Author Topic: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...  (Read 2438 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« on: November 11, 2015, 09:48:27 PM »
Hey AHA board:  I am Ken from the Chicago area and I have been brewing since 1999.  I have been all-grain since 2004 which means I brewed with extract FOR 5 YEARS!  I know.  Unheard of.  I like a lot of German and Czech Lagers as well as English and American ales.  My latest "areas of study" have been water composition and pH control.  Both of which improved my beers considerably.  I have a site HERE which is in desperate need of updating but I just don't have the time at the moment.  There are recipes there as well as a beer gallery and other information.  I would like to narrow down that content and update the site at some point.  I'm currently kegging everything I make and I have 4 taps on the back wall of my basement bar with draft fridges on the other side of the wall in a closet that has all my brewing equipment in it.  I know a lot of brewers here from other boards and I can see that there are very good brewers here and good debate back and forth in the forums on some very good topics.  Cheers to all.

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2015, 09:52:22 PM »
Hey Ken!  Great to have you with us here!

For everybody else, I've known Ken for several years from another forum.  I enticed him to join us here by telling him what a great group of people we have.  Don't make a liar out of me!  ;)
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2015, 10:25:49 PM »
Glad you're here. I love the level of experienced brewers here that are willing to share experiences and brewing ideas
Frank L.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2015, 10:30:20 PM »
Good to have you here, Ken ! More good brewers here makes us all better.
Jon H.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2015, 10:53:06 PM »
NW burbs.  Where about?

Anything north of Evanston is Wisconsin to me.  West of O'Hare and you're almost across the Mississippi.

If you receive City water, I'd be interested in your water and pH studies.  Heading down that wormhole myself.  Slowly.  Very slowly.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2015, 11:16:35 PM »
Guys:  Thanks for the warm welcome.  I know that there are very good brewers here because I recognize some brewers from other boards.  I always say that I'm a student of this hobby and probably always will be... and that's fine with me as long as I'm impressed and happy with the beers I'm making. 

Joe:  I grew up in Arlington Heights and now live in Cook County Buffalo Grove.  Yes, I have Lake Michigan water and have had it analyzed by Ward Labs a couple times.  I am using a very reliable pH meter to check my mash, sparge and kettle pH and using CaCl, CaSO4 and lactic acid as my weapons in the world of water.  I used to shake my fists at the sky because I thought our water was only marginally good for brewing but I now realize that we have pretty nice water... especially compared to some poor souls.  Yes, there is bicarb in our water but that's easy to resolve.  Keep me posted if you want to know some further details.  I will be happy to share my most painful pale lager journey with you and anyone else interested.  Cheers Beerheads!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2015, 11:31:49 PM »
Ken, good to see you here, and I am one of the poor souls that have nasty tap water.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2015, 11:37:54 PM »
Ken, good to see you here, and I am one of the poor souls that have nasty tap water.
I know we have some people on a well where there is a crazy high number of [something] that won't work for brewing and I know that some people have 400+ppm of bicarb or ZERO chloride and 200+ sulfate or whatever.  Yes, distilled or RO will provide an answer in some cases.  Thankfully, every number in my water is actually very modest except the bicarb which is 138ppm.  I used to think that was an unreasonable number until I heard some other people's numbers and Martin told me that 138 was totally manageable.  He was right.

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2015, 11:48:59 PM »
Ken, good to see you here, and I am one of the poor souls that have nasty tap water.
I know we have some people on a well where there is a crazy high number of [something] that won't work for brewing and I know that some people have 400+ppm of bicarb or ZERO chloride and 200+ sulfate or whatever.  Yes, distilled or RO will provide an answer in some cases.  Thankfully, every number in my water is actually very modest except the bicarb which is 138ppm.  I used to think that was an unreasonable number until I heard some other people's numbers and Martin told me that 138 was totally manageable.  He was right.
My town has wells, very hard and alkaline water. I use RO. The next town over gets the water from Lake Huron, almost the same as your Lake MIchigan water. Inwish that is what we had, but RO works great.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2015, 11:55:47 PM »
Ken, good to see you here, and I am one of the poor souls that have nasty tap water.
I know we have some people on a well where there is a crazy high number of [something] that won't work for brewing and I know that some people have 400+ppm of bicarb or ZERO chloride and 200+ sulfate or whatever.  Yes, distilled or RO will provide an answer in some cases.  Thankfully, every number in my water is actually very modest except the bicarb which is 138ppm.  I used to think that was an unreasonable number until I heard some other people's numbers and Martin told me that 138 was totally manageable.  He was right.
My town has wells, very hard and alkaline water. I use RO. The next town over gets the water from Lake Huron, almost the same as your Lake MIchigan water. Inwish that is what we had, but RO works great.
Yeah, as long as you know and you're not guessing, it's all good.  I used to drag gallons of distilled and RO water around to combat my high bicarb but no more.  I still have some gallon water bottles of distilled if I want to make a super-soft Czech Pils or something but otherwise the source water will work.

