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Brew Files Episode 86 - Water The Primer

We’re going back to basics with a Drew & Denny’s primer on all things water. Why and what you need to worry about and what you shouldn’t worry about! Water doesn’t need to be complicated to get results!

Our water reports here measure in mg/L so I guess I have to find a parts per million conversion.
Also @denny our water report is 4 pages long. What are the key ingredients I should be focusing on?

It’s the same thing. To see what to focus on, go to

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@denny we have averages of
PH 7.4
Calcium 7.6 mg/L
Chloride (mg/L) 20
Magnesium is 1.9
Sodium is 13
Sulfate is 5.2
Alkalinity (mg/L CaCO3) 21
Hardness (mg/L CaCO3) 27

These seem very middle of the road. We have a lot of breweries here in Brooklyn I guess they play a bit when they need to

That’s darn good water! Especially the alkalinity. I don’t know of a brewery anywhere that doesn’t do at least something with their water. That’s why you should never use a city water profile, but a color/flavor profile.


I have been avoiding going into depth on this subject because I feel like the rules are always changing depending of who you talk to. Thanks for this Episode it was very informative. I’m going to throw out my calcium carbonate… I think that’s what you said to do (bottler here)

For everyone else this is the Episode mentioned in the show I believe

Damn you do have good water! Would be super easy to tailor it to styles.


Yeah, CaCO3 is worthless for water adjustment

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Whats the best source for adding sulfate… Epson Salts?

EPSOM is what I use :grin:
First I would try to hit the water profile using simply gypsum and calcium chloride, focusing on what you want (bitter vs. malty). These are the meat and potatoes of your water. Then utilize the other salts (Epsom, pure salt, pickling lime, Magnesium Chloride) as the ‘spices of your dish.’
But yeah, if I want to boost sulfate without over doing my calcium I use Epsom.
And sadly, find something else to do with you Calcium carbonate (chalk).

Gypsum. Use Epsom very sparingly. I use a tiny bit of Epsom if I already have a lot of calcium and and want a bit more sulfate. But Epsom should not be the primary source of sulfate. Keep the Mg under 20-25 ppm.

Chalk… For writing what’s on tap on the black board?? :grimacing:

Guess like I said… :wink:
Not to mention you’ll get plenty of Mg from your malt.

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The long island water was always valued for brewing. Historically something like 90% of beer in North America was brewed in Brooklyn. Your water looks pretty similar to mine from my deep well. Your PH 7.4 is a little higher mine 7.0 so you need to adjust that. As far as salts. Like me your a candidate for the school of a teaspoon of gypsum or teaspoon of CACL depending on the style and call it a day

It’s funny, the LHBS(now defunct) guy who sold me the water chemistry basics years ago included the chalk…I used it maybe twice. Then discovered pickling lime. Even then, I don’t brew a ton of dark beers so it doesn’t get much use…
My Epsom salts will likely last about 835 years also at the rate I use it.

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You adjust mash pH, not water pH.

your correct the software I use I input my recipe and it will project my mash pH and you will know you need to add acid during the mash. I consider that in treating my mash or mash water. Reread my post I didn’t say add the acid to the brew water. Sorry if I was confusing


Ok I downloaded Bru’n Water… Now I’ll have to run tutorial.

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There are several walkthroughs out there. Of course, since you have Simple Homebrewing, you could refer to the tutorial there. :slight_smile: It’s like a spreadsheet, though. You input your water report, pick a color/flavor profile. then do “what if” to get your treatment.

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I agree Denny. Never understood when people claim it’s too hard to understand. Enter your water profile. Enter grist. Pick a color profile. Enter water salts to hit that profile… hardly even need to know about water.

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