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portagebeer
02-28-2017, 11:14 AM
Hey all, preparing to open our brewery and just received our water report from Ward Labs. We're running a super basic carbon filter and have only let our new pipes run for a few minutes.

Was hoping to gather some feedback on your concerns and possible next steps for us - especially as it relates to bicarbonate and ability to affect pH.

WATER PROFILE:
pH : 8.1
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm : 458
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm : 0.76
Cations / Anions, me/L : 8.4 / 8.0 ppm
Sodium, Na : 21
Potassium, K : 5
Calcium, Ca : 102
Magnesium, Mg : 27
Total Hardness, CaCO3 : 368
Nitrate, NO3-N : < 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S : 5
Chloride, Cl : 64
Carbonate, CO3 : < 1.0\
Bicarbonate, HCO3 : 355
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 : 294

Thanks,

J

mmussen
02-28-2017, 12:52 PM
To be honest your water doesn't look bad to me at all. Yes you'll be needing to acidify the mash, and if you can your sparge water as well, but the water chemistry looks pretty good.

You've got plenty of room to add CaSO4 or CaCl2 depending on what kind of water chemistry you'd like to target for a batch.

Based on the bicarb levels you'll be needing to add acid to your mash in one form or another, either direct addition or add it in the form of acidulated malt. Based on pH you'll want to acidify your sparge water as well - your best bet may be direct acid additions to your HLT.

ipaguy
02-28-2017, 01:28 PM
I'd research slaked lime water treatments or RO systems to reduce the bicarbonate level. Chalk is going to be coating the inside of your HLT, valves, etc. and I also didn't like how it affected the flavor profile of hoppy beers (i.e. coarse, lingering bitterness) in particular. The bicarbonate level was 298 and I was amazed at the volume of chalk that precipitated out after one heating and cooling cycle. I pre-boiled all brewing liquor and added back minerals, which helped, but I found the final beer was still not "clean" enough and went with an RO system as soon as I could.

TGTimm
02-28-2017, 02:00 PM
High bicarbonate levels "carbonate or temporary hardness" are a nightmare from a maintenance point of view. Your HL system will need frequent acid washing, HL side valves wear rapidly; any number of unexpected problems. Acidifying a mash or sparge water is difficult due to the buffering effect of the carbonates.

If possible, treat or RO filter. It'll make life so much easier.

portagebeer
03-01-2017, 08:00 AM
Thanks all.

I think an RO filter makes sense just for the bicarb levels. I'm finding non-tanked systems in the $300-600 range as we'll only be needing 400 gallons daily. Anyone have experience buying or maintaining these systems?

Thanks,

Jeff

murmsk
03-06-2017, 10:16 AM
we use nothing but RO water and add minerals back to match beer style.

get a system or systems that will provide twice daily need. You can use 2 smaller systems to get the desired flow. Get an inline conductivity tester for each system and when the conductivity rises replace the filters. Their life is largely dependent on raw water. Ours last roughly a year.

s

Jer
03-06-2017, 12:57 PM
We use RO in our little shop. The water at my place is very hard, so it's first run through the softener, and then a residential RO system, and then collects in a potable water rated tank on our mezzanine. I just added the TDS meter and it was only about 60$ on amazon - a worthwhile bit of data to know to guide you as to when to change your membrane.

I learned a fair bit about RO systems this time last year. First off - you dump roughly 4x more water than you collect!!! I was shocked by that. They were designed in SoCal, where the water is 70-80deg. The three things that dictate your collection rate are pressure, TDS, and temperature. If you push the water through the membrane at the recommended PSI, with it warmed to 75degF, with a reasonable TDS load, it'll produce the GPM/GPH that they advertise. If you're water is colder (like it is here in the Saskatchewan Arctic), or harder, or your pump is weak, then production will falter.

