hist-brewing: Water Chemistry

Jeff Renner nerenner at umich.edu
Thu Jan 13 06:31:46 PST 2000

OxladeMac at aol.com asks

>Are there any chemists or advanced brewers out there that could field a
>question on water chemistry adjustment?  I'm trying to adjust my tap water to
>more closely match London's supply for a recreation effort I'm about to
>embark on.  My city's water supply is OK in most areas, but it seems to have
>unusually high concentrations of sodium and cloride ions in it.

>City            Ca++    CO3--   Cl- Mg++    Na+ SO4-    HardnessTDS
>London          90      125     20  5       15      40      235     300
>Stillwater, OK  75      40      296 64      279     116     140     456

I'll say it's high in those ions!  I'm surprised your water meets EPA
standards for drinking water.  I'm afraid there's no way to reduce them as
they are virtually totally soluble.  Acidifying and boiling, as was
suggested, will at best remove the Ca, Mg and CO3, but Ca is needed for
proper mash conversion.  The Na and Cl will remain.  Your best bet is to
build the water from scratch using deionized/distilled water.

You probably won't be able to completely duplicate the ions given for
London water because they don't balance.  I'd suggest for more information
you search the HomeBrew Digest archives http://hbd.org in 1995 and1996 for
AJ deLange's excellent articles on water chemistry.  There was one 1995
article on London water.  Search fopr "delange and water and london" and
you should get a fairly manageable number of hits, then look for the
subject line "water".

Good luck.


Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, c/o nerenner at umich.edu
"One never knows, do one?"  Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943. 

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