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Old 12-30-2012, 03:30 AM   #1
bfinleyui
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Default Buying spring water too expensive, here's my tap report...

My predicament: right now, I brew using gallons of bottled spring water, which runs about a buck a gallon. For a full boil, that's over 7 bucks per batch.

My tap water at home, I run through a Brita filter before I drink it, but that may just be habit at this point, as I know some people in town drink it straight from the faucet. I have access to RO for about 50 cents a gallon.

Here's a local water report. It's a year old, from someone else who got the data (haven't had any luck past the 'confidence report') in my town, but it's a small enough town that I'd trust it.

Water Analysis
I.C. Tap Water
pH 8.9
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est. 17 Est. 170
Electrical Conductivity (mmho/cm) 0.28
Cations/Anions (me/L) 2.5
Cations/Anions (ppm) 2.4
Sodium (SO4-S) 12
Potassium (K) 3
Calcium (Ca) 18
Magnesium (Mg) 12
Total Harness (CaCO3) 95
Nitrate (NO3-N) 5.3
Sulfate (SO4-S) 12
Chloride (Cl) 23
Carbonate (CO3) 3
Bicarbonate (HCO3) 34
Total Alkalinity (CaCO3) 33


So what are my options here?

If I go with straight tap water, am I going to get beer that tastes like crap?

Filter through the brita before brewing?

Buy RO water and make additions on my own?

Continue to pay out the ass for spring water?



Which is the best option for return on investment? The easiest would seem, to me, to be to get a brita filter that hooks to my sink, and just load up empty gallon water bottles.

Brita obviously takes out the nasties that make it cruddy to drink, but does the Brita also take out the yummies that the yeast need to do their thing?

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Old 12-30-2012, 03:39 AM   #2
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I'd give it a try with tap water and see if you really can tell a difference. I use tap for all my brews. My TDS is about 110.

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Old 12-30-2012, 04:28 AM   #3
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Did you try using one of the water calculator worksheets like http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/? Perhaps that and reading the primer might provide a cheaper/easier/more customizable solution for you. If anything, you might find that diluting your tap water with RO would provide you with the base you are looking for. FWIW, I have always brewed with pure, unadulterated tap water (Anchorage and Baltimore area) and haven't found anything "wrong" with it.

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Old 12-30-2012, 05:03 AM   #4
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I've got a NB hefe extract kit laying around, I'll just give it a shot with tap water next brew day. If that works out, i'll use it in an AG batch and see how that turns out.

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Old 12-30-2012, 05:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfinleyui View Post
I've got a NB hefe extract kit laying around, I'll just give it a shot with tap water next brew day. If that works out, i'll use it in an AG batch and see how that turns out.
If you are brewing extract, might I suggest just adding a Campden tablet to get rid of the chlorine/chloramine? Alternative would be activated carbon filtration, but I think it takes a very low flow rate to get rid of the chloramine as it is much more stable.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:52 AM   #6
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I'm doing primarily all grain now, just had an extract kit laying around, got it from redditgifts secret santa. Buying my first sack of 2 row tomorrow

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Old 12-30-2012, 01:48 PM   #7
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You are actually in pretty good shape because the most problematical ion (bicarbonate) is low or, put another way, you have low alkalinity. You should be able to brew many styles of beer without any adjustment. To start out you could follow the recommendations of the Primer as your water is low in everything except sulfate (and it is only high in sulfate for some styles or if you don't like sulfate). You might want to reduce the quantity of calcium chloride (and sulfate if you use it) to 1/2 or 2/3 of what the Primer recommends. Be sure to use the sauermalz or other acid as directed.


If you don't like sulfate that might be a problem for you especially with some styles as the sulfate is actually the most prevalent ion (number in the report must be trebled because of the way Ward Labs reports sulfate). In this case you could use 1 gallon of RO water for each gallon of tap.

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Old 12-30-2012, 01:55 PM   #8
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I think your water looks ok overall. I use a carbon block filter for the tap water I use in brewing. +1 to using Bru'n Water.
Also . . . why are you buying $1 spring water? Find a place (walmart) that has a water filling station. Bring in your own jugs and fill up with that water (reverse osmosis water) it is only .39 cents per gallon. Also, what I (and many others) do is to mix our tap water with the purchased water to achieve the water profile we need for different beers. Depending on the beer style I may use anywhere from 20% (dark beer) R.O. water up to 100% (pilsners) R.O. water.

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Old 12-30-2012, 02:50 PM   #9
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Overall, the water report looks fine excepting that the sodium row seems to report the sulfate result. Is this a transcription error?

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Old 12-30-2012, 03:28 PM   #10
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Not sure. Found it online from someone else in my city. I'm guessing it's an error

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