Author Topic: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?  (Read 1257 times)

Offline majorvices

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2021, 07:14:51 PM »
Before I fully understood water (haha just kidding, I don't fully understand water) I simply found out what water my beer was good for and brewed mostly that style beer for a while. In my case due to my alkalinity and water hardness that meant red or amber colored beer. Then I decided to dilute my water 50/50 with distilled to brew pale or blonde beers with a small amount of calcium chloride. When I brewed dark beers I would add calcium carbonate (before I knew to use sodium bicarbonate). And doing all tat made a difference right away without even really understanding 100% what I was doing.

So, I guess my point is, it doesn't really have to be super complicated if you only know your water alkalinity and hardness and yes, it makes a difference.

Offline spurviance

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2021, 03:22:52 AM »

This is good to know! I'm hopeful changing up my water some will improve things. My beers come out enojoyable, but man, I had a can of Toppling Goliath's Mosaic IPA last weekend and was like WOW! I want my hops to come through like that!

I have a test batch in the fermenter right now that I substituted two gallons of my salty water with distilled. The BF spreadsheet suggests it should improve things so we'll see.

Adjusting the CL/SO4 ratio per water profile software has made a huge improvement in my beer flavor.  My malt forward beers are maltier and my hop forward beers are crisper.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2021, 04:22:49 AM »
One thing I’d like to add concerning software to determine water mineral additions: the first time you brew with certain preset additions recommended by the software designer will probably not be the final solution. Like IBU, the numbers are a reference point to start from. Each of us is different in our preferences and perceptions of our beers.

For example, 40 IBU calculated by a beer design program of choice in the same grain bill to a bitter ratio of .6 is perceived by one brewer as plenty of hops but for another as not near enough. CaCl and/or gypsum can affect this perception.

Likewise, the preset additions in the water software may not give the final desired results. It’ll get you started and definitely in the ballpark, but a bit more of this or a bit more of that, discovered thru trial and error, to nail down a profile to your taste preference will probably be required.


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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2021, 01:58:35 PM »
I'll just chime in to say that, with my tap water it made a huge difference. I had an off-smell/off-flavor in every beer I brewed for almost a year (was using a carbon filter in a new house) until I got a water test kit from Lowe's. My tap water was ~100 times higher than the recommended range for copper and iron. I switched to RO water and problem solved. Obviously, this is not the case for everyone, but water is important. I doubt there is a brewery in the world that doesn't pay attention to water chemistry, and if there is, they either got lucky with their water or their beer is not as good as it could be.

There are breweries that don't treat the water. Some make good beer of certain types. One near me doesn't, and I don't go there as the beers are crap.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2021, 03:50:30 PM »
I'll just chime in to say that, with my tap water it made a huge difference. I had an off-smell/off-flavor in every beer I brewed for almost a year (was using a carbon filter in a new house) until I got a water test kit from Lowe's. My tap water was ~100 times higher than the recommended range for copper and iron. I switched to RO water and problem solved. Obviously, this is not the case for everyone, but water is important. I doubt there is a brewery in the world that doesn't pay attention to water chemistry, and if there is, they either got lucky with their water or their beer is not as good as it could be.

There are breweries that don't treat the water. Some make good beer of certain types. One near me doesn't, and I don't go there as the beers are crap.
Although if a brewery doesn't care enough to invest the effort in controlling their water,  who knows what else they are lazy about. Their issues may be the water, but it could certainly be something else that they take a laissez-faire attitude towards as well.

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Offline majorvices

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2021, 04:40:34 PM »
I worked at a brewery last spring/summer that didn't treat their water. i refused to brew until one was installed. The beer they had on tap before I got there was  :o

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2021, 04:51:11 PM »
What is amazing is how bad some brewpub beers are that are so "highly acclaimed" by the folks who regularly dine there.  One place near me has always been an extract brewer on a 5 barrel system.  They don't treat their city water and it has chlorophenols to a disgusting level.  I mentioned it to the bartender to suggest Campden tablets to the brewer and he said that it is recommended regularly by beer snobs, but the patrons like the beer, so the owner didn't want to "mess with the water".  I shook my head and left with my family.  The food there is good, but I couldn't see patronizing a place that intentionally avoided a simple improvement.  The other commercial beers in bottles and cans surely outsell the tapped beers they make, so it should get the point through to them, but sadly it falls on deaf ears.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2021, 06:21:47 PM »
I'll just chime in to say that, with my tap water it made a huge difference. I had an off-smell/off-flavor in every beer I brewed for almost a year (was using a carbon filter in a new house) until I got a water test kit from Lowe's. My tap water was ~100 times higher than the recommended range for copper and iron. I switched to RO water and problem solved. Obviously, this is not the case for everyone, but water is important. I doubt there is a brewery in the world that doesn't pay attention to water chemistry, and if there is, they either got lucky with their water or their beer is not as good as it could be.

