Author Topic: RO water good for making beer?  (Read 1564 times)

Offline Aksarben

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RO water good for making beer?
« on: February 01, 2018, 02:35:55 AM »
We are looking at putting in a RO water system in our house.  We have well water that is not only high in calcium, but also has some sulfur smells and iron in the water.  Iron, I have heard, is a no no for good brewing water.  We don't drink it, we can, but tastes odd.  Odd water will make odd beer, I can almost guarantee that.  I tried Softened water from the winery (where I work) and that has too much sodium and enhanced the hops bitterness into an unacceptable after taste bitterness.

Last couple of batches I used distilled with some regular water that is bought that has minerals, but no sodium.  Ozone treated, etc.  Last batch was mostly distilled so added 3 grams of calcium chloride to the mash just to give it some calcium.  Fermenting nicely..

Anyway, what is it like to just use home well water that  has been Reverse Osmosis treated?  It is touted as removing iron, calcium, etc so I would imagine a lot like softened water, without the sodium.
Vernon

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Offline Stevie

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 02:50:40 AM »
RO is great but requires minerals to be added. Not hard to do, but it’s a new skill to be learned. Start by downloading the free version of Bru’n Water and reading the first sheet.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2018, 03:14:07 AM »
This ^^^^

I have been brewing with RO water for many years.
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Offline Richard

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 05:39:27 AM »
I assume you mean to say that you have been brewing for years with RO water modified by the addition of minerals, not straight RO water. I personally would no longer call it RO water after adding stuff to it.
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 06:56:34 AM »
RO water is a fantastic place to start for brewing! I would recommend getting it tested, to see just how "pure" your RO is, and give a baseline for building up your profile. I've got good luck with my local RO supplier (not too far off from distilled water), but I understand that various systems may or may not provide more "pure" water depending on the equipment and your starting water.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 12:50:50 PM »
Many of the RO units are fitted with a TDS meter (or are offered for sale with the unit) to readily measure the total dissolved solids.  Mine produces a TDS of 13 on average, so I presume that to be pretty low.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 01:09:11 PM »
While you can brew with straight RO or distilled water, its not likely to produce the best result. Having some ionic content in the water does improve both water and beer flavor. The trick is understanding and producing something that pleases you.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2018, 01:57:57 PM »
I assume you mean to say that you have been brewing for years with RO water modified by the addition of minerals, not straight RO water. I personally would no longer call it RO water after adding stuff to it.
yes some minerals are added.

Everyone knows you want some calcium to drop the pH and as an enzyme cofactor. The Congress mash however, uses distilled water. One could make a beer with distilled water and acid. Malt has plenty of Calcium. The mash might be sluggish. The beer would probably be lacking in flavor due to low Na, Cl, SO4 ion content. It might be a fun little experiment.

For the OP. The main additives I have are Gypsum (CaSO4), CaCl2, Phosphoric Acid or Lactic Acid, and Baking Soda. Pickling Lime (CaOH2), Epsom Salt, and non Iodized Table salt are also on the shelf. You can find most of those at the Homebrew Shop, and some at the grocery store.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 02:03:13 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline Aksarben

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2018, 12:00:59 AM »
I assume you mean to say that you have been brewing for years with RO water modified by the addition of minerals, not straight RO water. I personally would no longer call it RO water after adding stuff to it.


yes some minerals are added.

