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Thread: What would you brew with this water? Chem 101

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    24

    What would you brew with this water? Chem 101

    I am an amateur brewer whom wants to complement brewing beer styles to my existing water until I gain enough experience to treat my water. Here is my water profile. Does anyone care to offer a style or two that might best suit the following?


    PH 7.17
    Total Hardness 16
    Turbity 0
    Color 2 (2120 (C) APHA 1991)
    Chloride 5
    Iron Content KPH (<0.02)
    Manganese KPH (0.05)
    Aluminum KPH
    Chemical Oxygen Demand 0
    Nitrate NO3 0.27
    Nitrate NO2 KPH (0.002)
    Total suspended solids 0
    Sulphate 7
    Total dissolved solids 24
    Anion surfactant KPH
    Cyanide KPH (<0.001)
    Copper 0.004
    Lead KPH (<0.023)
    Zinc 0.015
    Chromium KPH (<0.009)
    Coliform Bacteria

    Thanks folks : )

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    807
    Your water is incredibly soft. Not really suitable as it comes for any beer really. You'll need to add some significant calcium.

    Don't feel bad. Think of it as a blank slate. It is reasonably rare to encounter a water that is great for brewing without some augmentation/treatment.

    Pax.

    Liam

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, VT
    Posts
    190

    pilsener

    you might try brewing a pils. they seem to be made with the softest of waters...
    but adding some gypsum is really not a difficult thing to do, either...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Assens, Danmark
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    57

    Question

    The analyse is missing some important facts to actually judge its brewing suitability. What is your actual Calcium hardness, what the Magnesium hardness, what about carbonat hardness to finally calculate your residual alcalinity? I really do not see how anybody get give advice based on this analyse.

    And what is with adding gypsym to make your water harder? Gypsym is added to reduce residual alcalinity and precipitate buffering phophate, to lower the mash ph to optimal conditions for enzym activity.

    Anyway, soft water is perfectly suited to brew any kind of beer, while harder water will only give great results in dark beers. Hope this will lead to some discussions.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, VT
    Posts
    190
    i completely agree - the alkalinity is a necessity - as well as Ca and Magnesium. however, with a ph of 7.1 and hardness of 16, Cl of 5, and SO4 of 7, it's safe to assume, i think, that the alk is relatively low and that the water is soft. however, what is the actual calcium and magnesium so that we can get a read on the alkalinity?

    i suggested adding gypsum because it is seemingly obvious that the calcium is low, based upon the hardness, and based upon the the sulfate it is also safe to assume that gypsum would be a likely addition for many beers styles.

    >And what is with adding gypsym to make your water harder?
    >Gypsym is added to reduce residual alcalinity and precipitate buffering >phophate, to lower the mash ph to optimal conditions for enzym >activity.

    gypsum is added to increase the calcium and sulfate levels to a desired buffering level. 50ppm calcium, for example, will buffer the phosphate which in turns lowers the pH which in turn causes the conversion of alkalinity to carbonic acid. gypsum does not automatically lower the alk...it is a chemical chain reaction... one could achieve such a reduction of alk by treating the water with food grade lactic/phosophoric acid. calcium makes water harder.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    24

    H2O 101 Any style suggestions most welcome.

    Wow,
    I am very impressed with this message board and everyone as participants. Thank you everyone. I will go back and request the actual calcium, magnesium and carbonate hardness. The only manganese mg/L KPH (<0,05) reports a WHO Standard 1994 at 0,2 with an analyze method of 3500-Mn (D) APHA 1000 (*) Looks a bit thin/ sketchy. That may be the reason we only have lagers, yep, nothing but lagers.
    More to follow.... thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Ottawa Ontario
    Posts
    25
    Hi,

    I thought I would also mention that the water is similar to that of edinburgh scotland. They still manage to brew some nice bitters and nut browns without adding significantly water or mash.

    Gypsum is important beyond that of changing the pH. Alpha amylase is a dimeric protein meaning it has two parts. The calcium bridges the two parts making the enzyme much more stable to heat, substrate concentration and pH. Calcium will also bind water to create CaOH which is basic but this reacts further creating carbonic acid.

    Cheers
    Patrick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    24

    Edinburgh's H2O

    Hi Pat,

    I read today that the "Caledonian Brewery of Edinburg, Scotland draws it's hard waters that buble up from the red sandstone underground strata known as the Charmed Circle (p.g. 12)". Mine seems unlike the above citation. Any thoughts?

    Protz, Roger:300 Beers to try before you die!Campaign for Real Ale 2005

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    1,567
    Uh, correct me if I'm wrong, but TDS tells me that this water, as Liam pointed out, is very soft. TDS is a quick indicator that this water is rather "empty". No, I don't think you need to know the calcium nor the magnesium hardnesses. Put together, they are less than 24 ppm. Rather insignificant. I agree with Liam that you could consider this a blank slate--and not necessarily a bad thing. Mineral salts are cheap. I currently brew with similar water by adding calcium in the form of calcium sulphate for richer ales, and calcium chloride for less bitter beers & lagers to the tune of about 80 ppm calcium content. You may wish to tinker with all sorts of other minerals, but I don't believe it's necessary. I'm sure you'll make great beer with this water. Good luck!

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