Author Topic: Building Water  (Read 3051 times)

Offline hubie

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2013, 02:06:18 PM »
I just take some O2 molecules, mix them up good with twice as many H2 molecules, add some heat, and voilà... water. 

Easy speasy, 1,2,threesy.

Now that is an explosive idea!

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2013, 02:20:03 PM »
Not all bottled water is created equal. Some may even contain chlorine or chloramines. Some may not be all that sanitary. There are frighteningly few rules around bottled water.

Absolutely not true.  Bottled water is highly regulated by the FDA, and does not contain chlorine nor chloramine.  Ozone is used for disinfectant by some.  (I am in the bottled water business.)

Rock paper scissors?


Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2013, 02:25:47 PM »
With our water in the PNW, you already have an awesome base to go from.  Start with your well water and add some CaCl for malty beers, and CaSO4 for hoppy beers.  You don't need to add any Mg or Na to your water, so I would leave out the epsom and canning salts.

For a light malty beer I would add 1 gram per gallon of CaCl to your mash - that will give you lots of Ca for the mash enzymes and a pretty high level of Cl.  Don't add anything to the sparge water.  You will end up with less CaCl in your final beer because sparging will dilute it.

There are lots of ways to do it, but I prefer this method.

If you really want to play with building your water go for it, but I think it is a waste of time since we have such a nice base to start from here.

One gram per gallon of mash water or total water?
One gram per gallon of mash water.  I'm a firm believer that less is more with salt additions, especially with our starting water.  Although you should really have your well tested, since it is possible that your numbers will be different.  I have slightly higher salts than some in the area because our water comes from an aquifer.  Not high by any means, but higher than those in Seattle drinking water from the Tolt and Cedar watersheds.

Not all bottled water is created equal. Some may even contain chlorine or chloramines. Some may not be all that sanitary. There are frighteningly few rules around bottled water.

Absolutely not true.  Bottled water is highly regulated by the FDA, and does not contain chlorine nor chloramine.  Ozone is used for disinfectant by some.  (I am in the bottled water business.)
Are you sure about this Carl?  I'll take your word for it that they are not allowed to add chlorine, but I know some bottled water companies use city water.  Do they have to strip out existing chlorine or can they use it as is? 
Tom Schmidlin

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2013, 02:34:18 PM »
Thanks Tom. I'll be sending off a sample before too long. I'm brewing a light n malty in a couple weeks and will try one gram cacl2 per mash gallon.

Online morticaixavier

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2013, 02:35:16 PM »
Not all bottled water is created equal. Some may even contain chlorine or chloramines. Some may not be all that sanitary. There are frighteningly few rules around bottled water.

Absolutely not true.  Bottled water is highly regulated by the FDA, and does not contain chlorine nor chloramine.  Ozone is used for disinfectant by some.  (I am in the bottled water business.)

Alright then, I was misinformed. The other chemistry of 'bottled water' though is variable and is not a panacea for brewing. It's not like Distilled or RO where you get a blank slate. you just get whatever the water is like where they bottled it.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline punatic

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2013, 02:39:08 PM »
Chlorine is allowed, but is not used.  It tastes bad.  If the water you sell tastes bad you won't be in business very long.  Much effort is made by bottlers to dechlorinate water before bottling, when the source water is chlorinated.

Most bottlers disinfect with ultraviolet light.  Some also use ozone to carry a bit of disinfectant residual into the bottle as a safeguard.  Ozone, O3 quickly degrades to O2 in the bottle.

There are a lot of myths about bottled water out there.  In this "government controls every aspect of your life" era that we are living in, do you really think the bureaucrats would miss an opportunity as massive as bottled water?

See  21 C.F.R. § 165.110 (a)
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 02:41:55 PM by punatic »
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2013, 02:41:27 PM »
Chlorine is allowed, but is not used.  It tastes bad.  If the water you sell tastes bad you won't be in business very long.  Much effort is made by bottlers to dechorinate water before bottling, when the source water is chlorinated.
Thanks for the info :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2013, 02:42:34 PM »
I imagine, because I've never done it and know nothing about it, that the whole idea of "building water" would be to start with a known blank slate and add the chemicals as needed.

