water additions

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Via a combination of the calculator links on the website and welsh water composition, I'm ready to do my first water treatment.

I stand corrected when I said on a previous post they must have changed over to chloramine as I was getting a thin film on the top of a cup of tea. Apologies for this.:oops:

It does mean that boiling the water will remove the chlorine. It does require a longer boiling time that a kettle is on but a 20 mins + boil removes it. I only do a part boil of less than 20 mins so I don't have to change anything to my existing process. I do know a local brewer uses standard tap water and just adds gypsum and their pale beers are amazing, so maybe I don't even need a campden tablet?

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I think using a bit of a campden tablet is well worth it, for peace of mind.

The brewery probably fill their cold liquor tank the day before brewday and it will likely sit overnight allowing any chlorine to evaporate.
 
I've never used campden tablets. I've also never had an issue with off flavours due to chloramine/chlorine either. It's one less thing for me to worry about. But it's not exactly hard to add a campden tablet and if it gives you peace of mind, then thumb. .

Sometimes I measure out the brewing liquor the night beforehand (mash and sparge) and let it sit to allow chlorine to off-gas/evaporate out. I can't say I've noticed any difference with it. But it does make the start of the brewday a bit quicker if everything's ready to go (actually, I've now got into the habit of using the grainfather delayed start so that it's up to strike temperature when I wake up in the morning).
 
The water board values are averages and can be old. Have you read Strange Steve's posts on water treatment? Good info on testing your tap water using aquarium test kits.
 
The summary page from Dwr Cymru has got pretty useful recently. Just about all you need and without having to trawl through the analysis lists. But you can cut it down a wee bit more (I've recently been going through my report and found some useful shortcuts):

Let's start with "Hardness", the traditional arcane method of describing water and the one many UK old hands at brewing relied on. It takes up a block of six squares in your report.

"Hardness [Calcium] (mg/l)" at "39.00". It's actually a figure "as CaCO3" (this will be fun because there is no CaCO3 in your water). Take your "Calcium (mg/l)" and multiply it by the "magic number" of 2.5 ... 15.5 x 2.5 = 38.75. Cor, that's close to "39.00"!

"Hardness [Magnesium] (mg/l)". Heck, it's blank! Never mind, take your "Magnesium (mg/l)" figure and multiply it by the magic number for Magnesium (4.1) ... 1.31 x 4.1 = 5.37. That'll do (I hate blank boxes!).

Add those two together ... 38.75 + 5.37 = 44.12. Isn't that similar to "Hardness [Total] (mg/l)" at "45.08"? The proper figure is a tiny bit higher because it's counting metals (cations) that are pretty insignificant in tap water.

These are an example of how the "as CaCO3" nonsense can be useful (if you've only got a pencil and paper to work with).

The other three (e.g. "Hardness [English] (°eH)") are just variations on displaying the "Hardness [Total]" figure.

Eee, that was fun. Now, forget all of it ... you don't need any of it! You've got all you need in the remaining nine boxes, the "Bicarbonate (mg/l)" and "Alkalinity [blah, blah] (mg/l as CaCO3)" covers all you might have gleaned from arcane "Hardness".

Ignore anyone telling you to use "RO water", distilled water, bottled water, etc. You don't need it. And skip aquarium test kits for Alkalinity as they have an accuracy greater than your documented Alkalinity (30mg/l accuracy on my Salifert kit).
 
"Hardness [Calcium] (mg/l)" at "39.00". It's actually a figure "as CaCO3" (this will be fun because there is no CaCO3 in your water). Take your "Calcium (mg/l)" and multiply it by the "magic number" of 2.5 ... 15.5 x 2.5 = 38.75. Cor, that's close to "39.00"!
Surely that's assuming that the only calcium in your water is in the form of CaCO3. If there is other forms of calcium (eg, from Calcium Chloride or any other compound) that would result in a different value for the Ca2+ ions?
 
Surely that's assuming that the only calcium in your water is in the form of CaCO3. ...
Nah! Don't worry, I expect folk not to understand it. I didn't for quite a while. And loads of comments in this forum suggest many people have the wrong end of the stick. It's my favourite griping subject at the moment too!

It's not helped by authorities using it without the magic word ... "as".

A clearer illustration is that "Hardness [Magnesium] (mg/l)": What's that got to do with CaCO3? That "Magic Number" of 4.1 converts Mg²+ to "CaCO3" (equivalent, or "as"). I guess they chose CaCO3 because people associate it with "hardness", though it is not exactly soluble in water! It just happens to have a molar mass (weight) of 100 (... point zero and a few other digits) which is very handy for the pen and paper brigade.

You can do things like I illustrated previously: Convert both Mg²+ and Ca²+ to "as" CaCO3, simply add them together and voila ... "Hardness (as CaCO3)". (Any other hardness cations don't add up to enough in tap water to be bothered with).

It's all useless tittle tattle. Stick to "Alkalinity" and let water calculators do the hard calculation work. I hadn't even realised previously that I had slipped into using "Alkalinity" and not "Hardness" ... using Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) as an addition to correct pH ('cos it visibly dissolves, unlike CaCO3). How much "hardness" does Sodium Bicarbonate add? Answer: Nil! Hardness is only due to bivalent and greater cations, sodium (monovalent) doesn't create hardness. Slaked Lime creates loads of hardness (can reduce it in the right circumstances) but the hydroxyl anions reduce pH ... the world of alkalinity not hardness.

