Rain Water Ph 4.7

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Thefatdoghead

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Don't know if anyone cares but it really surprised me that rain water that came down today in south east Queensland had a PH of 4.5. Obviously people who brew with rain water would know that it's on the acidic side but I never thought it was in that range.
Loving my new digital PH meter, I wish I bought one ages ago! Peace of mind in the mash and I can check my pool and fermentation of mead and beer etc.
 

amiddler

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What is your roof and gutter made out of? Far from suburbia? Acid Rain? Have to test mine now you mention it.
 

Thefatdoghead

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Mate I put a clean bucket on the drive and caught about 4 litters in the afternoon. Im about 20 minutes inland from Caloundra on the sunny coast. Meter was calibrated yesterday with PH 4 solution and PH 7 solution.
 

amiddler

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It would be interesting to have it tested to find out what ions are causing the pH issues.
The good part is thet water pH doesn't have a great impact on mash pH which is where it matters.
 

Thefatdoghead

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I only tested it because i made a wheat beer out of straight rain water and one fermentor got infected and the other was just really wrong on the pallet so i tipped it!
Think ill stick to tap water...mines PH 6.98.
 

dent

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The pH of very clean water can be not very instructive, for brewing purposes. The water quite possibly has very little buffering capacity. It would be more worthwhile IMO to conduct a test mash with 100% pils malt, see what mash pH you get, and go from there.
 

drsmurto

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The pH of very clean water can be not very instructive, for brewing purposes. The water quite possibly has very little buffering capacity. It would be more worthwhile IMO to conduct a test mash with 100% pils malt, see what mash pH you get, and go from there.

Good point, a pH meter relies on conductivity of which there is very little in pure (distilled) water.

I highly doubt the pH of the water is actually that low, try diluting it with small quantities of tap water (1-2%) and see what that does to the reading.
 

dent

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Yeah, I think the pH reading probably IS accurate, it's just that it's a useless measurement - especially without knowing the buffering capacity of what (if anything much) is in that water.

That rain water probably is excellent brewing water. You won't really know until you try a mash in it, then you will see how the buffering capacity of the water meets that of the malt.
 

RdeVjun

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I'm no chemist, but you may find that the pH could stabilize at a higher value once allowed to stand. I'm not up on the exact reasoning, however that may be due to carbonic acid which is then lost as CO2.
Another reason why the pH is low may be elevated levels of nitrogen oxides due to lightning, as far as I'm aware that would not result in a higher pH when allowed to stand.
Could be completely off base too...
Edit: BTW pH of 4.7 is not outside the normal range of rainwater.
 

Thefatdoghead

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Ill try dilute 1/4 tap water PH 7 (pretty close) with 3/4 rain water see what I get. No idea whats in the rain water but sulphur dioxide would be high from pollution? im just guessing. I'll see if the ph has a large change. Im still learning water chemistry and only know the basics so im just dicking around really.
There was heaps of lightening before the rain though.......you could be right RdeVjun.
 

Thefatdoghead

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**** it, ill go grind a couple of hanfulls of pil's malt and mash it for 40 min at 65 and see what the ph ends up at.
 

labels

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Of course, rain begins by nucleation, that is water vapour condensing on a nucleation point which could be anything as stated below

From Wikipedia,

"Water vapor normally begins to condense on condensation nuclei such as dust, ice, and salt in order to form clouds."

Firstly, this means that rain water is never clean and depending on what type of nuclei it starts consdensing on will affect the properties of the water that ends up as rain including, of course, the pH.

Steve
 

Batz

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I'm a Water Watch volunteer, I monitor two creeks in my area for any changes in PH, salt, phosphorus etc.

It just happens it is my turn with the equipment today so I have checked the PH of my rain water, this is out of the tank.

