Water prepping before all grain brew advice needed please

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That calculator looks okay, but it does suggest using insoluble chalk, which you can use, but you have to be very "clever" to get what you want from it: I would not recommend trying to use "chalk". The calculator also goes on a lot about "CaCO3"; again, you can use it, but you have to be very "clever" to get what you want from it: I would not recommend trying to use "CaCO3" constructs either (yes, they are "constructs", not real things).

Same with the Brewfather software. I believe Kai Troester has something to do with it? A very clever chappie (Kai that is) who is perfectly capable of using "chalk" and "CaCO3" constructs to his advantage. Unfortunately, I don't think he realises the havoc he creates pushing those arcane methods onto us mere mortals.
I've re-read this thread now, and have tried to get a grasp on why you suggested the OPs use your defuddler, in order to understand what is going on.
It seems like you were happy with the Ca, Mg, Na, SO4 and CL from the water reports, but you weren't happy with the CO3/HCO3.

I get that figure from Salifert water tests, so I don't think I need to try to understand the defuddler.

Incidentally, with my water the HomeBrewForum calculator has never suggested that I add chalk, so that particular problem hasn't arisen.

I commend you for attempting to help other people with their water chemistry, although I have found this discussion rather baffling!

Had another look at it, created a recipe to try it out, but the problem is it only caters for lactic or phosphoric acid - not AMS/CRS. I guess I could switch to lactic if I wanted to use it.
Not perfect but may help

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peebee I phoned anglian water and asked to speak to a chemist - he said he would determine the figure and Email me - which he did...5 years ago
This water calculator from Graham Wheeler, uses AMS/CRS for alkalinity reduction.

Thanks, that one gives me broadly similar additions to the HBF calculator, but goes for a very high CRS addition (29ml), unless I use batch size for 'volume to be treated' rather than total water volume.
... I commend you for attempting to help other people with their water chemistry, although I have found this discussion rather baffling!
Sorry, I'm trying to catch a moment to cover the issues you raise, but you also wander into areas I'm not trying to cover and where others are providing better advice.

But on the "Defuddler"; what it's trying to do is provide a simple starting line. But some of that information might have to be wrenched from arcane "Hardness" values (and worse ... I'm not proud of having to mention "ion mass balancing"; it reminds me of a very old computer game I used to play - a space shoot'em-up with nasty feline aliens) ... it is "Hardness" that creates the baffling stuff! (What ... not feline aliens?). What I hope is that folk who do succeed in wrenching the stuff from "Hardness" won't have to do so again. I.E. Not "baffling", no more! That "wrenching" is what I hope the "Defuddler" is good at.

Extracting "Bicarbonate" and "Alkalinity" values seem to cause the most trouble. I hope I've covered enough examples in this thread for you to navigate through it. If you need me to elaborate any of that stuff, I will. Anything on CRS/AMS is better covered by those with experience of the stuff (I've not had so much of a whiff of it as yet).
Here's a useful tip I came across today:


I've said you can't extract "Bicarbonate" from "Total Hardness", only "Temporary Hardness" allows that. But here we've got "Alkalinity" that appears to have once been "Temporary Hardness" but it's been renamed (it's a Thames Water report). You can get away with doing that. And they are in the same units ("ppm as CaCO3"). So, "Total Hardness" - "Tempory Hardness" (aka. "Alkalinity") = "Permanent Hardness" ... (55ppm as CaCO3) ... yippee, err, but as about as much use as a chocolate fireguard. And "Temporary Hardness" x 1.22 = "Bicarbonate". Not Earth Shattering, but it is handy knowing these little inter-relationships when a bit stuck.

Another thing about Thames Water reports (apart from not trusting them further than I can throw them), I don't find a Calcium value, but they do provide a Magnessium one. The "Defuddler" will present the "Magnesium Hardness" as "ppm as CaCO3" in the "Foetid Mire". If you have the "Total Hardness" and have entered it in the "Foetid Mire", subtract the "Magnesium Hardness" figure and you have the "Calcium Hardness" figure. The "Defuddler" will convert this to plain "ppm" (multiply by 40%) and offer it to be filled into one of the top boxes.

I've stuck that note in so I don't need to add it as an upgrade to the "Defuddler" just now (I will, but it can wait for a bit just now).

