Pints for Prostates

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Water Test Results

I recently sent a water sample to Ward Laboratories so that I could know the water chemistry of our home water. Having the right water chemistry is important for beer, especially for good beer.

Ward Laboratories has a beer test, which includes everything that a deluxe home test has. They make it easy. I purchased the test online, they sent me prepaid packaging and sample bottle, I filled the container and mailed it back. By the end of the week the results were emailed to me. Here are the results I received:

pH:   7.8
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS):   Est, ppm 268
Electrical Conductivity: mmho/cm   0.45
Cations / Anions, me/L:   4.8 / 4.7 ppm
Sodium, Na:   109
Potassium, K:   < 1
Calcium, Ca:   < 1
Magnesium, Mg:   < 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3:   < 1
Nitrate, NO3-N:   0.4 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S:   4
Chloride, Cl:   8
Carbonate, CO3:   < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3:   257
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3:   211
Total Phosphorus, P:   1.26
Total Iron, Fe:   < 0.01

As many homebrewers do when they get their water reports, I immediately posted the results on, in the Brew Science forum. You can read the discussion here.

I won't rehash all the details, but the general consensus is that the water softener is causing the high sodium number. The bicarbonate level is high. Also, it would help to increase the Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfate, Chloride numbers.

The well water, before it gets to the water softener system, is likely a better source for brewing water. I have ordered another test to get the numbers on that water. Once I receive those results I can determine how to treat the water to get the numbers I need.

Here are a couple excellent sites/worksheets to geek-out on water chemistry, if you are so inclined:

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