Water profile is it good?

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Mark3885

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I just received my water report from Ward labs and would like you opinions on whether it would be good for an Amber ale. Feel free to suggest any additions that I would need.
l need to learn about water makeup and ph , any suggested reading that would help me to understand what is good and bad for brewing water. Also a simple water calculator that I can input my numbers. Thanks Mark
0CADA12D-8B7E-4ED9-BF2B-EC181155D6F0.png
 

BeerAndTele

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I'm no expert, but this is some seriously hard water. Your TDS value is high, your total hardness is high, and your alkalinity is high. So your first and biggest issue will be getting your pH down into a favorable range for mashing ... will require a lot of acidification. I personally would either start with distilled or RO water, or at the very least dilute your water with distilled to get it down to a more manageable starting point.
 

day_trippr

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On the up side there's plenty of magnesium for the yeast :)

I agree on the hardness issue, the RA and Bicarbonate numbers are quite similar to my well's numbers. While that water might be suitable for an imperial stout, it needs help for most other styles. I chose long ago to put a dedicated 100 gpd RO system in the brewery and never looked back. I recommend having a "chat" with HBT member Russ at @Buckeye_Hydro as he has been a big help to numerous folks here in spec'ing RO systems and even selling some :)

Cheers!
 

hottpeper13

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That is a perfect profile for an RIS or Baltic Porter, all others should be RO with added salts. Water is a deep subject and in the Water book there is a page that gives ppm's for all the stuff that maters. Also a page I use, is the salts broken down to ppm's /gram, so this is my calculator. The instructors in the classes I took stressed that a minimum of 50 ppm's of calcium is needed for mash and yeast,but the ones i make with 100-150 ppm's are crisper and crystal clear.
 

CascadesBrewer

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It is an odd water profile. It is technically quite soft (based on the levels of Calcium and Magnesium). [Edit: the water is hard.] Though usually Calcium levels are much higher than Magnesium (say 5x, where yours is 2x). The Sulfate, Chloride and Sodium levels are close to RO water levels. But then that Bicarbonate level is quite high.

What is your water source? Municipal tap water or a well? I have to assume this is from a ground water source with a large amount of limestone in the area?

If you don't get the info you want hear, there are a few people knowledgeable about water that hand out in the Brew Science forum.
 
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Bobby_M

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The primary correction for this water is going to Lactic or Phosphoric acid in your mash (strike water). That would be true for even dark brown beers like Porters and Stouts except for maybe motor oil black versions.

The rub is that for beers in the extra pale to golden color range, the amount of acid required is going to be close to a flavor threshold so it would be best to dilute with up to 50% RO or Distilled water.
 
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"It is technically quite soft (based on the levels of Calcium and Magnesium)."
A note re some different takes you'll hear re hardness levels.
Calcium and magnesium make up nearly all of the Total Hardness @ 223 ppm, or 13 grains per gallon. This puts the water into the "hardest" of the categories (for potable water). Use these categories if you're concerned about the hardness coming out of solution and forming scale on your plumbing fixtures and brewing equipment:
hardness categories.png

For brewing water however, the acceptable range of hardness is much harder - typically something like 9 to 29 grains per gallon.

Russ
 
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Mark3885

Mark3885

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I’m guessing the safest route to go is to dilute 50/50 with distilled water. With that in mind , I’m assuming that the values would be cut in half . Correct? If so , then is the water useable? Then if anything, what should be added ? I’m trying to brew a beer from the house well water from my brother in laws ranch in West Texas . 450’ limestone well . They love my beers , so I want to brew an Amber for them if it’s possible. Thanks Mark
 

hottpeper13

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Table 17 has the salt concentrations and is on page 152- 159. The pages after explain the how to.
My well has 400 ppm alkalinity and I use 1/2 Well and RO for my dark beers and still only get to 5.4-5.5 pH. I like my ambers in the 5.3-5.4 pH range.
 

CascadesBrewer

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"It is technically quite soft (based on the levels of Calcium and Magnesium)."
A note re some different takes you'll hear re hardness levels.
Calcium and magnesium make up nearly all of the Total Hardness @ 223 ppm, or 13 grains per gallon. This puts the water into the "hardest" of the categories (for potable water). Use these categories if you're concerned about the hardness coming out of solution and forming scale on your plumbing fixtures and brewing equipment:
My bad. Thanks for the correction.

Though I am a bit confused. I thought a Calcium level of around 50 is generally "low" and brewers typically want 50 to 100. The 21 Magnesium seems higher than I normally see though.

Based on my knowledge, the Calcium level of this water is not a big issue. The Magnesium level might be. But the Bicarbonate level is the biggest issue. Correct? I brew with tap water that has a Bicarbonate: 77, Total Alkalinity: 63. I still feel like I often need a decent amount of acid to bring my pH into range for light colored beers.
 

Mac MacFarlane

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The primary correction for this water is going to Lactic or Phosphoric acid in your mash (strike water). That would be true for even dark brown beers like Porters and Stouts except for maybe motor oil black versions.

The rub is that for beers in the extra pale to golden color range, the amount of acid required is going to be close to a flavor threshold so it would be best to dilute with up to 50% RO or Distilled water.
How much lactic acid could you add before tasting?
 

mabrungard

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Very hard??? I don’t think it’s that bad. An ale should probably always be brewed with water that hard. The only thing that concerns me with that water is the magnesium level. It’s fine, but I’d be cautious about adding more.

That’s a good brewing water.
 

day_trippr

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Umm...my world just got shook :oops:

Please define "Good" in your world.

I call my similar (save for that high-ish magnesium that I don't have) "Acceptable because I can fix it with acid 'n' stuff".
I would not call it "good"...

Cheers! ;)
 

Cayuga-Brewer

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Just received my Ward Labs water report this morning. I brew exclusively with this water and so far the only adjustments I have been making are to adjust the pH to 5.4 using lactic acid. I adjust both strike and sparge water. I'm not really sure how to interpret the results and would appreciate any advice.
Ward lab report.jpg
 

CascadesBrewer

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Just received my Ward Labs water report this morning. I brew exclusively with this water and so far the only adjustments I have been making are to adjust the pH to 5.4 using lactic acid. I adjust both strike and sparge water. I'm not really sure how to interpret the results and would appreciate any advice.
My input is that it looks like pretty decent brewing water. It is not too far off from my water (which is mostly surface water from the Potomac River). Your Sodium is a bit higher than mine, but it could just be a seasonal high.

I generally try to add enough Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum) or Calcium Chloride to get my Calcium into the 50 to 100 range (mostly because resources like to say that is a good target range) and pick which salt to add based on what I might want for Sulfate and Chloride levels.

I find the discussion on different minerals/ions in the Water chapter in the 4th Edition of "How to Brew" is pretty solid. The Water Knowledge at the Bru'n Water site is also a good free resource. It get pretty deep, but you can just skip to the "2.5.2 Major Ions in brewing" section and compare that with your water report. General 5 | Bru'n Water
 

day_trippr

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Don't forget to multiply that "Sulfate as SO4-S" by 3 to get a true sulfate ion concentration in ppm, in this case 45 ppm.
I'd say that's pretty decent water. The sodium value is near the top of the recommended range for most styles but should be fine...

Cheers!
 
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