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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Bel Air Brewing on January 01, 2022, 08:47:41 pm

Title: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 01, 2022, 08:47:41 pm
The results are in...and I am a new convert! Sign me up!

Two Classic German Pilsners were brewed, with the same recipe. Only difference was one used straight (filtered) city tap water, and the other used filtered tap water with chemical additions.

Here is the flavor profile for the non-treated beer:

Nice malty nose.
Slightly malt forward in taste.
Hop character very subdued.
Very smooth, mellow, "rounded" in overall impression.
ABV 4.8%

And the treated beer:

Nice hop nose, with hints of malt.
Nice hop profile in flavor, with pronounced bitterness, but not overly bitter.
Hops linger in the after taste slightly.
Overall this has a "sharp" profile.
ABV 5.7%

Both of these beers are very good. It would come down to personal taste in selecting a winner.
I like the Pils with the water treatment.

While these were both the same recipes, there is a .9% difference in ABV.
The non treated example has been aging for about 6 weeks, where the other one was put in kegs 5 days ago.


Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 02, 2022, 10:31:26 am
That ABV difference jumps out. Typo?

There is not a single  water in Germany.  German brewers can add CaCl2 and/or CaSO4 to the brewing  water, that is allowed. The RHG says "water", not a specific water.

Beers around Southern Germany tend to be softer than in other parts.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 02, 2022, 11:06:41 am
That ABV difference jumps out. Typo?

There is not a single  water in Germany.  German brewers can add CaCl2 and/or CaSO4 to the brewing  water, that is allowed. The RHG says "water", not a specific water.

Beers around Southern Germany tend to be softer than in other parts.

That ABV is correct...unless my refractometer readings were off!
When brewing a Helles, mostly soft water is used. Like a 60% RO water blend with 40% filtered tap water.

I always thought that 100, or 200 years ago, the brewers in Europe simply used the indigenous (i.e., local) water supply. And the resulting beer would have a flavor profile that was a result of that particular water.

Munich, Frankfurt, Prague might be good examples.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Iliff Ave on January 02, 2022, 12:08:39 pm
Why such a disparity in the ABVs?
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 02, 2022, 02:02:31 pm
Why such a disparity in the ABVs?

After digging through the Star-Date Brewing Logs, I might have found the answer. There was a one pound difference in the grain bill. The higher ABV beer had one more pound of malt.

Other than that, the recipes are identical. Except for the water treatment.

And both of these were 10 gallon brews.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: stpug on January 02, 2022, 02:21:06 pm
Unknowingly (and accidentally?) a larger malt bill was used on one batch, even though they're "the same recipe".
The ABV difference between "same recipe" beers is 0.9%ABV - that's a lot for a pilsner.
One beer is 6+weeks old and the other is 5 days kegged.

Without trying to sound rude, this comparison is poorly done and should not influence you in any direction as it relates to water adjustments. The exceptions are that it should encourage you to redo this comparison is a way that's more controlled, and that you should want to have some knowledge of your brewing water ion concentrations.

I would expect the second (fresher) Pilsner to have more hop presence since it's so much younger than the previous batch, and as those hops shine through it serves to hide the maltiness a bit.  Additionally, as hops fade away, the malt should come forward a bit.  Finally, as a beer starts heading down the freshness curve there is a period things just "mellow out" in all regards which it sounds like Pilsner#1 is currently at.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 02, 2022, 02:57:03 pm
Unknowingly (and accidentally?) a larger malt bill was used on one batch, even though they're "the same recipe".
The ABV difference between "same recipe" beers is 0.9%ABV - that's a lot for a pilsner.
One beer is 6+weeks old and the other is 5 days kegged.

Without trying to sound rude, this comparison is poorly done and should not influence you in any direction as it relates to water adjustments. The exceptions are that it should encourage you to redo this comparison is a way that's more controlled, and that you should want to have some knowledge of your brewing water ion concentrations.

I would expect the second (fresher) Pilsner to have more hop presence since it's so much younger than the previous batch, and as those hops shine through it serves to hide the maltiness a bit.  Additionally, as hops fade away, the malt should come forward a bit.  Finally, as a beer starts heading down the freshness curve there is a period things just "mellow out" in all regards which it sounds like Pilsner#1 is currently at.

Your response is not at all rude.

