Author Topic: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there  (Read 1392 times)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« on: February 16, 2014, 03:49:08 PM »
I am considering a whole house unit for many reasons, but one would be to collect and treat RO for specific brewing water applications.  How many of you start with RO and adjust from there?  I have been using mostly bottled spring water (RO with mineral additions near as I can tell from the supplier's website) and have been happy to adjust minimally for Burton water or other changes, but just wondering how many folks start with RO as their SOP.

I have terribly hard base water, using a softener to get relatively okay water, but sodium loaded, of course.  So without an RO, I would be making only dark beers if I used my water without treatment.

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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2014, 04:11:02 PM »
I start from RO and adjust.

I looked into the whole house systems a few months back. If you find anything feasible, let us know.
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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2014, 04:15:59 PM »
Being from the Midwest, the water is pretty much crap here in terms of brewing most beers. I use RO water filled from water machines at local stores in conjunction with Bru'nWater, which is excellent. I highly recommend it if you don't use it.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2014, 04:27:45 PM »
I have been brewing with RO water for about 4 years. My tap water is very hard, and has very high alkalinity. The RA for my water is 200. That makes brewing a Pilsner a challenge.

RO water, gypsum, CaCl2, lactic acid, phosphoric acid, baking soda, and pickling lime are the most used tools. To lower or raise the pH. I might use Epsom salt on occasion, but not much these days.

I highly recommend Brunwater and a gram scale, 0-100 gram range, if you want to really adjust RO water.

Edit - my village has wells. The other towns to the east in the area get the water sourced from Lake Huron. It is not very hard, and has manageable alkalinity. Just saying that water from the Great Lakes is good stuff here in the Midwest.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2014, 04:31:24 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2014, 04:53:38 PM »
+1 to the scale to be able to adjust water to what you want. I use this one for hops and water salts - it's affordable and works really well   :         
                   http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Signature-AWS-100-Digital/dp/B0012LOQUQ
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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2014, 05:09:04 PM »
I have been brewing with RO water for about 4 years. My tap water is very hard, and has very high alkalinity. The RA for my water is 200. That makes brewing a Pilsner a challenge.

RO water, gypsum, CaCl2, lactic acid, phosphoric acid, baking soda, and pickling lime are the most used tools. To lower or raise the pH. I might use Epsom salt on occasion, but not much these days.

I highly recommend Brunwater and a gram scale, 0-100 gram range, if you want to really adjust RO water.

Edit - my village has wells. The other towns to the east in the area get the water sourced from Lake Huron. It is not very hard, and has manageable alkalinity. Just saying that water from the Great Lakes is good stuff here in the Midwest.

+1 to bru'n water.

Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 07:33:03 PM »
Another +1 to Bru'n Water.  Since I started using RO water and Bru'n Water my beers have improved over using my tap water.  I donated and got the upgraded version which is really nice and very easy to use.

As for a scale, I reload a lot of my ammo and my Hornady Lock N Load bench scale works great.  Probably a little overkill for measuring brewing salts, but you should be able to find an inexpensive one, like the one mentioned above.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2014, 08:50:41 AM »
My beers also begin life as RO water and build the profile with Bru'n water. The water here is nasty and unreliable. It's full of chloramine, tastes awful and varies with the seasons because it's all ground water. Even local pro brewers using the muni water with filters have some of the same off flavors in their beer that I used to find in mine when I used the local water supply. I think they use RO filters so I'm not sure why their can't get the water as clean as the RO water I buy but if I were them I would figure that one out.

All you need is Bru'n water and a gram scale, plus the very cheap water additives. I've used other water adjustment software in the past but didn't find it nearly as effective as Bru'n water. None of the other options I tried adjusted for the grain and they only gave you the historic water profiles to target. I really like that Bru'n water gives plenty of options to hit a general profile based on color and malt/bitterness. I have good success using those general profiles for 95% of my beers.
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2014, 09:16:10 AM »
+1 to the scale to be able to adjust water to what you want. I use this one for hops and water salts - it's affordable and works really well   :         
                   http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Signature-AWS-100-Digital/dp/B0012LOQUQ

I also recommend picking up a calibration weight for the AWS-100. Mine came a bit off.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Scales-100WGT-Calibration/dp/B002SVUBYE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392653701&sr=8-2&keywords=100+gram+calibration+weight
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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2014, 09:27:00 AM »
+1 to the scale to be able to adjust water to what you want. I use this one for hops and water salts - it's affordable and works really well   :         
                   http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Signature-AWS-100-Digital/dp/B0012LOQUQ

