Author Topic: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.  (Read 1445 times)

Offline dzlater

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trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« on: February 09, 2012, 04:51:53 PM »
I called my local MUA to try and get a run down on my water, they were very helpful.
He gave me this link: https://www11.state.nj.us/DEP_WaterWatch_public/JSP/SampleResults.jsp?tinwsys=48&tsasampl=849144


The water spreadsheets that I have been looking at ask for Mg and Ca.
I asked MUA guy about the Mg and Ca, and he said "that's hardness 80 to 90"
I thought hardness was from calcium carbonate? Do the 80 to 90 ppm's of seem correct?
Any other tips or pointers appreciated.

Offline a10t2

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Re: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 05:45:24 PM »
Hardness comes from Ca and Mg (and Fe, Pb, and tons of other things that drinking water has almost none of). Alkalinity comes from carbonates (which at tap water pH will be almost entirely bicarbonate, HCO3-). So hardness and alkalinity both result when CaCO3 is added to water.

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Offline dzlater

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Re: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2012, 04:13:09 AM »
If I know the hardness is 64.4 ppm can I figure out the Mg, and Ca?

I just found this:
"A CaCO3 value of 100 mg/l would represent a free calcium concentration of 40 mg/l (divide CaCO3 value by 2.5) if hardness is caused by the presence of calcium only.  Similarly, a CaCO3 value of 100 mg/l would represent a free magnesium value of 24 mg/l (divide CaCO3 value by 4.12) if hardness is caused by magnesium only.  Where hardness is caused by limestone, the CaCO3 value usually reflects a mixture of free calcium and magnesium with calcium being the predominant divalent salt."

so with my hardness of 64.4
I have 25.78 of ca, and 15.63 mg ?
 ???
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 05:12:49 AM by dzlater »

Offline mabrungard

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Re: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2012, 06:22:10 AM »
There isn't enough information in the report to allow anyone to decipher the relative Ca and Mg percentages.  I can see that the water should be a good starting point for brewing.  You will have to send a sample in for testing to confirm the ion profile.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2012, 12:29:45 PM »
Generally speaking, though, knowing the hardness is enough, especially with it being so low. I'd just assume that you have 15-25 ppm Ca and <5 ppm Mg. That should be sufficient for brewing purposes.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2012, 12:52:22 PM »
Generally speaking, though, knowing the hardness is enough, especially with it being so low. I'd just assume that you have 15-25 ppm Ca and <5 ppm Mg. That should be sufficient for brewing purposes.

That could or could not be a good assumption.  There is no magic ratio of Ca to Mg.  Its all dependent upon the geology the water flowed through prior to getting to the user.  (Ca is almost always higher though).
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Offline a10t2

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Re: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2012, 01:00:44 PM »
I'm definitely not disputing that, and if he had, say, 150 ppm hardness then I'd say the test was worth it. But at these levels I don't see any harm in saving $17 and making some assumptions.
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Offline wamille

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Re: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2012, 06:29:17 PM »
maybe a bit off topic, but how big of an impact does the water have on hop aroma/flavor?  i've witnessed a metric ton of pale ale produced that had 11 lbs of centennial hops added... 60/30/10/0 minutes in the boil with most broken up at 10 and below... that had very little hop aroma/flavor.   could the water chemistry of the water used have this big an impact?  by the way, i don't know the water chemistry of the water used, however, it's drawn from a moutain spring. 

Offline a10t2

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Re: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2012, 06:41:55 PM »
i've witnessed a metric ton of pale ale produced that had 11 lbs of centennial hops added.

That isn't a very high hopping rate - 1.3 lb/bbl.
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Offline wamille

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Re: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2012, 06:48:58 PM »
the recipe is a ramped up pale ale from a five gallon recipe.  does one have to hop at a higher ratio when going up from a homebrewed recipe?  what is a proper rate of hops per bbl?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: trying to get a handle on water chemistry.
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2012, 10:41:16 PM »
Water chemistry can play a large role in hop bitterness perception.  I've never heard anything about hop flavor/aroma perception though.

From How to Brew - http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter4-2.html
Briefly, sodium and chloride act to round out and accentuate the sweetness of the beer, while sulfate (from gypsum, for example) makes the hop bitterness more crisp. You need to know and understand the initial mineral profile of your brewing water before you start adding anything to it though. Too much sodium and sulfate can combine to produce a very harsh bitterness.
Tom Schmidlin