Author Topic: Advice about water report  (Read 1571 times)

Offline pete b

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Advice about water report
« on: October 06, 2014, 02:38:17 PM »
I just had my water tested at Ward Labs. I have read some about water chemistry in brewing but it hasn't stuck because I haven't put it in practice. I'm a hands on learner with some things. I would appreciate any advice or if anyone sees any red flags or something particularly beneficial.
This is my well water which goes through a whole house water softener. The water softener is certainly doing its job with the iron,. Without it the water is orange. I'm curious about the chloride reading. Its not treated with chlorine so I assume this is a naturally occurring chloride. Is 74 high?
Thanks.
 pH 5.7
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 217
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.36
Cations / Anions, me/L 3.0 / 3.1
ppm
Sodium, Na 65
Potassium, K 1
Calcium, Ca 1
Magnesium, Mg < 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 3
Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 8
Chloride, Cl 74
Carbonate, CO3 < 1.0
Bicarbonate, HCO3 26
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 22
Total Phosphorus, P 0.02
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2014, 02:56:46 PM »
Well, the sodium is high - Martin recommends sub-50ppm Na. Not surprising given the water softener - the 'salt' for it is known to raise sodium levels.  I don't know, you might be a candidate (like me) for RO water. Maybe some others will weigh in.
Jon H.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 03:03:08 PM »
Enter your report into brewing water and compare it to other water profiles. As hoosier mentioned, the salt is a bit high. You may be able to dilute with RO and add salts back versus starting with 100% RO. Water in North Texas is not reliable enough for me to do this and I use 100% RO every time.


Chloride and chlorine are not the same. I'm no chemist, so can't explain the difference. Chlroides are desirable in hoppy beers.

Offline narvin

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2014, 03:06:29 PM »
Chlorine in water (Cl2) is different than chloride ions.  Your level of chloride is fine; however, the amount of sodium being added by the softener may high for brewing.  You may be able to cut your water 50/50 with RO water and be okay.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2014, 03:21:17 PM »
I would certainly like to avoid buying an RO machine.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2014, 03:26:31 PM »
I would certainly like to avoid buying an RO machine.


Not necessary. I buy my water at the grocery store or from a stand alone ice-house for $0.25-0.35 per gallon. Adds about $3.5 to the cost for 5 gallons, but worth it in my opinion. If you are able to use 50/50 RO, it wouldn't be too much in the grand scheme of things.

Offline narvin

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2014, 03:28:37 PM »
I would definitely try brewing with the softened water.  You don't have as much sodium after softening as some people do.  You'll know after one batch whether you like it or not.

If you don't like the result, you can buy RO.  Do you have a grocery store that sells RO in bulk?  It's cheap but somewhat inconvenient, but if you only buy enough to dilute your water 50% it's not as much to carry home.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2014, 03:29:40 PM »
I would certainly like to avoid buying an RO machine.


Not necessary. I buy my water at the grocery store or from a stand alone ice-house for $0.25-0.35 per gallon. Adds about $3.5 to the cost for 5 gallons, but worth it in my opinion. If you are able to use 50/50 RO, it wouldn't be too much in the grand scheme of things.

+1
Jon H.

Offline pete b

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2014, 03:42:07 PM »
I would certainly like to avoid buying an RO machine.


Not necessary. I buy my water at the grocery store or from a stand alone ice-house for $0.25-0.35 per gallon. Adds about $3.5 to the cost for 5 gallons, but worth it in my opinion. If you are able to use 50/50 RO, it wouldn't be too much in the grand scheme of things.
I don't think the little grocery store in town has it and we don't regularly go shopping at large stores. I supposed it wouldn't kill me to buy several gallons the next time we are near one. Its not about the money its just that I am usually able to avoid going in big stores for months at a time. It sounds like I might not need to go 50/50. I'm planning on brewing smaller batches in between my 5+ gallon batches so that I can brew more often, like weeknights. I've never really noticed anyone selling RO water because I never looked. Do they have it so that you can fill your own container or do you have to buy a whole mess of plastic jugs?
« Last Edit: October 06, 2014, 03:44:36 PM by pete b »
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2014, 03:46:32 PM »
I use self serve machines. I bring my better bottles or food grade buckets. I've also seen self serve pre-bottled, but I think that those are spring water with minerals.

You could also use distilled water. More expensive, but may be easier to find.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2014, 03:50:30 PM »
Our local grocer, Kroger, has machines that you fill your own. You can bring better bottles, or they have 5 gallon bottles/jugs for sale that are re-usable and fairly cheap. I have been buying 10 gallons when I brew for 5.5 gallon batches, using leftovers to top off star san bucket
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2014, 03:52:30 PM »
I use plastic jugs. A little bit of hassle, but I have something reliable to use as a base to custom add salts onto for each style. But after years of sometimes lackluster beers (to me) from some styles, I'm more than happy to make better beer by running to the store.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2014, 03:56:09 PM »
I think what I need to do is get a good idea of what ill effects too much sodium has, brew a beer that would be most effected by too much sodium, and see if I can detect any effect. My thinking is it might be OK, and if not maybe a couple gallons of RO/distilled water would be enough in a five gallon batch.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2014, 04:04:39 PM »
Have you considered using the pre-softner water? A high quality carbon filter should remove most of the iron? I know when I lived in a house with a softner, only the cold water lines that ran to inside faucets were treated. Hose bibs outside and all hot water was not.

Offline pete b

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Re: Advice about water report
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2014, 04:48:18 PM »
Have you considered using the pre-softner water? A high quality carbon filter should remove most of the iron? I know when I lived in a house with a softner, only the cold water lines that ran to inside faucets were treated. Hose bibs outside and all hot water was not.
Interesting thought. I think all water is treated but I bet there is a spigot before the softener. Of course I would have to test the filtered water.
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