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Author Topic: Iron Level: 0.68 PPM  (Read 496 times)

Offline Clint Yeastwood

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Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« on: November 09, 2023, 06:34:08 pm »
I posted in the water report thread, and Denny helpfully sent me a link to a site where I could study. I read a lot last night.

My water is fine for the most part, but the report says I have 0.68 ppm of iron. I'm on a well, and the pipe that extends above the ground is either steel or iron. Maybe that's the source.

The water doesn't taste or smell funny. It's not the best-tasting water there is, but it's no worse than distilled, which is not the best-tasting, either. It doesn't taste bad at all, but I've had tap water that tasted better.

I don't have rust stains on any of my plumbing, although I do get a lot of off-white scale from other minerals.

Should I really be concerned, if I can't taste or smell the iron in the water? I know sometimes brewers overthink things.

Buying distilled water will nearly double the cost of a batch of beer, and I would also have to add chemicals. I can get purified water, but purified water has minerals added back to it, so I would not have any idea what was in it. It's possible to get a cheap Chinese distiller from Amazon and distill a gallon of water at a time. It would eventually be cheaper than buying jugs.

I returned to brewing in January. I used to brew with city water. I haven't made enough beers here to draw firm conclusions about every recipe, but I know a few things. My stout, which is a little like Murphy's but with an FG of about 1.015, is perfect. I make a 1.084-OG ale with about 37% wheat, and it's dynamite. I'm drinking a cloudy 73%-wheat ale right now, and it may have a little bit if a harsh edge to it. It's only four days in the keg, though.

I don't know what to do. I don't want a $2000 filter, but I don't know how to deal with bottled water, either.
Go ahead. Make my IPA.

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Offline Drewch

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Re: Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2023, 07:41:42 pm »
If you're brewing stuff, and you like how it's coming out, I'd say RDWHAHB.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2023, 07:42:26 pm »
If your finished beer tastes OK, then don't worry about it.

When I've had beer with iron in it, I detected it more in the foam than in the beer itself.  At higher levels it could make the beer taste bloody.

But like I said... maybe you can't taste it, either because it settles out someplace or because you've grown accustomed to it.  If so, then don't even worry about it.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2023, 08:16:59 pm »
I would recommend trying Brewtan B as a pretreatment for your water. It is a chelating agent that does a great job of dropping metal ions (such as iron) out of your water. Add it in to your brewing liquor before you mash in (I usually add it with my brewing salts).

I have high iron and manganese in my well. I'm used to the flavor in my water, so I can't say I picked up an off flavor in my beer when I started brewing. But others did notice it. When I first started using BTB in my beer it was a night-and-day difference, even to me. My old beer had a "muddy" character (for lack of a better descriptor), but my treated beers tasted much cleaner. Even though your beers taste good to you now, Brewtan B is definitely worth trying out.
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Offline Clint Yeastwood

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Re: Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2023, 08:42:46 pm »
Brewtan B sounds like a fantastic suggestion, compared to installing a giant filter under my utility sink or lugging jugs of water home from the store. I am going to read up on it.

Wyeast's site says it's not good for cloudy beers, but I only make one of those.

I have no interest in "fixing" the water to the whole house or even my kitchen sink. My laundry and dishes come out fine. No problems showering. No iron stains. The water is perfectly drinkable and doesn't ruin things like tea or coffee. Boiled pasta tastes fine. I am only concerned about brewing. I have seen some very small filters. Maybe I can rig one up so I only use it when filling the Braumeister.

I wouldn't say I'm used to the taste of the water. I like bottled water a little better.

Thanks for the help.
Go ahead. Make my IPA.

Eccentricity is its own reward.

Offline BrewBama

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Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2023, 05:30:50 am »
I attached two filter housings and a RO housing on a shelf next to the laundry room sink. I patterned it after a $120 Buckeye hydro system (below). It filters and blocks chlorine from 140 TDS to 14. Close enough for me.

I have a quick disconnect on the sink spigot and I run the discharge tube down the drain, ran a water line from the filter assembly around the laundry room and up to my boil kettle. Before I collect brewing water I connect the hose to the spigot and another hose from the valve to the kettle, close the low point drain, open the valve by the kettle and open the spigot. It takes ~2 hrs to collect the 7.75 gal I routinely use.

