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Old 02-06-2012, 09:34 PM   #1
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Default Chlorine - how much is too much??

So I'm really obsessing over water and after talking to our local water dude I find we have 0.29ppm of Chlorine in the water. I don't know if this is a lot? a little? I know that SOME people (me) can taste it . .. or SOMETHING maybe the extra sodium?? (106ppm)

So what makes the water taste "soft" Chlorine and Sodium together?

Anyone else know how much Chlorine you have in your water? do you taste it?

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Old 02-06-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
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.... we have 0.29ppm of Chlorine in the water. I don't know if this is a lot? a little?
That's a little. EPA regs allow up to 4 mg/L.

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I know that SOME people (me) can taste it . .. or SOMETHING maybe the extra sodium?? (106ppm)
If you can taste it it's too much. But chlorine is usually smelled before it is tasted. It has a very distinctive smell (and taste) which would be hard to confuse with anything else. It is the smell associated with bleach and swimming pools.

The fact that sodium chloride contains chlorine does not mean it tastes or smells anything like chlorine because it is ionized in salt. Chloride tends to make things taste sweeter but also thicker. Obviously this is only up to a point beyond which a lot of chloride makes things taste salty. Chlorine makes things smell and taste like chlorine but can have an additional disastrous effect in brewing when it combines with phenols producing chlorphenolics which taste medicinal, smoky or plastic like. These compounds are detectable at parts per billion.

Chlorine (and chloramine) are easily removed from water by adding a pinch of bisulfite (ground up Campden tablet). When the smell of chlorine is gone, the chlorine/chloramine is gone.

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So what makes the water taste "soft" Chlorine and Sodium together?
What makes water taste soft is low mineral content. Go to the drugstore and buy a gallon of distilled water. Taste that. That is what soft water tastes like.

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Anyone else know how much Chlorine you have in your water? do you taste it?
Most brewers take steps (Campden tablets, GAC filtration) to be sure that chloramine does not reach the mash tun (free chlorine is not a problem as simply heating the water and stirring it a bit removes most of it).
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:55 PM   #3
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The problem is that the main brewer refuses to put a Campden tablet into his brew. How about letting the water sit overnight???

I and many people can taste the chlorine but he can not - sigh! So I'm trying to prove we have chlorine in the water but 0.29 means nothing to me.

I don't think anybody has ever told the brewer in question his brew had some problems - just YES people drinking his beer.

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Old 02-06-2012, 10:18 PM   #4
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The problem is that the main brewer refuses to put a Campden tablet into his brew.
As I mentioned in the other thread TTB may prohibit that.

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How about letting the water sit overnight???
That is effective against free chlorine but not against chloramine which is becoming more and more prevalent. As noted in #2 in this thread GAC filtration is also effective.

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I and many people can taste the chlorine but he can not - sigh!
Chlorine/Chloramine probably isn't going to make it through the mash and boil tasting like chlorine. It is going to react with something to produce a compound that doesn't taste or smell very good but does not taste like chlorine. So if you taste chlorine in the finished product I'd guess it's coming from somewhere other than the mains water. Residual chlorine sanitizer in kegs or bottles or even on the glasses used for serving are the usual suspects. A simple test will spot the latter. Just pour some distilled water into one of the glasses and taste/smell. If you get chlorine odors or tastes it's on the glasses. The same general technique can be used for testing sanitized kegs and bottles.

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So I'm trying to prove we have chlorine in the water but 0.29 means nothing to me.
Lots of brewers do nothing at this level as it is pretty low. To prove it is there simply obtain a chlorine test kit. Get back to the water supply company and ask whether they are using free chlorine or if they are chloraminating. If the latter you will need a test kit that responds to chloramine i.e. does total and free chlorine. These can be obtained from aquarium supply shops.
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:27 AM   #5
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It's free chlorine. I think I talked the brewer into sitting the water overnight on his lighter brews. Mini mashing is so much easier LOL But - tough to mini mash to get 30 gallons of beer!

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Old 02-11-2012, 07:44 AM   #6
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For what its worth a simple test will show you both free (chlorine) and total (chloramine), you will need a specific test for chloramine (ammonia+chlorine), but either way boiling will remove both and your level is low to begin with. You wont notice the swimming pool taste and smell untill you get above 1mg/l free chlorine.

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Old 02-11-2012, 01:30 PM   #7
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As I said in #4 you need a kit that responds to free (DPD) and total (DPD & KI) kit if you want to know the ratio between free (Cl2) and bound (chloramine NH2Cl) chlorine. If you have a free only kit a pinch of potassium iodide converts it to a total one.

If water is heated by the time it reaches boiling chlorine will have been eliminated to the point where it is hard to detect with a test kit but chloramine in boiling water has a half life of from 10 - 30 minutes. Thus it can take from 1 - 6 hrs of boiling to reduce the chloramine level to 3% of what it was when boiling commenced. Thus while it is possible to remove chloramine by boiling most consider it impractical.

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Old 02-11-2012, 01:39 PM   #8
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So I'm really obsessing over water and after talking to our local water dude I find we have 0.29ppm of Chlorine in the water. I don't know if this is a lot? a little? I know that SOME people (me) can taste it . .. or SOMETHING maybe the extra sodium?? (106ppm)

So what makes the water taste "soft" Chlorine and Sodium together?

Anyone else know how much Chlorine you have in your water? do you taste it?
It's also important to note there's a difference between Chlorine & Chloride...the former being the disinfectant gas that gives off flavors, easily driven off during the boil, the latter being a desirable flavor enhancer, especially in it's ratio to sulfates.

EDIT: Chlorine is CL2, Chloride is -Cl and is a negative ion and is the second half of most salts (Na+, Ca+, Mg+, etc)
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:36 PM   #9
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I thought Chlorine could only be removed by boiling, and Chloromine was only removed by Camden tablets?

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Old 02-15-2012, 09:19 PM   #10
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You can boil off chloramine, excepting that its much less volatile and takes a lot more boiling than chlorine. Its usually not worth boiling the water as long as it would take to get all the chloramine out. Activated carbon or metabisulfite is much easier and cheaper.

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