Back to Shopping at

Just got my water test back, what does it mean?

Sent my sample in Friday and requested beer test. Got my results back today. Can anyone tell me what these numbers mean and what products (salts, ph-, etc) I may need to purchase for all grain brewing. Does this look like good brewing water or not?

total disolved solids-231
Electrical conductivity- 4.3/4.3


Sodium, NA 5
Potassium,k <1
Calcium, CA 53
Magnesium, Ca 17
Total Hardness. CACO3 203
Nitrate,NO3-N <0.1
Sulfate, SO4-S 10
Chloride, Cl 15
Carbonate, CO3 <1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 197
Total Alkalinity 161
Total Phosphorus, P 0.88
Total Iron, Fe 0.21

You have quite a bit of bicarbonates in your water so you would have a tough time with anything light. Pilsner, cream ale, light lager ect. Your profile suits hoppy pale ales,amber, dark ales and such. I would use something like bru n water or ez water. It all depends on what you are brewing to what minerals to add. If you were to do something light you would have to dilute or boil the bicarbonates out. I would do some reading and searching about water chemisty. Download one of the water softwares and input your numbers.

Yes TealBlue, you got it right, as amount of bicarbonates in water is related to temporary hardness and water can be softened by boiling it to a certain temperature. Don’t add any salt and adding calcium will make you able to precipitate more of it out.

Thanks for the quick replies guys. I plan on downloading some water software soon. I know nothing about water chemistry. I do have Palmer’s book and “Designing Great Beers”. I’ll have to read a little on water profiles.

Does this mean I need to buy distilled water before brewing light beers?

How does the PH look at 7.9? Will the grains lower it enough for most beers or will I need to purchase some chemicals?

That’s pretty typical Midwestern water, and with there being a lot of MWers on this forum you should find a lot of threads that are applicable to your situation. This may help too: … verywhere/

Most likely, yes. You’ll either need to dilute or start from scratch.

The water pH has almost no effect on the mash pH. It’s the carbonate species that are the big players, and with your high bicarbonate levels you’ll be focusing mostly on adjusting those.

In my experience a full “set” of water salts includes.

Calcium Chloride
Epsom Salt
Baking Soda
Salt - Non Iodized
Calcium Carbonate

You should be able to build just about any water profile with these salts.

You may also want to buy a Lb. of Acidulated Malt for lowering your mash PH with out the addition of tons of water salt. This would most likely only be needed for light beers, although if you build your water for light beers from scratch you probably won’t need this.

Personally, I’d just buy some lactic acid instead. You don’t have to worry about variations in acidity from lot to lot, or the malt going stale.

Thanks for the replies guys. Will the water software or apps tell me what to add based on my recipes?

Living in Iowa, I have very hard water as well.

ABSOLUTELY!!! I add Lactic to just about every beer I brew.


Good Luck

Definitely, pick up some lactic acid and a 5mL syringe.

You will need it for almost anything less than 20 SRM or so. Getting my mash pH correct has made a significant improvement in my beers, as has understanding the flavor characteristics of the ions.

Back to Shopping at