There are breweries that don't treat the water. Some make good beer of certain types. One near me doesn't, and I don't go there as the beers are crap.
Although if a brewery doesn't care enough to invest the effort in controlling their water,  who knows what else they are lazy about. Their issues may be the water, but it could certainly be something else that they take a laissez-faire attitude towards as well.

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The one i referenced tasted like some homebrew i made when starting out, way too chalky. They hired an assistant that had graduated from a local college brewing program. He said they should do something  with the water, and was told the beer was fine! He needed the paychech, so he said no more.

One place the next town down uses a lot of phospjoric acid to drop bicarbonate.

Im my town the brewery has a nano filtration unit, not as tight as RO but pretty good water comes out. The beer is pretty good.
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Offline Joe_Beer

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2021, 11:23:01 AM »
Just a follow up.. Ended up talking with a guy from the city water department. He said when people call about salty water it's usually an issue with their water softener. I had the recharge on it set for the afternoon (newborn used to wake up at night when it would recharge) which is likely the problem. He explained any water use during the recharge can cause the system to suck up brine into the plumbing. Not sure how long it will take to clear up or if something might be leaking back during recharge. I've had to replace a few parts on it in the past so it might be dying of old age. Dunno.

The city water guy also sent some some test strips to determine which lines in the house are softened and which are not. I didn't know it was typical to plumb softened water through the cold taps. Yes, the laundry room has softened water on the cold tap I was using for my brewing water so need to find a new tap to get my brewing water from.

Decided for now just to get some distilled water for brewing. The last batch I brewed (IPA) was 7.5 gal of total water. I added (per the brewersfriend.com water calc) some gypsum, phosphoric acid, (ironically) salt, and some Calcium Chloride. Same recipe I've brewed six times now. The difference in flavor and aroma is amazing. The hops really come through and I get what some people mean by a "crisp" flavor to their beer. There's a nice aftertaste of hop flavor and it stays on your tongue for a bit too. Didn't get any of that before.

Offline jverduin

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2021, 12:29:30 PM »
Just a follow up.. Ended up talking with a guy from the city water department. He said when people call about salty water it's usually an issue with their water softener. I had the recharge on it set for the afternoon (newborn used to wake up at night when it would recharge) which is likely the problem. He explained any water use during the recharge can cause the system to suck up brine into the plumbing. Not sure how long it will take to clear up or if something might be leaking back during recharge. I've had to replace a few parts on it in the past so it might be dying of old age. Dunno.

The city water guy also sent some some test strips to determine which lines in the house are softened and which are not. I didn't know it was typical to plumb softened water through the cold taps. Yes, the laundry room has softened water on the cold tap I was using for my brewing water so need to find a new tap to get my brewing water from.

Decided for now just to get some distilled water for brewing. The last batch I brewed (IPA) was 7.5 gal of total water. I added (per the brewersfriend.com water calc) some gypsum, phosphoric acid, (ironically) salt, and some Calcium Chloride. Same recipe I've brewed six times now. The difference in flavor and aroma is amazing. The hops really come through and I get what some people mean by a "crisp" flavor to their beer. There's a nice aftertaste of hop flavor and it stays on your tongue for a bit too. Didn't get any of that before.
Given you original water report, you should see a marked difference by altering your water (sounds like you did). Even if you were to get your water pre-softener, I’m going to guess you’d need a lot of acid to reduce the pH to a decent range.

My well water is pretty high in bicarbonate and without dilution, my lighter beers need lactic acid that is getting close to a worrying taste threshold. I’ve been diluting with RO at rates of anywhere from 66% to 100% and have been really happy.

Prior to my water reports and adjustments, I’d have beer that tasted kind of flabby. The flavor would just fade quickly on the tongue.


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Offline goose

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2021, 01:34:56 PM »
Just a follow up.. Ended up talking with a guy from the city water department. He said when people call about salty water it's usually an issue with their water softener. I had the recharge on it set for the afternoon (newborn used to wake up at night when it would recharge) which is likely the problem. He explained any water use during the recharge can cause the system to suck up brine into the plumbing. Not sure how long it will take to clear up or if something might be leaking back during recharge. I've had to replace a few parts on it in the past so it might be dying of old age. Dunno.

The city water guy also sent some some test strips to determine which lines in the house are softened and which are not. I didn't know it was typical to plumb softened water through the cold taps. Yes, the laundry room has softened water on the cold tap I was using for my brewing water so need to find a new tap to get my brewing water from.