It was two beers, randomly brewed, with no intent of being anything close to a real scientific experiment. The lower ABV beer was made using my recipe calculator, with a specific target for alcohol content.
The other was made quite literally from habit, 10 pounds of this, 10 pounds of that. But with treated water.

So this is just a comparison of the two. Not intended to influence anyone here. But I like the higher ABV better. More crisp, slightly drier.

But that flavor profile will change over time, for sure.

The only way to do this correctly is to brew a split batch, then compare the two. Ain't gonna happen in my brewery!
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: fredthecat on January 02, 2022, 03:32:49 pm
i love it
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Iliff Ave on January 02, 2022, 06:32:41 pm
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 02, 2022, 06:42:57 pm
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!

Good, but not as good as what you brew! You have set the bar high, and we are just trying to keep up.

You are correct, these were not brewed to be identical. But they are both German Pils. Or, that was the intent.

The water treated version is a bit more crisp / dry.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Iliff Ave on January 02, 2022, 07:40:23 pm
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!

Good, but not as good as what you brew! You have set the bar high, and we are just trying to keep up.

You are correct, these were not brewed to be identical. But they are both German Pils. Or, that was the intent.

The water treated version is a bit more crisp / dry.
We don’t brew anything great over here. We use pellet hops for American/German hybrid beers. Cheers!
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 02, 2022, 07:47:42 pm
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!

Good, but not as good as what you brew! You have set the bar high, and we are just trying to keep up.

You are correct, these were not brewed to be identical. But they are both German Pils. Or, that was the intent.

The water treated version is a bit more crisp / dry.
We don’t brew anything great over here. We use pellet hops for American/German hybrid beers. Cheers!

Oh. We used pellet hops. Once.
But hey…we are into water treatment! Who woulda thought?
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Iliff Ave on January 02, 2022, 07:51:10 pm
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!

Good, but not as good as what you brew! You have set the bar high, and we are just trying to keep up.

You are correct, these were not brewed to be identical. But they are both German Pils. Or, that was the intent.

The water treated version is a bit more crisp / dry.
We don’t brew anything great over here. We use pellet hops for American/German hybrid beers. Cheers!

Oh. We used pellet hops. Once.
But hey…we are into water treatment! Who woulda thought?
After 30 years of brewing? Good for you. Water treatment was a game changer for us too back in 77. Just kidding dude. Enjoy!
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 02, 2022, 08:06:00 pm
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!

Good, but not as good as what you brew! You have set the bar high, and we are just trying to keep up.

You are correct, these were not brewed to be identical. But they are both German Pils. Or, that was the intent.

The water treated version is a bit more crisp / dry.
We don’t brew anything great over here. We use pellet hops for American/German hybrid beers. Cheers!

Oh. We used pellet hops. Once.
But hey…we are into water treatment! Who woulda thought?
After 30 years of brewing? Good for you. Water treatment was a game changer for us too back in 77. Just kidding dude. Enjoy!

What can I say? Just slow, I guess. Like using refractometers. Brewed for decades with no clue as to the OG and FG. If anything, we showed it is possible to brew good beer, and remain clueless the entire time.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: mabrungard on January 04, 2022, 12:12:45 pm
For most brewing, the most effective (and necessary) water treatment (beside chlorine removal) is to reduce water alkalinity.  Most people will find that that one act will do the most for their brews. 

Most water supplies have more alkalinity then desirable for brewing pale beers and adding acid to neutralize alkalinity, will have a profound effect on their pale beers.  Crisper and brighter flavored beers will be the result.  As reported by txflyguy, it is worth your attention. 
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: neuse on January 04, 2022, 01:32:17 pm
TxFlyGuy: How did you determine what water treatment was needed/desirable?
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Andy Farke on January 04, 2022, 01:37:41 pm
Most water supplies have more alkalinity then desirable for brewing pale beers and adding acid to neutralize alkalinity, will have a profound effect on their pale beers.  Crisper and brighter flavored beers will be the result.  As reported by txflyguy, it is worth your attention.

This was definitely my experience here in the greater Los Angeles area, where our tap water has an incredible bicarbonate load (between 144 and 210 ppm bicarbonate, depending on the time of year). For years, I had issues with flabby blonde ales and pale lagers, and once I started getting serious about neutralizing alkalinity or building from RO, I noticed a big difference.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 04, 2022, 03:04:25 pm
TxFlyGuy: How did you determine what water treatment was needed/desirable?