So. Ignore hardness, it just makes a confusing subject more confusing! And doesn't add anything useful. Ignore "as CaCO3" while about it. Brew beer, not confusion.
 
Blast ... you can't really ignore "as CaCO3" because "Alkalinity" is often expressed "as CaCO3". Just be careful what you read into those imaginary "as CaCO3" units.

On the subject of "Alkalinity": The "magic number" for Bicarbonate to be expressed "as CaCO3" is 0.82. In that report above Bicarbonate is 24.68mg/l. So; "as CaCO3" it's 24.68 x 0.82 = 20.24mg/l as CaCO3. "Alkalinity" has been given the figure of 20.23mg/l as CaCO3 in the same report. Told you "Alkalinity" is almost entirely (or completely) due to Bicarbonate in UK tap water (tap water in most other places about the world too).

So, most people (All? Certainly in the UK and if using tap water) can get "Alkalinity" or "Bicarbonate" from the other even when they've only got a value for one or the other.

And if I can't ignore "as CaCO3" completely, I can certainly ignore water "hardness" completely (along with any soap suds to work with it).

**********

Am I making this subject easier to understand? Or is it too cluttered with explanation and "proofs"? My aim is to return the subject to its old dead easy to understand format instead of the ridiculously complex mire of nonsense it's got itself into. And I'm trying to do it while hauling myself out of the same mire! Everyone else has gone quiet, which is very unusual for a trendy "water" discussion.

There are some useful notes in this:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=36517.0
If you've got the stamina for some really "heavy" chatter ... exactly what I don't want to replicate here but has been useful for info (includes Martin Brungard and "Silver_is_Money" to give it a bit of credibility).
 
I've never used campden tablets. I've also never had an issue with off flavours due to chloramine/chlorine either. It's one less thing for me to worry about. But it's not exactly hard to add a campden tablet and if it gives you peace of mind, then thumb. .

👍🏼👍🏼 I never have either

Don't fix a problem you don't have.
 
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I do know a local brewer uses standard tap water and just adds gypsum and their pale beers are amazing, so maybe I don't even need a campden tablet?

You have a local brewer, who makes "amazing" beer and you are choosing to go your own way?


I sure as sh** wish I had had a brewer (that makes amazing beer) close by when I started having water problems.
 
Via a combination of the calculator links on the website and welsh water composition, I'm ready to do my first water treatment.

I stand corrected when I said on a previous post they must have changed over to chloramine as I was getting a thin film on the top of a cup of tea. Apologies for this.:oops:

It does mean that boiling the water will remove the chlorine. It does require a longer boiling time that a kettle is on but a 20 mins + boil removes it. I only do a part boil of less than 20 mins so I don't have to change anything to my existing process. I do know a local brewer uses standard tap water and just adds gypsum and their pale beers are amazing, so maybe I don't even need a campden tablet?

View attachment 85148
If you get your water sorted the night before then no need for a Campden tablet. Distance from the reservoir makes a difference too, the further away you are depletes the chlorine. Treat all your beers according to the base malt, don't mash the un fermentables cold steep, hot steep or add at mash out. That way water additions remain fairly constant. Stick with salts, chloride and gypsum a bit of acid if needed. Magnesium you will have more than enough in the grain. I put galvanised nuts on my lifting gear, that will keep the yeast happy with the bit of zinc extracted by the acidic wort. Martin Brungard has good advice on his blogs.
 
You have a local brewer, who makes "amazing" beer and you are choosing to go your own way?


I sure as sh** wish I had had a brewer (that makes amazing beer) close by when I started having water problems.
I'm copying what he does as that's what he did to knock his pales out of the park. Maybe others may disagree in which case we both share the same taste when it comes to pales
 
If you get your water sorted the night before then no need for a Campden tablet. Distance from the reservoir makes a difference too, the further away you are depletes the chlorine. Treat all your beers according to the base malt, don't mash the un fermentables cold steep, hot steep or add at mash out. That way water additions remain fairly constant. Stick with salts, chloride and gypsum a bit of acid if needed. Magnesium you will have more than enough in the grain. I put galvanised nuts on my lifting gear, that will keep the yeast happy with the bit of zinc extracted by the acidic wort. Martin Brungard has good advice on his blogs.
Cheers, I tend to use malt extracts, I do occasionally use grains though.
 
Wrexham area comes out of the Dee.
Yeuch! Watch out, that's downstream from me!

Do they actually extract from the Dee, or isn't your water actually from Alwen (major tributary of Dee) like mine? ...

(Oh aye! Hafren Dyfrdwy, a sort of sidearm or partner of Dwr Cymru).
 
Not in my area at least according to the screenshot at the start of the thread. It doesn't make it clear if this is for ALL of dwr cymru - there is a chunk of wales who get their water from a different company (mid wales away from the coast).
Yes, there's certainly a need for individuals to ascertain what is used in their supply, and to view the two processes as requiring entirely seperate consideration.
 
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