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

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strange-steve

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Pretty pleased with myself bought the two kits for alkalinity and calcium testing and tested my tap water here in Medway this evening.
Alkalinity tested as high at 275ppm. My southern water, water report for my area says hardness is 260.
Calcium tested at 145ppm. Cannot find this on the water report, maybe I don't know what to look for
From the water report the total chlorine varies between 0.43 and 0.85 depending on what source.

My conclusions: I am have only done 3 AG BIAB brews using very simple SMASH like brews using maris otter and 1-3 traditional english hops and my conclusion is for my next brew using maris otter and 1-3 traditional english hops (some combination of fuggles, east kent goldings and challenger)
I will add a quarter campden tablet pre-heat to both the mash and sparge water:
I have bought home some lactic acid and gypsum, today from the local brewery I am getting experience at.
Add 0.3 ml of the lactic acid per litre that I puts in the pre-heated mash and sparge water and. I have a 1.25ml measuring spoon, borrowed from the kitchen. I assume a leveled measuring spoonful of lactic acid is 1.25ml. I have never used measuring spoons before.
For the calcium I will not add any gypsum.

Any reply, comment, help would be appreciated to a newbie
Hi Adefm, well done on getting the test kits thumb.

First of all I would suggest that in your situation you'd probably be better off using CRS rather than lactic acid to reduce alkalinity. In the OP I think I suggest 0.3ml/l as a max for lactic acid which is a bit lower than the supposed taste threshold of 0.4ml/l but I've heard anecdotally that some can taste it at quite a bit less than that.

Plus even at that limit it won't reduce your alkalinity enough. For a MO smash you'd probably want to reduce alkalinity to around 30ppm or so which would require about 0.46ml/l lactic acid or about 1.27ml/l CRS.

Also I agree with @cheeseyfeet, a syringe is much better for measuring out acid additions.
 

adefm

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Okay. I think I will have to live with using a bit of lactic acid or nothing for the time being and have high alkalinity for my next brew as I am doing at the moment.

CRS is on my Xmas shopping list. Amazon is charging £2.50 + 5.99 P&P. Or the next time I do a big homebrew online order I will get it.
I have a 5 ml syringe with my KH/Alkalinity, which I use for getting 4ml of water for testing. Could I use this as long as I wash it after? I tend to brew 10L FV batch sizes.
 

adefm

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Okay, I have ordered some CRS and protofloc tablets and now have campden tablets.
I have tied myself into knots using the water calculator on this website and the brewer's friend water calculation stuff then went back to what steve strange wrote for basic water treatment
For my next brew 2.3 kg maris otter, hops:fuggles 20g 60min, EKG 30 minutes, challenger 5mins.
There will be 14 L total water, 7.5 mash volume/6.5 sparge, repeating my brew 3 but with water treatment ending up with 10 L FV batch volume:
My plan is
Add a quarter campden tablet pre-heat to both the mash and sparge water
Add 13ml of CRS pre-heat to both the mash (7ml) and sparge water(6ml)
Even though I have a ca of 145ppm I will add 1 gram of gypsum pre-heat to both the mash (0.6ml) and sparge water(0.4ml) for the sulphate.
Add 1/4 of a protofloc tablet 15 minutes before the end of the boil.

Then see how this brew 4 differs from brew 3 down the road.
 

strange-steve

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Okay, I have ordered some CRS and protofloc tablets and now have campden tablets.
I have tied myself into knots using the water calculator on this website and the brewer's friend water calculation stuff then went back to what steve strange wrote for basic water treatment
For my next brew 2.3 kg maris otter, hops:fuggles 20g 60min, EKG 30 minutes, challenger 5mins.
There will be 14 L total water, 7.5 mash volume/6.5 sparge, repeating my brew 3 but with water treatment ending up with 10 L FV batch volume:
My plan is
Add a quarter campden tablet pre-heat to both the mash and sparge water
Add 13ml of CRS pre-heat to both the mash (7ml) and sparge water(6ml)
Even though I have a ca of 145ppm I will add 1 gram of gypsum pre-heat to both the mash (0.6ml) and sparge water(0.4ml) for the sulphate.
Add 1/4 of a protofloc tablet 15 minutes before the end of the boil.

Then see how this brew 4 differs from brew 3 down the road.
You could go a bit higher with the CRS, about 17 ml total would bring the alkalinity down to roughly the right level.
 

meirion658

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Evening all, I'm in the process of setting up all grain Crona clone for SWMBO tomorrow and getting all the water sorted etc.

I have just measured my Calcium which comes in at 40ppm. is this ok for lager style beers as I note on the front page that low calcium levels are ok for Lager? or have i got all wrong again lol
 
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strange-steve

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Evening all, I'm in the process of setting up all grain Crona clone for SWMBO tomorrow and getting all the water sorted etc.

I have just measured my Calcium which comes in at 40ppm. is this ok for lager style beers as I note on the front page that low calcium levels are ok for Lager? or have i got all wrong again lol
It'll be OK to use as is, but also don't be afraid to add a little extra calcium if you want to.
 

AMyd666

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Thanks Steve. I've emailed the water board for those details too. I'll keep reading through this post to get a better understanding 👍
Hi Steve

Received this detail just now. With my alkalinity strip I says ph 7.0, with alkalinity 80ppm. Got to figure out now what it means for porters (my next brew) , Stouts, IPA etc.

_20200813_160132.JPG
 
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MickDundee

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I’m doing my first water treatment tomorrow night for a bitter. What kind of proportion of chloride v sulfate should I be looking at?

