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  • Alkaline Water Advice

    We are starting up a new brewery and received our results back from Ward Labs. My main concern is the high bicarbonate and alkalinity. I am trying to avoid having to install an RO system, but it seems it may be necessary. Thoughts?

    pH 7.4
    Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 208
    Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.35 Cations / Anions, me/L 3.9 / 3.9 ppm
    Sodium, Na 3
    Potassium, K < 1
    Calcium, Ca 45.0
    Magnesium, Mg 19
    Total Hardness, CaCO3 192
    Nitrate, NO3-N 0.7 (SAFE)
    Sulfate, SO4-S 1
    Chloride, Cl 3
    Carbonate, CO3 < 1.0
    Bicarbonate, HCO3 227
    Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 186
    Total Phosphorus, P 0.01
    Zinc, Zn 0.10
    Total Iron, Fe < 0.01


    Thanks,

    Clay Baldwin
    Oak Mountain Brewing Co.

  • #2
    Yes - you'll probably want an RO. You have over 11 gpg hardness, so the RO feedwater will need to be softened. Assuming we're talking about a commercial-scale RO, then you'll want a backwashing carbon tank as well.

    Russ
    Last edited by BuckeyeHydro; 03-24-2021, 05:50 AM.
    Probrewer.com Advertising Supporter

    Buckeye Hydro
    Water Treatment Systems & Supplies
    www.BuckeyeHydro.com
    Info@buckeyehydro.com
    513-312-2343

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    • #3
      NO!!! You do not HAVE to get a RO system for your brewery. That water is not bad for brewing and is almost a blank slate (flavorwise). The only difficulty you'll have is when brewing more delicate lagers. If you're planning on ales with flavor, you are fine.

      Your main concern will be in neutralizing the high alkalinity in that tap water. There is a possibility that you won't be able to use lactic acid for neutralization since your beers could have the lactate flavor come through in them. You might be forced to use phosphoric acid (that's not a bad thing).

      One thing you will want to avoid, is adding any magnesium salts. The magnesium content is already high enough in that water.

      Enjoy!
      WaterEng
      Engineering Consultant

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      • #4
        If the acid addition to deal with the alkalinity is practical for you, I agree.
        Probrewer.com Advertising Supporter

        Buckeye Hydro
        Water Treatment Systems & Supplies
        www.BuckeyeHydro.com
        Info@buckeyehydro.com
        513-312-2343

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by WaterEng View Post
          NO!!! You do not HAVE to get a RO system for your brewery. That water is not bad for brewing and is almost a blank slate (flavorwise). The only difficulty you'll have is when brewing more delicate lagers. If you're planning on ales with flavor, you are fine.

          Your main concern will be in neutralizing the high alkalinity in that tap water. There is a possibility that you won't be able to use lactic acid for neutralization since your beers could have the lactate flavor come through in them. You might be forced to use phosphoric acid (that's not a bad thing).

          One thing you will want to avoid, is adding any magnesium salts. The magnesium content is already high enough in that water.

          Enjoy!
          Thank you for the prompt and informative response. I have been using lactic acid for pH adjustment up until now and haven't noticed any flavor impact.

          To your point on magnesium- I had always read up to 25ppm on Mg was okay. One of my concerns is the low levels of chloride and sulfate. I have been adding epsom salt and table salt to increase both. I have been avoiding gypsum and CaCl altogether since my calcium is already fairly high- do you think this is neccessary?

          Thank you,

          Clay Baldwin
          Oak Mountain Brewing Co.

          Comment

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