Ward Labs Homebrew water report and DIY water

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
vickeryj

#1: Post by vickeryj »

I'm a home brewer and treat my water for beer brewing. I've never done a water report because the municipal report shows mineral content that is pretty close to neutral in terms of taste.

However, it does have some minerals, and I'm concerned about those levels when it comes to scale, especially as I consider adding minerals for flavor for espresso.

I searched the forums, but it doesn't look like people generally have their tap water tested. In the homebrew world Ward Labs is the go to option. They will send you a kit for about $40 (https://www.wardlab.com/product/water-test-kit/) or you can save a few bucks if you use your own container (https://homebrewacademy.com/homebrew-water-report/).

Has anyone had a water report done on their tap water? Are there any tests not on the standard brewers list that are worth adding?

If I do this, my plan it to fill a 5 gallon keg with tap water, add minerals by weight, including campden tablet to knock out chlorine, then use that to fill my machine.

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homeburrero
Team HB

#2: Post by homeburrero »

vickeryj wrote:Are there any tests not on the standard brewers list that are worth adding?
In some areas it might be worth paying extra to add silica to the analysis. The key numbers you want are calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate & carbonate. Or calcium harness, total hardness, alkalinity. You can calculate the latter from the former and vice versa. Chloride is very important because high chloride is difficult to filter and may be a corrosion concern. In water from volcanic sources, you may have problematic high silica, which can produce a glassy scale that is extremely difficult to remove.

It's important to understand that some values can change over time because of seasonal factors (like road salt in the winter) or because of the water utility shifting to different sources. So it's always good to check into that with your water utility, and try to get quarterly or monthly analysis reports for use in making your treatment decisions. You can also periodically check the water yourself with a conductivity 'TDS meter' and drop titration test kits for hardness, alkalinity (GH & KH kits) and kits specifically for chloride ion.

vickeryj wrote:If I do this, my plan it to fill a 5 gallon keg with tap water, add minerals by weight, including campden tablet to knock out chlorine, then use that to fill my machine.
I'm not sure about the campden tablet for coffee brew water. At one tablet per 5 gallons it would be low (maybe 10-15 ppm as SO2), but I'm not sure what that metabisulfite might do to the taste. Searching this site I don't see any reports about that. Coffee people use charcoal filters to get rid of chlorine and chloramine. Some catalytic charcoal filters are optimized for chloramine, but I think any good charcoal filter with a slow flow rate and long contact time should do the job well enough.
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Mad Scientist

#3: Post by Mad Scientist »

As a former brewer I used to do this starting with RO water using my brewing salts. The example below was for coffee pour overs and immersion brewing.

I have used the Bru'n Water spreadsheet by mixing up 21 L at a time. Water basically weighs 1 kg per liter.

In this example I used 1.3 g of Epsom Salt and 1.5 g of Baking Soda for a 70/30 mix.