Author Topic: Brewing Water  (Read 11052 times)

Offline KWT62

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Brewing Water
« on: May 20, 2014, 07:32:16 AM »
Does anyone have a preferred bottled water brand ?? Or is tap water that is NOT hard just fine ?? Thx

Offline all grain

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Re: Brewing Water
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 08:52:42 AM »
the thing about brand name water is they test for the real bad stuff like lead, mercury, nitrates and the list go's on. now us brewers don't want any of that stuff in are beer but the stuff we do want like certain levels of all the salts, CA+2 ,MG-2, NA, CL, SO4 and the such, are not regulated to maintain pacific amounts in bottled water. they just have to keep the poisons out. So when you get bottled water tested or you here what someone's water report was, it is not set in stone that the water you get will be the same. the water could change with the seasons or the area it comes from. there is also the fact that a lot of bottlers of name brand water use reverses osmosis to purify the water then add some salts back to it to make it taste better. Now we get to the cost. that water is not worth what it sells for.. the best thing to do is find and buy RO water and add the salts yourself. its cheaper, more accurate, and more versatile for us brewers who may want to do a pilsner one day and a porter the next.
Please remember that this is the way I see it and by all means I'm not the master of anything but my beer is good, most of the time and the most I pay for water is 39 cent a gal for RO + salts I add, witch cost next  to nothing .
 just don't want to see home brewers  get ripped off paying for fancy RO water with a big name on it. spend the cash on hops instead.         
brewing is an art form not just a science ,dude where's my beer!

Offline Baron Von MunchKrausen

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Re: Brewing Water
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2014, 09:12:07 AM »
the thing about brand name water is they test for the real bad stuff like lead, mercury, nitrates and the list go's on. now us brewers don't want any of that stuff in are beer but the stuff we do want like certain levels of all the salts, CA+2 ,MG-2, NA, CL, SO4 and the such, are not regulated to maintain pacific amounts in bottled water. they just have to keep the poisons out. So when you get bottled water tested or you here what someone's water report was, it is not set in stone that the water you get will be the same. the water could change with the seasons or the area it comes from. there is also the fact that a lot of bottlers of name brand water use reverses osmosis to purify the water then add some salts back to it to make it taste better. Now we get to the cost. that water is not worth what it sells for.. the best thing to do is find and buy RO water and add the salts yourself. its cheaper, more accurate, and more versatile for us brewers who may want to do a pilsner one day and a porter the next. Please remember that this is the way I see it and by all means I'm not the master of anything but my beer is good, most of the time and the most I pay for water is 39 cent a gal for RO + salts I add, witch cost next  to nothing .
 just don't want to see home brewers  get ripped off paying for fancy RO water with a big name on it. spend the cash on hops instead.         

I fill 5 gallon jugs with grocery store RO water at a cost of $1.95. Since these public machines can vary depending on how well they're maintained and how often they change the membranes, I also invested in a TDS meter. Haven't had a bad fill yet. TDS is about 17.
I agree with allgrain. Rather than mess with a water report of your tap, (mine sucks by the way), get the inexpensive stripped RO water and add back what you need based on your recipe using "bruin water".
Outrageously Farfetched Brewery

Offline jomebrew

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Re: Brewing Water
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2014, 09:13:33 AM »
I do not have a brand of water to suggest.  I know some folks will just go to a local water store that sells reverse osmosis water.   Almost everyone I know brews with tap water.  Basically, taste any water you plan to brew with.  If it tastes OK, then it is good to brew with.

Hard water is not necessarily bad.  Pales and IPA are fine with hard water.  Basically, you can adjust the recipe for most water types.  If you think your water is too hard, boil it first or blend cheap reverse osmosis water with tap water.

You should always use a good filter to remove, mainly chlorine (boiling works too), most everything brewing water needs removin'.  I use a better (meaning more expensive) filter to remove chloromine which is not easily removed.  I also use Campden tablets to neutralize chloromine. Basically, get chlorine and the likes out of the water.  What is left is usually fine.

Cheers!

Offline Baron Von MunchKrausen

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Re: Brewing Water
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2014, 09:25:22 AM »
  Basically, taste any water you plan to brew with.  If it tastes OK, then it is good to brew with.

