Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

(That's water to the rest of us!) Beer is about 95% water, so if you want to discuss water treatment, filtering etc this is the place to do it!
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Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Tue Mar 19, 2024 8:15 pm

My Water Company (Dwr Cymru) snuck this update past me (no idea how long they published it, wasn't there last October, but I've got it now):
Water Report (Brief) 2014 B06 - Denbigh Zone.jpg
Water Report (Brief) 2014 B06 - Denbigh Zone.jpg (141.4 KiB) Viewed 972 times
Everything appears to have crept upwards, and there's some unwelcome hiccups in it!

First off: Comparing it with the earlier version:
82093-1680718820877_WEB.jpg
82093-1680718820877_WEB.jpg (22.08 KiB) Viewed 972 times
I'd always moaned that having low alkalinity water isn't the dream water most think of, and this "update illustrates it well.

Before going there I'll get this saved ...
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Tue Mar 19, 2024 8:32 pm

Note neither have a Calcium figure (mg/l). I take this to be because they test for arcane "Hardness" and calculate the Calcium figure from that. Hence, they do a Magnesium analysis so they can separate Calcium from "Hardness": Note they can also quote Calcium and Magnesium in their "Hardness" guises ("as CaCO3").

I also had this water tested by Neil at Phoenix Analytical last October:
water report.png
Much the same, but notice the big drop in Alkalinity. (There's a big rise in Sulphate too, but that's within the range in the main Report, it only looks big because of the magnitudes reported; 10mg/l difference isn't really very much at all). It is reasoning out that Alkalinity "drop" that is the main purpose of this thread ...
Last edited by PeeBee on Tue Mar 19, 2024 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Tue Mar 19, 2024 9:13 pm

So, I'll analyse the latest analysis first ... And yes, this is an excuse to air my "Defuddler" spreadsheet:
Defuddler - 2014 B06.jpg
Defuddler - 2014 B06.jpg (91.99 KiB) Viewed 966 times
The Calcium box is grey because the figure was derived from the "Foetid Mire" (all the "Hardness" stuff lurks down their). The values the "Foetid Mire" uses or calculates hang about the interface between the Mire and the top boxes (surface); values from the Mire must be manually transferred with the surface, they're not automatically entered.

Notice the boundary between "Mire" and surface (and the Alkalinity stuff) is all red? This is the "unwelcome hiccups" I mentioned earlier: The Report does not balance :shock: ! Shocking! What are Dwr Cymru up to ...



[Suspense! It'll have to wait for another day (probably while I figure it out too).]
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Sat Mar 23, 2024 1:20 pm

continued...

Previous Dwr Cymru water reports had been okay (had "balanced"), but not this new collection! What I'm guessing is the main report and "summary report" has gotten uncoordinated. The main report was made up of a specified number of tests published as the "average" and "high" value for each substance/parameter tested. Obviously too much detail for the "summary report" in which the numbers are just single values, picked out from what may be (or may not be) a range of sample tests. The "summary tests" are mainly "Water Hardness" results although the report shares some compounds used in the main report (e.g. "Sodium mg/l"). But there's no obvious link of what is shared between the reports, and therefore there may be no link between groups of values in the same report?

Blah! Over-complicated drivel. I'm just wanting to imagine some reasons for the reports not sharing the same values. And therefore, a value of "Alkalinity" may be from a different time than values for, "Magnesium" say, and combined with low values for substances within the water, the reported numbers readily get unbalanced? Argg! More driveling.

But whatever, I need better Alkalinity values.

I could use test kits: The popular kit is the Salifert "KH/Alk", but last time I looked it had changed and was only valid for Alkalinity levels over 300ppm as CaCO3. But more recently there are suggestions it changed back (Amazon are showing the "three bottle kit" again?). But that's not for now. [EDIT: Silly me! ... it was the "Calcium" kit that changed!!!]

