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another water question

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We are planning a big brew day for national homebrew day at my lhbs. There will be tastings, food, live music  and of course, brewing. We will have perhaps a dozen brewers bringing their systems to brew several different styles in the parking lot. The biggest concern is the water. The lhbs owner won't get his well water tested so we don't really know what we're brewing with. The water tastes fine with a slight mineral "bite", my t.d.s. meter shows a total dissolved solids of 104 ppm, and the pH is 5.4. Any suggestions? Thanks for your time.

Have you considered bringing your own water?

Jimmy K:
Do they serve samples and do you like their beer? If yes, water might be fine.

- Sent by my R2 unit

I do brewing demos at the lhbs and I normally bring RO water from my home system but for this occasion I can't bring enough for everyone. The only samples they have were brewed by me with my water so yes, I like them. ;D This is a new location for the store and the water has not been brewed with. So based on the fairly low ppm, should I add some calcium as insurance? Should I add calcium chloride or gypsum, depending on style, to influence the chloride/sulfate ratio? Or leave it as is and hope for the best?

You can buy test kits from pet supply stores, intended for aquariums, that can give you a reasonably accurate picture of the water's alkalinity.   Kai has a good write up on his site about this:

Getting this water tested by Ward Labs is really quite reasonable (You want test W-6, $16.50), but I don't think there will be enough time between now and the first week in May to send in a sample and get results back.  Unless you happen to live near Kearney, Nebraska.

Otherwise, I would just use the water as-is and hope for the best.


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