It cost far less than $2,000. In fact if I have $200 in it I’d be surprised.  Less footprint, much faster and cheaper (upfront and operating cost) than a distiller.

As brewday progresses, I disconnect the filter line and attach a hose with a spray nozzle for cleanup.

I use the water in all sorts of things (coffee maker, tea kettle, etc) by filling 1 gal jugs at the low point drain.

I also use BtB in the mash.








« Last Edit: November 10, 2023, 06:50:46 am by BrewBama »

Offline Clint Yeastwood

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Re: Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2023, 09:32:48 am »
That looks like a good option.

I checked into filters for my kitchen sink cabinet, but they are gigantic and would make working on plumbing and the disposal even bigger nightmares than they are now.

The people who built this house stupidly included a garbage compactor, i.e. roach buffet/air-defreshener, which I never use. Maybe I could remove the inside parts of the compactor drawer and stick a filter in there.

I do not understand garbage compactors. The dump is 5 minutes from here, but these people preferred to keep festering garbage exposed to vermin for days at a time.
Go ahead. Make my IPA.

Eccentricity is its own reward.

Offline Clint Yeastwood

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Re: Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2023, 05:05:24 pm »
I now have a plan. I ordered Brewtan B, and I'm going to see what it does. If it doesn't make me happy, I'll get a still or a filter.

I am in the process of sampling some beers I have on tap. I just tried a lager, and I love it, but there might be a tiny hint of harshness at the end which reminds me of chlorine. I have no chlorine here, so maybe that's iron.

I wonder if the iron in my test sample came from a recent power outage. When the juice goes out, rust appears in the water right after it comes back on. Maybe the iron levels are higher in the days after an outage.
Go ahead. Make my IPA.

Eccentricity is its own reward.

Offline Clint Yeastwood

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Re: Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2023, 06:14:57 pm »
I just discovered test strips for home use. Anyone use these? If they are anywhere near accurate, they could tell me if my iron fluctuates.
Go ahead. Make my IPA.

Eccentricity is its own reward.

Offline denny

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Re: Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2023, 08:50:34 am »
I now have a plan. I ordered Brewtan B, and I'm going to see what it does. If it doesn't make me happy, I'll get a still or a filter.

I am in the process of sampling some beers I have on tap. I just tried a lager, and I love it, but there might be a tiny hint of harshness at the end which reminds me of chlorine. I have no chlorine here, so maybe that's iron.

I wonder if the iron in my test sample came from a recent power outage. When the juice goes out, rust appears in the water right after it comes back on. Maybe the iron levels are higher in the days after an outage.

I use Brewtan B in every batch. I'm kinda skeptical that it will cure your iron problem,  but I'll be looking forward to your report.
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Offline Clint Yeastwood

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Re: Iron Level: 0.68 PPM
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2023, 09:15:04 pm »
Every day in brewing brings new knowledge.

I thought I had a wee touch of muh muh muh muh muh muh muh MY CORONA...virus right before I read up on iron, and it always makes beer taste dry and weird. It seems to kill my ability to taste heavy sugars from the crystal malt I love, but that is a guess. I was thinking about iron and trying to taste the off-flavors conventional knowledge said had to be in my beer from 0.68 ppm iron, and I thought maybe I tasted something, but maybe it was the tail end of the Shanghai Shivers. Also, some of the beers I was checking for off flavors were young, and young beers are weird. So many factors to sift through.

I'm sitting here drinking my newest wheat ale at about 3.2 volumes, and it must be good, because this is my third glass, and number 4 calls to me. I would trade 10 Celis Whites for one glass of this. If iron was a problem with the water I used, it must be a really small problem, or I just like irony beer. Beer with iron in it. Not sarcastic beer.

Here is my guess: my water is usually fine, but after a power outage, the iron spikes, and this queered my Ward Labs test. I think I should just test my water for iron before every brew session. If it's high, I'll run the water until the iron in the pipes is gone. And I'll add Brewtan for everything that isn't cloudy, because it can't hurt.
Go ahead. Make my IPA.

Eccentricity is its own reward.