Author Topic: RO Water  (Read 1234 times)

Offline russell

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RO Water
« on: May 10, 2016, 04:17:03 PM »
 Some recipes call for RO (Reverse Osmosis) water. I can get the type that installs in the home but it is expensive.
 Where is a good place to buy RO water from? I have seen water at Lowes and at the grocery store but not sure if it is RO water, what should I look for on the label?
   I live in Aurora, Colorado and the water seems to be good for brewing. Should I be concerned about using RO water, even though some recipes call for it?

Offline blair.streit

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 04:44:37 PM »
If you're going down this road you have two choices as I see it:

1) Use RO water and learn about all of the various salts/acids you want to add to a given recipe to get the flavors/mash pH that you want

2) Use your own water, and learn about all of the mineral levels, chlorine/chloramine mitigation, and of the various salts/acids you want to add to a given recipe to get the flavors/mash pH that you want

Using RO water is like starting with a "blank slate". Mineral-wise it's similar to starting with distilled water (for brewing purposes anyway). Glacier water machines (and similar) can usually get you what you want, though some companies are better than others about keeping the filters maintained or telling you when they last changed them. I used RO water from a Glacier machine for about a year and had great results.

Using your own water, you'll need to understand a few more things to watch out for (i.e. Chloramine, Alkalinity, etc). My local water is fairly amenable to brewing (relatively low in both minerals and alkalinity), so it was easy for me to switch over. If your local water has high minerals or high alkalinity then I would suggest starting out with RO as diluting your water just adds complexity.

If you post your local water report we can give some recommendations. Or if you don't want to mess with all that read up on Bru'n Water about building from RO, and come back if you have questions.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 04:48:49 PM »
If you're going down this road you have two choices as I see it:

1) Use RO water and learn about all of the various salts/acids you want to add to a given recipe to get the flavors/mash pH that you want

2) Use your own water, and learn about all of the mineral levels, chlorine/chloramine mitigation, and of the various salts/acids you want to add to a given recipe to get the flavors/mash pH that you want

Using RO water is like starting with a "blank slate". Mineral-wise it's similar to starting with distilled water (for brewing purposes anyway). Glacier water machines (and similar) can usually get you what you want, though some companies are better than others about keeping the filters maintained or telling you when they last changed them. I used RO water from a Glacier machine for about a year and had great results.

Using your own water, you'll need to understand a few more things to watch out for (i.e. Chloramine, Alkalinity, etc). My local water is fairly amenable to brewing (relatively low in both minerals and alkalinity), so it was easy for me to switch over. If your local water has high minerals or high alkalinity then I would suggest starting out with RO as diluting your water just adds complexity.

If you post your local water report we can give some recommendations. Or if you don't want to mess with all that read up on Bru'n Water about building from RO, and come back if you have questions.

Well stated. I prefer 100% RO water (by mine at local Walmart water kiosks) and use Brunwater for mineral additions and to balance my pH.  The beers have been coming out fantastic with this approach.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 04:55:40 PM »
Well stated. I prefer 100% RO water (by mine at local Walmart water kiosks) and use Brunwater for mineral additions and to balance my pH.  The beers have been coming out fantastic with this approach.

+2.  I use all RO with Brunwater and get great results. What I do to eliminate the worry of whether the machine's membrane is maintained properly (and thereby know that I'm getting the water I want) is to take a cheap TDS meter to the store with me before I buy. If it reads much over 25ppm TDS, I don't buy there.

http://www.amazon.com/HM-Digital-TDS-EZ-Measurement-Resolution/dp/B002C0A7ZY
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Re: RO Water
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 05:10:05 PM »
I use Distilled from the grocery because my small batch sizes mean I only spend $3 per batch for my water.

Offline 69franx

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2016, 05:10:50 PM »
Both great answers, I use a meter as Jon does to ensure I get what I want. Using Bru'NWater makes additions simple
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2016, 05:57:02 PM »
I've noticed that places that have relatively low mineralization in their tap water rarely have RO machine kiosks in stores. Its more typical that you'll find RO machines in areas that have bad tap water. If you have a lot of RO kiosks in places like grocery stores, that may be an indicator that the tap water isn't that great where you are.

I'm not sure that a place like Aurora has that bad of water quality to merit RO machines.
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2016, 06:00:33 PM »
I can't throw a stone without hitting several RO kiosks. Central TX. Barely 18 inches before I hit solid limestone in my yard. Terrible brewing water for anything but stout.

Offline blair.streit

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2016, 06:22:41 PM »
Lots of the machines here in Austin as well. The treated water from the city is actually pretty good (48 alkalinity as CaCO3 and low minerals), but the source water is on the high end  (183 alkalinity as CaCO3).

Offline blair.streit

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2016, 06:25:20 PM »
Here's a Glacier water locator that shows some near Aurora. I'm sure the other water services have this type of thing as well so you don't have to hunt around.

http://locator.glacierwater.com/locator/viewer/map.php?lat=&lng=&accuracy=&search=aurora%2C+co&value=5

Just be prepared for the people in the lobby of the grocery store looking at you funny when your 3 kids are playing on the motorized carts for handicapped shoppers while you fill your 10 gallon cooler mashtun. Then again, maybe that's not everyone's experience  ;)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2016, 06:35:48 PM »
The RO water around my home became cost prohibitive, so I installed an RO system at my house to collect it.  It was about $200, but I upgraded to a larger tank and inline TDS meter, so the total was something like $300.  Now I get RO with 13 tds readings consistently from my rock hard well water.  It does use a lot of water, but my well water is pretty cheap cost-wise.
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Offline russell

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2016, 09:22:56 PM »
 I have found 2 water reports for Aurora that I use. The one from 2015 is missing the Mg+2 so I am not sure how to handle that one. I should update and find the one from 2016 if there is one. looked for 2016 but only found 2015 so far.
 these I found on the Aurora city webb site.


  Name                      Ca+2    Mg+2    Na+    Cl-    SO4-2    Alkalinity     pH       
 Aurora 2015               33                   47       39     47      73(CaCO3)       7.49   
Aurora, Colorado 2014  20       12        46       47      65      145 (HCO3)      8     




« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 10:32:33 PM by russell »

Offline russell

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Re: RO Water
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2016, 09:26:28 PM »
found another one on Brewersfriend for Aurora.    Brewersfriend has a ton of water reports on its web site under tools.
 

Aurora, CO Municipal Water 
Ca+2    Mg+2    Na+    Cl-     SO4-2    Alkalinity         pH
37         8          45      37        53       116 (CaCO3)    7.9
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 09:29:10 PM by russell »