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Water report and different approaches

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  • Water report and different approaches

    this is our water report:

    Total hardness 490ppm
    Total alkalinity 290ppm
    Bicarbonate 352ppm
    Conductivity 953 µS/cm
    TDS 595 mg/l
    Calcium 138 ppm
    Magnesium 35 ppm
    Sodium 41 ppm
    Chloride 87 ppm
    Sulfate 189ppm

    It is water from a well and changes from year to year depending on rainfall. So we monitor it by sending it out regularly and testing every batch in house with a basic brewing water test kit. Results are quite different for the same water but the inhouse water report gives us a general idea anyway.

    What do you think?

    We began by brewing with the water as it is and mixing with 1/3 RO water for our lighter styles. We then began using acids (phosphoric and lactic) in the HLT bringing the total alkalinity down to almost 0 ppm but you could notice the flavor of the acids in the water and if I'm not mistaken a very light flavor in the beers.

    I now use enough acids to bring the total alkalinity down to 50-100 ppm but without giving the brewing water any major flavors.

    What would you do?


  • #2
    Hi Phil,

    I personally wouldn't be focusing on bringing your Alkalinity down but focus on adjusting the pH to what you prefer for each beer style.

    Head Brewer
    June Lake Brewing
    June Lake, Ca


    • #3
      Thanks John.

      I focus on bringing the mash PH to the desired level by controlling alkalinity with phosphoric and lactic acids. What I have found is that the amount of acids I need to bring down the mash PH to the desired level sometimes surpasses the flavor threshold in the brewing water.

      I'm I right in believing that this flavor will come through in the finished product?

      Also, just curious to know what some of you with similar water reports do with your water.



      • #4
        Is an RO system in your budget? That would allow you to strip your water to nothing and then rebuild it to wherever you want it.


        • #5
          It's not an insane amount of dissolved solids in that water, but its pretty close. You should be able to produce a few styles with success, but the level of mineralization is going to make it tough to produce styles that aren't water dominated. Incorporating a RO machine into your plans to enable partial or full dilution is a wise choice.
          Engineering Consultant


          • #6
            Yes, we are already mixing our water with RO water and next step is to do half and half.

            Regarding the flavor change in the water when I go over a certain volume of acids (alkalinity still positive), am I right in assuming that it will go through to the final product?

            Cheers and thanks for the answers!


            • #7
              Generally speaking, if you can taste it in the water, then you will taste it in the beer. I think what most of us are saying is that you should consider increasing the amount of RO water in use so that you don't need to use so much acids. Another thing I always recommend for smaller final pH adjustments is to use acidulated malt. Its really good at adjustments of 1 pH or less and not leaving strong flavors around.


              • #8
                Thanks Jebzter! In my case I can start noticing the acids in the water when I exceed 225 ml lactic acid (80%) and 275 ml phosphoric acid (75%) in a 11HL HLT.