Water treatment noob - help

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by antlerwrestler19, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. antlerwrestler19

    antlerwrestler19 Nov 24, 2010 Nebraska
    Beer Trader

    I haven't had much experience doing water treatments and adjusting water chemistry so I'm wondering if I can get some insight from the more experienced brewers. Here is what the most recent analysis looks like from my water treatment plant: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&...afe&zw&sig=AHIEtbTr1Ulv33DDP0OIym-HusdW3KahhQ

    Any help is appreciated. Just looking for some pointers on what you would do.


  2. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Can't load the document, am logged into Google.
  3. inchrisin

    inchrisin Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    I'm at work on explorer 2.0ish. I can't load the document either ;) From what I know about playing with water you want to go easy. You're in a good place that you know your system and know what changing your water is doing to your brews. That's a plus. Lots of people, including Gordon Strong, start with RO water and just add a little hardness back into it. I believe this is through calcium carbonate and calcium chloride. Gypsum is common too. Usually a tsp of any of the above.

    Edit: Ward Lab does a water profile for under 20 bucks and it would be a good time of year to test your tap water to see where you're starting. Personally, I usually use a 50/50 ratio of tap to RO water. All my beers turn out good, if not great.
  4. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Gordon Strong mainly uses CaCl2 and CaSO4 (gypsum). Maybe Chalk, but I can't remember if that or baking soda for beers with darker malts.

    You may be fine with a 50/50 mix, mine would take a 9 to 1 ratio of RO to tap to get the alkalinity down, so I just use RO.
  5. antlerwrestler19

    antlerwrestler19 Nov 24, 2010 Nebraska
    Beer Trader

    Were you able to load the document finally? It loads just fine for me on both my phone and computer but that may be because I downloaded the document to both.

    I need to read back through that portion of his book and impart the knowledge upon my water. I'm not much of a brilliant chemist but I'd like to begin adjusting my water to see how much of a difference it makes in my finished products. I've made some great beer, but I want to know what the next step can provide.
  6. marquis

    marquis Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Chalk is totally insoluble and will simply fall to the bottom.It does work if added to the mash though. Bicarbonates are not good things to have for many reasons.
  7. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I get a message that the document is no longer there.
  8. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Chalk is not totally insoluble. However, it's solubility is not very good. And it's not very good in the mash either.
  9. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    You can dissolve it with CO2 if you want to do the work.
  10. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Yeah. But way to much work (I assume, though I've never tried it) when there are easier ways to increase pH.
  11. Spider889

    Spider889 Mar 24, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I can't speak to your water report, I think you'll have to just dig in there yourself if you're looking to get serious about your water chemistry. What I can tell you is that I've been seeing excellent results using gypsum with city water (pretty standard hardness; not soft at all) from a commercial brewery. Hop punch/potency and aroma are noticeably improved and there's been a small improvement in efficiency. Have yet to see it used on a non-hoppy beer though, but I imagine it's something that will aid most styles.

    I, too tend to gloss over water treatment chapters in brewing books. As a homebrewer I feel that until I am ready to get serious about water and teach myself everything (as I recommend to you) then I'm only wasting my time and frustrating my brain trying to read through what is almost always the most technical portion of any texts I have seen.
  12. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Pickling lime.
  13. koopa

    koopa Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    My guess would be possibly due to the effect brewing salts have on the ph of your water (lowering it if using gypsum or calcium chloride of course).
  14. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude May 2, 2006 Utah

    The zeroth-order water treatment is to use water that tastes good and leave it at that. This is my advice for someone is who starting out. There are plenty other aspects of brewing to work on / improve before getting twisted into a knot about water. My advice, FWIW.

    If you really must mess around with water, then I suggest that you start with Gordons Strong's approach (details are in his book), which can be summarized (more or less) as follows:

    (1) Remove any chlorine and make sure that the alkalinity is not too high (Gordon starts with RO water, which kills both of these birds with one stone.)
    (3) Use phosphoric acid to get the mash pH to the proper range
    (4) Use CaCl or CaSO_4 to provide necessary calcium, with the ratio of the two dependent upon the beer style.
  15. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

  16. antlerwrestler19

    antlerwrestler19 Nov 24, 2010 Nebraska
    Beer Trader

    How?!....apparently I'm a fuckin' computer noob too haha!
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