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Critique my water?

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Tampa FL, Hillsborough County

pH 7.8
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 463
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.77
Cations / Anions, me/L 8.1 / 8.3
Sodium, Na 44
Potassium, K 3
Calcium, Ca 102
Magnesium, Mg 12
Total Hardness, CaCO3 305
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.6 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 76
Chloride, Cl 40
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 144
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 118

You have a lot of bicarbonate, but also a lot of calcium, so your RA is about 40. That might be a little high for a pale ale but is about right for an amber. For really light beers you'll need to dilute, and for dark beers you'll want to add more carbonates.

The important ions in your brew water are:  Ca, Mg, Na, Cl, SO4, Bicarbonate (HCO3).  Alkalinity, hardness, and pH are also important.
Calcium (Ca) = 102 ppm.  GOOD.  Rec range is 50-150; optimum range is 50-100.
Magnesium (Mg) = 12 ppm.  GOOD.  Rec range is 10-30; optimum range is 10-20.  Impt yeast nutrient.
Sodium (Na) = 44 ppm.  LOW.  Rec range is 0-150 ppm, 70-150 gives a nice malt flavor; >200 yields a salty taste.
Chloride (Cl) = 40 ppm.  LOW.  Rec range is 0-250.  Levels > 250 may enhance beer sweetness.
Sulfate (SO4) = 76 ppm.  OK.  Range 50-150 yields normal bitterness; range 150-350 is very bitter.
Bicarbonate (HCO3) = 144 ppm.  Depends on desired style.  Rec ranges:  0-50 (pale beers), 50-150 (amber beers), 150-250 (dark, roasted beers).
Total Alkalinity (CaCO3) = 118 ppm.  MODERATELY HARD.  Ideally <50 unless balanced by Ca or acidity of dark malt.  High alkalinity levels halt enzyme action and harm beer flavor by sharp, harsh hop flavors.  0-60 (soft), 61-120 (moderate), 121-180 (hard), >180 (very hard)
Total Hardness as CaCO3 = 305 ppm.  HARD.  Generally anything over 150 ppm is hard.
pH = 7.8.  Alkaline.
Use water adjustment calculators.  You will need to filter your tap water with an activated charcoal filter (not water softener!), and use a significant % of reverse osmosis water, and brew salt additions (particularly calcium chloride) to get better brewing water.   But, trust me, learning about it and adjusting it will make the beer so much better tasting.  Read the thread for resources that can help you.

You can also use John Palmer's Mash Residual Alkalinity Adjustment Worksheet Version 2.5 (US Units) online to figure out your Residual Alkalinity and your Chloride to Sulfate Balance (yours is very bitter).

Your hardness almost completely balances the alkalinity. It seems to be good water for about any ale (except the lightest ones maybe). When brewing light lagers you may want to soften it by dilution (50:50 would work) for a few batches to see if you prefer softer water in that case.

--- Quote from: richardt on June 10, 2010, 01:49:03 PM ---Magnesium (Mg) = 12 ppm.  GOOD.  Rec range is 10-30; optimum range is 10-20.  Impt yeast nutrient.

--- End quote ---

Most of the magnesium in the wort is actually coming from the malt. The source I have indicates 130 ppm. The lessens the importance of magnesium in the water. But its presence doesn't cause problems either.


Thank you so much Richard for your detailed response!
Yes I've been reading quite a bit latley and finally chose to use the EZ water adjustment calculator from TH over @ HBT.
I'm excited to get busy learning as much as I can so I can make better beer.
I have been making decent all grain beer over the last 6 years.
The filter is going to be my next purchase.
As for my first water treated brew day. here is what I made  10 SRM IPA  88 IBU  1.071 OG  5.5 gallons

I used a known water source spring water and omitted the lactic in the boil            
Starting Water (ppm):            
Ca:   60         
Mg:   6         
Na:   7         
Cl:   11         
SO4:   21         
CaCO3:   190         
Mash / Sparge Vol (gal):   5   /   3.5   
Dilution Rate:   0%         
Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:            
CaCO3:   0   /   0   
CaSO4:   1.25   /   0.875   
CaCl2:   0.75   /   0.525   
MgSO4:   2   /   1.4   
NaHCO3:   0   /   0   
NaCl:   1   /   0.7   
HCL Acid:   0   /   0   
Lactic Acid:   2.5   /   1.75   
Mash Water / Total water (ppm):            
Ca:   86   /   86   
Mg:   16   /   16   
Na:   28   /   28   
Cl:   62   /   62   
SO4:   99   /   99   
CaCO3:   190   /   190   
RA (mash only):   41   (9 to 13 SRM)      
Cl to SO4 (total water):   0.63   (Bitter)      


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