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Beginners Guide to Water Treatment (plus links to more advanced water treatment in post #1)

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Argentum

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Your water authority must routinely switch its sources, and or blend them differently. It's the only explanation I have. If they are not single sourced for water, you are out of luck.
 

Lee Brown

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I’ve also emailed water company to ask them this. If so, I’m as well buying RO or bottled water.
 

Markgee

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Finally getting my head around this water stuff thanks to Steve's guides. Really appreciate the time you have taken to write these threads up.........and the replies to my PMs!
 

Lee Brown

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@strange-steve and @Argentum Following a number of discrepancies, I asked Murphy's to let me know if it is possible the test was erroneous. They retested and there were some irregularities. To their credit they have requested another sample. Be interesting to see if there is a small or big difference.
 

Lee Brown

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Ok @Argentum my water board has come back to me and they have said:

Mean Max Min
Calcium (mg/l) 110 130 93
Sulphate (mg/l) 110.7 121.4 101.9
Chloride (mg/l) 86.6 90 81
Magnesium (mg/l) 10.7 12 10
PH 7.4 7.6 7.2
alkalinity (HCO3) mg/l 216 220 210

The supply comes from Hanningfield Treatment Works. This is fed by the River Blackwater and River Chelmer. The supply changes between the rivers for operational purposes. I've used 2018 -19 data for calcium and magnesium for a broader range.



Now I await Murphy and Son's retest with baited breath!
 

Argentum

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The mean values balance for cation and anion mEq's if you presume roughly 62 ppm sodium.

9.5 mL of your 75% phosphoric acid will treat 30 Liters to a pH of between about 5.4 and 5.45.

The extremes are not as extreme as I would initially have expected. Your water should be usable.

I just mailed off a sample of my well water to Ward Labs today for analysis. Your water is great compared to my well water. A budget line GH/KH test kit from API told me that my total hardness is 757 ppm, and my alkalinity is 437 ppm. My TDS meter reads 876 ppm. It will be interesting to see what Ward Labs says.

BTW: TDS is roughly equal to Ca+Mg+Na+Cl+SO4+Bicarb/2 (I.E, half of the bicarb)
 
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Lee Brown

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Holy mother of God! That is harder than Thanos. You’ll need a bucket of acid.

I am awaiting Murphy’s analysis, but I am hoping it’ll be nearer these water board readings. If not, I will be flummoxed.
 

Lee Brown

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@Argentum How did you arrive at 9.5ml of 75% phosphoric acid? Does that strip most alkalinity?

What are your thoughts on when to add salt additions (gyspum and CaCl)? SOme say in mash and sparge water. John Palmer's book suggests in the kettle and the rest in the fermentor.
 

Argentum

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MW of CaCO3 = 100.0869

Equivalent weight of CaCO3 = 100.0869/2 = 50.04345 (since Ca is +2 in charge)

216/50.04345 = 4.316 mEq/L alkalinity

30L x 4.316 mEq/L = 129.5 mEq's

129.5 mEq/12.1 mEq/mL = 10.7 mL of 75% phosphoric acid to take the water to 4.3 pH and thereby achieve zero alkalinity

10.7 * 0.9 = 9.6 mL to hit pH 5.4

Therefore 9.5 mL for perhaps ~5.45 pH

If you are splitting your water in two for mash/sparge water add half of this to each 15L.

***To leave behind 100 ppm alkalinity in the mash water only, this would become (for a presumed 15L of mash water)***

(216 -100)/50.04345 = 2.318 mEq/L of alkalinity to remove

15L x 2.318 mEq/L = 34.77 mEq's of alkalinity to be removed

34.77 mEq/12.1 mEq/mL = ~2.9 mL of 75% phosphoric acid (to leave ~100 ppm alkalinity in the mash water)

Note: No matter how you treat the mash water as to it's desired remaining ppm alkalinity, you will want to treat sparge water separately to drop it to a pH of ~5.4-5.5.
 
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Argentum

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I don't sparge, but if I did I would add non-alkaline minerals to both mash and sparge water to achieve the same ppm's for both, and add alkalizing minerals (only if called for) exclusively to mash water. Calcium in the mash is beneficial, so many choose to add minerals to mash only, and treat sparge water only to drop it to ~pH 5.4-5.5. With your alkalinity you may never find it necessary to add additional alkalinity to your mash water. And yet others add non-alkaline minerals to the kettle post run-off. The choice is yours...
 
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Argentum

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I've made an initial estimate that CRS/AMS has an acid strength of ~3.66 mEq/mL. It's not available here. Would someone more versed in its actual use please let me know if this initial estimate sounds about right.
 

Lee Brown

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When I get my Murphy report back, I’ll get CRS recommendations to reduce alkalinity based on my report. Could you work backwards from this?
 

Argentum

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As I understand it, Calcium in the mash has at least this list of benefits (to which there may be additional benefits):

1) Stabilizes the Alpha Amylase enzyme so it does not get degraded as rapidly at mash temperature.
2) Precipitates malt oxalates in the mash that may lead to downstream haze issues and potentially even bottle gushers (if not precipitated in the mash).
3) Liberates H+ from malt phosphates and thereby lowers mash pH.

One big difference that I see between US and UK home brewing is that in the US we tend to presume that around 50 mg/L of Ca++ ions is generally sufficient in the mash, whereas in the UK the perception (or rather, my perception) is that it may be more like 100-150 mg/L as the desired range for Ca++ ions. That plus we don't have CRS/AMS here, and this is perhaps because (IPA's excluded) we don't typically target as much chloride or sulfate in our beers. And lastly in the USA we generally advise to not add magnesium, or at least to keep it on the very low ppm side, with the perception that the only thing it can contribute is an undesirably nasty/bitter flavor. I doubt if there are any hard and fast rights or wrongs here. Our differences in approach may stem from a more German influence to US brewing. ???
 
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