Here I must respectfully disagree.
My tap water tastes great but contains 350ppm alkalinity which makes any attempt to budge Ph nearly impossible.
Minerals are necessary, but for me, I find it preferable and much easier to control it from the front rather than modifying from the back.
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Offline jomebrew

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Re: Brewing Water
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2014, 08:54:39 AM »
  Basically, taste any water you plan to brew with.  If it tastes OK, then it is good to brew with.

Here I must respectfully disagree.
My tap water tastes great but contains 350ppm alkalinity which makes any attempt to budge Ph nearly impossible.
Minerals are necessary, but for me, I find it preferable and much easier to control it from the front rather than modifying from the back.

Yes, there are always exceptions and you will not know specifics unless you get your water tested. I still contend if the water tastes OK, it is OK to brew with.  You might need to pick a style that is better suited to high alkalinity like a big porter or big stout.    Diluting with cheap supermarket RO water is a fine choice to knock back that big buffer wall and brew paler beers.

Hard tap water is fine... For the complementary beer style.    Brewers have figured out a style for just about every water chemistry.   They also figured out you can just pre-boil water to reduce hardness.  Those brewing forefathers were pretty crafty.

Oh, RO water is not particularly good to brew with unless you add back some lost chemistry. 



Offline jtoots

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Re: Brewing Water
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2014, 12:36:08 PM »
Here's how I arrived at the basic understanding of the water I use:

Brad Smith recently sent this fantastic article out in his newsletter:
http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/08/24/brewing-water-hard-or-soft/

I took notes and jotted down the optimal values for each of the minerals.
I then followed the link to see the general properties of Boston's water - http://www.beersmith.com/Water/water.htm
(An eye opener is that distilled water has zero's across the board - I won't be using that for brewing!)
Finally I quickly googled a water report for Poland Springs - http://www.nestle-watersna.com/asset-library/Documents/PS_ENG.pdf

Conclusion without doing any testing of my own:  Keep adding Calcium/Magnesium water salts like I have been, whether I'm using tap or bottled water.

Offline Baron Von MunchKrausen

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Re: Brewing Water
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2014, 03:13:15 PM »
Here's how I arrived at the basic understanding of the water I use:

Brad Smith recently sent this fantastic article out in his newsletter:
http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/08/24/brewing-water-hard-or-soft/

A good article, but somewhat basic.
Magnesium is rarely needed as an additive. Remember your grains have trace elements of minerals.  I would never use chalk or baking soda. I love BeerSmith, but their water profile tool does not compare to Bru'n Water

Quote
I took notes and jotted down the optimal values for each of the minerals.
For what beer style? Sulfates for example, should be relatively low for light beers and pilsners, moderate for ales, and higher for IPA's.
Quote
I then followed the link to see the general properties of Boston's water - http://www.beersmith.com/Water/water.htm
(An eye opener is that distilled water has zero's across the board - I won't be using that for brewing!)
I would never recommend distilled (by itself) for brewing, even with added minerals
Quote
Finally I quickly googled a water report for Poland Springs - http://www.nestle-watersna.com/asset-library/Documents/PS_ENG.pdf
Conclusion without doing any testing of my own:  Keep adding Calcium/Magnesium water salts like I have been, whether I'm using tap or bottled water.
If you use the water analysis tool linked above, you can really dial in your water profile based not only on your existing water source, but also on your grain bill. To adjust mash Ph, a bit of acidulated malt (to lower) or a bit of pickling lime (to raise). Either way, cal chloride and gypsum are usually required with RO water to some degree, along with some other elements. Depends on the grain bill. If you enjoy making a variety of beer styles, for me, RO water seems the best water source, adding back minerals requried based on the recipie.
Outrageously Farfetched Brewery

Offline jtoots

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Re: Brewing Water
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 06:40:24 AM »
Brad Smith recently sent this fantastic article out in his newsletter:
http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/08/24/brewing-water-hard-or-soft/

A good article, but somewhat basic.
Magnesium is rarely needed as an additive. Remember your grains have trace elements of minerals.  I would never use chalk or baking soda. I love BeerSmith, but their water profile tool does not compare to Bru'n Water

Quote
I took notes and jotted down the optimal values for each of the minerals.
For what beer style? Sulfates for example, should be relatively low for light beers and pilsners, moderate for ales, and higher for IPA's.


Yep, basic for sure, but having never delved in to the water issue, gotta start somewhere right?  ;)

My notes did capture the fact that Sulfate varies per style, but I didn't have IPAs being highest... added to the notes... thanks Baron!!

 

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