Reading a water report

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by jmcnamara, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Finally got one from the county. This'll be my first time messing with the water beyond using a campden tablet.
    From what I've read, calcium, sulfate, sodium,
    (bi)carbonate, chloride, and magnesium are the ones to look for. I found all but carbonates in the report. Would that be called something else?
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Also, their current report is from 2014. Is that normal to be so far behind? I assume things don't change drastically enough for our purposes?
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    First to the date - no problem. The report is an approximation anyway, it changes with source and season so use the numbers as reasonably good guesses. As to carbonates, they're reported but in different forms. You might see total hardness as bicarbonate, carbonate or some other measure. Where's your water coming from? Maybe post a link to the water report....
     
  4. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    this is the initial one i found from 2015, but wasn't that helpful: https://www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClic ... portalid=0
    They sent another report. I couldn't attach the spreadsheet or a pdf file to this post. And then I tried a png screenshot, but it said my quota was reached.
    There is a row for Hardness

    one last one, they measured it in mg/L. that's different than parts per million?
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    PPM and mg/l are the same unit of measure.

    Out here in Aurora, Colorado, our water department has added the information we brewers are interested in to the water report but before that, when I had questions about the water, I called the water department and asked (probably why the water report was expanded - they got tired of answering calls from yahoos like me). Here's a link to our water report - you see the interesting stuff added below the contaminants table:

    https://www.auroragov.org/cs/groups/pub ... 023458.pdf
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You'll see there is a range for each of the ions, meaning on a given day I don't really know the water report. Great thing about brewing is it's very forgiving, the range of acceptable residual alkalinities for a given beer is quite wide, more than enough to accommodate the variance in the water from season to season. The buffers in the malt are pretty effective, allowing the wide range of possible waters. I generally shoot for the midrange in terms of RA for the style so if the water is off one way or another, it won't adversely affect my beer.
     
  7. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    cool, wish they did that out here, but it was easy enough to get this time.

    im sure i'll be back with a ton of questions once i read into it a bit. i've also got palmer's book, which i heard has some good info. messing with water was not even on my radar when i had initially read through it
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  9. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I'm inputting things into my water profile but I've hit a snag. The profile is asking for alkalinity, which is on the report as 40.
    But then the drop down menu has Hardness as an option, which is also on the report at 72.

    Which is the right one?
     

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