Author Topic: Do I need any additives for my water?  (Read 827 times)

Offline Jack13

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Do I need any additives for my water?
« on: April 27, 2016, 12:14:47 PM »
I'm having trouble making sense of my water report.  I've read about all kinds of things that can affect the taste, and some of them I can find on my report (and those I can find seem to be within the desirable range).  But I thought it would be helpful for someone more experienced to take a look.

So, any comments you have are appreciated!

I'll also mention two things: 

1) my tap water tastes OK, no complaints, but it's noticeably better when I use a Brita filter.  I can't put my finger on what's different (metallic? I don't know), only that it's definitely tastier filtered.

2) my mash pH is 5.2, which seems to be spot on.

Below are some items from the report that I've read about as relevant (or at least THINK I've read are relevant), but I may be leaving things out (I have to manually copy, paste, and fix each line individually, and the report is quite long, so I can't just include the whole thing...though I could email the full PDF if anyone is inclined to read it!).

Chlorine Residual N 0.09-0.22ppm

Chromium N 3.2ppb

Iron (Fe) N 400-1400(average900)ppb

Sodium (Na) N 9-57.6(average33.3)ppm

Alkalinity (Alk) N 81.7-91.9(average86.4)ppm

pH N 7.4-7.7(average7.6)ppm

Chloride (Cl) N 3.6-10.5(average6.12)ppm

Hardness N 68.3-78.6*(average73.5)ppm

Sulfate N 6.4-13.5(average9.2)ppm


Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Do I need any additives for my water?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2016, 12:37:51 PM »
The iron is high, and probably what you taste. Should be <300 ppb.
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge

Mash pH will depend on the water and grist. What type of beers do you brew? There are some that would give you issues, as no water is perfect for all styles
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Do I need any additives for my water?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2016, 01:07:38 PM »
How are you measuring that pH value? If its with pH strips (especially the paper ones), the readings are not likely to be remotely accurate. Given the modest alkalinity in that water, I can see that you would need to add some form of acid to the mash to produce an appropriate pH.

There is no single water that can brew all beers well. We do have to adjust our brewing water (at least broadly) to enable reasonable results in your brewing. The main thing needing adjustment for ANY water is its alkalinity (even RO and distilled water).

As Jeff points out, it does appear that the iron content is higher than desirable. Dilution or replacement with RO is probably a good consideration.
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Offline Jack13

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Re: Do I need any additives for my water?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2016, 06:10:41 PM »
How are you measuring that pH value? If its with pH strips (especially the paper ones), the readings are not likely to be remotely accurate. Given the modest alkalinity in that water, I can see that you would need to add some form of acid to the mash to produce an appropriate pH.

There is no single water that can brew all beers well. We do have to adjust our brewing water (at least broadly) to enable reasonable results in your brewing. The main thing needing adjustment for ANY water is its alkalinity (even RO and distilled water).

As Jeff points out, it does appear that the iron content is higher than desirable. Dilution or replacement with RO is probably a good consideration.

Wow, thanks, folks!

Yes, I do use strips to measure mash pH.  hopfendundmalz:  A pretty good variety-ales, IPA's, a stout, a wheat...

Question:  RO seems expensive.  You mentioned dilution as an alternative.  How would that work?

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Do I need any additives for my water?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2016, 06:12:50 PM »
  RO seems expensive.


FWIW I pay $0.39/gallon and use Brunwater software. Not a big investment to make much better beer.
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Do I need any additives for my water?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2016, 07:16:10 PM »
  RO seems expensive.


FWIW I pay $0.39/gallon and use Brunwater software. Not a big investment to make much better beer.
+1, for 5-6 gallons in the fermenter, I buy less than $4 worth of RO, compared to the $25-30, nit a big deal
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Offline Jack13

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Re: Do I need any additives for my water?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2016, 12:30:39 AM »
How are you measuring that pH value? If its with pH strips (especially the paper ones), the readings are not likely to be remotely accurate. Given the modest alkalinity in that water, I can see that you would need to add some form of acid to the mash to produce an appropriate pH.

There is no single water that can brew all beers well. We do have to adjust our brewing water (at least broadly) to enable reasonable results in your brewing. The main thing needing adjustment for ANY water is its alkalinity (even RO and distilled water).

As Jeff points out, it does appear that the iron content is higher than desirable. Dilution or replacement with RO is probably a good consideration.

My understanding (after some research) is that RO takes out some things that would need to be replaced.  If true, would this filter take out the kind of iron that is likely the culprit in my water(since there appear to be at least 3 possibilities of the TYPE of iron in the water)? 

http://www.filterwater.com/pc-142-5-iron-removal-filter.aspx?gclid=ckdf5lr1tmwcfznbhgod7ucncq

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Do I need any additives for my water?
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2016, 05:10:08 PM »
It appears to be a cationic-exchange filter unit. If that is the case, it would remove the iron. But it also removes the calcium and magnesium. It would be exhausted quickly with your water.
Martin B
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Offline war2112

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Re: Do I need any additives for my water?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2016, 11:25:48 PM »
This is a good topic.  I am an extract brewer and wondering if I need to adjust my RO water that I buy in jugs. I brew only ales at this point as I cannot lager. So far, a couple of APA's, a stout that is fermenting and getting ready to brew a Belgian Witbier (Blue Moon clone).

I think I have read that the water ph and all is already worked out in the DME. Is that true? Or should I be adding gypsum for IPA's and whatnot?




Offline rob_f

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Re: Do I need any additives for my water?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2016, 02:15:09 PM »
The salts in the wort that produced the extract have been concentrated, so ideally you would use distilled water to reconstitute the original wort.  In practice, if your water isn't too hard or alkaline, it will work for extract.  If you're not getting enough hop presence in your pales and ipa's some gypsum might help.
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