Water report now what?

I got my water report. According to “How to brew” my water is only suitable for Black Ales. Not brown not Amber" BLACK". Alkalinity CaCO3, 325 with a ph of 7.6. If I create a water profile in Beersmith for my water will that give me the acid additions I need to fix my water? Thanks.

I would google and download either Bru’n water or Kaiser’s water adjustment spreadsheet. I believe they give you the specific acids you need to manipulate your water. Keep in mind the makeup changes as the year goes around though. If you really want complete control, go for RO water.

You don’t want to brew just stouts?

Go through Bru’n water. He has a tutorial at the beginning that explains everything. You may need to dilute it with distilled or RO water.

brau kaiser says that I need to add phosphoric 10% to reduce akalinity. Amounts in the 12 to 18 Tsp. range for the phosphoric 10% for 8+gallons of water. Do people normally treat their water in this manner. below is the report
PH 7.6

Sodium NA 9
Potassium K 1
Calcium, CA 77
Magnesium, Mg 43
Total Hardness,CaCO3, 372
Nitrate,NO3-N .2
Sulfate, SO4-S 16
Chloride,Cl 14
Carbonate, HCO3 <1
bicarbonate HCOs 397
total AkalinityCACO3 325
Total Phsophorus,P .36
Total Iron FE .60

I deal with something similar in Madison, WI. I typically cut with 75% distilled and add back Calcium Chloride and Gypsum to get everything back in order. This method just seems to be the easiest way of getting everything you want out of your water. There is a nice set of articles written on madisonbeerreview.com that goes through the process of dealing with the type of water you are have.

I do this same thing with mine. Your water is fine. Dilute it with RO in varying percentages. Then add back gypsum & calcium chloride as needed. You don’t need to know the finer points; just plug your numbers into Bru’n’water and adjust your RO dilution percentage and other mineral additions as needed to reach your target pH.

It looks like you’ve already found Kai’s site. If you enjoy knowing the details as to why you’re doing what you’re doing in Bru’n’water, it’s excellent for that.

Yeah, ballparking your water into a decent ph range will do you wonders. I tried to ignore my water when i first started all grain and i wound up with incomplete mashes resulting in incomplete fermentations and crappy beer. I’ve found EZ Water to be a bit more first-time user friendly when it comes to water. Maybe give it a try before moving into the slightly more complex versions.


I also found this to be useful in learning the basics:

http://www.keystonehops.org/wp-content/ ... -Water.pdf

Not to dismiss an interest in water chemistry- but your subject line makes me think you are putting the cart before the horse. Are there specific reasons that you got the report? Are you unhappy with the beer you brew? I personally haven’t look into my water (from a well) because 1) I don’t understand water chemistry enough to be confident in adjusting my water, and 2) my beer is good. Just another perspective on the issue…

If his experiences have been anything like mine, his lighter colored beers have suffered from the water. I was content to just guess and dilute my water w/ some distilled, which helped, or start from scratch w/ 100% distilled, which I hated to buy the water for, when doing 11 gallons.

And then when I thought I had done everything right, if something in the final product might be a little off, I would think that maybe it was the water and I just couldn’t be sure what it was. I could speculate all I wanted but w/o knowing what was in the water I was brewing w/, any tweaking would just be more guessing.

While I read a lot about water, most still goes over my head but little by little, it has become clearer and Martin’s program(Bru’n Water) has made it just a little bit clearer for me. It’s worth a try to read and fiddle around w/ if you get the time.

Yes, Iam not happy with a couple recent AG batches that I have done. Low OG, insipid color, watery consistency and mouthfeel. The darker the beer the better. I have had a couple of really low efficiency batches in the past month which had me questioning everything.(paralysis by analysis). Conseguently I have rebuilt my mash tun with a circular mesh screen into a T barb (very nice flow less canneling), eliminated the buffer 5.2, and double crush my grains at NB. My last Cream Ale prior to these changes had an estimated 55% efficiency. I brewed an EPA this weekend and really hit my temps.(thank you christmas thermpen), and my efficiency jumped to 68.3% with the above changes.
The reason I got concerned about my water was my wife got me John Palmers"How to Brew" and because we do not have municipal water and I am on a well, and the section on water chemistry set off some red flags. I sent off to ward labs for the report so I was at least educated on what I was using.
I ran into a friend of mine this weekend and I quote “Brewing is just the right combination of science and magic to make it interesting”.

