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Brewing Water

Usualy when I brew i go and buy 5gallons of spring water from the grocery store… How can i find out the chemicle make up of my tap water to see if its useable for brewing?.. Anything i should look for? Does anyone use there tap water?

I use tap water every batch I just filter it before and it works well. I started brewing with spring water but have not noticest any changes ater filtering

1st you can ask your Municipal water supplier for a analysis. My city sends out a report yearly. We also draw on several different wells and ground water sources. Depending on the time of year/recent rain the makeup of the water can be different.

You can also send a sample to Ward Labs. W-6 test should answer the question that the treatment plant doesn’t.

http://www.wardlab.com/FeeSchedule/WaterAnalysis.aspx

If you drink your tap water, it is fine for brewing. There are some minor adjustments people do for dark beers and other for hoppy beers.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]
If you drink your tap water, it is fine for brewing. There are some minor adjustments people do for dark beers and other for hoppy beers.[/quote]
For extract beers, YES… but for AG brewing, this is vague. Softer water is better for lighter-colored styles and harder water is better for hoppier and/or darker beers. I agree 100% on the Wards Labs W6 test because you will know exactly what is in your water and with the help of one of the good water spreadsheets out there you will know what styles are good with your water and what you need to do with your water if the style does not fit. I think the best water for brewing is soft water because making additions is easy. I have harder water which is great for beers in the SRM 12 to 17 range. Brewing a pale-colored beer requires me to dilute the water maybe 50% or 75%.

[quote=“Ken Lenard”][quote=“Nighthawk”]
If you drink your tap water, it is fine for brewing. There are some minor adjustments people do for dark beers and other for hoppy beers.[/quote]
For extract beers, YES… but for AG brewing, this is vague. Softer water is better for lighter-colored styles and harder water is better for hoppier and/or darker beers. I agree 100% on the Wards Labs W6 test because you will know exactly what is in your beer and with the help of one of the good water spreadsheets out there you will know what styles are good with your water and what you need to do with your water if the style does not fit. I think the best water for brewing is soft water because making additions is easy. I have harder water which is great for beers in the SRM 12 to 17 range. Brewing a pale-colored beer requires me to dilute the water maybe 50% or 75%.[/quote]

I like the Hoppier APA’s and IPA’s so you saying I should use 50% tap water and 50% spring water?..

[quote=“BlackstoneIPA”]

I like the Hoppier APA’s and IPA’s so you saying I should use 50% tap water and 50% spring water?..[/quote]

Does your water treatment center have an online report available? That can get you started with knowing what changes to your water you might want to try.

You need to know where you are starting before you can get where you want to be.

Here is a link to the water quality report on Blackstone’s website: http://www.townofblackstone.org/Pages/B … 010CCR.pdf

The report sez that about 80% of the town is serviced by the municipal system, which is supplied by 5 large municipal groundwater wells. Are you on a private well?

Blackstone’s municipally supplied water has sulfate a at fairly low concentration. Massachusetts groundwater is usually fairly soft, esp. in the eastern part of the state. Surface water in New England is usually quite soft, and very good for brewing once chlorine has been removed.

I looked to Blackstone, MA Water utility website and they show 2009/2010 annual reports but fail to list what a brewer will require IE: Mineral composition. They show sulfate but its not enough to help.

You will need to call the department and ask to speak to a water lab technician and/or explain you need to obtain the mineral composition of the tapwater for homebrewing purposes.
Here is the phone# and business hours:

http://townofblackstone.org/Pages/Black ... _DPW/index

You want to find out the following values:
Calcium/ Ca #
Magnesium/ Mg #
Sodium/ Na #
Sulfate/ So4 # They are reporting 8.9 from 2009 so it will not hurt to see if they have a newer #
Chloride/ Cl #
One of the following three:
Bicarbonate/ HCO3
Carbonate/ CO3
Alkalinity as CaCO3 (mg/l or ppm)

Also they are reporting pretty low levels of residual chlorination byproducts so you will still want to treat with an activated charcoal filter or use campden tablets to reduce to nil. But as it stands you may not even have to address this issue unless it presents a problem later although adding a .25 tablet of campden to every 5 gallons of tap water is pretty effortless.

From what I can tell from the reports is if using this tap water for extract beers simply treat for residual chlorination byproducts as explained above and use as is as. It seems like it should be pretty good water as it is all well feed. If brewing all grain you will want the above values from your town or get a ward lab test for $15 ish

EDIT* I absolutely use my tap water for every batch and I all grain brew.

Right, you can’t start getting a feel for this unless you know your numbers. All of the water spreadsheets will ask you to enter your numbers for the big six ions (calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, sulfate and bicarbonate). Blackstone’s water could be really soft so using that water for a hoppy APA or IPA may not be the ticket all by itself… you’d want to add some gypsum to boost the calcium and sulfate but maybe his water is already heavy on the sulfate so you wouldn’t need any. You can’t take the first step until you have those numbers. Once you have them, you could post them here and I know that some of the Waterheads will help you make additions for the styles you like. Also, some municipalities don’t have good numbers for these ions because many times there are more concerned about contaminants and levels of things that should not be in your water. I went around in circles with my local water authority but never got the right information. Ward Labs can email you your numbers as soon as they analyse your water.

ITsPOSSIBLE is right, but if you just want to brew with what you have- get a carbon filter for the chlorine and, being in Mass., your minerals should be fine unless you have very, very hard water.

As a follow up to all that may be unaware most all treatment systems use chloramine now and to break the bond you need to use ACTIVATED Charcoal or Campden. Whereas in the past just chlorine was used and a simple charcoal filter would remove the chlorine.

[quote=“Brewbeer22”]Here is a link to the water quality report on Blackstone’s website: http://www.townofblackstone.org/Pages/B … 010CCR.pdf

The report sez that about 80% of the town is serviced by the municipal system, which is supplied by 5 large municipal groundwater wells. Are you on a private well?

Blackstone’s municipally supplied water has sulfate a at fairly low concentration. Massachusetts groundwater is usually fairly soft, esp. in the eastern part of the state. Surface water in New England is usually quite soft, and very good for brewing once chlorine has been removed.[/quote]

Thanks for all the info gentleman!!! I will start with having my water tested. I am not on a private well so I am part of the 80% getting my water from the town water works.
Brewer22 nice to meet ya neighbor!!!

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