Author Topic: Water options  (Read 3144 times)

Offline flbrewer

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2161
    • View Profile
Water options
« on: December 28, 2014, 09:46:11 PM »
Previously for every extract I've brewed I have used distilled water. Should I still be using this with my all grain batches?

We do have a carbon filter system for our tap water that also flows from the outside hose taps. I just get a bit weirded out about using water from our outside taps.


Offline dmtaylor

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3442
  • Two Rivers, WI
    • View Profile
    • Manty Malters - Meet the Malters! - Dave Taylor
Re: Water options
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2014, 10:16:04 PM »
Distilled is perfect for extract brewing, however for all-grain brewing you can switch to carbon filtered tap water and use brewing software to figure out how to adjust your water profile for different styles.  Ask your city for the water profile (free), and if that's not good enough, it would help to get your carbon filtered water tested to find out what minerals are in there.  Check out Ward Labs and get the Brewers Test W-5A.

http://wardlab.com/FeeSchedule/WardLabs_FeeSchedule_Web.pdf#page=10
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline flbrewer

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2161
    • View Profile
Re: Water options
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2014, 10:43:33 PM »
Perhaps I'll just draw water off of my kitchen faucet. Feels cleaner than the outside tap!

Offline dmtaylor

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3442
  • Two Rivers, WI
    • View Profile
    • Manty Malters - Meet the Malters! - Dave Taylor
Re: Water options
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2014, 11:39:29 PM »
If there's any chlorine in your water, add 1/4 crushed Campden tablet per 5 gallons to instantly get rid of it.  This is necessary to avoid medicinal, Band-Aid flavors in the finished beer.  If your water is not chlorinated, then you should be fine.
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline braufessor

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 341
    • View Profile
Re: Water options
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2014, 02:05:33 PM »
Also, watch out that your kitchen water is not coming from a water softener...... that can be a problem too.  I actually specifically use water from my outside tap for the portion of tap water I use because it is not from the water softener.

You really need to find out what is in your water before you can really do much of anything in regard to "treatment."  Chlorine/chloramine removal is priority #1.  From there, making sure your water is not too hard (bicarbonate) is a priority for many styles of beer.  And third, dialing in sulfate, chloride, calcium levels can improve and enhance your beer.

You may be able to get a water report locally, although, sometimes those seem to have every number except the 4-5 you really need to know for brewing.  Ward Labs (as suggested) is a great way to go - that is what I did. 

** The big thing with outside faucet is don't be using your garden hose.  I have a specific RV food grade hose that I use for getting  brewing water.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2014, 02:07:25 PM by braufessor »

Offline flbrewer

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2161
    • View Profile
Re: Water options
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2014, 02:17:34 PM »
Good point on the water softener...that's actually what we have. I can bypass it though and yes, plan on using a drinking safe hose.

Until I get my water tested, can I simply use some other form of gallon bottled water. Spring, drinking, etc. that isn't RO/ distilled?

Offline flbrewer

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2161
    • View Profile
Re: Water options
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2014, 02:18:14 PM »
Good point on the water softener...that's actually what we have. I can bypass it though and yes, plan on using a drinking safe hose.

Until I get my water tested (i know it has chlorine in it before it passes through the filter) can I simply use some other form of gallon bottled water. Spring, drinking, etc. that isn't RO/ distilled?

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9006
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Water options
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2014, 02:29:58 PM »
Good point on the water softener...that's actually what we have. I can bypass it though and yes, plan on using a drinking safe hose.

Until I get my water tested, can I simply use some other form of gallon bottled water. Spring, drinking, etc. that isn't RO/ distilled?
You want to know the levels of the brewing ions in the water.
RO water will be low. Spring water will be whatever the spring files through, it can be low ions or high and be called spring water.

Read about water and brewing, then when you know the goal you can make a decissikn.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Water options
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2014, 02:55:27 PM »
Good point on the water softener...that's actually what we have. I can bypass it though and yes, plan on using a drinking safe hose.

