Brewing Water Questions

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by rjfvt, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. rjfvt

    rjfvt New Member

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    I’m just starting with all grain and have done my best to try and adjust my water to get a good water profile for my beer. At first I thought it would be best to add the salts to my 15gal drum and then re-test to make sure it’s correct but my results didn’t come out like the calculators said it would. Also the chalk basically sat at the bottom and didn’t dissolve. So I then used EZ-water calculator and added it to the mash and sparge water. I don’t know how the best way to prepare my water, if I treat the mash and sparge, you have no way to insure the correct amount of salt was added. If you mix the salt to the water before brewing some will not dissolve.

    Also I wanted to use a blend of my straight up well water mixed with my RO water but the Sodium Na level are so high.

    Can anyone help me with my water questions, Thanks!

    This is my well water run through a up flow neutralizer. (I by-passed my water softener.)
    Ca – 24
    Mg – 18
    Cl – 110
    So4 – 0
    Na – 72
    Total Hardness CaCo3 – 100
    Total Alkalinity HCO3 – 144
    Residual Alkalinity – 18

    This is my well water run through a up flow neutralizer and a RO system. (I by-passed my water softener.)
    Ca – 0
    Mg – 0
    Cl – 20
    So4 – 0
    Na – 22
    Total Hardness CaCo3 – 0
    Total Alkalinity HCO3 – 24
    Residual Alkalinity – 0
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You already have a good water profile for malty amber ales. Since you indicated you're just starting, why not pick some recipe, say an Amber Ale, and work with that until you have your all-grain process down, then start working other styles requiring manipulation of your water? I ask for two reasons: First, if you're new to all-grain brewing, you're just getting used to mashing your own grain and all the variables that entails and second, pardon me, you likely lack the knowledge to know what water manipulation does to the mash. Knowing what I know now, in your situation I'd add a teaspoon of gypsum - calcium sulfate - to my brewing liquor to bring the calcium up to a minimum of 50 ppm, brew an amber ale until you have a repeatable process and get a copy of the Brewing Elements book on water to try and decide where to go from there.

    Water manipulation is complex chemistry. There are many ways to accomplish a goal so it's better to know what you're trying to do with your water and then design an approach. By the way, chalk - calcium carbonate, is essentially insoluble in neutral or alkaline water and unless you're doing a very dark beer, I can't see you needing to add alkalinity to your water, which is what calcium carbonate does.
     
  3. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    It's not a foregone conclusion that you have to do anything to your water. I just started all grain brewing a year and a half ago after extract brewing on and off for a couple decades. Since I started all grain brewing, I have not done anything to my water. I haven't even tested it. My brewing pleases my #1 customer, and many of his colleagues.

    I am not saying no one should analyze his water or make appropriate adjustments. I am simply saying I don't, and it works for me.
     
  4. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Further to nosys point, you wouldn't really know what went right or wrong with a brew with that many variables going on.
    Idk if I could have started immediately with all grain either, extract helped me to understand the basics. Walk before you run and all that.
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    To Jeffpn's point, if it works for you, it works. It's your homebrew. There are some absolutes, though, to keep the yeast healthy and the beer drinkable. 50 ppm Calcium is one. Very little chlorine, whether as chlorine (not chloride, the two act differently) or chloramine is another but since you're using well water, that should not be a problem. I'd go with KISS for now, add some calcium chloride (will balance your beers toward malty but it's very soluble) and brew ambers until you're confident with your process.
     

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