As I said a few weeks ago in my homebrew water treatment introduction, you have to know your source water profile before you can begin to make adjustments. I decided to submit my water and get a water profile report from Ward Labs who appear to be the go-to company for this type of thing.
Choosing Your Water Profile Test
If you poke around their site they have many different test options. You might think that the Brewers Test is the one you want, but homebrewers don’t really need to worry about iron or phosphorous. That means you can save yourself $6.25 and just do the Household Mineral Test which does include all the things we care about. And saving $6.25 means buying an extra beer at your local brewery 🙂
Sending Them Your Water Sample
I’m just gonna straight copy-pasta off their Home Brewer Water Sample form:
Submitting a sample of water is a simple task. We need 8 – 16 oz of water sent in any clean plastic container. Disposable plastic drinking water bottles work great, wash with soap and rinse 3 times with the water you are sampling for analysis and then fill the bottle. Make sure the bottle cap is securely fastened. The sample bottle needs to be shipped to the lab in a box or other type protective container along with your name, address, email address, sample ID and test desired.
And more copy-pasta on paying:
Payment (by check) can be included with the sample, or payment can be made after receiving the invoice with the analytical results. You can send a check or call us with credit card info.
I emptied a water bottle, rinsed it out, then filled it back up from my outside hose. I tossed it in a box and FedEx’d it to Ward. About $10 for shipping and included a check for $21. 3 days later they received the package and 3 hours after that I had my report.
I’d strongly encourage any homebrewer to get this done. Sure, it’s an extra $30 bucks that maybe you don’t need, but think about how much you’ve spent on kettles and fermenters, $30 isn’t very much.
Once you have this info you can easily put it into BeerSmith or Bru’n Water. Both these programs will help you calculate what minerals to add to get a good profile for the style you want.
Once you have your report go back to my last post on water treatment to learn what you need to add to get things into a good range. I’ll have another post on homebrewing water soon, looking at mineral targets for different styles.