... "ion mass balancing"; it reminds me of a very old computer game I used to play - a space shoot'em-up with nasty feline aliens ...
That was an opportunity to waste some time and not get on with some proper work ... like "brew more beer":

"Wing Commander" (late 1980s, early 1990s?), that was the one! Those Mass Ion Cannons were great for breaking up something big.
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“Inspired” by this thread I contacted my water company (Portsmouth Water) to enquire my water’s Magnesium content as it was not included in the water analysis. Got this reply….TRIGGER WARNING….sorry @peebee for the repeated use of the “H” word
@Buffers brewery: You know I'm not going to be nice about this one! So, any young children about ... cover their eyes! But thanks for letting me see it ... it's a marvel to look upon! (By that, I mean it's very, very, scary; and coming from the guys that I happy give some credibility to ... but I'm going to have to change that opinion in me head, aren't I).

I'll try to unpick this dire piece of work for you:

It seems to be suggesting the "Ca" bit is uniform across anything being expressed as "as CaCO3". So, take "Total Hardness" expressed "as Ca" and delete a quarter of it from "Alkalinity" presumably expressed as "as CaCO3" ... no scratch that, if you are going to do arithmetic with these "as" quantities they've all got to be measured in the same units ... so, "Alkalinity" expressed "as Ca" ... hang-on, I've never seen that before, "as CaCO3" and "as HCO3" but never "as Ca", it just makes no sense (alkalinity has no connection with Calcium even if Calcium is only being used as an equivalence measure). Oh ... I give in. Let me go back to the Ca being uniform across everything being expressed as "as CaCO3" ... $*&$$!**$ ... No, let's not...

Is your head spinning? I feel like I've spent half-an-hour in a cement mixer.

He does admit the "formula" came from a customer complaint. But that's no excuse to duplicate it to other customers. You need the Magnesium figure to unpick the daft Hardness figure (yeah, you're right, I don't love it, or "H" as you've nicknamed it for me). Luckily there is only two (Calcium and Magnesium) to be worried about in controlled drinking water, or "H" would be leaps and bounds more fun.

Now. Print out a copy of my "Defuddler. Go outside when it's raining heavy. Wave the printed sheets in the air for 30 seconds. Then go back in doors and read the results. Should make more sense than that letter from Portsmouth Water.

Blimey, I need a beer now. Thanks again for letting me see the letter. ... I think?
@Buffers brewery:


Alkalinity as HCO3 is even worse in this case but dividing by 1.22 would make it CaCO3 (that's the good thing about "equivalents", you can turn them into anything you want).

But I do feel slightly bad at having a go at Adam: I guess he's not long out of college (and knows 100s of times more chemistry than I do) where they wouldn't have spent much time (any?) on medieval mumbo-jumbo like "Hardness" and has found himself employed in what could be described as a criminal organisation (water company), trying to defend medieval mumbo-jumbo! He doesn't even expect assistance from higher up and so has tried to provide assistance by quoting some toxic ramblings from another customer (who might even be more unreliable than me). And I bet if his boss finds out he'll get a right roasting for his efforts.

Salifert kits (Calcium and/or Magnesium) should help split "Hardness" into something useful. Actually, I thought I had done something with your water report recently?

Anway, I'd better get back to this other post ... Ron Pattinson made an appearance with a reply that left a bit of a chink in its armour. So, I've rashly popped up and sunk me teeth in ... the sky should be falling in on me by now ...
right im slowly getting there haha so ive input my own water as default now then equipment added my brewzilla .
ive then gone to recipe and input the recipe I have as close as I can and this is what it tells me.
so does this mean for the mash liquid only I add the gypsum 3.48g etc
I find myself astonished at how all theses techno bits and pieces have made such a simple process utterly bewildering. No doubt they are well-intentioned means of making grain brewing 'easier' but they do seem to create more problems and raise more questions than they address. I find using old-fashoned equipment which if something goes wrong is immeditaley fixable there and then (not that there's much to go wrong really expect possibly a copper heater failure) and a reel of ph papers to sort the mash liquor out, what else do you need? Software to formulate recipes? Why? You don't use a computer to do your cooking so why your brewing? But then as Jerome Kern wrote "I'm old fashoned". Never had a failure though in 45 years....

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