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Gosford Water Analysis

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Hopeye

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Hi,

Got a copy of the Gosford region (NSW Central Coast) Chemical Analysis of Potable Water for the last 12 months. Damn it, it doesn't list the Alkalinity or Bi-carbonate, so I phoned them up (Gosford Water & Sewerage Lab) and they tell me that they have stopped testing for Alkalinity (CaCO3) and Bi-Carbonates (HCO3)... Though the chickie babe did tell me that the last time the alkalinity was tested in 2001 it was 27 mg/l.. How the hell am I going to calc the Mash PH ???? Do I need to get PH strips and test the strike/mash water for every brew (when I finally get all my bits and pieces together ) ????? Do I just assume a low alkalinity and hope for the best ??? Calcium (Ca) is listed as 6.9 mg/l for last month and Magnesium (Mg) is listed as 4.34 mg/l, Hardness is 29.7 mg/l. Anybody got any tips ??? Does it really matter ???
 

Duff

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One of the easiest ways to test water pH is a swimming pool test kit. I can't see why it cannot be used for mash testing.

Duff.
 

Bobby

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units for alkalinity are meq/L. i cant see how simply measuring pH will allow you to find the alkalinity.
you will need to do a titration of the water v acid till you get a pH < 4. Acid concentration in milliequivalents/Litre is the alkalinity


Water pH does not indicate the levels of alkalinity in the water. The alkalinity refers to the neutralizing of acids which over time drives up media pH. In fact, it is not unusual to find water with a pH of 8 or higher with low alkalinity, or water with a pH of 7 and high alkalinity. Note also that water hardness is not a direct indicator of water alkalinity.
 

rob.n.hill@gmail.com

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Hi,

Just got off the phone with the Gosford Council water guys - they called me (I called them a few days ago and they passed me around to a few people before they figured out that they needed to pass the ticket to one of the guys at 'the plant').

Anyway, very helpful - I think this guy's name was Ollie - he said that they measure Total Alkalinity as CaCO3 (as opposed to bicarbonate/HCO3). He said that the guideline is 50ppm and they generally hit within the 40-60 range - measured daily. They measure on-site, but also regularly send samples off-site for analysis.

This isn't listed on the water report (http://www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/news_events/interest/documents/Annual%20Drinking%20Water%20Quality%20Report%202013.pdf), but it's one of the more important values you need to know if you're adjusting your water.

Hope this helps somebody.

Rob
 

Cheshire

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cheers rob. I checked out latest report from Gosford city council which seems similar to what you are indicating.
 

Dan Pratt

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Can you post the link to the 2014 report?
 

gone brewing

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A few years ago, maybe around 2011, I rang Wyong council and got these results from the guys testing the water. I wouldn't think it has changed much. All values in ppm (or mg/L if you prefer).
calcium - 16
magnesium - 8
sodium - 30
chloride - 70
sulphate - 20
bicarbonate - 36

FWIW I just add 6g of calcium chloride to the mash every time to get the calcium up (which also increases the chloride concentration) and leave the rest alone.
 

Dan Pratt

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gone brewing said:
A few years ago, maybe around 2011, I rang Wyong council and got these results from the guys testing the water. I wouldn't think it has changed much. All values in ppm (or mg/L if you prefer).
calcium - 16
magnesium - 8
sodium - 30
chloride - 70
sulphate - 20
bicarbonate - 36

FWIW I just add 6g of calcium chloride to the mash every time to get the calcium up (which also increases the chloride concentration) and leave the rest alone.
That's close to the 2014 water profile, what do you do for hop forward beers?
 

gone brewing

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I don't make any AIPAs. I often make APAs but still only add calcium chloride and I like a balance between both hops and malt in my APAs. If I was doing an English IPA then yes I would get some sulphate in there to get the Burton water profile.

To answer your question, you can use calcium sulphate to replace some of the calcium chloride to get sulphate:chloride ratios where you want them. I have both but I just don't worry about sulphate levels as most of my beers are on the malty side. Might do it though for my next APA.
 

Dan Pratt

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gone brewing said:
I don't make any AIPAs. I often make APAs but still only add calcium chloride and I like a balance between both hops and malt in my APAs. If I was doing an English IPA then yes I would get some sulphate in there to get the Burton water profile.

