More Water Treatment

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by west1m, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. west1m

    west1m Active Member

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    I received results from Ward labs for my home water sample.
    After plugging the numbers in to my profile I tried to use the water calculators. However I don't see any place where it tells me what to add. I tried plugging in some phony numbers in the the addition areas (10 grams of this or ten grams of that) but some of the final numbers just got worse.
    I guess my question is, doesn't the calculator some how tell me how much of this or that to add to the water?
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Nope.
    It's up to you to learn the certain salt mineral counts that you want in a beer.
    Ballanced equal parts chloride : Sulphate.
    Hoppy 2 parts sulphate :1 part chloride.
    Reverse for malty. That's what i go buy anyhow.

    You can select a target profile in the drop down list too which is what I do and try to get my numbers to line up to them.
    Light coloured and malty/hoppy
    Ballanced
    Ballances 2

    I don't bother with magnesium my count is pretty low. My bicarbonates hardness is pretty low and as for calcium I'll bump the sulphates or chloride to get me up around the 80ppm.

    Do some reading online or on the blog on this site for your own understanding.

    Mine is pretty limited I'm pretty blazay about my additions in near enough is good enough type thing but I know from brewing over and over the water profile matters.

    Oh and acidify with acid don't use your sulphate to drop your PH down is my other 2c.

    Others on here more expierienced will point you toward some great advice I'm sure. Enjoy
     
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  3. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    We can help you on the forum with the additions. The reason you can’t just click and get the optimum additions is that such a thing isn’t possible. Oh, I know it’s technically possible, but matching the numbers given on a profile just isn’t really possible in real life by just adding things to it. I’ve seem where some software will have you add acid and alkalinity just to hit a target “number”, or worse, adding chalk which just precipitates out.

    Unfortunately, it’s something to learn a bit about. It’s not hard at all. First, the idea is to have an ideal mash pH and not worry about the actual “target” amounts of various ions.

    The mash pH is what is important. So ideally you’d have low alkalinity water to start with in almost all cases.

    Think of the brewing salts as just that- “salts”, like for seasoning. You don’t need any at all to make beer, and you can make good beer with 100% distilled or reverse osmosis water. The salts are added for flavor- just like you add onions and garlic to spaghetti sauce.

    If you want to give us your water information, we can give you specific details on what you will want to have on hand for water adjustments for the beer styles you want to make, and if cutting with distilled or RO water is most appropriate.
     
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  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Steps are really quite simple:
    1. Make sure your water either doesn't have chlorine or chloramine or take steps to remove them.
    2. Make sure your mash pH is in an acceptable range, generally 5.3 - 5.6.
    3. Add any salts needed for "seasoning".

    As mentioned above, there's some study involved. Take it in the order I presented and your beer will get consistently better and you won't be overloaded with information. The chemistry can become very complex but the practice, once you get it, is fairly simple.
     
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  5. west1m

    west1m Active Member

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    My water is well water so I don't have a chlorine problem. I don't have the report with me but i entered into my profile.

    upload_2020-1-23_18-55-32.png

    Hopefully this is readable. I mostly try to make the light "Pale ale" or "Cream Ale" . They do tend to come out on the bitter side I am in the process of trying to adjust 60 min hops to take the bitterness down a notch.
     
  6. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a water expert, but I think your Mg could be a bit of a problem if you aren't cutting your water with distilled. According to Bru'nWater, a desired Mg range would be 0-30 ppm. And that takes into account the fact that a typical barley mash will contribute some Mg beyond what's already present in the water. High levels lead to astringency. You might be in the danger zone there.
     
  7. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Too much magnesium for sure, and the alkalinity is too high, especially for lighter colored beers. I’d suggest cutting your water in half with distilled or reverse osmosis water which would help both problems.

    In addition, it would cut your calcium in half, and you could add some calcium chloride or gypsum (as needed) to increase the sulfate and chloride without overdoing the calcium.

    The magnesium level is definitely too high, and is likely the cause of the flavor impact. You may even notice a tart or almost sour bitterness from that level of magnesium.
     
  8. west1m

    west1m Active Member

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    Great , thanks for the replies! I definitely have a bitter taste thing going on.
    I have an RO thing for my kitchen sink, just for kicks I ordered a Ward lab test kit for that'
    For my next try I will collect water ahead of time from the RO tap (it will take a couple of days I am sure).
     
  9. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Even if you went 50/50 with the RO to your tap water, you would have a noticeable improvement!
     
  10. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    All good advice above. For your RO water, all you really need to do as far as testing goes is checking the TDS. (total dissolved solids) As long as they're under about 20ppm, you can treat it as if it was distilled. A decent TDS meter can be had for $12 to $15.
     
  11. west1m

    west1m Active Member

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    One of the other qualities that do not show up on the profile water page is nitrates. My water was quite high at 22ppm (I live in a farming area so I am sure I am seeing fertilizer leftovers).I sent for the Ward lab report on my RO water to check on the nitrates as well as all the others. I want to see if it truly gets knocked down going through my RO filter.
     
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  12. west1m

    west1m Active Member

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    I have used about 3 gallons bottled spring water a couple times, not too sure I could tell a difference , but it went down with out a problem...
     
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  13. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Unfortunately, "spring water" is not likely reverse osmosis or distilled water. I've seen RO water in big water machines in places like walmart for under 50 cents a gallon, so I would suggest RO water.

    If you're making a stout, 50/50 would be fine with a few additions. If you're making a cream ale, you'd need at least 75/25 or ideally 100% RO water with some additions of calcium chloride.
     
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  14. west1m

    west1m Active Member

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    " with some additions of calcium chloride " in a five gallon batch , how much are we talikn'?
    nothing fancy ~10.5 # grain 1 - 1.5 oz hops...
     
  15. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    .
    Nitrates at 30ppm is 3 times the amount allowed by the EPA in drinking water. Pretty sure any decent RO system would remove almost all of that, but it never hurts to be safe. The biggest risk of nitrates is to small children.
     
  16. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Spring water should have a list of ion levels on it, and may be a good option, find the label on the bottle and compare to your target water profile. I did that for one batch, but my issue with that was the bottles being single use, and a tremendous waste. I have reusable jugs that I fill at the RO water store.
     
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  17. west1m

    west1m Active Member

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    I got my second report from Ward labs. As I mentioned, I have well water and the first sample was rather high in nitrates, This sample was run through a whole house filter with a carbon filter... I have an RO unit under my sink about a year or so old for drinking water. I wondered if it really did anything for Nitrates or any thing else. I collected up about ten gallons over a few days for a batch of beer and while collecting I pulled a sample for Ward Labs. I was rather amazed it actually does seem to work! Nitrates down from 22 to .7

    upload_2020-2-13_16-3-2.png
     
  18. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Figured it would. You're starting with a clean slate now and can build any water profile you want, and no worries about the Nitrate level. Great!
     

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