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Thread: Water Analysis, send it out or test in-house?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    96

    Water Analysis, send it out or test in-house?

    Just doing the preliminaries on setting up water analysis and deciding if and when to adjust our beers. This is for a brewpub, and our upcoming production brewery setting in Ohio.

    I have obtained a city water report, but we would like to back this up with some on-site sampling.

    What makes more sense financially and realistically, if we are going to be sampling, say, once a quarter to track changes: sending it out for lab analysis, or buying a test kit?

    And any specific recommendations on labs, or test kits, with your suggestions would be great.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    96
    Further question, is it possible to calculate the Calcium and Magnesium concentrations from the hardness and alkalinity values? I don't think so, but just checking. These are not tested individually by our local water treatment plant.

    We will be tracking all of our mash and wort pH's of course, in addition to looking into the basic mineral makeup of the water. I know that is the most important part.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Avon, OH
    Posts
    62
    The cost would depend on what you are looking at and what it costs to set up to do the analysis. Working in a brewery and in the past having worked in an environmental testing lab, it is probably way cheaper sending it out.

    Like the hardness number you got from the city. They had a titration performed on the water for hardness, and it gives you a combined hardness, most of which would come from the calcium. To perform an individual analysis you will need thousands in equipment and some training to operate it. Just to do the titration, it takes at least a half hour to set up and standardize, not to mention a $100 or so in equipment and standards.

    Getting a hardness, calcium and magnesium should be under $30 from a lab.

    Jim Lieb
    RRBC Brewer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    96
    Thanks, and yes, looking into some of the equipment prices, it definitely looks like we'll just send it out for lab reports every once in a while, other than that we'll just keep an eye on mash pH for every brew to make sure no problems come up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    92
    I haven't worked with these guys but their W-6 test at $16.50 looks like it might make a good quarterly test.

    http://www.wardlab.com/FeeSchedule/WaterAnalysis.aspx

    We're on a great municipal system so I wouldn't expect to see much change or feel the need to look for anything exotic.
    Clarke Pelz
    Cynosure Brewing

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    62
    I've used Ward Labs a bunch of times and it has been very easy and the turnaround is pretty quick. Our water varies a bit over the course of the year, so we test quarterly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    96
    Yep, I think we're going to go with ward labs and get at least the W-6 analysis, maybe the W-5.
    Thanks for the help!

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