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Water Adjustments CaCO3 and HCO3


I recently got my water tested and a little stumped on how to make the correct adjustments.

Sodium - 3
Potassium - 1
Calcium - 84
Magnesium - 24
Caco3 - 310
Sulfate - 5
Chloride - 2
Bicarbonate - 348
Total Alkalinity - 287

I was reading John Palmer’s book and filled out his residual Alkalinity Nomongraph. It appears my bicarbonate and total alkalinity are way to high. How do you remedy this? Do you use distilled water and add calcium? Any help would be awesome.



First question of how to remedy… Dilution would be best… Second question, distilled, RO water, yes… You already have enough calcium and Magnesium to make your water “hard”… So with diluting your water, you’ll effectively lower you “hardness” and buffering capacity… From there, this is where understanding how much acid to use to lower the pH for mashing… Should you use a pH meter, then you’ll be able to watch your progress… Different styles require different Sulfite to Chloride ratio’s… Thats where an on line calculator can help… Sneezles61

I have fairly similar water. I’d suggest downloading Bru’n Water if you haven’t already. Easiest thing to do is dilute, but that’s a PITA. I like to build the mineral profile to match one of the water profiles in the spreadsheet, and then correct mash and sparge water pH using 88% lactic acid. So the bicarbonate is an inconvenience, but use acid to make sure your pH is fine and it should be ok.


Is this a Ward’s water report? Is the tested water from your own well or a municipal source?
Seems to be extremely hard water. It may be better to build up from RO water for your brewing using Bru’n Water for additions. The previous version of Bru’n Water is free on line but is still very reliable.

I really appreciate everyone’s expertise and willing to share on this. Ward labs is where I sent my water test too. I use well water so I had no idea what I was dealing with. This makes sense why all the dark beers I try to brew have an off flavor. I definitely will look into Bru’n Water.

That’s some hard water…Maybe @mabrungard will chime in on this but I think you’ll probably need to dilute that water with distilled to get it in range that you can treat it with a reasonable amount of acid. Otherwise you’ll be using so much acid that it could impart a taste to your beers.

If you’re brewing all grain, hard water is actually preferable for dark beers since the dark malts will want to reduce the pH of the water. The bicarbonates will help buffer against the drop in pH and keep it in a good range for mashing. My water is at 217, and RIS is about the only style where I can use the water as-is, without adjustment. In fact, pH actually is a bit low, even with all the bicarbonates/alkalinity.

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Usually the dark brews will be alright with well water… Like Pork Chop points out, dark malt is a good source of acid, effective at lowering pH… There may be another factor to look at that caused the “off” flavor… Tom in Boston I believe just got an RO system for brewing… He may be a good one to talk with on his journey, should you possibly go the same! route… Sneezles61

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