I am embarrassed to admit it, but my friend Dave did all of the leg work.
He was provided with the analysis of our city tap water. Then told him the beer was going to be a classic German Pils.
He loaded everything into Bru'n Water, and I followed his instructions. Dave was kind enough to give me the chemicals needed.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 04, 2022, 03:06:08 pm
Most water supplies have more alkalinity then desirable for brewing pale beers and adding acid to neutralize alkalinity, will have a profound effect on their pale beers.  Crisper and brighter flavored beers will be the result.  As reported by txflyguy, it is worth your attention.

This was definitely my experience here in the greater Los Angeles area, where our tap water has an incredible bicarbonate load (between 144 and 210 ppm bicarbonate, depending on the time of year). For years, I had issues with flabby blonde ales and pale lagers, and once I started getting serious about neutralizing alkalinity or building from RO, I noticed a big difference.

My alkalinity went from 80 to 4 ppm. If I am reading the chart correctly.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 04, 2022, 08:23:18 pm
Most water supplies have more alkalinity then desirable for brewing pale beers and adding acid to neutralize alkalinity, will have a profound effect on their pale beers.  Crisper and brighter flavored beers will be the result.  As reported by txflyguy, it is worth your attention.

This was definitely my experience here in the greater Los Angeles area, where our tap water has an incredible bicarbonate load (between 144 and 210 ppm bicarbonate, depending on the time of year). For years, I had issues with flabby blonde ales and pale lagers, and once I started getting serious about neutralizing alkalinity or building from RO, I noticed a big difference.

Andy, you don't  know what some of us have in the Midwest do you? My bicarbonate is 364 ppm. Others report higher, even over 400ppm. RO water allowed me to make crisp lagers.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Andy Farke on January 04, 2022, 09:58:25 pm
Most water supplies have more alkalinity then desirable for brewing pale beers and adding acid to neutralize alkalinity, will have a profound effect on their pale beers.  Crisper and brighter flavored beers will be the result.  As reported by txflyguy, it is worth your attention.

This was definitely my experience here in the greater Los Angeles area, where our tap water has an incredible bicarbonate load (between 144 and 210 ppm bicarbonate, depending on the time of year). For years, I had issues with flabby blonde ales and pale lagers, and once I started getting serious about neutralizing alkalinity or building from RO, I noticed a big difference.

Andy, you don't  know what some of us have in the Midwest do you? My bicarbonate is 364 ppm. Others report higher, even over 400ppm. RO water allowed me to make crisp lagers.

I had blocked that out of my mind, ha! The well water at my grandparents' place had a ton of carbonates; thankfully our farm was on rural water from when I was a pretty young age! Growing up in my part of eastern South Dakota, well water could be either really awesome, or pretty awful! Dad brews with rural water (mostly taken from the Missouri), and it is excellent with minimal treatment.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 05, 2022, 05:51:10 am
That has been our experience, brewing with the local water supply, with little or no treatment. The beers have ranged from good to very good.

Adding a few grams of this and that did seem to make a difference, but it's impossible to know for sure.

But the last German Pils we brewed and put in the keg a week ago using treated water, has all of us excited. It will be entered in a contest the end of this month.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: erockrph on January 05, 2022, 08:45:39 am
Most water supplies have more alkalinity then desirable for brewing pale beers and adding acid to neutralize alkalinity, will have a profound effect on their pale beers.  Crisper and brighter flavored beers will be the result.  As reported by txflyguy, it is worth your attention.

This was definitely my experience here in the greater Los Angeles area, where our tap water has an incredible bicarbonate load (between 144 and 210 ppm bicarbonate, depending on the time of year). For years, I had issues with flabby blonde ales and pale lagers, and once I started getting serious about neutralizing alkalinity or building from RO, I noticed a big difference.

Andy, you don't  know what some of us have in the Midwest do you? My bicarbonate is 364 ppm. Others report higher, even over 400ppm. RO water allowed me to make crisp lagers.

