Water, water everywhere!

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by N0mad, May 5, 2018.

  1. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2018
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    258
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Software Engineer
    Location:
    South Texas
    I understand water chemistry is important for optimum results but like most in the "Beginners Brewing Forum" we have to crawl then walk before we can run. I use Ozarka Spring water in my brew and a detailed water report is available.

    At this time I'm only equipped to do 10 liter (2.6 gallon) all grain batches because for me they're easier to handle and if I screw it up my cost are proportional.

    At what point should adjusting the mash water using Calcium Carbonate, Gypsum, Lactic Acid and other products be part of the routine? I've looked at the Bru'n Water spread sheet and a few other resources and I don’t have a clue as to what to do if anything.

    I wouldn't even consider adding something to the water unless I was absolutely sure 100% I knew what I was doing. I learn visually I would like to work alongside someone in my local (San Antonio) before I would consider myself knowable.
     
    Hawkbox likes this.
  2. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2017
    Messages:
    1,772
    Likes Received:
    2,116
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    I’ve been brewing for a year and a half and brew with Deer Park Spring water. I haven’t messed with brewing salts and dionized water, etc., etc. and our beers have all tasted great. Maybe someday I will fuss over it.... but I doubt it.
     
    thunderwagn and Hawkbox like this.
  3. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2018
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    258
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Software Engineer
    Location:
    South Texas
    :) good to know
     
  4. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Definitely not a foregone conclusion that you have to make adjustments to water. I don’t, either.

    I do like your idea not to make any adjustments that you don’t understand. So will another member here.
     
    thunderwagn likes this.
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    9,422
    Likes Received:
    9,480
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pest control tech
    Location:
    Palmwoods QLD
    i say add some withun reason/style and see if any noticeale difference and go from there...
     
  6. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2017
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    550
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    I treat my water every time, I start with RO water and build it to compliment the beer style. I usually brew pilsners as they are my preferred beer, but occassionally I brew an ale. I'm still mastering lager.

    You will notice a difference when you build your water to style, but when it comes down it, it's really your own opinion of your beer that counts, if you try treating your water, and find you like it better, then you will have changed your brewing process like a habit, it will become a comfortable part of your process, and feel natural.

    If you decide to test it, I recommend RO water and build from there.

    On a final note, I test my water with a kit every time, so In the end I'm getting repeatable results without question, and let's face it, when we take the time to brew something we enjoy, you want to be able to reproduce it time and time again.
     
    N0mad likes this.
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,373
    Likes Received:
    6,604
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Now? Never? Depends on how far down the rabbit hole you're willing to go and what you want to achieve. BTW, SWAMBO is from SA so I understand your water issues at least somewhat. If you've read the Brewing Elements book "Water", you're knowledgeable enough but here's the number one water tip: Make sure you don't have chlorine in it in either form. You're buying spring water so that shouldn't be an issue for you. Number two is to get your mash pH at/around 5.4. Beyond that? It's like cooking from that point on where you really have to figure out what "salt to taste" means.
     
    jmcnamara likes this.
  8. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,725
    Likes Received:
    2,965
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    I blindly follow a schedule our brewing education instructor at our group did for the city water and it's worked pretty well, though realistically I expect just the campden tablet to get rid of the chlorine is doing more than anything else.

    I didn't even look at it for a long time, it's stressful and hard to do on the fly unless you have your other stuff down solid.
     
  9. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2017
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    550
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    One thing for sure, don't affraid to try, you can always ask a question if you feel the need to.
     
    N0mad and Mase like this.
  10. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2018
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    258
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Software Engineer
    Location:
    South Texas
    I agree I've done 3 all grain 10 liter batches this month with each one I've become more organized I'm hitting my mash temps and my post boil numbers.
     
  11. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2018
    Messages:
    3,969
    Likes Received:
    7,258
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Fallon, Nevada
    With the water we have here I have 2 choices. Either spring water or build from RO. Not much difference in cost, so I just build from RO. I do check with a TDS meter before adding salts. The most consistent source is at our local Walmart with TDS ranging between 7 and 29ppm. I treat that as a clean slate. The other source, which I seldom use, has come in as high as 92PPM. I only use them when Walmart's dispensers are out of order. With our local water profile I can safely say that the TDS at the other source is half sodium and half calcium and build from there.
     
  12. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    2,485
    Likes Received:
    1,564
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Happily retired
    Location:
    Upper Michigan/Florida
    For a simple water article and explanation, we have a three part series in our blog: https://www.brewersfriend.com/blog/
    Scroll down a little to the water area, and start with part I. It's a basic primer on water and what the additions bring to the water.
     
  13. Vallka

    Vallka Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2017
    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    864
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Squamish Canada
    I e been brewing for just 1year now, always allgrain. By the third batch I was playing with water and adding brewing salts to change it to suit the style of beer. All my beers have turned out very good so far.
     
    jeffpn likes this.
  14. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2018
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    258
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Software Engineer
    Location:
    South Texas
    Best way to verify PH? some of these PH meters are crazy $$ and the cheap ones get iffy reviews... use to have aquarium fish and measured PH with drops and water... that won't work with colored wort.

    What do most folks use?
     
  15. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I can’t speak for most folks. I use nothing.
     
    IPLAYDRUMS likes this.
  16. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2017
    Messages:
    1,772
    Likes Received:
    2,116
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    I use pH strips, but their accuracy is questionable. In my research, they can be as much as 0.2 off (example: true pH of 5.2, might read as a 5.0 or 5.4 with pH). I still use them out of habit but since our beers taste great, haven’t made the leap for a pH meter.
     
  17. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    218
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    South Georgia
    I agree that a good PH meter is too expensive when you brew a couple of times a month (you may brew more). I just trust a good water calculator for estimating PH and suggesting additions. The BF calc is very good IMO.

    BTW, in another thread JA recommended to another Spurs fan that they check out the South Austin Area Zymurgist group. I assume good guys to brew with in terms of learning how someone does the PH / water additions thing. They have a Facebook page. Be careful if you foray into that large blue dot .. I hear they make you drive an electric car, brush your teeth and wear deodorant up there. Pinkos.
     
    Hawkbox likes this.
  18. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,725
    Likes Received:
    2,965
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    I have a Hanna PH meter but I haven't been thrilled with it, it only does 1 decimal point and apparently that's not good enough. Also the instructions for keeping them calibrated honestly makes me not even want to use it.
     
    soccerdad likes this.
  19. Vallka

    Vallka Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2017
    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    864
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Squamish Canada
    I use the cheap yellow one , got it off eBay for $12 It has lasted a year now and works well enough for home brewing, IMO. If you go this route buy some extra callabration powders at the same time.
     
  20. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I bought one of those, I think mine was $13, it does the job.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white