-J.

rdcpro
03-06-2017, 04:12 PM
We use RO in our little shop. The water at my place is very hard, so it's first run through the softener, and then a residential RO system, and then collects in a potable water rated tank on our mezzanine. I just added the TDS meter and it was only about 60$ on amazon - a worthwhile bit of data to know to guide you as to when to change your membrane.

I learned a fair bit about RO systems this time last year. First off - you dump roughly 4x more water than you collect!!! I was shocked by that. They were designed in SoCal, where the water is 70-80deg. The three things that dictate your collection rate are pressure, TDS, and temperature. If you push the water through the membrane at the recommended PSI, with it warmed to 75degF, with a reasonable TDS load, it'll produce the GPM/GPH that they advertise. If you're water is colder (like it is here in the Saskatchewan Arctic), or harder, or your pump is weak, then production will falter.

-J.

The point about recovery rate is a good one. Especially with Home RO systems, which don't typically run at a very high pressure and don't have a concentrate recycle loop, the recovery rate can be very low, like 25%. A well-designed commercial system using a rotary vane pump (similar to a carbonator pump) might run at 250 psi, and get much better recovery; on the order of 75% or more. If you target a recovery rate that's too high for your mineral content, you'll get fouling because the concentration of mineral salts in the rejected stream can exceed their solubility limits. These precipitate on the membrane. With good quality, softened feedwater, you can get really high recovery, like 90% or even higher, but that requires a recycle loop (the concentrate is recycled in a loop, and a small amount is bled off). A regular cross-flow membrane with a single pass won't get that high. But at higher recovery rates, the brine might be high enough in salts to trigger discharge requirements (e.g. you can't use it to water landscaping). To get good recovery, you might even need to add anti-scaling agents to the feedwater.

You can't just crank up the pressure to improve recovery, either. Balancing all these factors is tricky, and it depends on what (and how much) in the water, so if you're in a water poor area (e.g. Southern Cal) and you're trying to maximize your recovery, it's best to consult someone experienced in it. Membranes are costly to replace.

I guess in a brewery, you could warm the feedwater, but I don't know if the extra energy is worth the improvement in recovery, unless you use recovered heat.

Regards,
Mike Sharp

portagebeer
03-06-2017, 10:28 PM
We use RO in our little shop. The water at my place is very hard, so it's first run through the softener, and then a residential RO system, and then collects in a potable water rated tank on our mezzanine. I just added the TDS meter and it was only about 60$ on amazon - a worthwhile bit of data to know to guide you as to when to change your membrane.

I learned a fair bit about RO systems this time last year. First off - you dump roughly 4x more water than you collect!!! I was shocked by that. They were designed in SoCal, where the water is 70-80deg. The three things that dictate your collection rate are pressure, TDS, and temperature. If you push the water through the membrane at the recommended PSI, with it warmed to 75degF, with a reasonable TDS load, it'll produce the GPM/GPH that they advertise. If you're water is colder (like it is here in the Saskatchewan Arctic), or harder, or your pump is weak, then production will falter.

-J.


I'm gathering, due to us also having really hard water that a stand alone RO system isn't worth the hassle. We'd need to first soften, then move through RO. My thought was that we'd only need a 400 GPD (tankless, straight to HLT) for one to two brew days per week. I got quoted $12K for the "right" solution today and that's just not happening. Any other insights or system recommendations in the low thousands would be greatly appreciated.

I'm also baffled that our beers on my pilot system (same water) have turned out fantastic beer. Sure, my ph is in the 5.5 range with 3 oz of acid malt and 6mL of lactic acid, but I'm not picking up any off flavors. The water is super tasty also. Bummer on the HCO3.

-J

Jer
03-06-2017, 11:51 PM
How many gallons do you need for a typical brew??

When I started running soft water to my system, instead of straight hard-ass well water, production doubled. I haven't done a test lately, but I think I was about 3GPH with the risky-dink residential system and a 100$ membrane. Maybe you could get a softener and 2 residential systems?? I know that's a little bush league, but if the big commercial RO system isn't in the cards....

