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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: oscarvan on December 22, 2010, 02:21:14 AM

Title: Water Analysis
Post by: oscarvan on December 22, 2010, 02:21:14 AM
As I move in to AG, I need to know what I have as far as water is concerned. I called the water lab at city hall and all they measure is total hardness. I need more.

Where is the best deal to mail in a sample for an analysis?
Title: Re: Water Analysis
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 22, 2010, 02:27:30 AM
I was happy with Ward Labs, test W-6, $16.50, plus shipping ( I used a USPS flat rate box for 2 different water sources).
Title: Re: Water Analysis
Post by: oscarvan on December 22, 2010, 02:34:23 AM
Cool, water sample bottle requested.
Title: Re: Water Analysis
Post by: tschmidlin on December 22, 2010, 09:14:50 AM
In the future you can just take any old water bottle you have lying around, rinse it with your brewing water a few times to wash away whatever had been in the bottle, then put some brewing water in it and mail it to them.
Title: Re: Water Analysis
Post by: mabrungard on December 23, 2010, 05:08:55 PM
Tom is correct, almost any water-tight container will do.  The thing I want to add is that you only need to send a small amount of water.  I recently sent my samples in to Ward using old White lab yeast vials.  It was enough water.  You don't won't to pay a bunch to ship water, do you?
Title: Re: Water Analysis
Post by: tomsawyer on December 23, 2010, 08:04:18 PM
Related question, how much does a municipal water supply's mineral content vary from month to month?  Say it was coming from a river, I assume this would be more subject to seasonal variation than a reservoir or aquifer.

Oscar, as a first step you might try adding a 1/2tsp of calcium chloride of sulfate and look at how that changes your breaks.  If you see an improvement, you probably do need to adjust your water.  also, based on knowing if your water is relatively hard or not, you can make some initial assumptions about what you'll need to add.
Title: Re: Water Analysis
Post by: mabrungard on December 23, 2010, 09:17:10 PM
Surface water source water quality can vary significantly since they represent a combination of groundwater (that seeps into the lake or stream) and rainwater that runs off the land.  The mineralization of these waters can vary with each rainfall event (or lack of rainfall). 

If you're dealing with a source that can vary, I would recommend getting an aquarium test kit that includes hardness and alkalinity analyses.  I think Kai has some information on this at his website.  The are cheap ($10 to $12 I think).  Don't get test strips, get a kit or kits that have colormetric chemicals that you add to the sample and compare to a color strip.  I think they are more accurate and easy to read.

Once you have benchmarked your water quality with lab testing and have performed a corresponding aquarium test, you can then have an idea of how to adjust your water to overcome the variability. 
Title: Re: Water Analysis
Post by: oscarvan on December 28, 2010, 09:12:14 PM
Well, no known complaints about hardness from the general community, and no problems brewing yet, and no loud complaints from the brew club. I'll get an analysis, monitor mash PH and take it from there.
Title: Re: Water Analysis
Post by: brian-d on January 02, 2011, 02:58:29 PM
I am from the Denver, CO area and was wondering if anyone knows about the water profile here?  Does it require any preparation for Ag brewing?  I have an on board water filter for my brew stand I recently ordered.  Should I filter my water for brewing?  Thanks very much.