I've got a Hanna Pocket Freshwater Alkalinity Colorimeter Checker (ooh, flashy! ... I flippin' hope so, 'cos it cost more than enough).
20240322_133902_WEB.jpg
20240322_133902_WEB.jpg (58.46 KiB) Viewed 903 times
"15" (ppm as CaCO3). Better, but still doesn't balance. I'll try Neil's (Phoenix Analytical) report ... That works! And if I add back Dwr Cymru's repot for "Nitrates" (for balance only, Neil's report suggests none) ... now it doesn't balance! Well, I know what Neil would tell me for "modifying" his results! Me ears are still sore for having them clipped for previous misdemeanours in Neil's field, so "Nitrates" get dumped again. The "Nitrates" accounted for 2.6ppm of miscellaneous "balancing" ions, which illustrates how fussy I'm being! I reckon this concentrating on irrelevant detail is probably common amongst people with next to nowt in the water. I'll keep a diary of "Alkalinity" results for the next few weeks to see if anything crops up.


So! I've got a balancing report :pink: ... but it has done nothing to explain the low mash pHs I get [-( . Back to the drawing board ... (I need a bigger drawing board).
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Fri Mar 29, 2024 7:28 pm

PeeBee wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2024 1:20 pm
... Blah! Over-complicated drivel. ...
Except it wasn't, or my blasé attitude was not noticing a little issue creeping into my "Defuddler" spreadsheet. If I'm relying on five items to check the validity of a sixth, I don't want any of them to change willy-nilly. Yet I allow it, even encouraging it, to happen!

While I fix it, avoid the "Defuddler" for anything other than straight-forward "vanilla" queries. I'll have it fixed in a jif... a little while.
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Sat Mar 30, 2024 11:02 am

I reckon I have the culprit (well, the culprit was me ... I reckon I have the issue):

The issue that cropped up is due to the unlikely (imaginary?) connection between "Alkalinity" and "Total Dissolved Solids". I was adding up the major ions (as anions and cations in mEq/L units, but not any "as" bicarbonate), subtracting the anions from the cations, and declaring the difference to be "bicarbonate". Which is reasonable, provided you don't want to change the "Alkalinity" figure.

Most enter values from a single report, have no reason to fiddle with the "Alkalinity" figure, never unknowingly engage the "ion-mass" balancing mechanism, and therefore never see the issue. Yet I'm intentionally messing with the "Alkalinity", dragging ion values from various sources, and running headlong into the issue. ... The issue: I can't change the value for bicarbonate without making a corresponding change to the cations ("metal" ions). Should put an end to my calcium figure seemingly increasing in value as I reduce the bicarbonate value.

I'll fix some miscellaneous issues while about it, like instruction updates.
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:41 am

This I just found sort of describes what I was doing:
Alkalinity, TA
The total alkalinity (TA) of seawater may be defined as the charge difference between the major conservative (concentration unaffected by changes in pH, pressure, or temperature) cations and anions:

TA = ∑conservation-cations - ∑conservation-anions
From S. Barker, in Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, 2016 ... hence the reference to "seawater"!

Blah, blah. But a useful reference to show I wasn't making it up ... but I was making changes to the "TA" bit without corresponding changes to my "conservation-cations/anions" (the "not carbonate or bicarbonate stuff").

That waffle is to make me sound clever while admitting a daft mistake.

I've updated my "Defuddler" spreadsheet to less easily make such a mistake and called it "Puddleduck mode". It has reverted to a less adaptable tool. A new sheet in the spreadsheet will be given the name "Bogsnorkler mode" and contain all the adaptability (like customisable Alkalinity), but the actual sheet will be added at a later date. I'll have deleted some references to altering "balance" with "ppm" as I never actually finished it (mass-balancing with mEq/L values only now ... it's stuff "under-the-hood"). Splitting the "versions" like this makes for a less complex final spreadsheet (which equals less work for me).

Most (if not all) those who have tried the "Defuddler" have effectively only used it in "Puddleduck mode" anyway? "Bogsnorkler mode" is targeted mainly at brewers with low dissolved solids in their water (like me!). Most folk put up with high dissolved solids.

I'll update the downloads shortly.
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Sat Jun 08, 2024 1:26 pm

I haven't been lazy on this subject! So, expect plenty more torture from the "Defuddler" :D

The spreadsheet has been updated and I'll have it published very shortly (from the link below in my "signature"). It's changed quite substantially but is easier to use because it does do a lot more for you: I've become a lot more confident about what I'm doing with it. But do remember, this is a "pre-processor" to reduce the amount of un-necessary garbage (from a brewing point of view) in a published Water Report.

