Author Topic: Water  (Read 1465 times)

Offline jonhowell

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Water
« on: November 16, 2009, 07:53:33 AM »
I recently moved from the country (with a well) to a small town (city water).  I am hoping to brew my first batch at the new house this weekend and was wondering what, if anything, I need to know about city water. I never tested the well water and I never had a problem with it.

The city water tastes fine, I was thinking that I might just go ahead and brew and see if I got any off flavors.

What should I be worried about with the water?

Offline a10t2

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Re: Water
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009, 09:27:27 AM »
Extract or AG? If it's extract I say just go ahead and brew.
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Offline jonhowell

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Re: Water
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2009, 09:31:43 AM »
AG, single step mashing.

Offline tubercle

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Re: Water
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2009, 09:34:25 AM »
Chlorine and/or chloramine.

 A campden tablet should take care of it.
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Offline Crispy275

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Re: Water
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2009, 09:35:17 AM »
One issue I have with my city water is high iron. the good thing about iron is that you can smell it's presence. The bad thing is it takes an RO system to remove it.

Ask your local water board for a copy of their most current analysis. It may even be posted on your local government website. From there you can compare it to the water profiles of your current style and determine if you need to do anything more (or less) with your water.
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Offline NorthernIke

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Re: Water
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2009, 12:08:43 PM »
You need a mineral analysis.  Key elements:

• Bicarbonate
• Calcium
• Magnesium
• Chloride
• Sulfate
• Sodium

Let us know what you find out and we can help you from there.

Offline jonhowell

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Re: Water
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2009, 08:38:09 AM »
You need a mineral analysis.  Key elements:

• Bicarbonate
• Calcium
• Magnesium
• Chloride
• Sulfate
• Sodium

Let us know what you find out and we can help you from there.

Bicarbonate   153-191 MG/L
Calcium         34.5-191 MG/L
Magnesium    16.2-19.4 MG/L
Chloride         .2-.4 MG/L
Sulfate           8.21-14.2 MG/L
Sodium          1.61-2.83 MG/L
 

Offline majorvices

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Re: Water
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2009, 09:06:04 AM »
That water is well suited for Amber style beers, and would be suited for pale beers if you removed some of the bicarbonates or dilute your existing water with at least 50/50 with distilled or RO water. You will want to add a small amount of Calcium either in the form of Calcium Chloride or Gypsum to get your Ca up to at least 50ppm (Calcium Carbonate for malt accented beers and Gypsum for hop accented beers). For dark beers you will want to add some calcium carbonate to raise your carbonates up to around 300ppm.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2009, 09:07:40 AM by majorvices »
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Water
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2009, 09:06:51 AM »
I'm guessing that's from your utility? The calcium range is HUGE, so nailing that down would be a good idea. In general, though, you can probably just dilute with distilled or RO to get the bicarbonate in the right range for lighter beers. You'll probably have to add some carbonates to brew anything really dark. Then add chloride or sulfate to emphasize malts or hops, respectively.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html
http://seanterrill.com/2009/08/08/water-water-everywhere/
http://nomograph.babbrewers.com/
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Water
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2009, 09:08:55 AM »
I'm guessing that's from your utility? The calcium range is HUGE, so nailing that down would be a good idea.

I wonder if that is not a typo??
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Water
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2009, 09:13:38 AM »
I was thinking the same thing, especially with the "191" being in both.
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Offline jonhowell

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Re: Water
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2009, 09:44:16 AM »
I'm guessing that's from your utility? The calcium range is HUGE, so nailing that down would be a good idea.

I wonder if that is not a typo??

Yes, it is a typo, 34.5 - 44.9 is what it should read.

There is also a lot of discussion about the Bicarbonate. I am assuming that is the same as hardness/carbonate because biocarbonate is not listed.

http://www.mtvernon-cityhall.org/water_reports/2008_ccr_report.pdf

Offline jonhowell

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Re: Water
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2009, 09:57:57 AM »
I'm guessing that's from your utility? The calcium range is HUGE, so nailing that down would be a good idea. In general, though, you can probably just dilute with distilled or RO to get the bicarbonate in the right range for lighter beers. You'll probably have to add some carbonates to brew anything really dark. Then add chloride or sulfate to emphasize malts or hops, respectively.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html
http://seanterrill.com/2009/08/08/water-water-everywhere/
http://nomograph.babbrewers.com/

Thanks for the links!

Offline a10t2

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Re: Water
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2009, 10:00:54 AM »
No, bicarbonate (HCO3-) and carbonate (CO3--) are not the same, although as you can see they're related. In the pH range useful for brewing, almost all carbonate is actually in solution as bicarbonate, so it's reasonable to assume that all alkalinity is the result of bicarbonate. Given that assumption, you can convert alkalinity as CaCO3 to bicarbonate by multiplying by 1.2.

So your HCO3- range is about 178-215 ppm.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2009, 10:12:49 AM by a10t2 »
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