Author Topic: Affordable Water Testing Kits  (Read 2762 times)

Offline mitchbrew

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Affordable Water Testing Kits
« on: June 19, 2016, 05:31:56 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I am looking to take my brewing up a notch with water testing (controlling the ph, etc.). Water testing kits for brewing are expensive, can anyone recommend alternatives (i.e. pool testing kits, etc.) that can serve as a decent proxy? As a first step I was thinking of just buying brewing pH strips, unless anyone has recommendations!

Thank you for your help!

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2016, 05:40:56 PM »
Since water in this area is pretty crappy for brewing most styles, I buy RO (reverse osmosis) water from grocery store machines and use Brunwater software to control pH and hit the right flavor profile for a beer.
Jon H.

Offline denny

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2016, 06:09:48 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I am looking to take my brewing up a notch with water testing (controlling the ph, etc.). Water testing kits for brewing are expensive, can anyone recommend alternatives (i.e. pool testing kits, etc.) that can serve as a decent proxy? As a first step I was thinking of just buying brewing pH strips, unless anyone has recommendations!

Thank you for your help!

pH strips are pretty much worthless.  Even if you get ColorpHast strips, which are expensive and the best around, they're still pretty unreliable  Most of the time, once you know what your water analysis is, it won't change.  So one test every year or 2 is pretty much all you need.  You can get many water tests from Ward Labs (www.wardlab.com test W-6) for the price of a decent water test kit.
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Offline Erik_Mog

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2016, 06:33:16 PM »
I just sent my well water to be tested by Ward Labs.  $42 for them to send the collection bottle with return postage and testing.  I think that's a pretty good deal.  The county charges $50 to do a water test on a well if you collect your own sample, and $100 if they send someone to take the sample.  The $8 savings is enough for two pints on pint night at my favorite watering hole.
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Offline denny

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2016, 06:58:17 PM »
I just sent my well water to be tested by Ward Labs.  $42 for them to send the collection bottle with return postage and testing.  I think that's a pretty good deal.  The county charges $50 to do a water test on a well if you collect your own sample, and $100 if they send someone to take the sample.  The $8 savings is enough for two pints on pint night at my favorite watering hole.

Which test did you get?  I always go for W-6.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2016, 07:31:25 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I am looking to take my brewing up a notch with water testing (controlling the ph, etc.). Water testing kits for brewing are expensive, can anyone recommend alternatives (i.e. pool testing kits, etc.) that can serve as a decent proxy? As a first step I was thinking of just buying brewing pH strips, unless anyone has recommendations!

Thank you for your help!

  Most of the time, once you know what your water analysis is, it won't change.  So one test every year or 2 is pretty much all you need. 

We get our local water from a reservoir, and because of that fact, I opted for the RO adjustments simply because of the seasonal changes that occur regarding runoff and meltwater in the different seasons.

Offline toby

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2016, 07:37:08 PM »
Which test did you get?  I always go for W-6.

$42 is most likely the W-5A kit, which is the W-6 plus Iron and Phosphorous levels.

Offline Erik_Mog

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2016, 07:39:14 PM »
Which test did you get?  I always go for W-6.

$42 is most likely the W-5A kit, which is the W-6 plus Iron and Phosphorous levels.

It was the W-5A
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Offline toby

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2016, 07:45:24 PM »
Most of the time, once you know what your water analysis is, it won't change.

That's probably true for a lot of places, but some that use a variety of sources especially places that treat surface water from rivers, streams, etc. will get some seasonal variation in both the water and treatment.  The areas in Louisiana that use aquifers see little variation, but the ones that use surface water will usually see changes at least twice a year and sometimes more often depending on rainfall and what's going on upstream.

Offline juggabrew303

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Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2016, 08:54:20 PM »
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=At_home_water_testing

This part is important for greater accuracy.  I went further and increased sample to 20ml(0.25dh = 4.475ppm).

"The concentration of the test solution is designed such that each drop contains enough acid to neutralize 1 dH or 17.8 ppm as CaCO3 in 5 ml water. As a result the precision of the test can be increased by increasing the sample size to 10 ml and assuming that each drop stands for 0.5 dH or 8.9 ppm as CaCO3."

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« Last Edit: June 19, 2016, 09:05:09 PM by juggabrew303 »

Offline charles1968

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2016, 06:56:15 AM »
Salifert alkalinity test kit from Amazon is great. It's designed for aquariums and works much like the one in juggabrew's link.

You might also be able to get levels of some minerals from your water supplier.

Offline mitchbrew

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2016, 04:50:23 PM »
Hello everyone,

Thank you for your help! As I'll be moving to a new place within the year, and another two years after that, I'd prefer a cheaper "at home" option that I can do myself. It looks like the aquarium kits mentioned above will do the trick to at least give me an idea of what water I have.

Thank you!

Offline juggabrew303

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Re: Affordable Water Testing Kits
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2016, 09:34:16 PM »
Another option is to call some local breweries or talk to the brewer face to face if there around.  Most of them will be happy to help and some may give you their water report for the quarter. 


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