Water Question

Physics, chemistry and biology of brewing. The causes and the effects.

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Water Question

Postby Swany » Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:29 am

I am looking for an alternative to the water I am presently using (well water with high levels of iron and sulfur). Carbon filtering does not remove enough of these elements. I have access to RO (reverse osmosis) water at work. I know that RO water is stripped of all minerals. Is there a formula for adding minerals back into RO water?

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Chapter 15

Postby slothrob » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:17 am

Check out chapter 15 in How to Brew by John Palmer, a great reference that every brewer should own, I believe, but that can also be viewed online at howtobrew.com.

Iron can be bad news in beer, so you're probably taking the right approach.
The two things you'll want to focus on are Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) and Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3). You need to have calcium present around 100 ppm to allow mash enzymes to work. Mixing the two salts will allow you to adjust the mash pH as needed, which can be reasonably estimated by the color that the final beer is expected to be.

There are other issues as well, but they are generally secondary, like the fact that Sulfates from Gypsum can be used to make hops more pronounced.

If you are making beer from extract, there will be sufficient minerals in your extract to make the beer taste good, so don't worry about adding anything to your RO for now.
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Re: Water Question

Postby billvelek » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:34 pm

Swany wrote:I am looking for an alternative to the water I am presently using (well water with high levels of iron and sulfur). Carbon filtering does not remove enough of these elements. I have access to RO (reverse osmosis) water at work. I know that RO water is stripped of all minerals. Is there a formula for adding minerals back into RO water?

Swany
Then slothrob wrote:Check out chapter 15 in How to Brew by John Palmer, a great reference that every brewer should own, I believe, but that can also be viewed online at howtobrew.com.

Just thought that I'd add that BeerToolsPro has a water chemistry tool to do that for you -- tell you how much of each chemical to add to duplicate over a hundred different water profiles from around the world. The benefit is not only being advised what to add, but having the water profiles available for immediate use. For instance, starting with RO water and your salts, you still need to know what the water profile is for the water in Pilsen Czechoslovakia, if that's what your trying to duplicalte. Might as well promote the product on the developer's own forum. :D

Cheers.

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