Author Topic: Can someone give me a rough sketch of what my water analysis tells me?  (Read 720 times)

Offline enso

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 449
  • Northeast Kingdom, VT
    • View Profile
    • Bristle Bros. Brewing Blog
I have never really delved into water chemistry.  I am still not certain I am ready too either.  Never was good at chemistry.  Anyway, out of curioustity I had my water tested by ward labs.  Last place I lived did not provide any useful info on the town water.  It was wicked chlorinated anyway (even with filtration) so I did not use it.

Now I have well water, though I do not use that either.  It is wicked sulfery even with filtration!  I use a roadside spring up the road from me for brewing and drinking water.  Here is what I got:

pH 8.2
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 157
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.26
Cations / Anions, me/L 2.5 / 2.7
Sodium, Na 1
Potassium, K 2
Calcium, Ca 45
Magnesium, Mg 2
Total Hardness, CaCO3 121
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 6
Chloride, Cl 1
Carbonate, CO3 9
Bicarbonate, HCO3 120
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 112
Fluoride, F 0.01
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

Without blowing my head off with vast knowledge I am not quite ready for, can someone give me a rough idea how this water suites/does not suite beer styles?  I have brewed a flanders red and a brown ale so far since I have lived here (about a month) and also made a mead.  I am looking to brew up 10 gallons of my house pale ale, but started to be concerned after reading posts about water that maybe this water is not good for a hoppy pale ale since I do not really understand it all yet.
Dave Brush

Offline hamiltont

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 988
  • Location: Somewhere in the Middle of Nebraska
    • View Profile
Re: Can someone give me a rough sketch of what my water analysis tells me?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 04:13:57 PM »
I played around with Palmer's spreadsheet & came up with this.  I am no expert by any means but using Palmer's spreadsheet has dramatically improved my beer. I really recommend downloading the spreadsheet!  I'm confident someone else will have more precise input but here ya go....  Cheers!!!

For 7 gallons of your water for the mash resulting in a RA ~54 for a ~10 SRM beer leaning towards the bitter side:
Gypsum  CaSO4 *2H2O = 1 gram
Calcium Chloride  CaCl2*2H2O = 2 grams
Epsom Salt  MgSO4 *7H2O = 2 grams
Baking Soda  NaHCO3 = 1 gram
88% Lactic Acid = 1ml

Adjusted Mash:
Calcium (ppm) = 74
Magnesium (ppm) =9
Alkalinity as CaCO3 = 134
Sodium (ppm) = 11
Chloride (ppm)    = 37
Sulfate (ppm) = 68

If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4401
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
Re: Can someone give me a rough sketch of what my water analysis tells me?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2010, 04:40:24 PM »
You have medium-hardness, medium-alkalinity (RA ~60 ppm CaCO3) water. So pH-wise, you should be fine to brew anything in the 10-15 SRM range, give or take.

For a hoppy beer, you'll want some sulfates. 0.75 g/gal of gypsum (CaSO4) will bring the SO4 to ~120 ppm and Ca to ~90 ppm, and drop the RA to ~30. That's pretty much ideal for 5-12 SRM, and it's all I think you need to do for an APA. For a malty but pale beer, you'd do essentially the same thing with CaCl2. For darker beers, you'd also need to add some chalk.

This barely scratches the surface but I wrote it specifically to be a starting point:

The best link in there is an interactive version of Palmer's nomograph: His spreadsheet uses the same calculations, but I find it to be needlessly complicated for most brewing.
Sent from my Microsoft Bob

Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
Refractometer Calculator | Batch Sparging Calculator | Two Mile Brewing Co.