Barleypopmaker's Beer Blog

~I know you drank the beer, but did you experience it?

Barleypopmaker's Beer Blog - ~I know you drank the beer, but did you experience it?

Manitowoc Area Water Reports

I sent off a water sample to Ward Labs for my local water report, and is an extension of a previous post I did on getting started in understanding water. I did the same test for another local water source which is a natural Artesian well named the Kossuth Artesian Well which is just north of Manitowoc, WI on Hwy Q. I will post the water data for both sources below. With this data you can more accurately know what beer styles will work best with the current water profile and what water adjustments to make for other styles (if necessary). This is a troubleshooting and fine tuning aspect of brewing. There is no reason to stress about your water as long as the water tastes good and is free of chlorine. If you don’t want to worry about water, you don’t have to. But water chemistry can affect hop perception in beer as well as affect your mash, it is important to understand and at least acknowledge that. So for those local readers, I will provide that data below. Granted it will change slightly year after year, but this will get you solidly in the ballpark. Here are the Manitowoc water results (which get’s it’s water from Lake Michigan) and the Kossuth Artesian well. Below that I will provide links to brewing water spreadsheets. The most essential numbers applicable to brewing are in bold.

Manitowoc Water Report 2013

pH: 7.0
Total Dissolved Solids: 156
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm: 0.26
Cations/Anions, me/L: 2.6/2.5

Sodium, Na: 9
Potassium, K: 2
Calcium, Ca: 18
Magnesium, Mg: 15
Total Hardness: 108
Nitrate, NO3-N: 0.4
*Sulfate as SO4-S : 8 
*Sulfate as SO4: 24
Chloride, Cl: 15
Carbonate, Co3: <1
Bicarbonate, HC03: 91
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3: 75
Some water spreadsheets are looking for Sulfate as either SO4-S or SO4. I provided both numbers. To get the SO4 number you multiply the SO4-S by 3.

Kossuth Artesian Well 2012

pH: 7.1
Total Dissolved Solids: 398
Electrical Conductivity: .66
Cations/Anions: 8.3/7.8

Sodium, Na: 10
Potassium, K: 1
Calcium, Ca: 87
Magnesium, Mg: 42
Total Hardness: 393
Nitrate, NO3-N: 0.6
Sulfate as SO4-S: 27
Sulfate as SO4: 81
Chloride, Cl: 19
Carbonate, Co3: <1
Bicarbonate, HC03: 340
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3: 278

Water Spreadsheet Resources: (Bru’n Water, Brukaiser Water Spreadsheet, EZ Water Calculator, Of course you can always use Beersmith’s water tool as well but the spreadsheets provide more detail)
Water Education: (Brukaiser Water, How to Brew’s Chapter on Water, Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers)

Category: Homebrewing
  • Chris says:

    I went to Kossuth today, and saw a water report posted that showed the presence of nitrates/nitrites. Do you think that this water is still suitable for brewing? It didn’t specifically say that the water was unsafe, just that nitrites were detected.

    October 20, 2013 at 6:41 pm
    • Barleypopmaker says:

      I am not sure if it is nitrites that are in the water, I’m fairly sure it’s nitrate. On the independent water analysis I had done, the level was .6, which is safe. Nitrate has no effect on beer flavor or yeast health, but it can be converted to nitrites which are toxic to yeast. The conversion is normally at the hands of bacteria. So yes, the water is just fine for brewing if they are talking about nitrate. I guess I’d have to see the sign, I don’t think I’ve noticed it before. I can tell you that I have brewed with it without issue and a fellow club member brews exclusively with it and does not have any issues with yeast. If the nitrate levels were at a harmful level, they couldn’t allow people out to drink the water freely.

      October 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm

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