For the OP. The main additives I have are Gypsum (CaSO4), CaCl2, Phosphoric Acid or Lactic Acid, and Baking Soda. Pickling Lime (CaOH2), Epsom Salt, and non Iodized Table salt are also on the shelf. You can find most of those at the Homebrew Shop, and some at the grocery store.
*******************************************************************************
Or, as the OP, I might find some at the Winery, where I work as Assoc. Winemaker and do a lot of lab work daily. :)   Never thought about pickling lime, calcium hydroxide for calcium additions.  Anything ending in "hydroxide" is very basic, and raises pH.  We also have this fluffy calcium at work, precipitated Calcium carbonate, that we use when we need to de-acidify wine grape juice to an acceptable level.  Old idea call X-Acid, but basically take some of the juice, and so much precipitated calcium and in a procedure, completely de-acidify the portion and then rack off the juice next day back into the main batch.  Leave the residue.  It is like adding water for dilution, but even more so, and will drop the acid of a too high juice like Vignoles, from 1.200  down to at least 0.900 (or whatever you calculate it too) without too much fuss.  Once it's at a manageable level, we add superfoood, and yeast and ferment it then as normal.  It can always have Tartaric acid added later on during cold stabilization to lower pH and shift the acid up a bit if necessary.   Last time I ordered Tartaric acid it was around 1200 lbs, and about 1500 lbs of Malic that we use in our cider production.
Vernon

Associate Winemaker, Fenn Valley Vineyards
Fennville, MI

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2018, 12:33:49 AM »
I assume you mean to say that you have been brewing for years with RO water modified by the addition of minerals, not straight RO water. I personally would no longer call it RO water after adding stuff to it.


yes some minerals are added.

For the OP. The main additives I have are Gypsum (CaSO4), CaCl2, Phosphoric Acid or Lactic Acid, and Baking Soda. Pickling Lime (CaOH2), Epsom Salt, and non Iodized Table salt are also on the shelf. You can find most of those at the Homebrew Shop, and some at the grocery store.
*******************************************************************************
Or, as the OP, I might find some at the Winery, where I work as Assoc. Winemaker and do a lot of lab work daily. :)   Never thought about pickling lime, calcium hydroxide for calcium additions.  Anything ending in "hydroxide" is very basic, and raises pH.  We also have this fluffy calcium at work, precipitated Calcium carbonate, that we use when we need to de-acidify wine grape juice to an acceptable level.  Old idea call X-Acid, but basically take some of the juice, and so much precipitated calcium and in a procedure, completely de-acidify the portion and then rack off the juice next day back into the main batch.  Leave the residue.  It is like adding water for dilution, but even more so, and will drop the acid of a too high juice like Vignoles, from 1.200  down to at least 0.900 (or whatever you calculate it too) without too much fuss.  Once it's at a manageable level, we add superfoood, and yeast and ferment it then as normal.  It can always have Tartaric acid added later on during cold stabilization to lower pH and shift the acid up a bit if necessary.   Last time I ordered Tartaric acid it was around 1200 lbs, and about 1500 lbs of Malic that we use in our cider production.

Pickling Lime iis one I like if I run high on Na or don’t want Na in a beer. The Ca is flavor neutral, the. OH ions take the pH up nicely.

If I’m touring the west side I will have to stop in sometime.
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Offline Aksarben

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2018, 02:00:16 AM »
Yes, do stop by. I'm the old fart in the lab with what's left of my white hair.  Have plenty of wine and cider to slake your thirst.
Vernon

Associate Winemaker, Fenn Valley Vineyards
Fennville, MI

I was born with nothing, and have managed to keep most of it.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2018, 01:57:44 AM »
My opinion...a neutral base (RO or distilled) is a great way to build exactly what you want. Sometimes it takes some tinkering and few batches, but you can build a water profile for the beer style and end up in a great place....resulting in a beer you are proud off and represents the style.


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Offline vorlauf-a-gus

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2018, 01:19:35 PM »
anyone have any experience with the Brew Water Maker? 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/263753460006?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

I'm looking do dabble with RO water since my municipal water is basically garbage. 


Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2018, 01:31:23 PM »
anyone have any experience with the Brew Water Maker? 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/263753460006?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

I'm looking do dabble with RO water since my municipal water is basically garbage.

That is about twice what I paid for my RO system. It says 15 gallons per hour, which is a lot. What TDS does it deliver?
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Offline vorlauf-a-gus

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Re: RO water good for making beer?
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2018, 10:45:47 PM »
I contacted them and they said it will reduce your tds to 10% of original value. Mine would be around 25. Is that good?