Until I get my water tested, can I simply use some other form of gallon bottled water. Spring, drinking, etc. that isn't RO/ distilled?

I use RO water and build the profile I want using bru'n water. The water where I live is terrible for brewing and drinking. it's passable for drinking if you carbon filter it but I mostly drink RO as well. I could get the water tested and dillute with RO to hit my numbers but it's easier to build from a nearly blank state.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline braufessor

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 341
    • View Profile
Re: Water options
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2014, 02:56:31 PM »

You want to know the levels of the brewing ions in the water.
RO water will be low. Spring water will be whatever the spring files through, it can be low ions or high and be called spring water.


This^^^
I would use RO..... For starters, it is cheaper if you go this route and just refill from those machines at grocery store or walmart (.39 cents usually).  "Spring" water can be double or triple that.
And, as pointed out - you really have no idea what "spring water" is.  RO water is basically a blank slate..... so you know what you are starting with. 

Until you know exactly what is in your water, you are basically flying blind with trying to do much with it.  That said, carbon filter to get rid of chlorine.  And if you went 50/50 RO water with your water, there is a good chance you will be in the ball park of fine for most any style.   But, ultimately, you need a water report and you need some sort of software like Brunwater to really know what you are doing  (or just go 100% RO water and build back from there).

It is worth it though - my beer improved dramatically when I began to understand some basics about water.  I would not consider myself an expert, but I have a working/functional knowledge of what I need to do.  I brewed mediocre to bad IPA's and APA's for 12-15 years all because of my water.  As soon as I figured out my water I began brewing good-great IPA's.

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Water options
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2014, 03:14:05 PM »

I use RO water and build the profile I want using bru'n water. The water where I live is terrible for brewing and drinking. it's passable for drinking if you carbon filter it but I mostly drink RO as well. I could get the water tested and dillute with RO to hit my numbers but it's easier to build from a nearly blank state.

Same here.
Jon H.

Offline mbalbritton

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 88
  • Tapatalk User
    • View Profile
Re: Water options
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2014, 03:16:12 PM »
Mind if I interrupt this regularly scheduled program with a water question?

I have city water and my brew store guy says our water is fine as is just through the camden tablet in. But I go ahead and grab water from the bath tub Hot spigot. I keep our water heater at about 120* so I figured I was ahead of the heating game at that point. Does the electric water heater change the profile versus heating in the boil kettle? I don't have any off tastes so I figured it's fine.

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Water options
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2014, 03:19:52 PM »
Mind if I interrupt this regularly scheduled program with a water question?

I have city water and my brew store guy says our water is fine as is just through the camden tablet in. But I go ahead and grab water from the bath tub Hot spigot. I keep our water heater at about 120* so I figured I was ahead of the heating game at that point. Does the electric water heater change the profile versus heating in the boil kettle? I don't have any off tastes so I figured it's fine.

it probably leaves some minerals behind in the hot water tank but i doubt it's much to be concerned with. I worry more myself about plumbing in older houses and hot water and lead. That being said I'm not really knowledgeable enough to know if it's something to be worried about.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

S. cerevisiae

  • Guest
Re: Water options
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2014, 03:35:51 PM »
You may have excellent tap water after the chlorine has been removed. Assuming that you are on a public water supply, your local public water utility should be able to supply an average analysis of your water.

With that said, I believe that Martin B. lived in Florida for a few years.  He would be an excellent resource.

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3206
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Water options
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2014, 04:55:01 PM »
I use RO water and build the profile I want using bru'n water. The water where I live is terrible for brewing and drinking. it's passable for drinking if you carbon filter it but I mostly drink RO as well. I could get the water tested and dillute with RO to hit my numbers but it's easier to build from a nearly blank state.

Same here. I use filtered water for drinking/coffee/tea/etc. but beer is strictly RO bought from the store or one of those water stations where you can fill a carboy with water. Our local water is terrible for brewing anything but black beers and even then it is not a great source for brewing. For a guy who makes a lot of pale saisons and sour beers it's pretty much the worst water source possible.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing