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Thread: Is My Brewing Water Terrible?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St Charles, IL, USA
    Posts
    4

    Is My Brewing Water Terrible?

    Hi All,
    We received a water report from our building and I know its not ideal brewing water, but I don't really want to go through the expense of an RO filter.

    The report is:

    pH 7.5
    Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 735
    Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 1.23
    Cations / Anions, me/L 13.3/ 13.2 ppm

    Sodium, Na 36
    Potassium, K 3
    Calcium, Ca 117
    Magnesium, Mg 70
    Total Hardness, CaCO3 584
    Nitrate, NO3-N 0.2 (SAFE)
    Sulfate, SO4-S 25
    Chloride, Cl 93
    Carbonate, CO3< 1.0
    Bicarbonate, HCO3 551
    Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 453
    Total Phosphorus, P 0.01
    Total Iron, Fe 0.02"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit


    I've brewed successful test batches with this water on a homebrew system by adding lactic acid to get my mash ph in line, but will I run into mineral buildup problems in my HLT when used on my pro equipment? Will this water cause problems for use with CIP?
    Brewer
    Riverlands Brewing Company
    St Charles, IL

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Carmel, IN
    Posts
    32
    That is highly mineralized water. You will have difficulty in brewing most styles well. Embrace your RO savior.
    WaterEng
    Engineering Consultant

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    1,801
    It's also a disaster for cleaning - as said previously - RO is your only friend here
    dick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,828
    That level of bicarbonate will make your life a living hell. You'll be scaling your HL system so fast it'll make your head spin.

    I've got about 1/3 your level of bicarb, and I fight constantly to keep my water heating system clean and functioning.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St Charles, IL, USA
    Posts
    4
    Thanks for the feedback guys, I appreciate it!
    Brewer
    Riverlands Brewing Company
    St Charles, IL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    Posts
    71
    And you'll want a softener before the RO system.
    Probrewer.com Advertising Supporter

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    1,801
    Please explain why you believe a softener is required before the RO kit. I worked at one brewery where the bicarbonate was far higher than this and it didn't go through a softener first. Thanks
    dick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    Posts
    71
    Dick - your Total Hardness is 584 ppm - or 34 grains per gallon. Typically anything over 10 gpg needs a softener before an RO, or you'll scale the membranes. Between 5 and 10 gpg a softener is helpful. 34 gpg is reeeeaaaaallly hard water.

    Russ
    Probrewer.com Advertising Supporter

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    1,801
    Aha

    That makes sense. Thanks. Presumably I didn't know the full process for that particular water source (we had two completely different ones) at the brewery.

    I looked up some results I have - no carbonate, bicarbonate or alkalinity - slightly odd considering both water sources were limestone aquifers. I calculate approximately 9.5 gpg!! So maybe that's why they got away with it.

    Thanks again

    Cheers
    dick

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