Learning about water chemistry

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Hopfunk, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Hopfunk

    Hopfunk New Member

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    I am ready to start tweaking with water chemistry in my brewing. Just curious if there are any good podcasts/videos out on the web to help me learn? I have been using city water ran through a carbon filter. I figured if I don’t like using city water for my morning coffee, I shouldn’t use it for my beer.
     
  2. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Are you planning to use RO water and add salts from there?
     
  3. Hopfunk

    Hopfunk New Member

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    Yep!
     
  4. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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  5. Hopfunk

    Hopfunk New Member

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    Haha I have one too. Mostly filled with all the mistakes I’ve made so I don’t make them again and thank you for the link.
     
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  6. Meatwad

    Meatwad Member

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    Listen to any brewing podcast with Martin Brungard and any water-related podcast topic with John Palmer.

    Podcasts that I know have water chemistry episodes: Brew Strong, Brulosophy, Basic Brewing Radio.

    Using a carbon filter will still leave some minerals in your water so you can always back it up with a Wards Lab test to measure total salt content. The more you use the filter, the less effective it will become. Personally, I buy 5 gal of RO water for $1 to start with a nearly-blank slate and build my water profile from there.
     
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  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    It is a little intimidating at first, but at the end of the day you are just adding ingredients to your recipe. Like when you are cooking from a recipe, you taste the food and think, hmmm, too much salt, or not enough pepper. You adjust for next time.
    Here are a couple of my recipes which include my salt additions to get to desired profile. When you have your recipe in edit mode it updates the water profile as you adjust your salts.

    Light colored and Hoppy recipe
    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/715971/cragunitus-ipa

    Porter / Stout
    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/752261/bloody-finger-cranberry-chocolate-stout

    Note, where it says table salt, I use pickling salt, table salt is iodized, that is bad for beer.

    To lower pH you can use 88% lactic acid, some use phosphoric. I have been leaning towards using acidulated malt, mostly because I keep forgetting to add the acid.

    I use to check the pH of the mash, but it was always very close to what the calculator here predicted, so I just trust it now.

    Hope this helps
     
  8. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Don't be intimated by it, sometimes people make it seem way more complicated then it needs to be. Read from the link Megary and others have posted and take it from there.

    The more I brew, the less I worry about water modifications. I have a small number of water profiles, light styles, dark styles and hoppy styles and they are the 3 I use the most. A single water profile can cross over into different beer styles. I use mostly RO water like your going to do, but sometimes I do blend in a good quality hard water for darker beers to add hardness (it's not easy to add hardness to RO water with just water salts, sodium bicarbonate works fairly well, but it brings along sodium. Blending works best).

    Don't sweat it, overall it's not that hard.
     
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  9. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I read a brulosophy exbeeriment on a NEIPA where one batch was treated with the salts to get to the ideal NEIPA profile, and the other batch was made with straight RO water. While there was a difference, tasters in a blind triangle test could not consistently identify the unique sample.
     
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  10. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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  11. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes, a great water tutorial, it was a big help to me!
     
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  12. Meatwad

    Meatwad Member

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    For any bicarbonate additions, I'd recommend using pickling lime which only adds calcium. It dissolves quickly goes a long way.
     
  13. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, I have never used pickling lime
     
  14. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    #14 BOB357, Jan 13, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
    I'd read as much on the subject as possible from trusted resources and ignore personal opinions on the subject. Many home brewers practice methods and use ingredients that may work well for them, but may not be practical or beneficial to you.
     
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  15. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Works better than baking soda, until it absorbs the humidity and turns to chalk. So baking soda is more reliable, but as you implied it may add too much sodium to the beer and affect the taste.
     
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  16. beer1965

    beer1965 Active Member

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  17. 56 Firedome

    56 Firedome Active Member

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    So, I read your comment with interest. 5 Gal of RO water for $5? I use Distilled Water, 0 minerals, & add those needed to achieve the Profile. My question is where are you getting RO Water? I use Distilled water but I'm paying $1 per Gal @ the Grocery Store. I'm pushing 7 to 10 Gal per batch. I'm looking for a cheaper source. Suggestions?
     
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  18. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Here in the States, you can get RO water wherever you see those water machines. Glacier is one brand name I see in our local supermarkets. It won't be perfect but it will be good enough to get started. Distilled water here costs about 90 cents per gallon at the supermarket as well. You need about 10 gallons for a standard batch, as you mentioned, and it can get pricey. A home RO system is a possibility but also rather pricey. So it's hard to say how to save money. I'm just fortunate that for most of my beers, our tap water, good old Rocky Mountain snowmelt, is good enough.
     
  19. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I get RO water for 39 cents/gallon from a vending machine inside our local Walmart. The TDS average about 10 to 16 ppm. About the same from a machine outside our local Safeway store. I use between 8 and 9 gallons/batch, so am saving ~$5 when compared to using distilled.
     
  20. Meatwad

    Meatwad Member

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    $1 for 5 gallons. I use a water kiosk and bring my own 5 gal jug.
     

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