Water - benefit and costs of RO

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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby lexuschris on Wed May 28, 2014 8:51 pm

I've always wondered about the best way to remove chloramines .. so I did a quick search, and found that aquariam enthusiasts have a lot of thoughts on the matter.

I just use the standard hard carbon filter (RV filter system) and don't worry about chloramines so much. It sounds like 'catalytic granular activated carbon' is the trick though..

Will have to keep researching ...
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby Luckbad on Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:54 pm

I have this system with the chloramine option and it works great. I spend a few hours with the hose in my mash tun the night before collect water for brew day and have awesome water to build from the next day.

http://www.airwaterice.com/product/1ED/ ... ystem.html

I didn't have anywhere good to put it so it's currently out on the patio. I might move it into the garage some day.
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby Luckbad on Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:59 pm

As to the benefits...

The water here sucks. Water anywhere is inconsistent seasonally. So much of the background flavor of beer is water that it's crazy not to care about it if you're serious about making great beer consistently.

With an RO system you don't have to buy distilled water each brew day, and you can build an exact water profile for every individual beer.

I get carried away sometimes, but have settled into my treatment process over time and determined that I tend to like a fairly balanced chloride/sulfate ratio, favoring sulfate for bitter beers and chloride (and sometimes sodium) for maltier beers.

I used to calculate salt additions obsessively for hours in multiple spreadsheets, but now I just spend 15 minutes with Brewer's Friend and call it a day.
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby bwarbiany on Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:05 pm

So I'm finally ready to brew again, and I've collected ~20 gal of RO water for tomorrow's brew day.

The "Bru'n Water" spreadsheet suggests ~7 g Gypsum and ~10 g CaCl2 for my water for "Yellow Malty" beer (I'm making a kolsch).

Does this sound about right?
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby lexuschris on Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:56 pm

I've never built up from RO water ... but when I zero out all my tap water ions, and put in the 7g CaSO4 and 10g CaCl2, my spreadsheet shows an RA for a 0-3 SRM brew with a 1.2 Cl/SO ratio ... which is considered 'balanced', but close to the 'malty' range of 1.3.

Sounds like a good place to be for a Kolsch...
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:57 pm

Okay. I have noticed that the rest of the world is using RO and my competition results have been less than desirable lately, so something had to change. I took the plunge and ordered the same RO filter that BrianC and brahn are using. Now comes the hard part - figuring out my additions to my RO water. I have spent most of the day trying to figure out how I am going to calculate these additions. It seems that no single tool is enough to figure this out accurately, but it is possible using multiple tools. While this is not ideal, I feel like I have come up with a plan. I am documenting this not only for the forum, but I want to write this all down before I forget what I have learned.

After much trial and error, here is the process I am going to use. To begin with, I read the Water book by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski twice. I still don't understand most of it, but I learned enough to be dangerous. The book contains two very useful tables (18 and 19) in chapter 7 that give good target waters for different styles of beers. This was my starting point. Now I needed a way to reach those targets. I started with the Water Profile tool in Beersmith 2. This allowed me to enter my starting water profile (RO, which is basically devoid of any salts) and my target profile (going by the tables in the Water book) and gave me the basic additions I need to make to my water to get in the right target range. I entered my quantity of water as 1 gallon since that works better with the next step, which is entering all this information in the Bru'n Water spreadsheet. While the spreadsheet is pretty amazing, it does not give you suggestions on what to add to your water to reach your target. This is where using the Beersmith tool helps out - it gives you a starting point of what to enter in the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet has some pre-built targets that correspond pretty well to the profiles in the Water book, so I just used those. You can also enter your grain bill in the spreadsheet and it will tell you if you need to make any acid additions to your mash or your sparge water and it will also tell you if you need to make any salt additions to your sparge water. You could use the spreadsheet by itself, but I figure the starting numbers I get in Beersmith save me the time of messing around with additions in the spreadsheet.

So that is where I am at. I hope to brew later this week with the RO water for the first time. I will report my findings back on this thread.
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby DrDually on Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:13 pm

Brad,
Like yourself, I am ready to invest in an RO unit but with so many on the market, it is daunting to say the least
Which unit are you using?
I have also tried Bru'n-water spreadsheet and found it to be cumbersome
Then found a single page sheet that works very well
No need to enter data in multiple places which only compounds the possibility of an error or type
If anyone is interested, PM me for a copy
Chris aka Dr Dually
drdually@att.net

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Kegged: English Brown, American Amber, Double Barrel Ale
Next up: Kolsch
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby bwarbiany on Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:41 am

I use Bru'n Water...

I put up a link on Google Drive to the spreadsheets for all the beers I've done in 2015. It's a mix of hefeweizen, blonde, hoppy beer, etc.

I've heard people complain about it being hard, but I haven't had much trouble with it...
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:11 pm

bwarbiany wrote:I use Bru'n Water...

I put up a link on Google Drive to the spreadsheets for all the beers I've done in 2015. It's a mix of hefeweizen, blonde, hoppy beer, etc.

I've heard people complain about it being hard, but I haven't had much trouble with it...


It's not user friendly or for those that don't use spreadsheets very often, but it is not that bad once you put some time into it. I am really looking forward to trying it out. I am brewing my Brown Porter this week and I already have all my water additions printed out. I am just waiting for the RO system to arrive.

For those of you that want to know which one I bought, here it is - http://www.amazon.com/Hydro-Logic-31035 ... hydrologic

By the way, I found a cheaper spot online that I will probably use when it is time to replace filters and membranes - http://www.ehydroponics.com/reverse-osm ... ement.html
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby brianc on Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:25 pm

That's a good price.

On the membrane, I'm still on my original one. Not exactly sure how much water I've ran through it, but it's been quite a bit (mostly thanks to Sam). I ended up putting an inline TDS meter on mine so I can watch for TDS creep. Think it was around $25 for the meter.

I also ended up adding a water softener to my setup. Total water hardness remains the same, but supposedly the membranes have an easier time removing sodium from water vs. all the other minerals, so it helps to extend the life of the membrane.

For the water profiles, I'd probably start with some of your more often brewed lighter lagers and just get them to around 50ppm Chloride and go from there. Your lagers are going to go to the next level now! Don't want to enter any categories you'll be competing in!
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby brianc on Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:29 pm

Also, I've given up on the water calculator spreadsheets. ProMash does a great job calculating the amounts to use, and I had gotten pretty good at estimating the amount of acid to use to drop the mash pH if needed.

I add my salts to the mash tun and boil kettle and use all RO for the sparge to keep the alkalinity low.
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby JonW on Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:39 pm

Do you know what the waste water ratio is on that unit? I've been leaning towards making RO my next step, but for my double brew days, I'd need to make and store 50 gallons and if the ratio is pretty high, I'd be wasting another 200 or more gallons.
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby brianc on Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:44 pm

3:1 out of the box, and it comes with a 2:1 optional reducer. They recommend not using the 2:1 reducer if your water is hard, but I set it up on mine since I had the softener.
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby lexuschris on Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:49 am

I've not even looked into RO water stuff 1 iota ... so forgive the neophyte questions but...

Waste water? 3:1 ratio? It did not occur to me that you would have to put 100 gallons of tap water into the system to get 33 gallons out? Is that what you are saying?

You can soften your water (add salt ions), in order to make it easier to remove the ions? That really confuses me.. :crazy: How does that work?

Sounds like (another) fun brewing adventure!
K:-)
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Re: Water - benefit and costs of RO

Postby brianc on Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:59 am

lexuschris wrote:Waste water? 3:1 ratio? It did not occur to me that you would have to put 100 gallons of tap water into the system to get 33 gallons out? Is that what you are saying?
Yep.
lexuschris wrote:You can soften your water (add salt ions), in order to make it easier to remove the ions?
Yep.

At least that is what "they" say.

;)

It's late, but I do have references for the above yep's. I'll post some more info later.
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