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Moved now have soft water, need help

Been awhile since I have posted. I moved to new house and have well water that is treated with salt. I can just tell it is soft water from the way it have that slimey feel to it when washing your hands. Water is good but, for someone that makes 75% ales not so good. I am not really into going crazy with water chemistry so what are my options? I was going to add gypsum to my BK like usual but, was thinking maybe using that 5.2 to mash but, now not so sure after reading reviews. What else can be done?

Thanks

[quote=“vanwolfhausen”]Been awhile since I have posted. I moved to new house and have well water that is treated with salt. I can just tell it is soft water from the way it have that slimey feel to it when washing your hands. Water is good but, for someone that makes 75% ales not so good. I am not really into going crazy with water chemistry so what are my options? I was going to add gypsum to my BK like usual but, was thinking maybe using that 5.2 to mash but, now not so sure after reading reviews. What else can be done?

Thanks[/quote]

you don’t want to use water coming from a water softener for brewing. If you have water from a water softener you actually have really hard water, thats why you have a water softener

You should still have a un-softened supply line right off the well that usually feeds the outside garden line and has a feed valve right in teh area of the pump/ booster tank. Other than that the remainder will be fed with softened water. This all depends on your actual iron/ hardness content though as typical softener installations only feed the hot water supply side and cold supply maybe is treated for iron/ sediment if necessary and fed to house cold supply further untreated. All is not apples to apples though as your supply may have extremes. Bottom line their should be a un-softened supply plumbed somewhere but then you have possible iron/ other concerns that should initially have a wards lab panel run to assure quality and exact mineral makeup.

Adding gypsum without understanding or knowledge of current composition is a crap shoot at best. because as-is you may have or currently have sulfate accentuated waters that favors highly hopped ales. Or Chloride rich waters that favors maltier styles of beer, then sulfate(AKA: gypsum) additions would be warranted for hoppier beers.
I have been on a mad posting rampage lately with the following link, but even if your not ready to dive deep in water alteration the data points Martin provides and details on the following website are key and as up to speed as anything you’ll ever need to know about water/ mashing PH etc… Then he also provides a free excel suite called brunwater that is actually pretty awesome when your ready to take the plunge. Also your confirmations are correct the 5.2 biz is a waste of time and you will be way ahead of the game by reading Martins info and utilizing his suite when ready. As posted earlier he is a water scientist but the info and suite provided are easy for the everyday brewer to understand.

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

[quote=“vanwolfhausen”]Been awhile since I have posted. I moved to new house and have well water that is treated with salt. I can just tell it is soft water from the way it have that slimey feel to it when washing your hands. Water is good but, for someone that makes 75% ales not so good. I am not really into going crazy with water chemistry so what are my options? I was going to add gypsum to my BK like usual but, was thinking maybe using that 5.2 to mash but, now not so sure after reading reviews. What else can be done?

Thanks[/quote]

Unfortunately,I don’t think you can avoid any longer going crazy with the water chemistry stuff here. I’d recommend biting the bullet:

Build your water from scratch using reverse-osmosis water plus chemical (gypsum, CaCl additions)… there’s not going to be a better way without sending your well water to Ward Labs to get a chemical analysis. As the others mentioned, you want to avoid water that has come through your house’s water softener.

I did forget to mention as the other poster brought it up. Yes your outside spigot, or spigot in the garage or whatever is probably not run through the water softener. You can go check how your lines run, use water from those spigots if you decide to get it tested

You guys realize I have severe OCD so now getting into water chemistry is going to push me over the edge.

So what ward lab water test do I want done?

You almost certainly don’t want to brew with softened water out of a salt-based softener. The only way you might be able to get by with that water is if the softener is used primarily because of high iron content and the water otherwise has low hardness. For all other conditions, the sodium or potassium content coming out of the softener will be too high for brewing.

Taste the raw water before it goes into the softener by either opening a tap at the well or a hose bib on the house. If it tastes good, then there is hope that the water is usable. Send a sample off to Ward Labs. Get the W-6 Household test. That is all you need. There are more expensive tests, but they don’t provide anything useful for brewing.

If the water test shows the water is relatively low in sodium, chloride, and sulfate, all the other ions can probably be dealt with. If any of those ions are high, then you may be forced to get a RO unit to provide higher quality water for brewing.

any one of the 3 offered, the cheapest one is fine

Or just go to your local grocery store and fill up. A gallon of RO here in Mpls is $0.40. I imagine it’d be cheaper, easier, and faster than using an installed unit.

Or just go to your local grocery store and fill up. A gallon of RO here in Mpls is $0.40. I imagine it’d be cheaper, easier, and faster than using an installed unit.[/quote]

then your adding salts to if your AG brewing

Or just go to your local grocery store and fill up. A gallon of RO here in Mpls is $0.40. I imagine it’d be cheaper, easier, and faster than using an installed unit.[/quote]

then your adding salts to if your AG brewing[/quote]

True, but it’s the same as using a RO home-processing unit on your own water source.

I am sending away my water for sampling. But, I am sending away the water from outside that isn’t treated. That is the water I will be using and rather have water straight from the well to figure out rather than the water going through the water filtration. I will post results when back.

In my house the kitchen faucet is not hooked up to the water softener either. Softened water is not good for cooking with.

In my house the kitchen faucet is not hooked up to the water softener either. Softened water is not good for cooking with.[/quote]

in MSP, it should only be the “cold” line feeding your kitchen faucet that is not sent through the water softener. Just a point of clarification.

In main MSP (read:not the burbs) you shouldn’t even need a softener first of all and the poster doesn’t sound like he’s in MSP either. Secondly if your on a well such as posted many things change depending on your exact situation and customer preference. If you read my whole thread you’ll note where I state “typical” /meaning municipal installations always leave the cold supply throughout the house untreated. But in situations of high iron, manganese and hardness many choose to treat the entire house except for garden supply with the iron/DE/Softners and then use RO/ 5 filter systems at the main drinking water source otherwise the cold completely untreated water would be undrinkable for some also. Installs become personal preference depending on compositions in wells you never see in treated muni water.

In my house the kitchen faucet is not hooked up to the water softener either. Softened water is not good for cooking with.[/quote]

that would be one wierd custom break off thing from a softner install, and if your in st paul why would you even have a softener? you have soft water

In main MSP (read:not the burbs) you shouldn’t even need a softener first of all. I think this covers the fact that I have no need for softening especially in the heart of St Paul watershed.

Secondly I installed for Kinetico for 6 years when I was younger and plumbed many an iron range house well systems. Which as just spoken to can range greatly as to what a consumer wants plumbed. Believe me if you had high iron, maganese and hardness like the northland which many times has higher rates of bacterial slimes also due to the maganese and iron content you would remove just about anything before using in your entire plumbing systems especially the potable cold side unless you want to replace corroded and stuck pipes often and dont mind drinking or brewing with funky water. And as just stated most “typical”(read-muni most often) systems will not have soft plumbed to cold supply unless you are on a goofy well system such as seen up north often and there again YRMV many homeowner installed systems are also dual plumbed, again I have firsthand knowledge of this phenom too. If your unsure just go look at your plumbing or call a plumber if its that hard to figure out.

You are correct, I should have been clearer in my comment.

I am in South St Paul which has a water hardness of 18-20 gpg (307-342 ppm). And the softener was already there when I bought the house, so it was kind of out of my control anyway.

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