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Water for Extract brewing

nemesis2a

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Hi guys!
I am going to brew an Irish red ale kit with DME and specialty grains. I have read that DME has all the essential minerals in it. So my question is...do I use regular tap water, distilled water or spring water? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Cheers!
 

Curly55

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I have always lived by the rule "If you'll drink it, you can brew with it." That being said there is nothing wrong with RO or Distilled water for extract brewing, but if you're just getting into it there is no reason to buy bottled water for brewing unless you wont drink the water that comes out of your tap.
Cheers
 

MaltLicker

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Yep, safe to drink is safe to brew, with the caveat that if you know the water to be extremely high/low in some critical mineral or pH, then maybe you'd cut it with RO/distilled to reduce that impact. 
 
K

KernelCrush

If you havent tested your tap water and found it to be close to pure then RO/distlled is my choice for extract.  Spring water varies.
 

ron22250

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:)I use Tap Water to because IF YOU DRINK IT YOU CAN BREW WITH IT...and when you bring it to a boil in the Brew process you kill any Germs anyway...
Ron
 

Stephenish

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I use a PUR filter (in Houston), with the mineral cartridge. Do you suppose I should use some blend of PUR water and distilled (to you distilled and RO folks)? Having not tested the water, I am uncertain of the level of dissolved solids. Being new to brewing, I am uncertain about how the yeasts respond to dissolved solids.
 

alcaponejunior

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Stephenish said:
I use a PUR filter (in Houston), with the mineral cartridge. Do you suppose I should use some blend of PUR water and distilled (to you distilled and RO folks)? Having not tested the water, I am uncertain of the level of dissolved solids. Being new to brewing, I am uncertain about how the yeasts respond to dissolved solids.

some municipal water supplies have a lot of chloramines, which do not boil away, and taste like band-aids.  I had this problem when I first started out with Mr Beer.  Once I started using bottled spring water, the bad flavor went away.  Campden tablets also get rid of chloramines (I use these now).  A professor at the college who teaches water classes told me that most municipal water suppliers are using at least some part chloramine for at least part of the year.  So drinkable doesn't automatically mean good for brewing.  I don't think high chloramine levels are a big problem for home brewers, but be aware that this can be a possibility. 
 

jomebrew

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Safe to drink and tastes good are two different things.  There are, as alcaponejunior advised, compounds in safe to drink water than are not suitable for making beer.  As noted, chloramines will react with normal phenols created by yeast and create chlorophenols which taste medicinal and band-aid like.  Most folks have a really low threshold for those so it is noticeable in small quantities.

Good practice is to use, at least, a simple, inexpensive activated charcoal filter.  I use a Culligan D600 housing and a D40a filter ($26 on Amazon).  There are less expensive filters but I like to keep kegs of carbonated water and rootbeer and just like the taste better from this filter.  Total cost was $55 and I have plenty of great tasting water for drinking and brewing.

I also use some potassium metabisulfate (Campden tablets but in bulk powder from from the wine section of the homebrew shop).  I measure 1 gram then quarter it and use the 1/4 gram (One Campden tablet is .22 gram) for brewing 5.5 gallons.  Of the quarter gram, half goes into the strike water and half into the sparge water.  This is mostly insurance but potassium of a yeast nutrient too.


 
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