Author Topic: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles  (Read 1613 times)

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1367
  • Rebelling against cheap swill since 2005
    • View Profile
    • Bauhaus Brew Labs
Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« on: March 26, 2011, 10:32:07 AM »
In trying to learn more about water chemistry for the past few months, I've come to understand that all water is physically balanced between cations and anions.  Any imbalance is, apparently, due to a testing error (or some other variable).  The water profile below is from one of Terry Foster's books.  It is supposedly for North Yorkshire, England.  The cation/anion ratio is substantially out of balance for this profile (7.6:4.7).  Should I then assume that the profile is inaccurate?

105 Ca
17 Mg
23 Na
55 SO4
30 Cl
153 HCO3

Finally, does anyone have another Yorkshire profile that has a proper cation/anion balance?
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
AHA Member

Partial-Mash Pictorial
All-Grain Pictorial

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8197
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2011, 01:19:09 AM »
I don't have another water profile.  I would trust it as is, I think it is probably as accurate as any other one you will find.  It could be testing error, or it could be that there are other ions in there that are not tested for or reported.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline punatic

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4583
  • Puna District, Hawaii Island (UTC -10)
    • View Profile
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2011, 01:47:26 AM »
+1 on Tom's comment about other ions not being reported.  It appears that this report is for brewing-relevant ions. 
If it is a surface water source, it is seasonably variable.

The lack of a pH value is notable...
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.


AHA Life Member #33907

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1367
  • Rebelling against cheap swill since 2005
    • View Profile
    • Bauhaus Brew Labs
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 05:23:15 AM »
Makes sense.  There could very well be other ions in there that balance the ratio.
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
AHA Member

Partial-Mash Pictorial
All-Grain Pictorial

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6190
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 06:03:12 AM »
If you are making  a lighter beer like a Timothy Taylor Landlord, watch the HCO3 level.  That profile may be correct for the water, but ask what the brewers do for the beer.  Use one of the spreadsheet tools that Martin or Kai have made avaelable to get the lower level you need.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1367
  • Rebelling against cheap swill since 2005
    • View Profile
    • Bauhaus Brew Labs
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2011, 06:15:40 AM »
hopfenundmaltz,

I used Martin's Bru'n Water to estimate the mash pH (which I think is far more important than matching a water profile).  I'm just using the above profile as a baseline for approximating flavor ion additions (which I add to the boil kettle).
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
AHA Member

Partial-Mash Pictorial
All-Grain Pictorial

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6190
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2011, 06:28:10 AM »
Martins program is a great tool for that.  The last TTL I did used a low amount of the HCO3.  When I did the first one years back, the water profile gave a high mash pH and the beer was a little 'chalky'.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1367
  • Rebelling against cheap swill since 2005
    • View Profile
    • Bauhaus Brew Labs
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 07:39:40 AM »
Martins program is a great tool for that.  The last TTL I did used a low amount of the HCO3.  When I did the first one years back, the water profile gave a high mash pH and the beer was a little 'chalky'.

This will be the third time I've brewed a TTL clone and I'm hoping to nail the pH this time.  According to EZ Water Calculator 2.0, I shouldn't have to make any bicarbonate additions to hit a pH of 5.4.  But the pH was around 5.1-5.2 for my last attempt.  Martin's calculator estimates that a .4g NaHCO3 addition will bring my pH within range, which seems more likely than adding nothing at all.
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
AHA Member

Partial-Mash Pictorial
All-Grain Pictorial

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8808
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2011, 08:58:56 AM »
I found this profile which is a little higher in sulphate but I don't know how much difference it would make. Samuel Smith's Old Brewery is still using well water from a well sunk about 300 years ago. It was sunk through an old limestone quarry. Hard water is the key here. I think using either of the profiles will lend a very malty profile for sure. As far as the balance of anion to cations, I'm not sure what could be causing that to occur but this profile is a standard profile. Martin or Kai could probably explain the imbalance.

Calcium (Ca)= 105.0
Magnesium (Mg)= 17.0
Sodium (Na)= 23.0
Sulfate (SO4)= 66.0
Chloride (C1)= 30.0
Bicarbonate (HC03)= 153.0
PH= 8.33

Ron Price

Offline mabrungard

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1428
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2011, 09:07:29 AM »
As typical for many published water profiles, this one is way off somewhere.   If the Ca is correct and we assume its the HCO3 that's off, it means that the HCO3 is at 343 ppm.  That is pretty darn high.

The other thing that it could be is that the Ca is reported (as CaCO3) which converts to 42 ppm using the handy Bru'n Water conversion tool.  Plugging that in with the other reported values produces an immediate balance.  I would tend to lean to this profile, but without some other clues it would be difficult to decipher.

Overall, the ion totals are not too wild if you assume the Ca is 42 ppm.  For the other case with Ca at 105 ppm, its a little extreme and this water almost certainly would have been decarbonated by boiling back in the day since the alkalinity is really high.  Therefore, the actual calcium content would be about 20 ppm after boiling and decanting.  I assumed that the HCO3 was brought down to 80 ppm.  

I'd still go with the 42 ppm Ca number and stick with all the other values as is.  The SO4/Cl ratio is only slightly bitter of balanced.  Of course, I'd recommend that the HCO3 content be adjusted as needed to fit your mash grist.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 09:10:10 AM by mabrungard »
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook for occasional discussions on brewing water and Bru'n Water
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brun-Water/464551136933908

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6190
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2011, 09:09:41 AM »
I found this profile which is a little higher in sulphate but I don't know how much difference it would make. Samuel Smith's Old Brewery is still using well water from a well sunk about 300 years ago. It was sunk through an old limestone quarry. Hard water is the key here. I think using either of the profiles will lend a very malty profile for sure. As far as the balance of anion to cations, I'm not sure what could be causing that to occur but this profile is a standard profile. Martin or Kai could probably explain the imbalance.
Calcium (Ca)= 105.0
Magnesium (Mg)= 17.0
Sodium (Na)= 23.0
Sulfate (SO4)= 66.0
Chloride (C1)= 30.0
Bicarbonate (HC03)= 153.0
PH= 8.33
That is the one I used a few years ago.  Hard yes, but also has a fair amount of alkalinity.  Munich water is about that for HCO3, and they adjust that down for Helles.  Let Bru'water and you rpH meter be yoiur guide for a lighter beer.  TTL is about 5 or 6 SRM.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1367
  • Rebelling against cheap swill since 2005
    • View Profile
    • Bauhaus Brew Labs
Re: Cation/Anion Question re: Water Profiles
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2011, 09:34:01 AM »
I've targeted the following profile for this beer: 40 Ca, 4 Mg, 17 Na, 37 Cl, 69 SO4.  Not that far off from Martin's suggestion.
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
AHA Member

Partial-Mash Pictorial
All-Grain Pictorial