Simple Water Help and advise needed. help out a brotha

Hellow fellow brewers

I need some help with water: my current city water claims its 123ppm Calcium, 36ppm Sulfate and 14ppm Magnesium. I am an all grain brewer, and brew lots of hoppy beers and thats what i use I have never used gypsum or any water nutrient.

i have been told that water for IPAs and hoppy beers my numbers should be around : 80ppm Calcium and 350 ppm and all other mild brews should be 40 ppm Calcium and 180 ppm sulfate. Do these numbers sound right? how much magnesium should they have?

my city water is hard and i would probably leave it alone for stoutst other beers is my city water good for?[/b]

Should i continue to use my city water and if so how do i strip down or boil out the minerals and know what i am left over with?? [b]wha

or should i just buy spring water and add nutes? and if so where do i get the ppm numbers and info for the spring water im using?

sry for all the questions but id love to hear your feedback. Thanks

180 ppm sulfate is going to be too much for most lighter styles.
I really like 300 ppm sulfate in a hoppy style, and 80 calcium is great there too.

Check out Martin’s page, and his water spreadsheet calculator/tool.

Theres a ton of info on the page labeled Water Knowledge

Edit- without knowing a few more things about your city water, it looks pretty promising. You’ll need to dilute it with machine filtered water/distilled water and add back some of the key salts, gypsum, calcium chloride, etc. like I said, give that website a good look. If you think your beers are hoppy now, wait till you get that sulfate up there.

I don’t see any listing for alkalinity and that’s key. Maybe Martin or someone smarter than I am can derive it from what you’ve got, but your information is incomplete.

There is not enough information on the other ions to figure out what the alkalinity is. The biscuit man is going to have to do some research beyond what they already know. The good thing is that the calcium level is not ridiculously high and the magnesium level is OK but a little higher than you might want in some styles. The Mg level won’t be a problem in hoppy beers.

Given the Ca and Mg levels, I wouldn’t be surprised that the alkalinity is fairly high. Its possible that the water is quite usable for some styles but could use some acidification to make it more suitable for pale styles. Its all conjecture since I can’t say much without a more complete water profile. Send off a sample to Ward if the water company can’t help you out.

whoops sry guys didnt know about that…

it says my Alkalinity as CaCo3 is =93.5

attached is my water profile.

That is a decent starting point if the water report was anywhere near accurate. Boiling and decanting a water with high calcium and alkalinity will drop out some of the alkalinity and calcium as chalk. The alkalinity is also easy to neutralize with an acid addition.

But in this case, the information in the report is very flawed. The cations and anion totals aren’t even in the same ballpark, so this brewer has some more research to do.

im not sure what more research i can do, i checked the numbers i inputted several times and the document i have attached below issued by the city of salt lake says those numbers are correct.

the anions and cations dont freak out until i input that CA level of 123. Is there a number that looks fishy on there?

if i boil out the calcium and alkalinity how do i know what my numbers are afterwards? are there any cheap at home tests that i can test my calcium and alkalinity after i boil off?

i decided to attach the document i was using for info and i fall under the area of metro, so i was using those numbers. i dont know what more to do other than try and contact these ppl and find out if the info is correct.

but at this point its a lot of additions and subractions that, would it be better just to start with 100% distilled and forget my profile?

The calcium content is not 123 ppm. That would produce a hardness value far higher than what they published. In addition, the Ca is completely out of line of their other sources. I’m betting that the reported Ca value is completely wrong. Its probably much lower, like 30 to 35 ppm. If you call the water company and point out that there is a problem with the published values, they would probably provide you with the correct values. It does look like they test for all the parameters we brewers want to know. Try and talk with someone in the water quality laboratory.

Yes, you can get very cheap aquarium test kits for calcium and alkalinity. They don’t have very fine resolution, but they will tell you which ballpark you’re in.

I would not punt this water since it looks like it could work with only minor adjustment. RO is another expense that may not be warranted for this case.

The sulfate:chloride ratio is generally more important than the absolute sulfate concentration in determining perceived hop bitterness. As an example, Bru’n water gives a ratio of 95:40 (and Calcium of 55) for generic “amber bitter” profile; that means sulfate:chloride ratio of about 2.4:1. On the other hand, the listed profile for Burton water lists a ratio of 610:35 (or 17.4:1), with calcium of 275. Obviously, you will get VERY hoppy beers emulating/approximating the sulfate:chloride ratio and calcium content of Burton water, simply by adding gypsum (calcium sulfate) and Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to reach the desired values. As for the alkalinity, you can play with grist content (adding darker/more crystal malt, OR some acidulated malt) to balance out the alkalinity for a good mash pH of about 5.4 (see mash acidification tab of Bru’n water) and add 88% lactic acid solution to the sparge water (see sparge acidification tab) to acidify the sparge water to reduce tannin extraction from the husks during the sparge.
Seriously consider sending a sample of your water to Ward Labs for analysis. You can order sampling kits on their website, and they will email you the report in 7-10 business days.

appreciate your help. I will try and get in contact with them and ill also reach out to some local breweries and see if they would be willing to provide me info if i have no success with the water company.

glad to hear my CA isnt that high because it makes it tough to add Sulfate. Looks like if i get the accurate water profile adjustments should be pretty straight forward from here, well hopefully ha

@brewdoc: for my IPA i am looking at 80ppm Calcium and 300ppm Sulfate. under bru’n water pale ale it suggest 55ppm chloride. whats a good chloride level for an IPA or IIPA?

Can i purchase lactic acid solution at my homebrew store or is that something i have to get elsewhere?

what desired style suggestions from bru’n water do you live by w/ their mineral suggestions?(?such as chimay is spot on, or burtons off), which ones arent so hot and need tweaking?

If you’re shooting for 300 with the sulfate, then 40-60 would be about right for chloride; that would give you a ratio of between 5-7.5:1 (compared to 17.4:1 for Burton water).
Some LHBS stores carry the lactic acid solution, some don’t. If not, you can get it from NB.
High alkalinity water favors darker beers, as the acidity of the darker grains balances out the alkalinity so as to achieve proper mash pH. My area is blessed with soft water without too much alkalinity, so i brew alot of light and amber beers. I usually have to add gypsum and/or calcium chloride, as my home water is very low in calcium (4 ppm).