My starting point is super low so the existing profile is pretty much negligible . 2019 overall water hardness report ( https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=www.scottishwater.co.uk/-/media/ScottishWater/Document-Hub/Key-Publications/Water-Quality/230320WaterHardnessData2019.pdf )specifies calcium level of 13 but the detailed report ( https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/-/media/ScottishWater/Water-Quality/Data/31/202005/Water-201906-Clatto-East-Last-12-Months.pdf ) specifies 9 sulfate, 8 chloride so a small discrepancy.

It’s based on Graham Wheeler’s Boddingtons clone if that helps - slightly amended as a user upper recipe for the grain I need to use up.
 
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strange-steve

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I’m doing my first water treatment tomorrow night for a bitter. What kind of proportion of chloride v sulfate should I be looking at?

My starting point is super low so the existing profile is pretty much negligible . 2019 overall water hardness report ( 230320WaterHardnessData2019.pdf )specifies calcium level of 13 but the detailed report ( https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/-/media/ScottishWater/Water-Quality/Data/31/202005/Water-201906-Clatto-East-Last-12-Months.pdf ) specifies 9 sulfate, 8 chloride so a small discrepancy.

It’s based on Graham Wheeler’s Boddingtons clone if that helps - slightly amended as a user upper recipe for the grain I need to use up.
Well since it's based on GW's recipe I'd be inclined to use his bitter profile from his calculator (here) which is as follows:
150 ppm calcium
10 ppm magnesium
40 ppm sodium
25 ppm alkalinity
273 ppm sulphate
137 ppm chloride

Personally I wouldn't be too worried about adjusting magnesium or sodium.
 

MickDundee

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Well since it's based on GW's recipe I'd be inclined to use his bitter profile from his calculator (here) which is as follows:
150 ppm calcium
10 ppm magnesium
40 ppm sodium
25 ppm alkalinity
273 ppm sulphate
137 ppm chloride

Personally I wouldn't be too worried about adjusting magnesium or sodium.
I only have the equipment to adjust the chloride and the sulphate anyway. I’ll just crack on with twice as much sulphate as chloride and see how it turns out. It’ll still be better than my tap water.
 

AMyd666

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I can't read the values there I'm afraid.
Sorry. Here you go.

Hardness classification Moderately Soft
Mg Ca/l mean 37.79. Or ppm
Expressed as Calcium Carbonate Mg/l 94.48
Expressed as Calcium millimoles 0.94
Expressed as English degrees 6.61

"Alkalinity is not a test we carry out routinely so I am unable to provide accurate levels for this but based upon the sample data we have this would be in the region of 59 milligrams of Bicarbonate per litre (HCO3)."
 

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NormanHurst

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From memory for my dunkel I went for about 80ppm calcium, chloride forward (no gypsum at all), and around 60ppm alkalinity, however I found the mash pH was higher than expected. I don't think the Munich malt I used (Weyermann) is as acidic as its colour might suggest. With that in mind I would lower the alkalinity a bit more, maybe around 40ppm or so.

On another note, your recipe looks a bit light on Munich malt for a dunkel, I went 100% Munich apart from 100g of carafa special.
Hi @strange-steve - would you use a similiar water profile for a dunkelweizen as opposed to a Dunkel lager?
 

strange-steve

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Sorry. Here you go.

Hardness classification Moderately Soft
Mg Ca/l mean 37.79. Or ppm
Expressed as Calcium Carbonate Mg/l 94.48
Expressed as Calcium millimoles 0.94
Expressed as English degrees 6.61

"Alkalinity is not a test we carry out routinely so I am unable to provide accurate levels for this but based upon the sample data we have this would be in the region of 59 milligrams of Bicarbonate per litre (HCO3)."
Sorry I just saw this. Well calcium of 38 ppm and alkalinity as CaCO3 of 31 ppm (converted from bicarbonate) are quite low and therefore a good starting point for adjustment.

As per the OP use gypsum and/or calcium chloride to raise the calcium to at least 100ppm, then target the appropriate alkalinity range for the beer colour using acid or sodium bicarbonate:
For a pale beer - 20 ppm
For an amber beer - 35 ppm
For a brown beer - 75 ppm
For a black beer - 120 ppm
 

AMyd666

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Sorry I just saw this. Well calcium of 38 ppm and alkalinity as CaCO3 of 31 ppm (converted from bicarbonate) are quite low and therefore a good starting point for adjustment.

As per the OP use gypsum and/or calcium chloride to raise the calcium to at least 100ppm, then target the appropriate alkalinity range for the beer colour using acid or sodium bicarbonate:
For a pale beer - 20 ppm
For an amber beer - 35 ppm
For a brown beer - 75 ppm
For a black beer - 120 ppm
Thanks Steve. That's the summary I was looking for, as I was getting confused with the methods to raise Ca, then when to adjust ph.
I haven't adjusted my water at all so far, so wonder at what improvement water treatment could do for me personally. I'll have to find out!
Much appreciated! 👍
 

strange-steve

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Thanks Steve. That's the summary I was looking for, as I was getting confused with the methods to raise Ca, then when to adjust ph.
I haven't adjusted my water at all so far, so wonder at what improvement water treatment could do for me personally. I'll have to find out!
Much appreciated! 👍
I think for stout/porter especially you'll get a noticeable improvement by getting the calcium up to 100 - 150ppm with calcium chloride. It should really help with malt flavour and mouthfeel.
 
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