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Water report- question

pH 8.0
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 209
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.35
Cations / Anions, me/L 3.5 / 3.7
Sodium, Na 15
Potassium, K 1
Calcium, Ca 33
Magnesium, Mg 13
Total Hardness, CaCO3 137
Nitrate, NO3-N 1.7 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 6
Chloride, Cl 27
Carbonate, CO3 < 1.0
Bicarbonate, HCO3 149
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 123

I know I’ll have to deal with HCO3 for a lot of the beers I brew but I’m not sure on which way to do it. I’ve been using distilled water since I started brewing and have only had to deal with raising mash PH. Is there a preferred method between adding acid, diluting, or pre boiling?

Is there a cheap way to determine if the water is likely from the same source I had tested through out the year without sending out for another report?

That is a pretty good tap water. As you recognize, the alkalinity is high and will require acidification for many beers. There is no need to dilute or use RO since the overall ionic content is low enough for almost all styles. The relatively low calcium content in that water makes pre-boiling less desirable since you won’t reduce the alkalinity very much by that method due to the ionic content. Acidification is your best option and the alkalinity level isn’t crazy high which could preclude the use of lactic acid. So either lactic or phosphoric acid are well suited for your water. A tool like Bru’n Water will help you figure out how much acid to dose with.

If you are worried about the water quality changing, I suggest that you obtain a calcium hardness and alkalinity test kits used in the aquarium field. They are relatively cheap and accurate enough for brewing use. My friends in the UK indicate that the Salifert test kits are pretty good. With those test results, you would be able to adjust the calcium and alkalinity values for your water and help assure that your mash pH calculations were closer to reality.


Thank you so much, I really appreciate it :cheers: Do you have personal preference when it comes to which acid to use?

With the moderate adjustment you have to make you’d be fine with lactic or phosphoric. I have to make some pretty heavy adjustments so I’m using 85% phosphoric so that I don’t have to worry about the flavor threshold for picking up lactic acid.

I feel that when brewing continental European beer styles, lactic acid is a component of the flavor profile. However, it is way in the background. German, Czech, Belgian beers typically have some level of lactate in the beer.

If you have to neutralize a lot of alkalinity (more than say 150 ppm) then it is probably time to use a cleaner acid like phosphoric.

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