Water prepping before all grain brew advice needed please

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I find myself astonished at how all theses techno bits and pieces have made such a simple process utterly bewildering. ...
Noooo ... not like that!

I agree, my attempts to help out are getting mired in technicalities again, but I am trying to help folk out the hole they've dug: Not fill the hole in around them.

People want to know more. So, try to give them that. If all you can do is tell them they've got it wrong, and, it was much better in the old days, they'll ignore you and fall in with the first snake-oil purveyor they find interesting. You might even uncover some useful titbits you find interesting to use yourself. I know I have.



This comes from someone who can easily equal the time you've accrued brewing; and who's already been in those "ignored" situations.

... You don't use a computer to do your cooking so why your brewing? ...
You'd be surprised! Oh, and that reminds me ... (Alexa ... Pizza Oven off).
 
I'm also in the camp of gingerly dipping a toe into water chemistry.
I have some test kits on order to try and make some sense of my tap water. I'm in a similar position to @Rogerh in having to rely on Severn Trent water reports, which seem to be as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.. @Rogerh did you get any more useful info from ST? I have asked but not hopeful.

For now, and to save my few grey cells while I get to grips with all the other aspects of brewing, I'm using Ashbeck. I don't brew enough yet that the cost is prohibitive, and the bottles contain (nearly) all the info I need to treat using the HBF calculator. It occurred to me this could be the easiest way in to sorting water for those who want a quick solution while learning other things.

One question I hope someone could help with...
Until now I have just added some Gypsum and Calcium Cholride, to bring calcium levels up.
Not sure if I should also be adding any acid. There is no figure on the bottle for carbonate, but there is a bicarbonate. One and the same or wildly different? It also states the pH at source is 6.7. Pointers warmly welcomed :)

Ta,
Dan
 
I'm also in the camp of gingerly dipping a toe into water chemistry.
I have some test kits on order to try and make some sense of my tap water. I'm in a similar position to @Rogerh in having to rely on Severn Trent water reports, which seem to be as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.. @Rogerh did you get any more useful info from ST? I have asked but not hopeful.

For now, and to save my few grey cells while I get to grips with all the other aspects of brewing, I'm using Ashbeck. I don't brew enough yet that the cost is prohibitive, and the bottles contain (nearly) all the info I need to treat using the HBF calculator. It occurred to me this could be the easiest way in to sorting water for those who want a quick solution while learning other things.

One question I hope someone could help with...
Until now I have just added some Gypsum and Calcium Cholride, to bring calcium levels up.
Not sure if I should also be adding any acid. There is no figure on the bottle for carbonate, but there is a bicarbonate. One and the same or wildly different? It also states the pH at source is 6.7. Pointers warmly welcomed :)

Ta,
Dan
If you get a salifert alkalinity test you will get the other values you need to put into the HBF calculator to tell you how much acid you need.
 
One question I hope someone could help with...
Everyone (most everyone?) knows what I'm going to say ... but I'll say it anyway:

Stick your water report through my "defuddler" spreadsheet! I'm criticised for making it too complicated. But you are only trying to fill those top six boxes. But Severn Trent is an awkward one and I'm trying to make it easier (work in progress). They don't give you a direct Calcium figure, but sometimes a Magnesium one which helps get the Calcium one (you don't want to know why!). They don't give an "Alkalinity" figure either (which would give you bicarbonate too). @Old Fart At Play is right about using the Salifert Alkalinity test kit except it was never much use for low "Alkalinity" (if you have low alkalinity) and they changed the kit a year or so ago and now it's no good unless you have exceedingly high alkalinity! I'm trying to get a work-around, but again, you don't want to know the details.

The Defuddler has only one purpose: To remove all the useless Hardness stuff (and yes, that includes the imaginary "carbonate" figures). All that old arcane hardness toss is solely responsible for all the complexity with brewing water. You don't want it. You don't need it! And you definitely don't need anything that says "CaCO3"!


Modifications to my "Water Defuddler" are still in development. Meanwhile, give me your report (post here) and I'll sort it for you.
 

I had a suspicion it would be such... :laugh8:

Modifications to my "Water Defuddler" are still in development. Meanwhile, give me your report (post here) and I'll sort it for you.

Thanks @peebee. I tried to get some data into your defuddler last night, but seems my water report means I have two hands and a foot tied behind my back. I don't even have the Magnesium figure in mine.. I have a request in with Severn Trent and a 'case' has been opened. Awaiting further news.. He did come up with a Sodium figure for me (15.7ppm), but still miss Magnesium, Calcium and Carbonate.

https://www.stwater.co.uk/my-supply/water-quality/check-my-water-quality/
Guess you'll need to fire in the postcode again. TF2 7RX.

