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Another Water Report

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Yeah, I know there have been a lot of these posted recently so I appreciate your patience but I just received my Ward Lab report this evening as well.  I got the complete test on two samples:

First Sample:  Tap Water

Na               22
Potassium     3
Ca               46
Mg              11
Nitrate         0.7
SO4            21
Cl               23
CO3            <1
HCO3         121
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3         99
Total, Hardness CaCO3       161
F               1.22 (no bearing on the beer, I know, I was just curious)
Fe              <0.01 (just curious)

Second Sample:  Tap Water run through a Brita Filter

Na               25
Potassium    18
Ca                 8
Mg                4
Nitrate         0.3
SO4            19
Cl               23
CO3            <1
HCO3          16
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3         13
Total, Hardness CaCO3         37
F               1.18
Fe              <0.01

So based on reading the advice in other threads on the subject I think I'm okay just to go with my tap water and adjust as necessary.  Correct me if I'm wrong but my most important adjustments would be to Ca, SO4, and HCO3.

I'm going to be brewing an ESB and just as an exercise I popped these values (for the tap water) into Beersmith and compared it to London water.  If I added a gram each of Gypsum, Table Salt, Epsom Salt, and Baking soda it would get me very close to that water profile with the exception of Sodium which would still be 41 ppm lower than that water profile. 

Also I've seen many recommendations to add Campden tablets to the water to eliminate Cloromides (sp?).  Does this have an impact on any of these numbers?

Any thoughts on the profile and my assumptions (actually wild ass guesses) would be appreciated.

Your analysis and profile looks pretty good (along with your assumptions, etc).   Go to the Brewing Network and find the series of podcasts from Brew Strong about water.  There's a wealth of knowledge there that will help to explain things better than a forum thread.   Also, get a copy of Palmer's Residual Alkalinity spreadsheet to do your calculations.   Shoot for RA vs the classic brewing water profile.

Have fun and good brewing!

Thanks.  I just downloaded Palmer's spreadsheet and am trying to work through it and figure out what it's telling me.

Congradualtions on reproducing London water.

When I toured Fullers, they had a pallet stacked with of bags of gypsum.   Not to make plaster...

The brewers adjust their water, you need to think about what they are trying to achieve.


Your Britta filter has some ion exchange resin in it which removes hardness from the water. I see a lot of Ca and Mg missing while potassium and, to some extend, sodium increased. Definitely use the tap water or filter the tap water through a standard charcoal filter. Those filters don’t change the water profile.

In general, this is great brewing water.

When using Palmer’s spreadsheet, keep in mind that his SRM to RA formula doesn’t work so well for really dark beers which have a lot of roasted malts in the grist. Those beers need a lower RA that what you would expect from his spreadsheet. I know he says the opposite, but that doesn’t match my experience. I’m currently in the process of compiling a SRM / RA chart myself. It’s taking some time b/c the relationship is not linear and dependent on a number of factors. However, for any given beer color there is a rather wide residual alkalinity range that will work. Conversely, for a given RA there tends to be a wide range of beer colors that will work and will produce an acceptable mash pH. This is why many commercial brewers don’t even worry that much about water if it is of moderate hardness which you water is.

Make sure you don’t overdo the salt additions. Some brewers tend to get carried away with that and end up adding too much which may cause a mineral taste in the beer.



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