Author Topic: RO Water Chem.  (Read 1302 times)

Offline Int3lig3ntdzign

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RO Water Chem.
« on: October 24, 2016, 03:40:54 PM »
Hey guys,

         I'm a New England brewer. I work in the Beer Hall (not a brewer) at Harpoon Brewery in Boston where we brew with carbon filtered city water. At home, just north of Boston, I brew with RO water because my cities water reports are very inconsistent. I typically brew pale ales, IPAs, and sours. I use a couple chemicals to treat my water with, Calcium Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, and 10% Phosphoric Acid. I use these because of Gordon Strongs book Modern Home Brewing. He also uses RO and recommend these for the style of beer that I enjoy brewing. I was just throwing this out to everyone so I could hopefully get a couple tips and tricks for RO water brewing from someone who does the same. I appreciate your time everyone!

Cheers,
     Keith
Love Beer, Love Life

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2016, 03:49:07 PM »
Not all RO is the same, due to what the feed water has, and how well the membranes are maintained. A TDS meter is a good check, lower TDS means less of the ions got through.

Read this, download the spreadsheet, and you can make the water for the beer you are brewing.

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge

Jeff Rankert
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2016, 10:02:06 PM »
Not all RO is the same, due to what the feed water has, and how well the membranes are maintained. A TDS meter is a good check, lower TDS means less of the ions got through.

Read this, download the spreadsheet, and you can make the water for the beer you are brewing.

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge

Timely, as I just got my typical RO water from my local Walmart kiosk (that is usually pretty well maintained with indicated TDS levels, not sure how really accurate those reports are, but.....) and noticed that it hadn't been maintenanced in a while (over a month).
Brewed up a scottish export and with Brunwater was shooting for a 5.4, and only got a 5.2 mash pH. Wondering if those membranes are getting old and need to be replaced. I need to get a TDS meter soon.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2016, 12:54:18 AM »
A failing RO membrane is more likely to result in more alkalinity in the mashing water and a higher mashing pH. The 5.2 pH result suggests that you have other things going on, like a more acidic than expected base malt.
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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2016, 01:01:49 AM »
The malt analysis sheet is your friend!

Offline Phil_M

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2016, 01:04:47 AM »
FWIW, I've got an "el cheapo" RO system.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DOG64FM/ref=twister_B00DV4370M?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

First sign that it was shot was phenols from the chloramines in my water making it past the system. Weirdly, my TDS meter still read less than 10 ppm...
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline Stevie

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2016, 01:10:04 AM »
TDS will not measure chloramine. The chlorine does not impact the conductivity of the water.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2016, 01:39:57 AM »
TDS will not measure chloramine. The chlorine does not impact the conductivity of the water.

True, I just expected the TDS to go up from other crap making it past the membrane.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline Stevie

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2016, 02:41:24 AM »
RO membranes don't handle chlorine/chloramine either. The earlier charcoal filters do that.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2016, 10:37:05 PM »
A failing RO membrane is more likely to result in more alkalinity in the mashing water and a higher mashing pH. The 5.2 pH result suggests that you have other things going on, like a more acidic than expected base malt.

That is very well possible. I was using Golden Promise for my base, and I even called it a 5L on Brun water. Still got a low mash pH with it compared to what I was shooting for. I did have Thomas Fawcett Roasted Barley in there too (3 oz for 5.5 gall) which was labeled as 500-600L. I called it a 550L on Brunwater....maybe it was more acidic than indicated?

Offline dunngood

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2016, 11:54:00 PM »
Please do not assume the water from your store is really RO.
I can not use my well water to brew with so I buy what was advertised as RO water at a fill your bottle station at a big store. Here is the Ad.
Our systems provide four levels of filtration: sediment filters, carbon filters, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light. The quality of the water is terrific and it is more environmentally friendly and cheaper than buying bottled water.
Here is the test sent in to Ward Labs
pH 8.1
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 353
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.59
Cations / Anions, me/L 6.2 / 6.3
Sodium, Na 141
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca 1
Magnesium, Mg < 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 3
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 6
Chloride, Cl 58
Carbonate, CO3 6
Bicarbonate, HCO3 244
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 211
Total Phosphorus, P 0.63
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit
This is softned water not RO water. Ray Ward
I would not water my plants with that much Sodium and that much Bicarbonate will buffer most acid or salt adjustments. With all the filtering and back flushing involved with RO water are those little fill stations really RO?

Offline Stevie

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2016, 12:02:11 AM »
That's pretty crappy. I measure my RO and trust my dedicated water store. Just bought 22 gallons and it measures at 8ppm. Highest I've ever seen is 10ppm. Per the guy there, they use a massive industrial system that produces about 1:1 waste. The waste is then distilled to 1ppm and sold at a premium.

Prices - self/full serve - RO $0.25/0.35, distilled $0.50/0.60

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2016, 01:06:06 AM »
Yeah, that's what drove me to get a meter. I consistently get 6-12ppm TDS water from the store I trust (so far), but I've seen a lot of stores with 30-50+ppm water. I trust my meter, as it also consistently reads distilled at 1ppm and my tap water consistently at 300- 400ppm TDS which isn't surprising around here. Also, my beer tastes pretty good.
Jon H.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2016, 01:07:32 AM »
That is why a $15 TDS meter is worth it. If I measured a machine putting that high TDS out, I would not buy thatnwater, I would walk away.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: RO Water Chem.
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2016, 01:11:34 AM »
That is why a $15 TDS meter is worth it. If I measured a machine putting that high TDS out, I would not buy thatnwater, I would walk away.


Yep, I've literally walked away from several RO machines. Thanks to Martin for giving us the good info.
Jon H.