Ta,
Dan
 
Blimey, Severn Trent reports really are rubbish. I think the first ST reports I got were okay ... "beginners' luck"? Got this out, but the exercise confirmed why I need to continue developing that "Defuddler" spreadsheet ... I had to use some tricks I hadn't originally anticipated:

1700760415307.png


The grey boxes just indicates where the "Foetid Mire" (all the "Hardness" toss, "CaCO3", etc.) has had to be used to drag out a value. You can expect to rely on the "Mire" for one or two values (because few have decent water reports from the UK water companies), but three is the maximum! I'll tell you the assumptions I had to make (and that I'll need to manage better in that "Defuddler").

What follows is an explanation for geeks. You do not need to know any of this stuff! That's what the "Defuddler" attempts to guide you through! I include it only to be transparent about what I'm doing!

We need "Total Hardness", an otherwise useless measure but we can scratch something out of it. Severn Trent don't provide it! But they do provide "French Hardness". Multiple by ten and we have "Total Hardness" measured "as CaCO3". Flippin' "CaCO3"; well, you know what I think of that! And it's about to get worse!

"Total Hardness" is the sum of Calcium and Magnesium (and other multi-valent metal ions, but they amount to near nothing in drinking water - that's lucky!!!). But "Hardness" provides no way to determine how much Calcium and how much Magnesium ... sooooo, we guess! Fortunately, unless you know you're in a high Magnesium area, its fairly reasonable to guess as a 9:1 split (the "9" being calcium).

Next, we come to "Bicarbonate". It is always bicarbonate unless you have very alkaline drinking water (above pH8.5) when there might be a smidge of "carbonate" (but not after the water is treated for brewing). You cannot use the "Total Hardness" figure to work out alkalinity. "Temporary Hardness" you can (even "Permanent Hardness" with total hardness if you're in the know), but not "Total hardness" on its own. The "Defuddler" is using another assumption in this case. The dissolved solids in drinking water will be due almost entirely from the first five ions in the screen clip. Everything else amount to almost nothing, except perhaps "nitrates" and "phosphates" which are included as "miscellaneous" ions in the screen shot. So, adding up the five "known" ions and balancing the positive results ("cations") and negative results ("anions") leaves a gap that can be assumed as "bicarbonate" "anions".

All six boxes filled; job done! Phew! It's usually easier but ST are particularly painful.

Information gathered in this manner (from the "Mire") must be manually inserted into the six boxes at the top to avoid entering dud values. The six values should work as-is in any decent calculator. Ignore any request for "Hardness" values (other than mentioned above). If the calculator won't work with the six discovered values ... get a better calculator!!


How I stop people messing about with these figures in the "Mire" when they don't need to is beyond me. Please, please, try not to be one of those people! The "Defuddler" tries to save you from all the twaddle I've just described ... it's NOT trying to teach you it!
 
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Blimey, Severn Trent reports really are rubbish. I think the first ST reports I got were okay ... "beginners' luck"? Got this out, but the exercise confirmed why I need to continue developing that "Defuddler" spreadsheet ... I had to use some tricks I hadn't originally anticipated:

@peebee Thanks for taking the time to do this, very much appreciated.
I'll get something brewed soon using this as my baseline and adjusting water accordingly.

I read in one of your previous posts that some data thrown out on another ST report suggested multiple sources. Could this be possible with the water report you used for me?

Also, any suggestions on the best kits to get to run some tests and get some more accurate data?
I'll look to get some and analyse so we can plug in some better data.

Ta,
Dan
 
@peebee Thanks for taking the time to do this, very much appreciated.
I'll get something brewed soon using this as my baseline and adjusting water accordingly.

I read in one of your previous posts that some data thrown out on another ST report suggested multiple sources. Could this be possible with the water report you used for me?

Also, any suggestions on the best kits to get to run some tests and get some more accurate data?
I'll look to get some and analyse so we can plug in some better data.

Ta,
Dan
One of the components in you water report swung about over a wide range of values (sulphate, or was it chloride?), this might have indicated switching supplies? But the other components stayed fairly regular, so I never regarded it as suspicious.

