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Washington, DC

Location:

United States

What it does :

The Washington, DC water profile has a low temporary hardness. It is also known for containing low levels of sulfates. The ratio of sulfates to chloride is 2 which, if not adjusted for brewing, will contribute to a beer that may be slightly bitter for a given hopping rate. The estimated range of beer color that you can brew with this water profile is from dark straw to deep gold. Representative ion levels for the Washington, DC water profile are shown below.

What it is:

Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States and is located between the states of Virginia and Maryland. The main source of drinking water in Washington D.C. is the Potomac River near Great Falls. Let's take a closer look at the characteristics of water from the Washington, DC area to understand its suitability for brewing beer.

Vital Statistics


Calcium (ppm):

38

Sulfates (ppm):

33

Magnesium (ppm):

9

Sodium (ppm):

19

Chloride (ppm):

36

Carbonates (ppm):

10


How it works:

For brewing purposes, knowing the ion profile of your water is important for four main reasons:

  • Mash pH - The six main ions affect the mash pH, which in turn contributes to enzyme effectiveness in converting the malt's starches into maltose. The lower alkalinity of this water profile makes it more suitable successful conversion of lighter-colored malts.
  • Beer Flavor - These six ions are generally not present in sufficient amounts to affect flavor, unless there is contamination.
  • Hop Utilization - High water alkalinity, such as found in this water profile, can contribute to highly alkaline wort (pH above 5.7), which can exaggerate hop bitterness. Hop dosage may need to be reduced compared to that used with softer water.
  • Yeast Nutrients - There is usually sufficient magnesium present in most water profiles to feed the yeast. In this Washington, DC water profile, the amount of magnesium is high, and should support vigourous yeast activity.
  • Treating your source water supply is largely needed only for all-grain brewing, since malt extract manufacturers account for the necessary water chemistry in making the extract for you. However, if you use a large percentage of specialty grains in an extract brew, that may make water treatment necessary.

    Dosage:

    Use our Water Treatment calculator to compute the types and amounts of additives needed to modify your base water to mimic the Washington, DC brewing water profile. Knowing the starting ion levels present in your source water supply is important so that you do not overcompensate with additives. You should be able to get this data for your source water from your local water company.

    Preparation:

    To imitate the Washington, DC water profile, we recommend that you begin with distilled water. Then, consider selecting from additives like gypsum, Epsom salts, non-iodized canning salt, baking soda, calcium chloride, and chalk. First determine which of these additives, and how much of each, that you need to modify your local water to meet the target Washington, DC water profile. Then, put these additives in the mash, not the plain base water, or some may not dissolve. Monitor the pH of the mash during these additions to ensure that it remains between 5 to 5.5, which is optimal for desired enzyme activity.

    Because of water losses that occur throughout the brewing process, you will need more water than your intended batch size. Use our Water Required calculator to determine how much brewing water you'll need from start to finish of your next batch of beer.

    Related Links

    Evaporation Rate
    Strike Water Temperature
    Water Amount Required
    Water Treatment
    Volume Conversion
    Temperature Conversion
    Washington, DC