Mike knows a lot about RO systems!! Recirc loops and descaling agents.... that's over my head!!

rdcpro
03-07-2017, 10:39 AM
I'm gathering, due to us also having really hard water that a stand alone RO system isn't worth the hassle. We'd need to first soften, then move through RO. My thought was that we'd only need a 400 GPD (tankless, straight to HLT) for one to two brew days per week. I got quoted $12K for the "right" solution today and that's just not happening. Any other insights or system recommendations in the low thousands would be greatly appreciated.

I'm also baffled that our beers on my pilot system (same water) have turned out fantastic beer. Sure, my ph is in the 5.5 range with 3 oz of acid malt and 6mL of lactic acid, but I'm not picking up any off flavors. The water is super tasty also. Bummer on the HCO3.

-J

Maybe you could purchase treated water for brewing, and use your regular water for everything else. Softening is usually only necessary so you can run your RO at higher recovery rates (necessary where water is scarce). Sodium is rejected from the RO, so it can be a salt based softener, which down in So Cal you'd just rent from Culligan or whoever. In fact, you could probably rent the entire treatment system, but I don't know how big of a town you're in, so maybe not.

Also, you have to completely remove any chlorine (or any halogen in the +1 state), as the membrane won't last long.

ipaguy suggested lime treatment, which is a good idea, if all you want to remove is HCO3. In fact, that's sometimes use to pretreat water for RO if the feed water is extremely hard.


How many gallons do you need for a typical brew??

When I started running soft water to my system, instead of straight hard-ass well water, production doubled. I haven't done a test lately, but I think I was about 3GPH with the risky-dink residential system and a 100$ membrane. Maybe you could get a softener and 2 residential systems?? I know that's a little bush league, but if the big commercial RO system isn't in the cards....
Mike knows a lot about RO systems!! Recirc loops and descaling agents.... that's over my head!!

It's been a long time, and except for some marine seawater desalination systems and a few ultra-pure water plants, most of what I've done has been on REALLY big plants. The kind with rows of 200HP pumps.

It's not really hard to build your own system, but you have to know what you're doing, or else find someone who does, and who also likes beer. There's no "standard" system for this, because it all depends on what's in the water.

Regards,
Mike Sharp

BuckeyeHydro
03-15-2017, 05:48 AM
I'm gathering, due to us also having really hard water that a stand alone RO system isn't worth the hassle. We'd need to first soften, then move through RO. My thought was that we'd only need a 400 GPD (tankless, straight to HLT) for one to two brew days per week. I got quoted $12K for the "right" solution today and that's just not happening. Any other insights or system recommendations in the low thousands would be greatly appreciated.

$12K????

Your cost is going to be driven in large part by how fast you need to process water. Based on what you indicated (400 gallons every two to three days), or let's say 200 GPD, the $12K seems like an unrealistic number. That said though, the devil is in the details. At this point I can say your existing quote is quite a bit higher than what we've seen with many other small breweries that needed a backwashing carbon tank, softener, and RO.

Remember that if you need 200 gpd of RO water, buying a 200 gpd RO is not a good approach. The nameplate capacity of the RO has to be spec'ed based on normalization of your water temperature; and especially with line pressure units, also based upon your water pressure; and to a lesser extent, based upon your feedwater TDS. And the RO capacity should be adjusted based on other factors as well. Assuming you are dechlorinating (or dechloraminating) and softening only as pretreatment for the RO, then the RO capacity will drive the sizing of the other two pieces of equipment. You're likely going to be under 1 GPM, and that's what is telling me your existing quote is not realistic. But it may include twin units, a storage tank, a UV recirc loop, injection systems, other pumps and controls, etc, etc...

Russ

murmsk
03-27-2017, 10:43 AM
If your tap water has twice the mineral content needed a 50/50 mixture gets you home with half the RO needed.

s