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BeerTools Discussion Forum • View topic - Understanding my Water Analysis

Understanding my Water Analysis

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

Moderator: slothrob

Understanding my Water Analysis

Postby Legman » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:29 am

I just got a water analysis from my local water supply. This is what they sent:

Alkalinity (CaCO3, CO3, or "carbonate" content) >20 mg/l
Calcium .6 - 1.4 mg/l
Chloride(Chlorine is what we test) .5 - 1.2 ppm
Hardness 6 mg/l
Magnesium Haven't Tested For
pH >7.0
Sodium .6 - .9 mg/l
Sulfate 16.6 mg/l
Iron Finished Water No Detect

I haven't messed with the chemistry of my water as of yet and I'm not really sure what I'm looking at or what to do with it. I am not necessarily trying to match any particular water profile, just maybe to improve what I have a little. I have been using 5.2 Ph Stabilizer in my mash to help control the Ph levels. Even though I have not checked the actual Ph, it has seem to stabilize my mash efficiency.
From what I've read, seems like I'm extremely low in Calcium for what is recommended for most styles of beer. Should I adjust this? If so, with what?

I'm slightly confused. :?
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Postby slothrob » Sat Mar 07, 2009 1:30 am

Yes, you have very low calcium and should adjust it up to around 50-150 ppm. What you adjust it with will depend on the beer you are making, particularly the SRM and wether you want it to be hoppy or malty.
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Postby Legman » Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:53 am

If I were trying to raise the Calcuim, Alkalinity and Sulfate levels, would it be incorrect to use both chalk and gypsum together?
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Postby slothrob » Sat Mar 07, 2009 10:02 am

There probably aren't many situations where you would need to add much CaCO3 when you want to also add Gypsum, just because that would imply a darker beer in which you want to accentuate the hoppiness, which is atypical. Darker beers usually accentuate the maltiness which would indicate a CaCl addition instead of Gypsum.

Having said that... yes, to raise the Ca++ without dropping the pH too far, you balance a CaCl or Gypsum addition with a Carbonate addition.

The ions that don't go well together in higher concentrations are Sulfate and Sodium, but that shouldn't be a problem in your water.

If you don't have it already, you should get John Palmer's residual alkalinity spreadsheet found at the bottom of . With the water calculator in BTP, you really just need it to calculate your target RA. That would be a great addition to BTP, by the way, Jeff.
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Postby Legman » Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:12 pm

Hmmm....Ok. I'll have to look into this more.
Thanks Slothrob!
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Postby slothrob » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:32 am

The best place to start with water modification is . Read it 2 or 3 times and it will start to click. The big concept is Residual Alkalinity. Try to come away from reading that chapter with an understanding of Residual Alkalinity and when you would add CaCl2, Gypsum, NaHCO3, or CaCO3.

The less scientific way to do this is to mash in and check the pH. Then, add CaCl2 or Gypsum to lower the pH or CaCO3 to raise the pH until you hit the proper range. You may not end up with the ideal Ca++ concentration, but you'll boost it some.[/code]
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Postby Legman » Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:34 pm

I've read that multiple times. It makes a little sense now. I'll have to go over it some more.:roll:

In there it was talking about the benefits of CA++ has to the mash enzymes and what not. Since my current CA++ is almost non-existent, do you think there would be an increase in mash efficiency by increasing the CA++ levels?
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Postby slothrob » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:14 pm

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Postby Legman » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:09 pm

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Re: Water

Postby slothrob » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:40 am

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Postby Legman » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:41 am

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Postby slothrob » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:27 am

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Postby Legman » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:34 pm

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Postby slothrob » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:28 pm

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Postby Legman » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:46 pm

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