In my case I don't know for sure what's in my well water. But I know it makes less that stellar light colored malt forward beers. I believe Tom's advice will get me where I want to be.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2013, 02:49:14 PM »
In this "government controls every aspect of your life" era that we are living in, do you really think the bureaucrats would miss an opportunity as massive as bottled water?

See  21 C.F.R. § 165.110 (a)

Sweet! I'll bet that is an awesome read! I'll dig into that once I'm finished reading the regulations on paint drying

Offline punatic

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2013, 03:00:22 PM »
Read the label on the water container.  Many bottled waters, particularly ones in larger containers, are demineralized by distillation or reverse osmosis.  These will be labeled as "purified water."

And hey, you got something against watching paint dry?  ;D
(lots of money to be made in VOC air pollution control)   
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2013, 04:42:08 PM »
I imagine, because I've never done it and know nothing about it, that the whole idea of "building water" would be to start with a known blank slate and add the chemicals as needed.

In my case I don't know for sure what's in my well water. But I know it makes less that stellar light colored malt forward beers. I believe Tom's advice will get me where I want to be.
Jim, get your well water tested to ease your curiosity and post the results . But Denny and Tom will get you there, obviously, as PNW water is pretty suitable for brewing.  From the viewpoint of Indiana, you are exactly right - the water is bad enough for brewing most beers here that it is preferable to start from a known blank slate (in this case RO water) and build up from there. But I've learned one thing about water - do as little to it as you possibly can to make good beer, take good notes, and remember that every time. The nuances will come.
Jon H.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2013, 04:44:31 PM »
Thanks I'll do that for sure

Offline erockrph

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2013, 06:33:48 PM »
Thanks Tom. I'll be sending off a sample before too long. I'm brewing a light n malty in a couple weeks and will try one gram cacl2 per mash gallon.

And in all honesty, this may be all that you need. If you aren't having issues with any other beer styles, then it's reasonably safe to assume that your water is fine for them. You don't necessarily have to throw it all out and start from scratch.

If the calculators aren't your thing, you can just start trying to dial in your recipe that you're having issues with. This is a good ballpark to start in with what you're looking for.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2013, 07:15:53 PM »
That's what I'm hoping for

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Building Water
« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2013, 05:38:43 AM »
Jim, your original plan was fine.  Those very minor additions of epsom and table salt can add pleasant nuances to the finished beer.  As many have said, you don't NEED to add those particular salts to your water.  However you may find that you WANT to add them.  I find that too many brewers think of epsom salt in its laxative state and table salt in its potato chip saltiness state.  While I agree that I don't want those flavors in my beers, I recognize that the difference between medicine and poison is DOSE.  With proper dosing, those salts are quite beneficial to beer flavor and complexity.  Those that have made the mistake of brewing with straight RO or distilled water have found the blandness that comes with that purity.

Assuming that those original salt doses produce low ion concentrations, there is no reason not to add them. This is especially true if the alternative is adding only calcium chloride to distilled water.  That addition will solve the calcium deficiency and add a bit of chloride, but the resulting water and beer flavor can still be one-dimensional.  Including low levels of sodium and sulfate will definitely expand and deepen the flavor perceptions in the finished beer.  The need for magnesium is more dubious.  That one can easily be left out, but it will be welcome as you pursue a more bitter perception in particular beers. 

Since many of those salts are highly soluble, you can check their effect on flavor...in the glass.  As Palmer and millions of cheap lager drinkers have found, a dose of table salt can be welcome in beer.  Other salts can also be welcome and you can test them too.  Do scale their additions appropriately since it does no good to overdose the glass and get a poor impression.  In some cases with the minor ion concentrations I've recommended in the color-based Bru'n Water profiles, you many not really note much difference in flavor.  But you should notice that some additions are notable and pleasant.  Give it a try.
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