Author Topic: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water  (Read 1848 times)

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« on: January 01, 2022, 08:47:41 pm »
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Two Classic German Pilsners were brewed, with the same recipe. Only difference was one used straight (filtered) city tap water, and the other used filtered tap water with chemical additions.

Here is the flavor profile for the non-treated beer:

Nice malty nose.
Slightly malt forward in taste.
Hop character very subdued.
Very smooth, mellow, "rounded" in overall impression.
ABV 4.8%

And the treated beer:

Nice hop nose, with hints of malt.
Nice hop profile in flavor, with pronounced bitterness, but not overly bitter.
Hops linger in the after taste slightly.
Overall this has a "sharp" profile.
ABV 5.7%

Both of these beers are very good. It would come down to personal taste in selecting a winner.
I like the Pils with the water treatment.

While these were both the same recipes, there is a .9% difference in ABV.
The non treated example has been aging for about 6 weeks, where the other one was put in kegs 5 days ago.


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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2022, 10:31:26 am »
That ABV difference jumps out. Typo?

There is not a single  water in Germany.  German brewers can add CaCl2 and/or CaSO4 to the brewing  water, that is allowed. The RHG says "water", not a specific water.

Beers around Southern Germany tend to be softer than in other parts.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2022, 11:06:41 am »
That ABV difference jumps out. Typo?

There is not a single  water in Germany.  German brewers can add CaCl2 and/or CaSO4 to the brewing  water, that is allowed. The RHG says "water", not a specific water.

Beers around Southern Germany tend to be softer than in other parts.

That ABV is correct...unless my refractometer readings were off!
When brewing a Helles, mostly soft water is used. Like a 60% RO water blend with 40% filtered tap water.

I always thought that 100, or 200 years ago, the brewers in Europe simply used the indigenous (i.e., local) water supply. And the resulting beer would have a flavor profile that was a result of that particular water.

Munich, Frankfurt, Prague might be good examples.
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Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2022, 12:08:39 pm »
Why such a disparity in the ABVs?
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2022, 02:02:31 pm »
Why such a disparity in the ABVs?

After digging through the Star-Date Brewing Logs, I might have found the answer. There was a one pound difference in the grain bill. The higher ABV beer had one more pound of malt.

Other than that, the recipes are identical. Except for the water treatment.

And both of these were 10 gallon brews.
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Offline stpug

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2022, 02:21:06 pm »
Unknowingly (and accidentally?) a larger malt bill was used on one batch, even though they're "the same recipe".
The ABV difference between "same recipe" beers is 0.9%ABV - that's a lot for a pilsner.
One beer is 6+weeks old and the other is 5 days kegged.

Without trying to sound rude, this comparison is poorly done and should not influence you in any direction as it relates to water adjustments. The exceptions are that it should encourage you to redo this comparison is a way that's more controlled, and that you should want to have some knowledge of your brewing water ion concentrations.

I would expect the second (fresher) Pilsner to have more hop presence since it's so much younger than the previous batch, and as those hops shine through it serves to hide the maltiness a bit.  Additionally, as hops fade away, the malt should come forward a bit.  Finally, as a beer starts heading down the freshness curve there is a period things just "mellow out" in all regards which it sounds like Pilsner#1 is currently at.

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2022, 02:57:03 pm »
Unknowingly (and accidentally?) a larger malt bill was used on one batch, even though they're "the same recipe".
The ABV difference between "same recipe" beers is 0.9%ABV - that's a lot for a pilsner.
One beer is 6+weeks old and the other is 5 days kegged.

Without trying to sound rude, this comparison is poorly done and should not influence you in any direction as it relates to water adjustments. The exceptions are that it should encourage you to redo this comparison is a way that's more controlled, and that you should want to have some knowledge of your brewing water ion concentrations.

I would expect the second (fresher) Pilsner to have more hop presence since it's so much younger than the previous batch, and as those hops shine through it serves to hide the maltiness a bit.  Additionally, as hops fade away, the malt should come forward a bit.  Finally, as a beer starts heading down the freshness curve there is a period things just "mellow out" in all regards which it sounds like Pilsner#1 is currently at.

Your response is not at all rude.

It was two beers, randomly brewed, with no intent of being anything close to a real scientific experiment. The lower ABV beer was made using my recipe calculator, with a specific target for alcohol content.
The other was made quite literally from habit, 10 pounds of this, 10 pounds of that. But with treated water.

So this is just a comparison of the two. Not intended to influence anyone here. But I like the higher ABV better. More crisp, slightly drier.

But that flavor profile will change over time, for sure.

The only way to do this correctly is to brew a split batch, then compare the two. Ain't gonna happen in my brewery!
« Last Edit: January 02, 2022, 03:05:10 pm by TXFlyGuy »
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2022, 03:32:49 pm »
i love it

Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2022, 06:32:41 pm »
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!
« Last Edit: January 02, 2022, 06:39:33 pm by Iliff Ave »
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2022, 06:42:57 pm »
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!

Good, but not as good as what you brew! You have set the bar high, and we are just trying to keep up.

You are correct, these were not brewed to be identical. But they are both German Pils. Or, that was the intent.

The water treated version is a bit more crisp / dry.
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Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2022, 07:40:23 pm »
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!

Good, but not as good as what you brew! You have set the bar high, and we are just trying to keep up.

You are correct, these were not brewed to be identical. But they are both German Pils. Or, that was the intent.

The water treated version is a bit more crisp / dry.
We don’t brew anything great over here. We use pellet hops for American/German hybrid beers. Cheers!
« Last Edit: January 02, 2022, 07:43:33 pm by Iliff Ave »
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2022, 07:47:42 pm »
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!

Good, but not as good as what you brew! You have set the bar high, and we are just trying to keep up.

You are correct, these were not brewed to be identical. But they are both German Pils. Or, that was the intent.

The water treated version is a bit more crisp / dry.
We don’t brew anything great over here. We use pellet hops for American/German hybrid beers. Cheers!

Oh. We used pellet hops. Once.
But hey…we are into water treatment! Who woulda thought?
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Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2022, 07:51:10 pm »
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!

Good, but not as good as what you brew! You have set the bar high, and we are just trying to keep up.

You are correct, these were not brewed to be identical. But they are both German Pils. Or, that was the intent.

The water treated version is a bit more crisp / dry.
We don’t brew anything great over here. We use pellet hops for American/German hybrid beers. Cheers!

Oh. We used pellet hops. Once.
But hey…we are into water treatment! Who woulda thought?
After 30 years of brewing? Good for you. Water treatment was a game changer for us too back in 77. Just kidding dude. Enjoy!
« Last Edit: January 02, 2022, 07:56:27 pm by Iliff Ave »
On Tap/Bottled: IPL, Adjunct Vienna, Golden Stout, Honey Lager
Fermenting: IPA
Up Next: mexi lager, Germerican pale ale

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2022, 08:06:00 pm »
My misunderstanding. I thought you were trying to brew identical beers with the exception of water treatment. I’m sure both are world class based on past posts. Congrats!

Good, but not as good as what you brew! You have set the bar high, and we are just trying to keep up.

You are correct, these were not brewed to be identical. But they are both German Pils. Or, that was the intent.

The water treated version is a bit more crisp / dry.
We don’t brew anything great over here. We use pellet hops for American/German hybrid beers. Cheers!

Oh. We used pellet hops. Once.
But hey…we are into water treatment! Who woulda thought?
After 30 years of brewing? Good for you. Water treatment was a game changer for us too back in 77. Just kidding dude. Enjoy!

What can I say? Just slow, I guess. Like using refractometers. Brewed for decades with no clue as to the OG and FG. If anything, we showed it is possible to brew good beer, and remain clueless the entire time.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Treated water vs plain filtered tap water
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2022, 12:12:45 pm »
For most brewing, the most effective (and necessary) water treatment (beside chlorine removal) is to reduce water alkalinity.  Most people will find that that one act will do the most for their brews. 

Most water supplies have more alkalinity then desirable for brewing pale beers and adding acid to neutralize alkalinity, will have a profound effect on their pale beers.  Crisper and brighter flavored beers will be the result.  As reported by txflyguy, it is worth your attention. 
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