5.67

Seems about right.

http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/ASK/rain-creek-pH.html

Batz
 

Thefatdoghead

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I didn't think to move the bucket of rain water undercover for a sample today and it rained again last night so the PH of the rain water was 4.97 today. I used 200gm premium pils malt and mashed into 750ml of the rain water.
Mashed for 40min at 65 degrees and 20min at 72 deg. Cooled the wort down to 30 degrees and ended up with a PH of 5.4. I calibrated the meter before I started.
 

steven994hmy

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Don't know if anyone cares but it really surprised me that rain water that came down today in south east Queensland had a PH of 4.5. Obviously people who brew with rain water would know that it's on the acidic side but I never thought it was in that range.
Loving my new digital PH meter, I wish I bought one ages ago! Peace of mind in the mash and I can check my pool and fermentation of mead and beer etc.
Rain water is typically 5.5 - 6 pH main due to co2 in the atmosphere
 
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Don't know if anyone cares but it really surprised me that rain water that came down today in south east Queensland had a PH of 4.5. Obviously people who brew with rain water would know that it's on the acidic side but I never thought it was in that range.
Loving my new digital PH meter, I wish I bought one ages ago! Peace of mind in the mash and I can check my pool and fermentation of mead and beer etc.
Well I've recently moved to Brisbane and the tap water is excellent by comparison to elsewhere. My take is if it tastes ok then brew with it as it is treated to kill organisms detrimental to brewing. My council water in Wynnum is around 6.5 pH, maybe I'm lucky. I once live in Adelaide, now there's a place to gather and use rainwater and strangely Hobart wasn't much better.
 

HLBrew

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The one thing to be mindful of with any brew water, and that isn't always obvious to the taste test, is the chlorine content. Very easy to end up with band-aid flavours in the final beer. I would recommend keeping an eye out for a second hand two stage caravan water filter on gumtree (adding new filter cartridges of course), or buying a new if you feel so inclined, as a pretty inexpensive way to clean up your brew water on the way in.
 
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The one thing to be mindful of with any brew water, and that isn't always obvious to the taste test, is the chlorine content. Very easy to end up with band-aid flavours in the final beer. I would recommend keeping an eye out for a second hand two stage caravan water filter on gumtree (adding new filter cartridges of course), or buying a new if you feel so inclined, as a pretty inexpensive way to clean up your brew water on the way in.

That's good practice, or:
1. DIY an activated-carbon filter, but do some research first. You need a fairly slow through rate and can't reuse the carbon without drying after uses. (commercial filters impregnate carbon with silver salts to retard bacterial growth.)
2. let the water stand for two days (good for chlorine, but not choramine)
3. add sodium thiosulphate (Campden tablets) as directed.

I used (1) when I lived where organic matter content, possibly descended in part from sheep shit) was high. Filtering removes that too. After relocating, I've relied on a two day stand or (3) when in a hurry. No band-aids. in the bewr

Preboiling for two minutes also works on chlorine, but wastes a lot of energy.
 

peterregan892

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First time poster so pls be gentle…😀

Another SE Qld brewer here (Beechmont). We’re on tank water and until we fitted a calcite filter, our water was at pH 4.2-4.5 - sufficiently acidic that it was stripping copper out of the shower breech and leaving blue/green stains on the shower tiles. We have a large tank with relatively little turnover (only 2 of us) so the water has plenty of opportunity to absorb more CO2 and reduce pH beyond normal rainwater pH. The calcite filter leaves the pH at around 8.5

All that said, I’ve just moved over to brewing with Coles/Woollies spring water as I‘ve been having terrible problems with a very strong bitter, back-of the-throat aftertaste since I started. I’m an extract brewer and have found the same problem with different styles - stout, red ales, Helles, wheat and euro lager. It’s the same story with all of them - swallow the beer, count to 3 and there it is - a horrible, lingering bitter, harsh aftertaste in the upper throat. I’ve tried a number of experiments with split batches - boiling the tank water, drawing it off before the calcite filter, different fermenters, etc without success, apart from an experiment with spring water which was OK. To endorse this, I’ve just finished a Bavarian Hefeweizen clone from AHB made with spring water and it tastes wonderful.

At least I have a way to make good beer now, but I’d love to know what the problem is with our tank water. The tank is really clean (I can see the bottom of the tank through the inspection hatch), water tastes great and we have a floating draw off pipe so we always get the freshest water. A local lab tested a sample and it passed with flying colours (no ion values reported unfortunately). The only thing I can think of is that a couple of years ago (before we had the calcite filter) I tried correcting the pH with sodium bicarbonate (I’m a retired chemist so reasonably confident the quantity was correct) so there may be residual Na+ there (I’m assuming all the bicarbonate will have dissipated by now). That said, we‘ve had so much rain since then, it must be diluted by now.

Sorry for the windy post and hope I haven’t hijacked the thread. Any enlightenment gratefull received
 
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