[quote=“flytyer”]brau kaiser says that I need to add phosphoric 10% to reduce akalinity. Amounts in the 12 to 18 Tsp. range for the phosphoric 10% for 8+gallons of water. Do people normally treat their water in this manner. below is the report

First, I’m no expert.

Second, make sure it’s phosphoric and not lactic, because they say lactic acid contributes “flavors” earlier when used compared to phosphoric. (Is there a limit to how much phosphoric that should be used?) That seems like a lot of acid, I’ve never used near that much.

Third, To keep acid additions minimal, I usually dilute (for lighter beers) 50% or so w/ distilled water.
Bru’n Water lets you scale water dilution w/ distilled water.

Fourth, I picked up a $12 scale on Amazon that lets me do my measurements by weight in grams.

Fifth, you may want to pick up a pH meter or at the very least, colorphast pH strips. They will help double check your mash. I had a bag of rarh pale malt that I’m pretty sure had lactic bacteria because my pH was WAY low. Normally I would have blamed my water for my low mash pH when using that malt, but now my water had an alibi.

Edit: I just went to check something in Bru’n water and noticed in the instructions a note that says Rahr Malting acidifies thier base malts.
I never knew that. Anyone know how to calculate for that? (not trying to pull the thread the wrong way, it’s just kind of a eureka moment for me :mrgreen: . Ill start a new thread)

I love that!

It sure sounds like you are dealing with excessive alkalinity if you like the way your darker beers come out. If the prediction is that you need to neutralize a lot of alkalinity, then phosphoric acid is the way to go. I just added some more information on lactic acid usage in brewing and why it can be tasted in some brews and not others. Visit the Water Knowledge page on the Bru’n Water site and swing down to the discussion on using acids for neutralization. I was able to glean that from my Malting and Brewing Science text.

By the way, if you are using 10% phosphoric, it probably isn’t that high an amount. Remember it’s very dilute at that strength.

Yes, it does appear that Rahr lightly acidifies their base malts. I don’t know about their other malts. But the work-around for using Rahr base malts in Bru’n Water is to increase the color rating input into the program by 3 lovibond. For example, for a 2L pale malt input the color as 5L. Of course, the color predicted for the beer will be off. But that predicted beer color is not why you are using Bru’n Water! It’s just a quick comparison to the results of brewing programs like Promash and Beersmith.


Thanks Martin,

Denny pointed that out for me and I appreciate that input on the Rarh malt.


By the way, if you are using 10% phosphoric, it probably isn’t that high an amount. Remember it’s very dilute at that strength.


Thanks for that correction too. While I’ve been blessed w/ 2 homebrew stores w/in 20 min of me, one doesn’t carry phosphoric and the other has been out when I was looking for it. Lactic acid being at 88%, that is a big difference in the amount used.

I would move to a Colorado were the water is almost perfect…Just kiddin I am waiting on a water report for the third time, so who knows I have brewing Browns, Scottish Stouts, and a few others and all have been good be interesting to see if the water needs additions and how much it changes.

My water is moderately alkaline, probably 150-200 ppm cac03. Lately I’ve been using RO water from the store’s water machine for almost everything that isnt very dark and lowly hopped and I’ve noticed a drastic improvement in my beers. I also noticed that the high bicarbonate content in my rap water has made hoppy beers taste really weird, even where the mash and boil pHs were right on. If you have a store with a water machine nearby, water refills should only be about 40 cents a gallon.

Here in St Pete Florida our water is very high in carbonates. I’ve found that cutting it with 40% distilled gives me an acceptable profile for everything, all the way to light lagers.

If I don’t watch the water profile, the flavors in any style ligher than amber are clearly muddied, and hop flavor can suffer as well. Being aware of my water profile made a huge improvement in the quality of my beer, and I’ve been treating it and diluting it with distilled for probably 7 years or more.

We also have chloramines in our water system, and that is another story, but almost as hard to convince people to care about.