This is an excerpt from the spreadsheet's extensive documentation (well, I don't expect people to go along with my ideas, so I'll get some arguments out of the way ...):
ENHANCEMENTS
Alkalinity and Sodium
"The "Defuddler" predictably underwent modifications; some have been added to the earlier documentation, such as the alterations to the "Hardness" inner workings to resolve some types of information, and the move to a simpler model for driving the calculations. Giving over to a more thoroughly calculated approach greatly simplify operation, and better supported high sodium waters.

"Alkalinity" is now calculated (as is "Hardness" within the depths of the calculator) making "balance" the driving force behind calculations rather than rely on a string of hopefully positive consequences. Ion mass balancing is now central to many of the calculations being performed. "Sodium" gets much better recognition for its role in water chemistry, often ignored because ... well, it has no role in "Hardness". So, starting with Sodium (and Potassium, but other candidates from that family are found in too low a quantity to worry about) ...

There is no obvious way to properly predict which anions in a solution are associated with which cations, but based on assuming unbiased probabilities and the billions of subjects (ions) it isn't so difficult:"
Hardness and Alkalinity II.png
Hardness and Alkalinity.png


"Water Hardness" is a "science" that pre-dates the idea of "ions" and chemical salts in the water. It's updated to comply with ""modern"" science but still muddies the water about water science. The first figure illustrates the uncertain division of "Hardness" into component parts, the omission of single-valence Cations (like "Sodium") and the omission of the subject of "Alkalinity" other than vague reference to "Temporary Hardness", or "Carbonate Hardness", which does overlap "Alkalinity". "Hardness" makes a particularly good alternative to the likes of "Alkalinity" when covering subjects like pipe scaling, boiler scaling, and the like, with an easy to learn rational methodology to deal with those situations. The "modern" understanding (second figure ... but it's 200+ years old "modern"!) covers individual cations and anions and "Alkalinity"; so much cleaner and simpler, but a bit more theory to learn. Added to this is a very simple formula:

Total Alkalinity = ∑conservative-cations - ∑conservative-anions

"Total Alkalinity" means just that; Alkalinity in all it's forms. Though in this environment (treated drinking water) it will generally mean "bicarbonate". "Conservative Ions" are those generally unaffected by pH, temperature and pressure ... the opposite of "alkalinity"? It is advisable to have the different components in the calculations expressed as "equivalents" before attempting to solve them (it's easier!).

Together this adds up being able to calculate aspects of water chemistry from other aspects that didn't appear to have any connection to the subject. ... Pah, I'm waffling. It's not what this "Defuddler""is about! Removing the dross so you can properly see what you want and no more. If you need to understand "conservative ions", "nonconservative ions" and "alkalinity" some more I'd recommend starting with the Wikipedia article on "Alkalinity": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkalinity.
Defuddler - Home13.png


"This is quite a common situation: The "Water Report" has values for Sodium, Chloride and Sulphate, but not for Calcium and Magnesium. Which is a major headache because Calcium is the most important Cation for beer brewing. In the screenshot above the spreadsheet attempts to help by suggesting the value for Calcium that returns zero Alkalinity, and the "source" selected is "Foetid Mire" (for the sake of record keeping only).
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Sat Jun 08, 2024 2:25 pm

Signature link updated. Defuddler- Development.xlsx.

Looks messy in Google Sheets, I'll try to improve that, recommend Excel (365, but 13 should work). I doubt it is working in Libre Office.

Didn't know Google Sheets only supports drawings loaded direct into spreadsheet, not into a specific cell. That's what the #Value errors are.
Last edited by PeeBee on Sun Jun 09, 2024 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Sun Jun 09, 2024 1:23 pm

Pictures updated! Don't know how I came to attaching them to a cell rather than worksheet. I'm the only loser from attaching to worksheet, 'cos you won't want the "dynamic moving" with edits.

So, it "works" with Google sheets. You can open the spreadsheet from the Google Drive without having Sheets installed. But make a copy on your own Google Drive because you won't be able to edit the copy on my drive! Better still, make a copy on your local drive and edit it with Excel (if you have it). The "miscellany" cells are still messy, but that was "work-in-progress" anyway. Google Sheets doesn't support the graduated background fills for cells, but they are just for making it look pretty. The overlaid "arrows" don't always point as intended either ... but they're a bit unpredictable even in different versions of Excel, so just ignore them (they'll work fine in Excel 365).