I also recommend picking up a calibration weight for the AWS-100. Mine came a bit off.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Scales-100WGT-Calibration/dp/B002SVUBYE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392653701&sr=8-2&keywords=100+gram+calibration+weight

I should've mentioned that, Steve. I bought a calibration weight along with mine as well. Mine was a slight amount off until I calibrated it.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2014, 09:40:08 AM »
+1 to the scale to be able to adjust water to what you want. I use this one for hops and water salts - it's affordable and works really well   :         
                   http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Signature-AWS-100-Digital/dp/B0012LOQUQ

I also recommend picking up a calibration weight for the AWS-100. Mine came a bit off.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Scales-100WGT-Calibration/dp/B002SVUBYE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392653701&sr=8-2&keywords=100+gram+calibration+weight

I should've mentioned that, Steve. I bought a calibration weight along with mine as well. Mine was a slight amount off until I calibrated it.
I have that model and the test mass. An instrument should be calibrated if you are to believe the measurement.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 10:05:07 AM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2014, 09:51:10 AM »
+1 to the scale to be able to adjust water to what you want. I use this one for hops and water salts - it's affordable and works really well   :         
                   http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Signature-AWS-100-Digital/dp/B0012LOQUQ

I also recommend picking up a calibration weight for the AWS-100. Mine came a bit off.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Scales-100WGT-Calibration/dp/B002SVUBYE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392653701&sr=8-2&keywords=100+gram+calibration+weight

I should've mentioned that, Steve. I bought a calibration weight along with mine as well. Mine was a slight amount off until I calibrated it.
I have that bottle and the test mass. An instrument should be calibrated if you are to believe the measurement.

If you don't want to but a calibration weight you can use a new US nickel. Should be 5 grams.

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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2014, 10:04:19 AM »
+1 to the scale to be able to adjust water to what you want. I use this one for hops and water salts - it's affordable and works really well   :         
                   http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Signature-AWS-100-Digital/dp/B0012LOQUQ

I also recommend picking up a calibration weight for the AWS-100. Mine came a bit off.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Scales-100WGT-Calibration/dp/B002SVUBYE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392653701&sr=8-2&keywords=100+gram+calibration+weight

I should've mentioned that, Steve. I bought a calibration weight along with mine as well. Mine was a slight amount off until I calibrated it.
I have that bottle and the test mass. An instrument should be calibrated if you are to believe the measurement.

If you don't want to but a calibration weight you can use a new US nickel. Should be 5 grams.

Good info on the nickel - never heard that. My scale was ~ .03 g low out of the box, before I calibrated.
Jon H.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2014, 10:07:34 AM »
+1 to the scale to be able to adjust water to what you want. I use this one for hops and water salts - it's affordable and works really well   :         
                   http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Signature-AWS-100-Digital/dp/B0012LOQUQ

I also recommend picking up a calibration weight for the AWS-100. Mine came a bit off.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Scales-100WGT-Calibration/dp/B002SVUBYE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392653701&sr=8-2&keywords=100+gram+calibration+weight

I should've mentioned that, Steve. I bought a calibration weight along with mine as well. Mine was a slight amount off until I calibrated it.
I have that bottle and the test mass. An instrument should be calibrated if you are to believe the measurement.

If you don't want to but a calibration weight you can use a new US nickel. Should be 5 grams.

Good info on the nickel - never heard that. My scale was ~ .03 g low out of the box, before I calibrated.

3 parts out of 10000 error is not too bad. Peace of mind calibrating it. Then again, what tolerance does the test mass have?
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Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2014, 10:10:25 AM »
+1 to the scale to be able to adjust water to what you want. I use this one for hops and water salts - it's affordable and works really well   :         
                   http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Signature-AWS-100-Digital/dp/B0012LOQUQ

I also recommend picking up a calibration weight for the AWS-100. Mine came a bit off.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Scales-100WGT-Calibration/dp/B002SVUBYE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392653701&sr=8-2&keywords=100+gram+calibration+weight

I should've mentioned that, Steve. I bought a calibration weight along with mine as well. Mine was a slight amount off until I calibrated it.
I have that bottle and the test mass. An instrument should be calibrated if you are to believe the measurement.

If you don't want to but a calibration weight you can use a new US nickel. Should be 5 grams.

Good info on the nickel - never heard that. My scale was ~ .03 g low out of the box, before I calibrated.

3 parts out of 10000 error is not too bad. Peace of mind calibrating it. Then again, what tolerance does the test mass have?

Don't remember, I'll have to look. Good point.
Jon H.