Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Softener then carbon filter?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Mississauga, ON. Canada
    Posts
    39

    Softener then carbon filter?

    My City water supply is on the hard side, with a monthly average pH of 8.

    Plan to use active catalytic carbon filtration to remove chlorine, chloramins, etc.

    I would like to soften the water to approx pH 6 (?) and adjust mash to suit particular styles of beer.

    I love a good, well made Pils, and therefore would like soft water to brew it with.

    Question; I don't want to up the salt content of the water used to brew Pils and was wondering if it made sense to place a water softener before the carbon filter?

    My thought process is this; If the softener was put on loop and placed before the carbon filter, I could by-pass the softener when wanted, but could filter out the increased salt content from softening when desired.

    Does this make sense, or am I totally out to lunch?

    A chemist I am not

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    BEMIDJI, MN
    Posts
    129
    Definitely don't want to be using softened water (or, 99% of time anyhow). You already voiced the concern for increasing your sodium levels and thats what it will do, in a major way + your carbon filter will not filter out these added ions. So the order of operations, unfortunately, doesn't matter in this case. What does your water report look like besides pH, which doesn't really tell a whole lot about the water? Are your other ions in a "usable" range or is everything elevated?

    I also love a good Pils, but when folks refer to the soft water required to brew this style they really mean it needs to be absent of most or all minerals/ions rather than "softened" water.

    We have high alkalinity in our water (~230ppm, and also right around 8.0pH) but our calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfate and chloride levels are either very low or manageable. As such, we just acidify with phosphoric + acid malt to hit our mash pH's.

    Worst case, an RO or nano-filtration unit would most likely be an option. However, these come with some strings attached such as holding tank concerns, flow rates, water waste and increased water cost overall. If you're able to post a full water report I'd imagine there will be folks that can point you in a good direction or link some other PB threads that have tackled this issue in the past.

    Cheers,
    Tom
    Last edited by BemidjiBrewing; 08-05-2018 at 04:10 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Mississauga, ON. Canada
    Posts
    39

    Water filtation/treatment

    Attachment 63899

    Thanks for your input Tom. Much appreciated.

    I've never made an attachment on PB before.

    When through the steps to attach, see written mention of attachment above, but don't see the actual attachment itself.

    Let's see what happens....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Mississauga, ON. Canada
    Posts
    39

    Water report

    Success. How about that!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Carmel, IN
    Posts
    32
    That water is well suited for typical brewing. It may be slightly harder than some may prefer for brewing delicate lagers, but not terrible. The main concern is the fairly high sulfate content and the alkalinity. The alkalinity is easily neutralized via acidification, but there is nothing short of RO or deionization columns that can reduce the sulfate content. While the sulfate isn't excessive, it might be obtrusive in styles where you want a less dry finish to your beer.
    WaterEng
    Engineering Consultant

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Mississauga, ON. Canada
    Posts
    39

    Water filtation/treatment

    Thanks for your reply, WaterEng, much appreciated.

    Feel free to correct me when mistaken, (I'm not a chemist), but sulfates are basically salt (sodium) correct? And an activated catylitic carbon filter will not remove sodium, correct?

    I ask because I was considering using a small softener that could be isolated from the filtered water line when necessary, such as when I brew a Pils or German style lagers. My thought process was that I could blend a small amount of softened water with filtered water, at a rate of say 1-1.5L of softened water for every 5L of filtered water to bring pH down to 6-7.

    However, if I did this, it seems I'd be raising the already high sulfate content even higher, correct?

    Could I isolate a small RO unit from filtered water and use in the same manner as previously mentioned with the softener?

    If you wanted to brew a Czech style Pils with water detailed in the water report shown above, what would you do? And yes, cost is a concern.

    Also, do you, or anyone else reading this post, know where I could find a report showing the chemical parameters of good, acceptable brewing water? Sure could use something like that to wrap my head around.

    My thanks again, I do appreciate your input.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    1,964
    It seems that you have many misconceptions about "soft" water. Sulfates are not salts, nor sodium. Sulfates exist as ions in water. Water softeners cannot be used to lower ion content, they just exchange one ion for another. And they typically raise sodium levels through the roof and require subsequent RO filtration--a last ditch/worst case scenario for brewing. Suggest that you study one of many books out there that deal specifically with brewing water chemistry. Water treatment isn't as simple as explaining one or two concepts on a board like this. Understanding water chemistry is key to dealing with it. Besides the Palmer/Kaminski book, which is good, there is a slim UK publication that condenses a lot of information in a few pages. Can't remember the name and I'm traveling, but well worth looking up. And then there is the superb Bru'n water spreadsheet and tutorial by Martin Brungard. I think you should brew your beer with this water and taste it first. You may not need any mineral reduction to get what you want.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Carmel, IN
    Posts
    32
    Salts are the solids of ionic substances. Sodium chloride (table salt) is a salt, as is calcium chloride and magnesium sulfate. The term 'soft' just means that the water has low concentrations of calcium and magnesium. Soft water is not necessarily well-suited for brewing.

    Soft water will not typically reduce water pH either. In practice, hard water can have the effect of reducing mashing wort pH by the Kohlbach effect. But given your response, I do suggest that you take some time to research the basics of brewing water chemistry before you launch into water adjustment so that you work in a prudent and effective way. As I mentioned, your water isn't that bad as it is. But to brew those delicate styles, you may need to incorporate a RO system into your brewing system to reduce the mineralization of your tap water.
    WaterEng
    Engineering Consultant

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Mississauga, ON. Canada
    Posts
    39

    Water

    My heart felt thanks to both Gitchee and WaterEng, I appreciate your top-notch, experienced advice, I am most grateful for hearing from the likes of you.

    I will sign up for Brau'n water, brew with the water I'm left with after carbon filtration then see where I'm at.

    Thanks again

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Minocqua WI
    Posts
    792

    Cool

    However - softening your water for cleaning IS a good idea with hard water, if you can have 2 water streams.
    (Also with RO systems it is best to soften before filtration. Often a particulate filter and/or a carbon filter is used before too, depending on your water.)
    If you really enjoy calculating mole fractions then Brunwater is not needed.
    Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
    tbriggs@minocquabrewingcompany.com
    "Your results may vary"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    1,964

    Found it....

    The book I was referring to as a great, short read as a first primer on brewery water treatment:
    The Treatment of Brewing Water by AJB Scholefield.
    Aptly titled and only 56 pages.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Mississauga, ON. Canada
    Posts
    39

    Water

    Gitchie...Thank-you! I'll be ordering that asap!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •