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Local Water Profiles

JABrews

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I am curious as to what my local water profile is.  How do I test or otherwise find out the composition of my water?  I brew with well water that tastes OK to drink but so far makes good beer.  I live in West Michigan, Caledonia area specifically.
Thanks.
 

Wildrover

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You would probably need to send your water off for an analysis.  your local profile is simply the water chemistry of the water coming off out of your tap, assuming you're on local city water.  When I moved to where I currently am I called the local water company and they actually had a spreadsheet that they send to home brewers when they call.  I guess there are enough of us here in North Dakota that they figured it was worth the time to put it together for us. 
 

JABrews

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I am not on city water.  I draw directly from the well and do not use the water that runs through the softener except to clean and sanitize.
 

MattV

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If you have such things where you live, many swimming pool supply shops will also do analysis for you.  I'm also on a well, but have never had the analysis done.  The only advantage to knowing it that I can think of is if you're trying to duplicate exactly a particular regional style.  In that case, you're probably better off starting with RO water and adding the appropriate mineral, etc. 

Quite honestly, if you like your well water, I wouldn't change it.  Let it be part of what makes your beer, your beer.
 

MaltLicker

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MattV said:
The only advantage to knowing it that I can think of is if you're trying to duplicate exactly a particular regional style. 

In certain areas, native water (tap or well) is very low in vital minerals such as calcium and magnesium.  Yeast need minimum levels of these, regardless of style.  So it is helpful to know the ballpark of your water so you can address anything the water is lacking.
 

MattV

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MaltLicker said:
MattV said:
The only advantage to knowing it that I can think of is if you're trying to duplicate exactly a particular regional style. 

In certain areas, native water (tap or well) is very low in vital minerals such as calcium and magnesium.  Yeast need minimum levels of these, regardless of style.  So it is helpful to know the ballpark of your water so you can address anything the water is lacking.

That makes sense.  Living where I do, it's not a factor that comes to mind immediately.  Both of those elements are quite plentiful in my well water as my poor water heater can bear witness to...  :-\
 
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