To answer your question, you can use calcium sulphate to replace some of the calcium chloride to get sulphate:chloride ratios where you want them. I have both but I just don't worry about sulphate levels as most of my beers are on the malty side. Might do it though for my next APA.
That makes sense, you know what you like and keep the water profile to suit :)

I found that with the coast water and my desire for hop forward beers that I now lean towards the sulphate additions and aim for 3:1 on Session Ales (3.5 - 4.5%) and 6:1 on APA and IPA's, it really gets the hop character I like.

Until I started with the water adjustments the pale ales and IPA's were always balanced between the malt and hops and it felt like they were missing something, then I learnt about water. The sulphate & chloride ppm from the tap is great for other styles like the wheats and dark beers as they were not about the hops and I get a good balance already.

Are you trying to hit target pH levels for your mash and sparge ?
 

rob.n.hill@gmail.com

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I just noticed that the 2013/2014 Gosford drinking water report lists calcium as being 0.0003mg/L, down from 15.0083 the previous year.

This has to be wrong, yes?

More evidence - the line above it (Cadmium) is listed as 0.0003 (average) and 0.00025 (95th percentile) - both the same values as Calcium - so a cut and paste error?
 

Dan Pratt

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I thought the same thing that it appeared to be an error. I think I emailed them and they confirmed it was correct, I will check my emails when I can.

Either way to get the 140ppm of calcium for the beer there are just as much adjustment with it at 0 or 15
 

gone brewing

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endisnigh said:
I just noticed that the 2013/2014 Gosford drinking water report lists calcium as being 0.0003mg/L, down from 15.0083 the previous year.

This has to be wrong, yes?

More evidence - the line above it (Cadmium) is listed as 0.0003 (average) and 0.00025 (95th percentile) - both the same values as Calcium - so a cut and paste error?
Note that the water report gives total hardness as CaCO3 as 53, Mg as 3.859 and Ca as 0.0003. This doesn't make sense when considering the relationship between these that is given in "How To Brew" (pages 157-158). If the Mg and total hardness is correct then according to the equation, Ca would be around 15ppm, which is what we all expect it to be. So I agree it's an error.

The equation I refer to is:
(Ca (ppm)/20 + Mg (ppm)/12.1) x 50 = Total Hardness as CaCO3
 

gone brewing

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Pratty1 said:
That makes sense, you know what you like and keep the water profile to suit :)

I found that with the coast water and my desire for hop forward beers that I now lean towards the sulphate additions and aim for 3:1 on Session Ales (3.5 - 4.5%) and 6:1 on APA and IPA's, it really gets the hop character I like.

Until I started with the water adjustments the pale ales and IPA's were always balanced between the malt and hops and it felt like they were missing something, then I learnt about water. The sulphate & chloride ppm from the tap is great for other styles like the wheats and dark beers as they were not about the hops and I get a good balance already.

Are you trying to hit target pH levels for your mash and sparge ?
I don't worry about measuring pH. I looked into it and thought the only accurate way of doing it was to invest in a pH meter with temperature compensation, which was going to be quite a bit of moolah. I didn't think it was worth doing that as I like keeping my process simple. The guy I spoke to regarding the water here said is was soft but salty meaning that the levels of most ions are fairly low except for sodium chloride and this was typical of water that comes from a sandstone area. The thing with sodium and chloride is they don't have any buffering ability so what you have in the mash is a result of what goes in in terms of grains and mineral additions. Adding calcium acidifies the mash and a mash pH that is a bit lower than optimum is better than too high than optimum (see Braukaiser for some discussion on this).

So basically, that's as far as I wanted to take things with my mash process. If the water chemistry here was more complicated then I might have gone down the path of measuring mash pH.

Cheers
Dick
 

mr_wibble

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The guy in the local swimming-pool shop said he would happily measure the pH of my tap water anytime (for free).
So if you really want to know the base-level pH, and don't have a meter/strips - maybe check with your local pool guy.
 

rob.n.hill@gmail.com

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Hi Cheshire,

The link doesn't work for me, however from memory (I don't have my recipes at hand), 4g of CaCl and Gypsum are reasonable - I generally use 4-6g of each (depending on batch size), and sometimes a similar amount of MgSO4 for hoppier beers. I also use campden tables.

So, yes - it sounds about right.

Something else though - I recently bought a 2-stage filter (5 micron and then 0.5 micron carbon filter) because the water here in Gosford is often off-colour and sometimes tastes 'muddy' or generally 'off'.

I think this would have a more significant effect on the final beers than a few grams of brewing salts, although this remains to be seen - haven't used it yet!!

If anybody's interested, you can get a 2-stage camper filter on eBay for <$50.

Best of luck!
 

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