From the HBD Archive
From: Pete Soper <soper@maxzilla.encore.com>
Subject: Fantastic!
Date: 1989-05-16 14:49:19 GMT

Erik Henchal suggests my well water has carbon dioxide dissolved in
it. A chemist I asked over the weekend said the same thing - that
it is common to have a bunch of CO2 in well water in this area. So
by driving off the CO2 I remove the carbonic acid, which further
unmasks the alkalinity. This seems to explain my observations.
I have to believe the remaining hardness is dissolved carbonates and
that boiling just isn't too effective for removing them. Since I
can't afford analysis and haven't gotten meaningful information
from the folks that maintain the well, I'll have to go empirical and
try an experiment with calcium oxide. I'll report back (briefly!).
As for not boiling the water, it seems that mashing or wort boiling
would drive off the CO2 anyway, so I couldn't avoid this if I wanted to.
Yes, at various times I've used various amounts of gypsum, magnesium
sulphate, non iodized salt, tartaric acid, ascorbic acid (seemed to
knock the slats out of my yeast's respiration phase!), and am
investigating sources and uses for other items too. It isn't that I
can't control the pH. It is just that every way I've found so far has
got drawbacks. Actually, my chemist friend suggested one final
solution that would really do the trick. That is separate cation and
anion exchange filters. Fisher Scientific has got some real nice ones
for just a few hundred bucks each :-) Oh, I do use a cheap little
carbon filter to knock out chlorine, but this is probably a waste
with all the boiling going on.
OK, we've beaten this subject to death. Many, many thanks to Erik,
Florianb, and Len for your suggestions here and via email.

-- Pete Soper

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