I had blocked that out of my mind, ha! The well water at my grandparents' place had a ton of carbonates; thankfully our farm was on rural water from when I was a pretty young age! Growing up in my part of eastern South Dakota, well water could be either really awesome, or pretty awful! Dad brews with rural water (mostly taken from the Missouri), and it is excellent with minimal treatment.
I've had the same experience with wells here in New England. Growing up I lived just a half mile uphill from a limestone quarry, and our well was pretty old and relatively shallow. Our shower head grew stalactites on a regular basis, and our tap water tasted a bit like skim milk. The house I'm in now is less than 10 miles away from that house as the crow flies, but we have a deep well and our water is fairly soft.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: fredthecat on January 05, 2022, 11:25:34 am
That has been our experience, brewing with the local water supply, with little or no treatment. The beers have ranged from good to very good.


That is lucky. But heck, many traditional classic examples of german pilsners have been brewed using local water supplies. I guess your water supply just creates excellent examples of classic german pilsners.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 05, 2022, 03:44:54 pm
That has been our experience, brewing with the local water supply, with little or no treatment. The beers have ranged from good to very good.


That is lucky. But heck, many traditional classic examples of german pilsners have been brewed using local water supplies. I guess your water supply just creates excellent examples of classic german pilsners.

A small craft brewery in our town commented that the water profile of the city tap water is well suited to a variety of beers.
So yes, we are very lucky indeed.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: fredthecat on January 05, 2022, 05:33:36 pm
That has been our experience, brewing with the local water supply, with little or no treatment. The beers have ranged from good to very good.


That is lucky. But heck, many traditional classic examples of german pilsners have been brewed using local water supplies. I guess your water supply just creates excellent examples of classic german pilsners.

A small craft brewery in our town commented that the water profile of the city tap water is well suited to a variety of beers.
So yes, we are very lucky indeed.

the water comes from lake lewisville and lake ray roberts apparently, and its got chloramine rather than chlorine.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 05, 2022, 05:53:57 pm
That has been our experience, brewing with the local water supply, with little or no treatment. The beers have ranged from good to very good.


That is lucky. But heck, many traditional classic examples of german pilsners have been brewed using local water supplies. I guess your water supply just creates excellent examples of classic german pilsners.

A small craft brewery in our town commented that the water profile of the city tap water is well suited to a variety of beers.
So yes, we are very lucky indeed.

the water comes from lake lewisville and lake ray roberts apparently, and its got chloramine rather than chlorine.

Chloramine is not listed on my City water report, from either LL or RR.
It does show Chloride - LL @ 20.13
                                  RR @ 15.87

Pretty sure our filter catches this.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: fredthecat on January 05, 2022, 09:17:42 pm
That has been our experience, brewing with the local water supply, with little or no treatment. The beers have ranged from good to very good.


That is lucky. But heck, many traditional classic examples of german pilsners have been brewed using local water supplies. I guess your water supply just creates excellent examples of classic german pilsners.

A small craft brewery in our town commented that the water profile of the city tap water is well suited to a variety of beers.
So yes, we are very lucky indeed.

the water comes from lake lewisville and lake ray roberts apparently, and its got chloramine rather than chlorine.

Chloramine is not listed on my City water report, from either LL or RR.
It does show Chloride - LL @ 20.13
                                  RR @ 15.87

Pretty sure our filter catches this.

if youre in the dallas area, you likely (not 100%?) have chloramine in the water. do you use campden tabs?
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Buckeye Hydro on January 06, 2022, 05:01:17 am
Yes - the City of Dallas uses chloramine (chlorine + ammonia) as a disinfectant.
https://dallascityhall.com/departments/waterutilities/Pages/water_quality_information.aspx

Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: BrewBama on January 06, 2022, 05:46:39 am
the water comes from lake lewisville and lake ray roberts apparently, and its got chloramine rather than chlorine.
Sure that’s not Ray Hubbard?  I went to school overlooking that lake (Lakeview HS).
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 06, 2022, 05:47:06 am
Yes - the City of Dallas uses chloramine (chlorine + ammonia) as a disinfectant.
https://dallascityhall.com/departments/waterutilities/Pages/water_quality_information.aspx

Yes, the City Of Denton uses that. And thank goodness, my water filter removes ammonia! We are about 25 miles north of DFW Airport.
Title: Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 06, 2022, 05:49:06 am
the water comes from lake lewisville and lake ray roberts apparently, and its got chloramine rather than chlorine.
Sure that’s not Ray Hubbard?  I went to school overlooking that lake (Lakeview HS).

Our water supply is from Lake Ray Roberts, and Lake Lewisville (Lake Dallas).