Water Softeners & Reverse Osmosis

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Water Softeners & Reverse Osmosis

Postby BillyBock » Sat Jul 23, 2005 8:59 am

Moving is always a challenge, especially when you have to deal with new water situations for brewing :( I just moved to Ohio, the water here is pretty hard, 24 grains/gal. The house I'm in now has an ion-exchange water softener (it uses sodium chloride) for both hot and cold water. I understand how these systems work. My sodium level at the tap is about 200ppm! Yikes...definitely not brewing with that. Consequently, I haven't used it for drinking water either because I feel like I'm drinking out of the ocean.

I'm considering installing a reverse osmosis (RO) system--the feed water will be the softened water. As far as I can tell, these remove nearly all the sodium (amongst other things) and I'll be left with near-distilled water. My plan is to plumb this to the fridge to supply drinking water and make ice (with the side benefit of having brewing water). Does anyone have experience with RO systems, especially if the feed water is softened water with sodium?

v/r
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Water Stripping...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:19 am

Bill;

In your case, this is actually the way to go. Ionic exchange does simply what it says.... swaps one set of ions for another. In the case of water softeners, this is one salt for another. Softened water is completly unsuitable for brewing. R/O water is also, but unlike softened water, it can be re-fortified to brewing water quality. But... to do it properly, you will have to send the RO water to a lab for analysis. I don't mean potability analysis like that water deparments publish, I mean a brewing water analysis. Once this is in hand, you can easily calculate what fortification will be required given any targeted beer style. Actually, you have an advantage few of us possess... you will have the ultimate in water adjustment flexibility and can simulate softer waters to produce Pilsners and other styles that are otherwise difficult to re-create. :D
Make your next beer (or spirit) a local one!!!!

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Postby BillyBock » Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:04 am

Mesa: Thanks for the response. I'd probably have to use Ward Labs or something like that for the testing. I still don't have the RO system yet--been busy getting to other brewery upgrade projects while I have this down time. For the time being I'll just buy bottled water--gotta get those kegs filled back up because right now I'm buying commercial beer :cry:
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