chlorine if there is any.
Good point.

bobbrews said:
Calcium & Sulfate could be boosted a bit via Gypsum.
I don't think I would make any additions until after I brewed it and evaluated it. jmo

##### Member
I use my tap water (hard water) and both of the AG brews I've done have been great.

Would it be OMFG amazing if I used soft water?

#### bobbrews

##### Well-Known Member
I don't think I would make any additions until after I brewed it and evaluated it. jmo
Gypsum alone would not hurt an AIPA with this water profile. It would however make it better.

93 Cal is moderate and 117 Sul is certainly at the low end of the range for this style.

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#### Amff

##### Well-Known Member
I got 5.2 ph balancer from morebeer and campden tablets. In addition to chlorine my water has chloramine. I learned the hard way with an extract batch I had to dump.

Since this is my first AG batch I did have one other question. Do most people stir the mash to avoid hot or cold spots?

#### Grippe

##### Well-Known Member
Since this is my first AG batch I did have one other question. Do most people stir the mash to avoid hot or cold spots?
During mash in absolutely yes. Afterwords, once you hit your target temp, close your tun and leave the enzymes alone.

#### redman67

##### Well-Known Member
I swear by bru'n water
you punch in your #s and you can see the effects of any change u make

#### mabrungard

##### Well-Known Member
That water should work for an IPA, but the alkalinity is likely too high to allow the mash pH to settle into a desirable range. Acidification of the mash water is probably needed and acidification of the sparging water is imperative.

You should visit the Water Knowledge page of the Bru'n Water website to learn more about why you need to treat your water and what you should be doing with it.

PS: Bobbrews recommendation for more gypsum is a good idea for an IPA. 117 ppm sulfate is a little low for the typical hoppy ale. But you might like it that way.

#### old_tx_kbb

##### Well-Known Member
With your high alkalinity and high bicarbonate I would suggest diluting your both your mash water and your sparge water by 50% with RO or distilled water. I use EZ water, Bru N Water and Palmer's.

Throw away the 5.2 PH balancer....it's a waste of money. There are very reasonably priced Ph meters online for about \$40. Mash Ph is important....I also adjust my sparge water.

For this batch you're about to do...if you don't have a meter...with your water the way it is, at the minimum with any IPA's, Ambers, or Pale Ales dilute your mash water and spare water 50/50 with RO or distilled water. Go with it the way it is for stouts and other dark ales. With Pilsners, I'd suggest 100 % RO and then check with EZ water or what other additions to add

#### novahokie09

##### Well-Known Member
Sulfate:Chloride ratio, rather than actual amount, are most important when determining if the hop/malt profiles dominate. You want a higher sulfate:chloride ratio to accentuate the hop profiles whereas you want a higher chloride:sulfate ratio to emphasize maltiness. From your report, it appears that you have at least 2:1 sulfate:chloride, so your water should be fine for brewing IPA's. Also, the calcium levels are high too, which will help the yeast flocculate properly.

Since it's your first batch, I recommend preheating your mash tun to eliminate excessive temperature drop from the strike water to the cooler/tun. Also, I would add your strike water first before adding grain, and then gently add grain in and stir until well mixed. Then set it and forget it for an hour to 90 minutes.

Good luck sir.

#### mabrungard

##### Well-Known Member
Sulfate:Chloride ratio, rather than actual amount, are most important when determining if the hop/malt profiles dominate. You want a higher sulfate:chloride ratio to accentuate the hop profiles whereas you want a higher chloride:sulfate ratio to emphasize maltiness. From your report, it appears that you have at least 2:1 sulfate:chloride, so your water should be fine for brewing IPA's. Also, the calcium levels are high too, which will help the yeast flocculate properly.

Since it's your first batch, I recommend preheating your mash tun to eliminate excessive temperature drop from the strike water to the cooler/tun. Also, I would add your strike water first before adding grain, and then gently add grain in and stir until well mixed. Then set it and forget it for an hour to 90 minutes.

Good luck sir.
Unfortunately, the sulfate/chloride ratio can be quite misleading and false. It is the actual amounts of those ions that are of greater than the ratio. Nova needs to revisit that advice.

I recommend several caveats when dealing with the sulfate/chloride ratio. The first is that the ratio is most applicable when the chloride concentration is between about 25 and 100 ppm. Beyond those limits, the ratio becomes less meaningful. At the low end, the concentrations of either ion are too low to really be noticed and at the upper end, the antagonistic flavor effects of high chloride and sulfate overwhelm the beneficial effects of the ratio.

#### novahokie09

##### Well-Known Member
I'm familiar with Dr. Bamford raising question to the ratio as well, but I've never heard of a lower bound on the ratio. Nor have I seen data to support his claim that the ratio is incorrect at higher concentrations too.

Based on your claim, you don't dismiss that the ratio are still relevant. Rather you suggest that low and high concentrations either don't emphasize or dominate the beneficial effect of the ratio.

After reflecting on your comment from a solubility standpoint, I can see a limit where ion concentrations will reach a saturation point and start to precipitate out of solution. I would presume that near the saturation point, harsh tastes would be present, but the precise limits will be dependent on specific thermodynamic properties, namely temperature and pressure of solution as well as wort gravity. Therefore, I'm interested in how you arrived at these seemingly arbitrary limits of 25 - 100 ppm and preferably an explanation to why the limits exist. I'm curious to see if I'm on the correct track.

#### mabrungard

##### Well-Known Member
No, at that upper limit, we are no where near the solubility limit. Its more an issue with the antagonistic flavor effects when both chloride and sulfate are high.

A review of the water quality from a large segment of historic brewing cities shows that there are NO instances where chloride is in excess of 150 ppm (from Bru'n Water Water Profiles). Dortmund (130ppm) and West Flanders (139ppm) have the highest chloride levels. In the case of Dortmund, its noted for its minerally taste in beers. So, it is wise for brewers to heed that limit for decent tasting beer. The 250 ppm limit for chloride in drinking water that is published by US EPA and the World Health Organization are health-based and not taste-based. There are web and print sources that say you can brew with chloride levels that high and I say that is not the recipe for good beer. 150 ppm is the upper limit if you want minerally flavor in your beers. 100 ppm is a good working chloride limit for brewing water when no minerally flavor is desirable.

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#### Amff

##### Well-Known Member
I really appreciate all the feedback. I've decide to try and use my tap water with some campden tablets. I want to add 2 grams of gypsum 2 grams of calcium chloride and finally 3 ml of Lactic acid. Does this seem reasonable? I was going to treat the whole 9 gallons at once with these addition then split it into the mash and sparge water. Should I go about this in a different way?