Melbourne Water Quality

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vlbaby

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Hi guys,
I have recently been planning to do myself an All grain pilsner, and seeing the way my last couple of brews ended I thought this time I would do everything 'by the book'.

I went to the science supply store and bought a pack of pH indicators and checked firstly the tap waters pH. The indicators read about pH 5.2. A quick check of melbourne's water website says that the pH should be around 7 to 8.

Thinking I must have bought a dud set of pH indicators, I went and bought some distilled water and used my pH indicators to test that. Now my understanding is that distilled water should be a pH of 7.0. However the distilled water read 5.2 also.
Now I am convinced that the pH indicators are no good, so I went and bought another packet of a different brand.
When I got home I repeated the same test using the new pH strips, and to my surprise they gave exactly the same results. :huh:

Now I'm more confused than ever. Surely both pH indicators arent wrong, but i have no real way of knowing for sure unless i go and buy some pH buffer solution.

I am aware that if the water is actually a pH of 5.2, then it is pretty much spot on for mashing if it stays there. However I cannot help wondering why it is so low and what else could be in the water that is causing my last couple of brews to taste so astringent or oxidised ( not sure how to tell which as yet ).

Has anyone else had any such problems using melbourne water, especially in the western suburbs?


Thanks guys

vlbaby.
 

voota

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Hi,
I've got an electonic Ph probe with buffers, and I've just taken a reading of 6.76 with Parkville water. Its a little lower that it usally reads but nowhere near your 5.2. Perhaps ask the place where you bought the strips from, tell them that distilled water is reading 5.2. I'm assuming you used clean containers and all that. .

hope this helps ,
Voota
 

Darren

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vlbaby said:
Hi guys,
I have recently been planning to do myself an All grain pilsner, and seeing the way my last couple of brews ended I thought this time I would do everything 'by the book'.

I went to the science supply store and bought a pack of pH indicators and checked firstly the tap waters pH. The indicators read about pH 5.2. A quick check of melbourne's water website says that the pH should be around 7 to 8.

Thinking I must have bought a dud set of pH indicators, I went and bought some distilled water and used my pH indicators to test that. Now my understanding is that distilled water should be a pH of 7.0. However the distilled water read 5.2 also.
Now I am convinced that the pH indicators are no good, so I went and bought another packet of a different brand.
When I got home I repeated the same test using the new pH strips, and to my surprise they gave exactly the same results. :huh:

Now I'm more confused than ever. Surely both pH indicators arent wrong, but i have no real way of knowing for sure unless i go and buy some pH buffer solution.

I am aware that if the water is actually a pH of 5.2, then it is pretty much spot on for mashing if it stays there. However I cannot help wondering why it is so low and what else could be in the water that is causing my last couple of brews to taste so astringent or oxidised ( not sure how to tell which as yet ).

Has anyone else had any such problems using melbourne water, especially in the western suburbs?


Thanks guys

vlbaby.
[post="73002"][/post]​

vlbaby,
Distilled water is only pH 7.0 immediately after it is produced. It almost instantly absorbs carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is acidic so it pushes the pH of the water down.
pH of about 5.5 is where it should be. Guess you have got plenty of pH strips now.
When I use them I usually cut each strip into three. Makes them last quite a bit longer. BTW they will work just as well as a pH meter with much less hassle.
Your water pH sounds fine so I wouldn't fiddle with it. What was wrong with your earlier beers?
cheers
Darren
 

Darren

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vlbaby said:
However I cannot help wondering why it is so low and what else could be in the water that is causing my last couple of brews to taste so astringent or oxidised ( not sure how to tell which as yet ).



