Author Topic: Eastern Nebraska Water!  (Read 841 times)

Offline jtconrad74

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Eastern Nebraska Water!
« on: May 06, 2011, 09:18:22 PM »
Got my water analysys today from Ward Labs in Kearny, NE.  Here it is, any ideas on additions to make my water better?  I use a 5 gallon Igloo cooler "system" for mashing and sparging, boiling in a 40 quart kettle.  I have a cream ale and oatmeal stout on deck for my brews this weekend.

pH 7.3
total disolved solids 385
cations/anions/me/L 6.9 / 6.9

-ppm-
sodium 25
potassium 3
calcium 85
magnesium 18
total hardness 288
nitrate 3.8
sulfate 9
chloride 3
carbonate <1
bicarbonate 366
total alkalinity 300


Offline nateo

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Re: Eastern Nebraska Water!
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2011, 11:19:37 PM »
You'll probably need a lot of phosphoric acid. Dudadiesel.com sells 75% phosphoric for cheap. Aside from the bicarbonate, there's nothing on there that's bad. You're pretty low on everything, with maybe medium amounts of calcium.

I would get martin's spreadsheet to help you out:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/
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Offline punatic

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Re: Eastern Nebraska Water!
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2011, 12:30:05 AM »
Aside from the bicarbonate, there's nothing on there that's bad. You're pretty low on everything, with maybe medium amounts of calcium.


Total hardness of 288 mg/L is very hard water.  (their math is wrong, it should read 286)
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Offline nateo

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Re: Eastern Nebraska Water!
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2011, 09:22:04 AM »
Aside from the bicarbonate, there's nothing on there that's bad. You're pretty low on everything, with maybe medium amounts of calcium.


Total hardness of 288 mg/L is very hard water.  (their math is wrong, it should read 286)

Yeah, but with that much bicarbonate it's mostly temporary hardness. Boiling or lime would take care of most of it.
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Eastern Nebraska Water!
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2011, 03:04:42 AM »
Here it is, any ideas on additions to make my water better? 

I'd say that, unless you have your technique absolutely down, water mineral adjustments should be the last thing on your list. Just adjust your mash pH to 5.2 and don't mess with mineral additions.

If you've got your mashing and cold side process wired, then for what you're brewing, your water looks pretty good. It's pretty close to Munich in profile. You could add a bit of salt (NaCl, Cl = 200-400 mg/l, Na = 2-100 mg/l), since at moderate levels they enhance sweetness and give beer a "mellow" profile which might be welcome in an oatmeal stout or cream ale. If you want to brew a Burton-style IPA, you'd need a lot more sulfates though - lay on the gypsum (CaSO4).  Stay away from magnesium, though, you've got enough of those. Over 30 mg/l Mg imparts a harsh bitter taste.

Finally, don't assume your water profile will remain the same year round. If  you're using city water your water profile might change a lot over the course of the year, depending on where your water company gets its water. If you are using well water, hot weather and heavy irrigation use might reduce flow and change your mineral profile. If you have problems getting your mash pH where it should be this summer, or you notice your beer seeming less "minerally" in the winter, you might want to do another water analysis.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Eastern Nebraska Water!
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2011, 04:20:58 AM »
Here it is, any ideas on additions to make my water better? 

If you've got your mashing and cold side process wired, then for what you're brewing, your water looks pretty good. It's pretty close to Munich in profile. You could add a bit of salt (NaCl, Cl = 200-400 mg/l, Na = 2-100 mg/l), since at moderate levels they enhance sweetness and give beer a "mellow" profile which might be welcome in an oatmeal stout or cream ale.

While I generally agree with this sentiment, the levels quoted for Na and Cl are mucher higher than preferred.  The chloride levels should never exceed 150 ppm and the preferred level is under 100 ppm.  Keeping sodium moderate is also recommended.  Palmer's reference of allowing up to 350 ppm chloride is just plain wrong.  There are no historical brewing center water profiles with chloride levels above 140 ppm.   
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Offline punatic

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Re: Eastern Nebraska Water!
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2011, 04:49:51 AM »
Most people begin to taste saltiness in drinking water when the chloride concentration reaches 250 ppm.
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Eastern Nebraska Water!
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2011, 05:19:50 AM »
While I generally agree with this sentiment, the levels quoted for Na and Cl are mucher higher than preferred.  The chloride levels should never exceed 150 ppm and the preferred level is under 100 ppm.  Keeping sodium moderate is also recommended.  Palmer's reference of allowing up to 350 ppm chloride is just plain wrong.  There are no historical brewing center water profiles with chloride levels above 140 ppm.   

Yeah. The top end for Na and Cl are pretty darned high. Perception threshold and appropriate levels depend heavily on beer style, wort gravity, etc. Serves me right for just plugging in number ranges from a book. Keep the NaCl levels in the double digits and use kosher (non-iodinized) salt - iodine throws harsh flavors and can kill yeast.