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Holy moley water report

I live on New York’s Long Island and I just contacted my water company to see if I could get the water report. They sent me the link to the report. They do analysis multiple times per week. This is like a 3 page report showing the levels of every chemical known to man. I think I need to take a day off from work just to go through it and understand it.

Look at this:

Calcium
Magnesium
Sodium
Chloride
Sulfate
Bicarbonate

Post these numbers and the board could probably help you from there. You could list the pH, the total dissolved solids, etc. but it’s probably not really necessary. Also, see if the report says anything about chloramine. This is a gas version of chlorine that some municipalities are going to instead of chlorine. It’s trickier to remove and might be an issue but nothing to worry about at the moment. Also, any elevated levels of things that appear to be an issue, mention that as well. I have a buddy who lives in Huntington Station, Long Island (actually E. Northport, I think) and he is a brewer so hopefully all is good with the water.

Compound Unit of measure Measured Value

Calcium mg/L 22.0
Magnesium mg/L 3.87
Sodium mg/L 15.7
Chloride mg/L 22.3
Sulfate mg/L 9.3
pH pH units 7.3
Hardness 70.9
Do not see bicarbonate on the list

Sorry bout the formatting. It did not post the way I made it look prior to posting.

What does the report say next to the hardness value you listed?

CaCO3 or HCO3

It says "Measure of the calcium and magnesium.

It may include a description of Alkalinity instead of bicarbonate. That value can be converted to an equivalent bicarbonate concentration.

This would refer to your bicarbonate level, CaCO3

Hardness is usually stated as a combination of calcium and magnesium. I will say this… your water numbers look pretty good. This is soft water and probably the best type of water to have and to start with. A bit of calcium chloride or calcium sulfate to boost your Ca to 50ppm would help and you could add more calcium chloride (which promotes fullness, roundness, smoothness) for beers that call for that profile and more calcium sulfate (gypsum) which would bring out more crispness, sharpness for beers that call for that. Bicarbonate can be a pesky number that will futz with mash pH and the higher it is, the peskier it is. All of my other numbers are in the same zip code as yours (just a little higher) but my bicarb is 138ppm which can be a PITA when it comes to lowering mash pH on pale beers. I’m calling you lucky to have your water. You can go ahead and kiss the person who sent it to you. :lol:

Alkalinity, total mg/L 52.8

On my Ward Labs report, my bicarbonate is shown as HCO3 (138ppm) and my alkalinity is shown as CaCO3 (113ppm) and I can’t really say that I know what the difference is. Is the 113 the combination of all of my numbers wrapped up in a ball and shown as an “overall number” bringing down from 138 to 113? Not sure but in_the_basement… your water is very good water, IMO. If you’re trying to apply it to various styles, you can post the beer you’re trying to make and then someone here could suggest what to add to the water to bring out the best in the beer.

Also… if your sulfate is listed as “sulfate” or “SO4”, your number is 9. If it’s listed as SO4-S, your number needs to be multiplied by 3 giving you 27. If it’s 9, then your water favors maltier styles because your chloride is 22 and your sulfate is 9. Making a beer without any water modification might create a smooth, full, round beer that could lack crispness because of the lower sulfate level. It’s not crazy out-of-whack but your chloride is about 2.5 times your sulfate. If you wanted to make a pale ale, you might add sulfate (gypsum) and if you were making a festbier, you might add calcium chloride and a little bit of gypsum so that the balance doesn’t lean too far to one side.

I have only been doing extract brewing so far but I am reading up on all grain. When I look at my report I see all measurements in mg/l and the information I am reading about how to brew describes in PPM. How do I resolve this?

It’s the same. Mg/l = ppm.

Clearly you don’t have to do anything if you’re currently extract but once you go to all-grain and you start mashing, these numbers will be important. You’re going to make some nice all-grain beer with that water, my friend.

Now THAT’S what I like to hear. I am targeting an all grain attempt in the early summer.

If you have questions when you get to that point, post your recipe and what you want the beer to be like and someone will suggest water modifications for you. In the meantime, you might start thinking about some of the tools you will want in your toolbox with regard to water: Calcium chloride, gypsum, possibly calcium carbonate and/or baking soda, lactic acid (or other acceptable acid) and either pH test strips or a decent pH meter. I have just been on a 2-year (at least!) water odyssey with my brewing: understanding water, the affects on water modification in beer, adjusting for styles, paying close attention to mash pH and wort pH when the wort is boiling, etc. I have whiffed a few times and I have had batches come out stellar but it’s all been worth it. Cheers and congrats on that nice brewing water!

Thanks. And I will definitely be hitting this forum a lot when that time comes. Right now I am still wading through the beginners throes of extract. I have to say, I think this will be a long term hobby.

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