Author Topic: filtered water and R/O stuff  (Read 1262 times)

Offline micsager

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filtered water and R/O stuff
« on: November 16, 2010, 09:40:54 AM »
I use a standard and simple under the counter type water filter from home depot, nothing special.  My neighbor just bought an R/O system, cause his wife is concerned about the quality of the well water in the area. 

Everyone seems to like my beer now, and I am always very happy with the results.  I'm thinking of using some R/O to see if I can even tell a difference.  (he gets enough of beer, I'm sure he'll give me some water)

Anything I need to be aware of?  Or just as per normal?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 10:03:02 AM »
Hey Mic, In general you don't want to use RO water plain because most of the ions are stripped out, so you'll need to build the water again.  But if the water on the peninsula is anything like the water here you have to add some salts for brewing many beers anyway, so you can just use it like normal except zero out the water when calculating your additions.  Or not, most of my mineral levels are practically zero anyway :)

Keep in mind that many of the micronutrients the yeast like will be stripped out so you might want to make sure to use nutrients, especially if you're recovering and reusing the yeast.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bluesssman

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2010, 10:14:42 AM »
You might want to have your water tested. That would give you a good starting point. Many universities will do the testing for very little. If you do not know what your water baseline is, you will just be guessing by adding anything. Hope this helps...

Gary

Offline denny

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2010, 10:54:14 AM »
You might want to have your water tested. That would give you a good starting point. Many universities will do the testing for very little. If you do not know what your water baseline is, you will just be guessing by adding anything. Hope this helps...

Gary

Or you can get it tested at www.wardlab.com.  Test W-6 for $16.50 will give you all the info you need.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2010, 12:07:05 PM »
I use RO for everything.  The Midwest US sits on a giant limestone cap, so our water sucks for brewing.  I can get RO cheaply at a Kroger 3 minutes from my house.  They also carbon-filter it, UV it, etc.  It's a clean slate.  It reads TDS at 0.

For a normal 5 gallon batch, add 1 tsp CaCl2 to your mash water.  This will cover most of what you ever need to do.  If you are making an English bitter or something else with a crisp finish, use 1 tsp CaSO4 instead.  Use a blend of them if you want, but 1 tsp is about all you need for proper conversion.

Hit your sparge water with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp phosphoric acid per 5 gallons.  Check the pH; you want it below 6 at sparge temps (but above 5).  The pH will read about 0.4 higher at room temp than sparge temp.

Check your mash pH the first few times you brew to make sure you are in a good range (5.1-5.5 at mash temps).  Wait about 10-15 minutes before you take your reading.  Mash pH reads about 0.3 higher at room temp than at mash temp, so take that into account if you cool your reading.

If you make a starter, use yeast nutrient (I use Wyeast brand).  Some extra in the boil will help fermentation as well.  Follow the label dosage.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline Kim Sparrow

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2010, 02:00:45 PM »
So far it looks like it's been assumed that you are an all-grain brewer. If not, then it's my understanding that extract already has some level of minerals in it -- they come from the water used to mash the grains used to make the extract! Chances are, extract is made with a relatively neutral level of minerals, so that it would lend itself well as a good base for any style. Salt additions can then be made for the styles that like it (e.g. gypsum/CaSO4 for English bitter, in Gordon's example).

Ah, water chemistry! Another aspect of brewing that can be as simple or complicated as you want. John Palmer's How To Brew is a great starting point if you want to get an idea of what's really going on in the mash.

Cheers, Kim

Offline Morning Dew

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 08:30:01 PM »
Gordon,

Do you use RO water for you sparge water as well? Or just the mash? Or do you switch to your tap water for the sparge water.

Thanks.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2010, 08:44:22 AM »
I use RO for everything.  I'd never use my tap water for sparging.  pH is well above 8, it's full of chalk, and it's chlorinated.  Three strikes.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline micsager

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2010, 12:56:28 PM »
Thanks guys.  I think I'm just gonna skip the R/O, and brew with my well water.  I love my beer, and so do my friends.  I even scored a 37 at NHC.  Not great, but not all that bad either.  (it was an Irish Red)

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2010, 01:14:05 PM »
That's what I'd do if my water didn't suck.  Just run it through a carbon filter and go with it.

Don't go looking for problems if none exist.  If your beer is good, keep doing what you're doing.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2010, 01:20:16 PM »
I also use RO for everything, as my tap water sucks, too!
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2010, 01:22:09 PM »
That's because you live 3 hours north of me, sitting on top of the same stupid geological formation.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2010, 01:55:11 PM »
Have you had your well water tested Mic?  Or can you get something from the City of Sequim, that might be close to yours.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline punatic

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2010, 02:05:03 PM »
Have you considered catching rainwater?  A 50 gallon system would be cheap and easy.

Where I live rainwater catchment is the only real option for household water (it would cost $50,000+ to have a well drilled at my house).  There is no municipal water service available.  There are about 65,000 of us on Hawaii Island who depend on rainwater catchment for our household water.  A high-end catchment system (with a 10,000 gal cistern) costs less than $10,000.

Rainwater is essentially distilled water. My water has an electroconductivity of around 10 micromhos.  I run it through a 15gpm whole-house treatment system - a 30 micron filter, a 5 micron filter, a 1 micron/activated carbon filter and an ultraviolet disinfection system.  All of that to insure the water has no pathogens.  Anything that falls on my house roof (the catchment surface) gets washed into the cistern.  The treatment system costs about $750 new.  Replace flters every other month - UV light bulb once a year. 

It is really nice knowing that any tap in the house can be used to draw disinfected rainwater.  I start with rainwater and add minerals to match the style of what I am brewing.  I have a lab, so minerals and analysis are easy for me.  A big plus is that rising brewing equpiment is worry free.

I saw recently where a homebrew supplier had pre-packaged mineral salts for RO water that make up 5 gallons of water from the home city of the beer style you are making. They had several citys available.  I think it was More Flavor, but I'm not sure.
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Offline micsager

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Re: filtered water and R/O stuff
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2010, 03:10:31 PM »
Have you had your well water tested Mic?  Or can you get something from the City of Sequim, that might be close to yours.

I've considered sending to Ward labs, but never have.  Sequim's wells are about 400 feet, mine is less than 100 on the other side of the Dungeness River.  I did build the place, so I had to get the well dug and approved.  Fairly high in nitrates, that's why the neighbor got the R/O.

I'm gonna stick with Carlsborg water.  Some day when I'm rich and famous, folks will be emulating MY well water.   LOL