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2015, 12:09:13 AM »
Ken, good to see you here, and I am one of the poor souls that have nasty tap water.
I know we have some people on a well where there is a crazy high number of [something] that won't work for brewing and I know that some people have 400+ppm of bicarb or ZERO chloride and 200+ sulfate or whatever.  Yes, distilled or RO will provide an answer in some cases.  Thankfully, every number in my water is actually very modest except the bicarb which is 138ppm.  I used to think that was an unreasonable number until I heard some other people's numbers and Martin told me that 138 was totally manageable.  He was right.

I think it was 181 on the last report I looked at.  But I haven't had any analysis done.

Oh, and Arlington Heights I can locate.  Buffalo Grove... Pretty sure I've driven through it.  But they're all one to me.  I'm very parochial.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2015, 12:10:45 AM by Joe Sr. »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2015, 12:38:44 AM »
Ken, good to see you here, and I am one of the poor souls that have nasty tap water.
I know we have some people on a well where there is a crazy high number of [something] that won't work for brewing and I know that some people have 400+ppm of bicarb or ZERO chloride and 200+ sulfate or whatever.  Yes, distilled or RO will provide an answer in some cases.  Thankfully, every number in my water is actually very modest except the bicarb which is 138ppm.  I used to think that was an unreasonable number until I heard some other people's numbers and Martin told me that 138 was totally manageable.  He was right.
My town has wells, very hard and alkaline water. I use RO. The next town over gets the water from Lake Huron, almost the same as your Lake MIchigan water. Inwish that is what we had, but RO works great.
Yeah, as long as you know and you're not guessing, it's all good.  I used to drag gallons of distilled and RO water around to combat my high bicarb but no more.  I still have some gallon water bottles of distilled if I want to make a super-soft Czech Pils or something but otherwise the source water will work.
One gallon of campden treated tap water blended with 9 gallons of low TDS RO gets me very close to Martin's treated Bavaria water in his Zymurgy article. It is that crappy.
Jeff Rankert
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BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2015, 01:04:24 AM »
Ken, good to see you here, and I am one of the poor souls that have nasty tap water.
I know we have some people on a well where there is a crazy high number of [something] that won't work for brewing and I know that some people have 400+ppm of bicarb or ZERO chloride and 200+ sulfate or whatever.  Yes, distilled or RO will provide an answer in some cases.  Thankfully, every number in my water is actually very modest except the bicarb which is 138ppm.  I used to think that was an unreasonable number until I heard some other people's numbers and Martin told me that 138 was totally manageable.  He was right.
My town has wells, very hard and alkaline water. I use RO. The next town over gets the water from Lake Huron, almost the same as your Lake MIchigan water. Inwish that is what we had, but RO works great.
Yeah, as long as you know and you're not guessing, it's all good.  I used to drag gallons of distilled and RO water around to combat my high bicarb but no more.  I still have some gallon water bottles of distilled if I want to make a super-soft Czech Pils or something but otherwise the source water will work.
One gallon of campden treated tap water blended with 9 gallons of low TDS RO gets me very close to Martin's treated Bavaria water in his Zymurgy article. It is that crappy.
Funny.  I once had AJ DeLange tell me to dilute my tap water 90-95% with distilled water for a Czech Pils.  If I were going to dilute 95% with distilled... I might as well not bother with tap water at all!  :D    I have spoken to people with high amounts of iron, manganese, etc. and I guess we know why the breweries of 150+ years ago settled on their places... the water!

Online brewday

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2015, 01:36:57 AM »
And still do - water was a big reason SN settled on their Mills River location.  Me? I settled on 100% RO.

Welcome by the way!
Jon Weaver

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Re: Ken from NW burbs of Chicago...
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2015, 02:00:05 AM »
And still do - water was a big reason SN settled on their Mills River location.  Me? I settled on 100% RO.

Welcome by the way!
That, and tax breaks, the outdoor lifestyle, and the bigger thing is the interstates that give access up and down the eastern seaboard and to the Midwest. The savings in shipping beer from CA was why they decided to build an eastern brewery, the payback on shipping savings was a bigger factor than the water.
Jeff Rankert
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BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!