Decided for now just to get some distilled water for brewing. The last batch I brewed (IPA) was 7.5 gal of total water. I added (per the brewersfriend.com water calc) some gypsum, phosphoric acid, (ironically) salt, and some Calcium Chloride. Same recipe I've brewed six times now. The difference in flavor and aroma is amazing. The hops really come through and I get what some people mean by a "crisp" flavor to their beer. There's a nice aftertaste of hop flavor and it stays on your tongue for a bit too. Didn't get any of that before.

I had an issue with salty water when my softener was recharging.  It was a problem with the softener which was almost 20 year old.  It uses water pressure to recharge rather than electricity and has two resin tanks. When it recharges it uses soft water to flush one of the resin tanks and flushes the other on the next recharge cycle (cool idea).  The softener was well past its useful life so we replaced it and the salty water issue during the recharge went away.

That said, I can't brew with my well water since it has back manganese in it which kills the yeast and makes thee beer taste like crap.  I only use RO water (yes I have one of those as well) and build my water profiles from there.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2021, 02:28:59 AM »
Just a follow up.. Ended up talking with a guy from the city water department. He said when people call about salty water it's usually an issue with their water softener. I had the recharge on it set for the afternoon (newborn used to wake up at night when it would recharge) which is likely the problem. He explained any water use during the recharge can cause the system to suck up brine into the plumbing. Not sure how long it will take to clear up or if something might be leaking back during recharge. I've had to replace a few parts on it in the past so it might be dying of old age. Dunno.

The city water guy also sent some some test strips to determine which lines in the house are softened and which are not. I didn't know it was typical to plumb softened water through the cold taps. Yes, the laundry room has softened water on the cold tap I was using for my brewing water so need to find a new tap to get my brewing water from.

Decided for now just to get some distilled water for brewing. The last batch I brewed (IPA) was 7.5 gal of total water. I added (per the brewersfriend.com water calc) some gypsum, phosphoric acid, (ironically) salt, and some Calcium Chloride. Same recipe I've brewed six times now. The difference in flavor and aroma is amazing. The hops really come through and I get what some people mean by a "crisp" flavor to their beer. There's a nice aftertaste of hop flavor and it stays on your tongue for a bit too. Didn't get any of that before.

I had an issue with salty water when my softener was recharging.  It was a problem with the softener which was almost 20 year old.  It uses water pressure to recharge rather than electricity and has two resin tanks. When it recharges it uses soft water to flush one of the resin tanks and flushes the other on the next recharge cycle (cool idea).  The softener was well past its useful life so we replaced it and the salty water issue during the recharge went away.

That said, I can't brew with my well water since it has back manganese in it which kills the yeast and makes thee beer taste like crap.  I only use RO water (yes I have one of those as well) and build my water profiles from there.
Have you tried Brewtan B? I have quite a bit of manganese and iron in my well water, and when I started treating with gallotannin my flavor issues went away.

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2021, 09:50:18 AM »
+1 to BTB.  I use RO and treat with BTB and like the results.
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Offline Joe_Beer

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Re: When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2021, 10:00:51 AM »
I had an issue with salty water when my softener was recharging.  It was a problem with the softener which was almost 20 year old.  It uses water pressure to recharge rather than electricity and has two resin tanks. When it recharges it uses soft water to flush one of the resin tanks and flushes the other on the next recharge cycle (cool idea).  The softener was well past its useful life so we replaced it and the salty water issue during the recharge went away.

That said, I can't brew with my well water since it has back manganese in it which kills the yeast and makes thee beer taste like crap.  I only use RO water (yes I have one of those as well) and build my water profiles from there.

Our softener is from 2008. A quick search turns up 10-15 or 10-20 year lifespan (depending where you click) so ours might just be kaputt. I replaced the motor a couple years ago and also a couple plastic pieces that developed cracks and were leaking. Might be time for a new one.

The RO systems sounds great but I struggle with the waste:water ratio. Have you come up with clever uses for your RO waste?

Offline BrewBama

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When you've adjusted your brewing water, what was the outcome?
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2021, 01:08:49 PM »
1/2 tsp of hydrated Brewtan B directly to the brewhaus liquor helps remove the divalent ions (manganese, magnesium, zinc — cations with valence of 2+) right from the start of the mash.

Besides adding the taste in your well water, those divalent ions in the presence of O2 create superoxide free radicals and once those oxidation reactions occur, the compounds created continue all the way thru to the packaged beer and cause staling.

By heating our brewhaus liquor prior to mash in we are reducing the dissolved O2 the brewhaus liquor can hold which also helps reduce the reaction.

Brewtan B isn’t a cure all but in the presence of hot water/wort it helps in some pretty significant ways.  Yeast takes over on the cold side where it leaves off on the hot side.


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« Last Edit: March 25, 2021, 07:29:19 PM by BrewBama »
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