A good illustration that it's a bit of a guessing game! Also a reminder there's not much point trying to have "more accurate data" because the analysis will swing about naturally (very wet weather, very dry weather, for some with low dissolved solids open reservoir supplies even recent wind patterns can have an impact). I have no idea what is actually "acceptable", I think it's got to be more "what you are comfortable with". I record two decimal places of a ppm because the water company does! PPM is crazy, fraction of that, or parts per billion, is just getting really crazy! I use their average or mean values if they record a range.

I'd say the Salifert kits are quite good enough and get a Calcium kit. And probably a Magnesium? I'm currently thinking getting the proportion of Ca:Mg is right as that can be made to fit better with existing data. But such fine accuracy is being a bit farty really. Sodium isn't that important anyway, and there doesn't seem to be acceptable chloride and sulphate home test kits. I can't recommend the Salifert Alkalinity kits since they changed them (two bottles not three). Some are recommending just ignoring the restrictions, but none of them describe the implications of running the test at a pH far lower than Salifert intended (which is what they are suggesting without mentioning it!).

I haven't finished with water yet. I'll be keeping updates coming. Watch this space!
 
Right then, in spite of my pessimism, Severn Trent responded pretty quickly with the information I asked for.
Coupled with the data above, we should now have all the info we need I believe.


Water_1.jpg


Water_2.jpg


@peebee Dare it be as simple as plugging the figures into a water calculator and adjusting for style?
The ranges (to the untrained eye) don't seem huge. On the basis I'm looking for improvement as opposed to perfection at this stage, take the mean figures and go from there?
 
... we should now have all the info we need I believe.
You should have all the information you need! You've been given "HCO3" directly (it's been described as "Alkalinity as HCO3" though I've mentioned "as" HCO3 is as good as "is" HCO3" in this case). Careful of that "Hardness" figure, it's for "Magnesium Hardness" as can be figured from "MG AS CACO3" (an excellent example of "Hardness" and its confusing ways). But I still have some reservations. The data in this "supplement" isn't complying with the previous data (from their Web site). Sticking the new data into the "Defuddler" comes out:

1701350634646.png


This is good! All six boxes filled in without resorting to arcane data out of the "mire". You don't need the "Defuddler" or any other information (there is nothing "fuddling") and you can use just those six values is most water salt calculators. But! ...

I was of course troubled that my earlier "estimates" for Ca, Mg and HCO3 were so badly under estimating. I had to dig a bit deeper! Doing what any motor mechanic might do, I peer under the "hood":

1701352752006.png


This is the stuff I normally recommend you avoid! It has been populated with "Live Data" which are the values in those top six boxes (converted to be read in different value). "Total Hardness" (a value I do not recommend you need) is 290ppm as CaCO3. The previous analysis (public Web site) had 202ppm as CaCO3. That is a massive difference. It explains why my estimates were way out, but leaves you wondering "which is correct"? The data on their Web site is bad, of the extra data they've kindly supplied is bad.
 
You should have all the information you need! You've been given "HCO3" directly (it's been described as "Alkalinity as HCO3" though I've mentioned "as" HCO3 is as good as "is" HCO3" in this case). Careful of that "Hardness" figure, it's for "Magnesium Hardness" as can be figured from "MG AS CACO3" (an excellent example of "Hardness" and its confusing ways). But I still have some reservations. The data in this "supplement" isn't complying with the previous data (from their Web site). Sticking the new data into the "Defuddler" comes out:

View attachment 92511

This is good! All six boxes filled in without resorting to arcane data out of the "mire". You don't need the "Defuddler" or any other information (there is nothing "fuddling") and you can use just those six values is most water salt calculators. But! ...

I was of course troubled that my earlier "estimates" for Ca, Mg and HCO3 were so badly under estimating. I had to dig a bit deeper! Doing what any motor mechanic might do, I peer under the "hood":

View attachment 92512

This is the stuff I normally recommend you avoid! It has been populated with "Live Data" which are the values in those top six boxes (converted to be read in different value). "Total Hardness" (a value I do not recommend you need) is 290ppm as CaCO3. The previous analysis (public Web site) had 202ppm as CaCO3. That is a massive difference. It explains why my estimates were way out, but leaves you wondering "which is correct"? The data on their Web site is bad, of the extra data they've kindly supplied is bad.

Cheers @peebee, good to know we have a set of data we can use (even if we’re not entirely sure we can rely on it).

I’ll use the above as a base for my next brew and let you know how I go…

Just checking I understand, the last paragraph or so is showing why the earlier numbers were so different, because the ‘published figure’ varies so much vs the newer info?
 

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