Water Chemistry for Dummies HELP I appear to be one

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by AllgrainJock, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. AllgrainJock

    AllgrainJock New Member

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    So
    I have been getting all deep into water profile and mash PH research, have read a few places that a beginner in all grain, brewing 1 gallon batches shouldn't worry to much at this point and indeed the brew store gives no reference what so ever to this in their all grain kits. Being a bit oh a perfectionist I am now very sceptical about brewing without using this knowledge.

    I live in an area of Scotland which has Soft water that I did manage to obtain, I have tried to get in touch with Scottish Water, to obtain an analysis however I was told by one of their guys, they don't test fore certain minerals levels I am trying to obtain, their online info is also to confusing and only lists calcium and magnesium among many other weird things.

    Putting the tap supply on hold, I hunted for bottled water that had a printed Analysis and chose Sainsbury Still Scottish
    Mountain Water,

    Calcium, 55 mg/L
    Magnesium 16 mg/L
    Sodium 15.00 mg/L
    Sulphate 28.0 mg/L
    Chloride 11 mg/L
    Bicarbonate 240.0 mg/L
    PH 7.4

    I have been scaling down DIY Dog recipes and was looking forward to making the ELLA IPA but after puting all this into the water chemistry calculator I am learning this is not a good water profile for a light ale, I also I had to adjust the salt additions of Gypsum and Calcium Chloride, to get all green stars and a sulphate chloride ration balance.. but now worry the alkalinity is far to high...

    I reckon I may be looking into this to much but Could somebody please advise me, if this chosen water brand is any good for brewing or if major salt additions and changes need to be made to it. Also I am aware that Mash PH is a lot more important and was planning on having lactic acid on standby,

    Cheers
     

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  2. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    That water is unlikely to be good for anything except a stout.
    The alkalinity is WAY too high for a light beer. You can deal with it with lactic acid maybe, but you'd want to keep it under the taste threshold. Phosphoric acid may be a much better choice.

    Your soft water may be a better bet- you can always add hardness!
     
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  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    your acid will drop your alkalinity
     
  4. AllgrainJock

    AllgrainJock New Member

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    I do have a scaled milk stout recipe I was planning, you think I should reserve this water for that then ?
     
  5. AllgrainJock

    AllgrainJock New Member

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    update, phoned the local brew store and they informed me they just use tap water not even bothering about the chlorine... they have FAR more knowledge on this than me but not sure what to think of that
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    It may be hypersensitivity on my part but the Chlorine is a problem. You can get rid of it with half a Campden tablet (metabisulfite), so why not do so? As far as the water, the advice above is sound: The water you bought is fairly good for dark beers, if anything a bit low on calcium but it'll make a good stout. Use your soft water for the lighter beers. And if you don't want to learn the chemistry, you should be fine with those rules of thumb.
     
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  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    As Nosy says, the Chlorine is a problem, definitely deal with that. I personally start with RO water which is basically zeros across the board, then treat with Gypsum, calcium chloride, Epsom salt, pickling salt, and either lactic acid, or acidulated malt, with excellent results. The water calculator on this site is very good.
     
  8. AllgrainJock

    AllgrainJock New Member

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    Aye av read about the RO water but believe me bud, where I stay that stuff is unheard of, I have went off the bottle spring water idea seens every bottle i check has 200+ mg/l of bicarbonate unsure why that is but guessing this is the alkalinity problem, found small bits oh info online about my tap water, and managed to arrange an appointment with somebody from the water board to come visit my flat and take a sample there and then in a few weeks..

    My local water board seems to have made this info rather confusing to understand I'll attach clip-pets of my tap water profile provided by them, can only find sulphate, chloride,magnesium and sodium listed, they told me they don't test for bicarbonate, still not to sure how to read this either .
     

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  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    The bicarbonate is in there for flavor, generally added. Often here in the States, "mineral water" is purified water from some public utility with some salts added for taste. And you're right, those water reports are nearly useless.
     
  10. AllgrainJock

    AllgrainJock New Member

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    after some stressful digging, I have managed to establish through the charts and hard water report that my tap profile is

    Calcium 10.49 mg/L
    Magnesium 1.48 mg/L
    Sodium 4.45 mg/L
    Chloride 6 mg/L
    Sulphate 11.18 mg/L
    Calcium Carbonate 32.23 mg/L

    guessing this is a nice soft water to play around with after treating it for chlorine ?
     
  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yep lovely pilsner water.
     
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  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Should make some really good light beers. You're low on Calcium for most beers, though - 50 ppm recommended.
     
  13. AllgrainJock

    AllgrainJock New Member

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    now I have the profile I have been playing aboot with the calculator and salt additions 2.5g gypsum, 0.2g calcium chloride, 1g magnesium chloride and 1 ml of lactic acid brings me very close to this target profile
     

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  14. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    It should be pretty easy to treat that water to get a light and hoppy profile, as well as say, a London porter profile. ie my light and hoppy:
    Calcium 75 mg/L
    Magnesium 5 mg/L
    Sodium 10 mg/L
    Chloride 50 mg/L
    Sulphate 150 mg/L
    Calcium Carbonate 32.23 mg/L my HC03 comes up at zero
    Some Calcium Chloride, Gypsum, and maybe a bit of pickling salt (not table salt you don't want iodized salt)
     
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  15. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Bingo! We must have been typing at the same time...
     
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  16. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    if your looking for very bitter than that's it, too much sulfate for me
     
  17. AllgrainJock

    AllgrainJock New Member

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    Im guessing thats what im aiming for, big fan oh the Scottish hoppy brew dog and Williams brothers IPAs
     
  18. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    But Ozarks is sulphate intolerant is that right Oz?:rolleyes:

    Come to think of it I havnt brewed a high sulphate beer in awhile I've.been getting.all up in my malty side must be that winter thing.
     
  19. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    yes I guess theirs more to it than the taste, this entire city is built over a gypsum mine and it flies in the air on windy days, I can't stand it
     
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  20. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Well, how is their beer? If they aren't treating at all for chlorine, maybe they are just letting it sit overnight to off-gas, or maybe they don't know much about actually brewing great beer. There is a lot of bad advice out there, but maybe this advice is just misguided.

    Oh, yes! Great water for brewing almost anything at all. You'll need some calcium chloride and gypsum and perhaps some baking soda for dark beers, and you'll be all set. Here's why: https://www.brewersfriend.com/2017/11/19/brewing-water-basics-part-1/
     
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