Thanks guys

vlbaby.
[post="73002"][/post]​
Just noticed this. Oxidised flavours can be caused by a lot of splashing at any stage of the process.
Astringency could be caused by sparging too hot (>80 degree C) or over-sparging (Try and stop at 1.015)
Sometimes astringency can be confused with over-use or harsh hops. What hops are you using?
hope this helps
 

Malnourished

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I can't speak for the west but I've brewed in three different suburbs of Melbourne and the water has always been exceptionally soft.
I've brewed pilsners and other pale beers with no water additions and they've all turned out fine. I think there may be a problem somewhere else in the process, as Darren suggests.
And I hope it's not stating the obvious, but it's the mash pH that matters, not that of the liquor. (I'm pretty sure that) With such soft water, whatever it is in the malt that brings the pH down has a greater effect than in hard water, though obviously they're all inter-dependent. I've been given a water report with single-digit ppms for all but Na and Cl with some ridiculously high pH (can't recall off the top of my head, might have been 9.x) but the beers never had any water-related problems as far as I could discern.
 

vlbaby

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Your water pH sounds fine so I wouldn't fiddle with it. What was wrong with your earlier beers?

My earlier beers were afflicted with a nasty after taste. It could have been oxidisation, but to honest i'm not too sure. And the strange thing is it didnt affect all my beers just 2. I was thinking that this might have been due to the different malts causing different changes in pH.

I really want to do a good pilsner next so I want to make sure I get it right before hand. If it is something wrong with my water I will get it from somewhere else if I have to. Or perhaps filter it etc.


vlbaby.
 

homebrewworld.com

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How does your water taste ?
The general rule of thumb, 'if it tastes good brew with it'. Thats why i dont do to much to my water, but hey i'm in beautifull Sydney.. oh and we only have a drop left !! :blink:
The nasty aftertaste, not from your yeast you think ??
Cheers,
 

Darren

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vlbaby said:
Your water pH sounds fine so I wouldn't fiddle with it. What was wrong with your earlier beers?

My earlier beers were afflicted with a nasty after taste. It could have been oxidisation, but to honest i'm not too sure. And the strange thing is it didnt affect all my beers just 2. I was thinking that this might have been due to the different malts causing different changes in pH.

I really want to do a good pilsner next so I want to make sure I get it right before hand. If it is something wrong with my water I will get it from somewhere else if I have to. Or perhaps filter it etc.


vlbaby.
[post="73044"][/post]​
vlbaby,
Was the after taste like dettol or bandaids, cough medicine?
What hops did you use? I had some brews early on tht I thought had astringency but I soon learned it was "harsh" hops. You could try changing your type of hops.
Filtering of your water with a inline carbon filter would remove chlorine.
If you has an inline filter, use it!
Most funky flavours are caused by wild yeast though. I would suggest soaking all you plastic (fermenters fill to brim with lid on make sure you remove the tap, airlock, bungs, tubes everything) in a strong chlorine solution. Leave them for a couple of days.
 

sosman

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vlbaby said:
Your water pH sounds fine so I wouldn't fiddle with it. What was wrong with your earlier beers?

My earlier beers were afflicted with a nasty after taste. It could have been oxidisation, but to honest i'm not too sure. And the strange thing is it didnt affect all my beers just 2. I was thinking that this might have been due to the different malts causing different changes in pH.

I really want to do a good pilsner next so I want to make sure I get it right before hand. If it is something wrong with my water I will get it from somewhere else if I have to. Or perhaps filter it etc.
[post="73044"][/post]​
Vlbaby maybe you should consider linking up with some other brewers to check out your beers and/or setup face to face.
 

rodderz

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I havent gone to the extent of doing analysis of the water around my area (Bundoora, nth suburbs) but around here and east the water quality is said to be the best in melbourne.

I have a mate who lives in the west (Melton) and the water out there is like chlorinated stuff from the swimming pool. Not sure if that would just the results about a bit
 

warrenlw63

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I'm in the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne and drinking a Pilsner as we speak. Has an off/odd-flavour IMO it's the Tettnanger hops I used at strike out. That said water quality could have something to do with it. <_<

Only comment I've got to add is that the chlorine levels in Melbourne's water have risen sharply over the last couple of years.

Risen enough to make me install a carbon filter on my stand. First brew using the filter is yet to be tasted I'll keep you posted.

I'm almost certain they have. I have smelled water straight from the tap and water run throught the filter and the difference is there without a doubt.

Warren -
 

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