Beware of Google Sheets: It won't support cell content locking and if you overwrite a calculation (or static) cell with a value, your copy of the spreadsheet will be trashed. If you use Excel and disable "protection" for the sheets you've got the same chance of trashing your copy. The spreadsheet has no passwords.

If you haven't the ideal setup, so-what! You only want the final results for plugging into your water calculator, and don't need the "Defuddler" again until your report gets an update (next year?). If your calculator can't work without "Hardness" and all the associated garbage (like "as CaCO3" etc.), get rid of that calculator, it's complete, utter, rubbish!
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Low Alkalinity Water (Low TDS)

Post by PeeBee » Sun Jun 09, 2024 3:59 pm

And a reminder ...

Why'd you want to remove the arcane drivel from water reports (which is what the "Defuddler" is doing for you). This is one example, a reason to use it, not the (only) reason to use it:

Looking back at some of the early development I could find this:
Defuddler - Why 1.jpg
Defuddler - Why 1.jpg (65.96 KiB) Viewed 475 times
Invalid "Permanent Hardness" values (less than zero!). Invalid "Temporary Hardness" Values (greater than "Total Hardness"). The "Defuddler" coloured them lurid colours, so you knew. Other water calculators adopted various schemes to keep things right, but I can't think of any that actually told you. Even the very well known "Bru'n Water" calculator would prevent the values dropping below zero or exceeding "Total Hardness" ... but keeps quiet about it.

And if you didn't know, it didn't matter because the "Hardness" figures weren't used!

The reason: "Hardness" is only associated with "multi-valent" cations. Well, that's a gob-full for starters! But "Hardness" also has a link to anions ("Carbonates" and "Bicarbonates") and if you, say, boil water it creates more insoluble carbonates, which if associated with "Hardness" cations it drags them out of the water too. This is why "Hardness" remains a popular subject ... you don't want this insoluble carbonate choking your plumbing, boilers, kettles, heat-exchanges, etc.

But what if your water contains a lot of "mono-valent" cations? Sodium and Potassium say? Sodium Carbonate is quite soluble in water, before or after boiling the water. And it isn't counted as "Hardness". But it most certainly does count towards "Alkalinity". It is "Alkalinity" that is so important to brewing because it will determine the pH of your brewing mash. "Hardness" could be considered important because it measures the "Calcium" content (and the Magnesium content if you know how to extract it from the "Calcium"!): But we know better ways of determining Calcium and Magnesium ...


The water in the above example is from near Hastings, UK (Powder Mill Reservoir), and is still used as an example loaded into the "Defuddler" because of its unusual properties. Unusual in the UK, but fairly common in the USA and other parts of the world. The "Defuddler" ignores "Hardness" as one of its jobs but takes special interest in "Sodium". In this example, using screenshots of a similar part of the updated "Defuddler", it can calculate "Temporary Hardness", etc. without resorting to invalid values. But of course, you still don't need "Temporary Hardness", but it's comforting to know that the values you do want don't rely on nonsense!
Defuddler - Why 2.jpg
Defuddler - Why 2.jpg (121.71 KiB) Viewed 475 times
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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LibreOffice 14.2.4.2

Post by PeeBee » Tue Jun 11, 2024 11:57 am

I bit-the-bullet and installed LibreOffice ... not 'arf bad! Like "Google Sheets" it doesn't do graduated colours and mis-keys some of the overlaid graphics (those "arrows") but does support the cell protection (helps stop you overwriting the calculations). I was told it didn't work, but this is version 24.2.4.2 which might be important?
Defuddler - LibreOffice.jpg
Defuddler - LibreOffice.jpg (233 KiB) Viewed 425 times


[EDIT: I'm beginning to question whether the "mis-keying" ("indexing" or just "put in a specific place") is "Google Sheets" and "LibreOffice Calcs" 'cos "Excel 365" misplaces "Excel 13" overlaid graphics too. The popular reasoning being, when in doubt blame Microsoft. Okay ... it's Microsoft? I save all spreadsheets in "Excel 365" from here on and hope it was the older "Excel 13" version at fault.]
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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