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Thread: Brewing Water

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    FERNDALE & Ext 3 & 6, Randburg

    Brewing Water

    Good Day / Evening to all brewers out there.

    Apologies if this question has been raised and answered before.
    I'm a all grain home brewer, been brewing for about 1.5 years now.
    I have a GF30. and enjoying every moment of it.

    So over the year and so that I have been brewing, I have slowly but surely been improving my methods and the craft of brewing.
    I recently started dabbling in the field of water adjustments. I stay in Randburg, and I use Tap Water for my brewing.

    What I have found is the I consistently measure a water pH of 6.85, which renders a post mash and sparge pH of around 6.
    As stated, I'm starting to look at water adjustments and in trying find info on my source water i came across a JHB water report.
    Interestingly, this report (2020-2021) states a water pH of 7.85

    So after this very long winded intro, my question:
    Is there any home brewers in the JHB / Randburg area that have actually got there water tested to get a better idea of what is in the water.
    My concern is that with such a big difference between the source PH and the measured PH. what other differences could one expect?
    Where can one get the water tested to get a better idea of what we are actually brewing with?
    Is there a Home Brew testing kit that is available in the market that will allow one to test and get the info such as:
    >Alkalinity Sulfate

    Some advice from the more experienced?

    I have read the comments about; "If it smells good then it is good enough." But, I'm actually one of those who really do believe that water can make a difference.

  2. #2
    Hi and welcome!

    I don't play with water (yet) but have bookmarked this page for when future me decides to do it:

    I also don't know what degree of accuracy are in these reports and have never tested my own water... but try it out and maybe do some split batch tests?

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    FERNDALE & Ext 3 & 6, Randburg
    Thanks BruHaha

    That is actually where i got my info from. But thanks for sharing the link.
    Lets see, maybe some brewer out there has found something or learned something and willing to share.


  4. #4
    Does anyone have a water report/link for Newlands spring water?

    Sent from my SM-A315F using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    I'm starting to dabble in brewing water now, after 3 years of brewing. My method is REALLY simple - if I want to brew a beer with dabbled water, I'll go buy RO water from the water shop, for which they have a very specific spec sheet. I'll then only build on that, usually with only two ingredients - Calcium Chloride (providing Ca and Cl ions) and Epsom Salts (providing Magnesium (Mg) and Sulphates (SO4 (ionic)). These two gives a good balance (for me) regarding water hardness, clarity (actually helps clarity in your beer) and hop flavour.

    I'll be doing this now with my competition Helles for today.

  6. #6
    Just use RO water for brewing.

    From experience I have setup 4 salt profiles, most of my beers will fall in one of these.

    Everyone must beleive in something, I beleive I'll have another beer

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by BeerHolic View Post
    Just use RO water for brewing.

    From experience I have setup 4 salt profiles, most of my beers will fall in one of these.

    Quick digression question here. Sorry Gus

    It has often been advised to me to look into water profile and I have just never wanted to complicate things even more. ^^^^ This has often popped up as something that I might be willing to explore at some stage

    Would you be willing to share your 'recipe' for the above profiles?
    Balanced: Xg of this, Xg of that etc etc, per litre
    "Dudddde...Hold my beer!".... ; "I wonder what will happen if I ...."

  8. #8
    A Brewing Water Chemistry Primer | - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

    I think they have a good general guideline

    just note later in the thread they recommend half the amounts from the first thread. thread started in 2010 and has a shit ton of good information from very good homebrewers. you don't have to super complicate water chemistry from the get go.

  9. #9
    Over the past months I've researched the water salts chemistry a bit for my Bugubrew app.

    Salts come in basically 2 shapes - some will cause your ph to drop and others to rise. This is usefull when you are brewing a light beer or a dark beer. Malts from light beers tend to naturally mash at say ph 5.6-5.7 which is on the upper level of desired mash ph - and by adding certain salts will drop your ph and you'll end up in your desired mash ph zone .. likewise for dark beers (stouts), their roasted grains are more acidic and tend to naturally mash at the lower end of desired mash ph range - then add salts to up the ph.

    Then comes the desicion between malty and hoppy beers. Malty beers need a higher ratio of chloride to sulphate, and hoppy beers need a higher sulphate ratio, darker beers need more carbonates than lighter beers. That's just how it is!

    There are several recommended water /salt profiles out there, and in my rearch I found that Bru'n Water spreadsheet uses a very easy to use salt profiles based on the colour of the beer and the derired malty/hopiness of the style. I've seen Brulosophy uses Bru'n Water's profiles in some of their recipes. ( There are some other spreadsheets available for free .. EZ-, Kaiser- and Palmer's - Water calculators/Adjusters. It takes a while to get your head around these spreadsheets .. but once it 'clicks' it becomes obvious. Some software apps have easier to use water/salt calculators..

    Here are the profiles that I have collected from Bru'n Water :-

    .. into Bugubrew's List:

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by AlexBrew; 9th April 2021 at 09:45.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    FERNDALE & Ext 3 & 6, Randburg

    I have been using (om my last brew, currently fermenting) palmers Water adjustments, based on the JHB water report 2020-2021.

    What I can tell you, do date, my:
    > Mash pH was spot on 5.4 without lactic acid.
    > my post boiled Ph @ 90 deg was 5.8, which should give me a 5.5 - 5.6 at 20 dec C.
    > fermentation might have been a bit slow, but that could be cause i pitched at 25 and not 20 deg.
    > fermentation has been a steady constant bouble rate at 18 Deg C.

    Ill give more feedback after fermentation and kegging, but, so far its good.
    Obviously, the proof is in tasting, and I will give all feedback then.

    Its my first brew on adjusted water, so, lets see, .... but, I'm optimistic that there will be a diff.
    The option of using RO water is there, but, now we start adding in cost .... which I don't mind, but it a cost that has to be accounted for.

    Home brewing the simple way, without water adjustment is great, but, i feel, this just raises the quality of the beer, one level higher.

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