A total newbie to water treatment has some questions

(That's water to the rest of us!) Beer is about 95% water, so if you want to discuss water treatment, filtering etc this is the place to do it!
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Redimpz
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A total newbie to water treatment has some questions

Post by Redimpz » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:51 am

I've been brewing for some years now mostly using biab. I have recently invested in a Grainfather which is a great bit of kit. I have been pondering water treatment but a lot of it goes completely over my head. With this in mind I have a few questions.
I am planning on continuing to use my tap water which so far has produced decent beer. I am in the mid Lincs area which comes under Anglian water.

1, Where is the best place to get a water report? I have seen Wallybrew mentioned and I recall mention of Murphy's.

2, What is the procedure? I realise that I shall have to send them a sample, but will I need to contact them first to arrange this or do I just send them a pop bottle of my tap water?

3,Will the report tell me exactly how much of each chemical I'd need to add to my water to achieve the profile I need. (i.e. how many grammes per litre)?

4,How easy is it to get the chemicals I'd need?

5, I currently use a digital scale for measuring my hops, should this be adequate for weighing chemicals or would I be better off investing in a better scales?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

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Re: A total newbie to water treatment has some questions

Post by Meatymc » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:19 pm

Just going through the same process so hope this helps:

1 Wallybrew is your man - ping him a PM and he'll lead you through the process

2 As above

3 Yes - all you need

4 Very - got mine from my usual source (Hop and Grape Darlington) but everyone supplies

5 You'll need jewellery scales as additions come down to tenths/hundreths of grams if you want to be anal about it. Paid £7 for mine off fleabay. Tested against by usual scales and what was 3g on them was actually 3.56 on the jewellery scales. Won't ruin your 'beer' obviously but the difference is 16%. I also decided if I'm going to do this (treatment) I might as well do it properly for the sake of £7!

Hope this helps.

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Re: A total newbie to water treatment has some questions

Post by jaroporter » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:37 pm

1 yeah what meatymc said

3 no it's just a water report. and different beers will require different treatmenents anyways. the good news is that isn't difficult to work out. check out the water treatment section of this website or the craftbrewing forum for Aleman's easy guide.

4 any decent homebrew supplier
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Re: A total newbie to water treatment has some questions

Post by vacant » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:44 pm

What detail does Anglian Water provide?
http://waterquality.anglianwater.com/map.aspx

If your water varies seasonally or they change sources then paying for a water report is of limited value.
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Re: A total newbie to water treatment has some questions

Post by Meatymc » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:45 pm

jaroporter wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:37 pm

3 no it's just a water report. and different beers will require different treatmenents anyways. the good news is that isn't difficult to work out. check out the water treatment section of this website or the craftbrewing forum for Aleman's easy guide.
Quite right - sorry, hadn't read it property. Once you've got the report from Wallybrew use the Water Treatment Calculator on here (in extras) or any of the others although there are some interesting opinions on some. Aleman...............................?

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Re: A total newbie to water treatment has some questions

Post by Aleman » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:58 pm

1) WallyBrew ... Accept no alternatives! Except get yourself a Salifert Total Alkalinity Test kit. This means that you can measure your alkalinity on the day and adjust what you have not what was in the report (Costs £7-8 quid online). While a water report from your supplier may look as though it has all the answers, often the stuff you want is missing (Especially Alkalinity THE most important factor for water treatment), there are a limited number of readings taken over the year and the figures are averaged, which may or may not be what comes out of your tap.

2) PM Wallybrew, he'll ask for 500ml to be sent to him, and how to take the sample.

3) The report will tell you what you have in your water, What you want to add is down to your preferences :) the Graham Wheeler calculator is a good place to start once you have your results.

4) Most chemicals are pretty easy to obtain, Calcium sulphate and calcium chloride are the two that are more or less essential, and easy to obtain. As you live in Lincs, I'm going to make the assumption that your water is drawn from underground chalk aquifers, and so may contain lots of calcium (bi)carbonate unfortunately bicarbonate is not something you want for pale beers, and the easiest way to reduce this is to use an acid. ... Brupaks sell something called CRS which will do this, but it adds sulphate nad chloride ions (not necessarily a problem) in a fixed ratio ... which may not be what you desire, but for your initial foray into water treatment may well be adequate. More advanced treatment uses sulphuric and hydrochloric acids to tailor the sulphate : chloride ratio more precisely ... these are more difficult to obtain, especially now.

I also second the Jewellers / Drug dealer scales, you'll be measuring down to the 10th of a gram ... a 0-100g set is more than adequate. As a bonus with an appropriate sized weighing boat you can also measure your hops as well.

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Re: A total newbie to water treatment has some questions

Post by Jocky » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:12 pm

What Aleman said above is all you really need to know. Definitely get the alkalinity test kit.

Alkalinity reduction to get your mash pH in the right zone is the most important thing.


Beyond that, further flavour adjustment by adjusting the sulphate:chloride ratio is a bit like adding seasoning to food - it's dependent upon the beer, personal preference and only really allows you to fine tune the flavours of an already good beer. e.g. Would this beer benefit from being a touch drier to make the hop bitterness 'pop'?

Get your head around alkalinity adjustment first.
Last edited by Jocky on Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A total newbie to water treatment has some questions

Post by Eric » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:23 pm

By now you know who should do the analysis and here is where you will get your questions answered.
There is a lot to learn, but it is not complicated, just some bits are a somewhat confusing.
Water treatment is not a one off, more of a journey that takes your beer to where you want it to be.
Keep a sample of the water you send to Wallybrew and buy a Salifert kit and if you feel really flush, spend a fiver on a TDS meter as well.
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Re: A total newbie to water treatment has some questions

Post by Redimpz » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:47 pm

Thanks for the fast replies, a lot to be looking at. I'll have to take it one step at a time I think.

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