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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Is water that big of a deal in all grain?
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:39 PM   #1
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Default Is water that big of a deal in all grain?

Hello guys! I am new to brewing and will be doing my first all grain batch shortly. I just want to get some input form you guys on how big of a difference water can make. Can I just use distilled water and go from there. I'm not sure what my tap water is like but I live in so cal.Can i use "Drinking water"? I have heard not to use reverse osmosis water but all the bottled water I have seen has been through an RO process. will it really make that big of a difference? What minerals would I need to add and how much if it will I need for a typical 5 gallon batch. I will be brewing a strawberry blonde. Also keep in mind I am brand new to brewing and this will only be my second batch ever! Thanks For and and all input!

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Old 12-22-2010, 08:50 PM   #2
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There are a lot different views on water. If your tap water tastes good, it will probably be fine to brew with. You can always use bottled water or RO water. I am fortunate to have great tap water so I don't make any changes, use it straight from the tap. You could always try a test 1 gallon batch or something to see. I think the general consensus would be to keep it simple at first. Don't want to go and try to change your water profile if other brewing processes are not finely tuned.

There is a spreadsheet floating around with the desired ranges for mineral concentration in water. If you find that and contact your water distributor you should have a good idea if you water is good for brewing or not.

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Old 12-22-2010, 09:22 PM   #3
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Things are 'stickyfied' for a reason.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/bre...primer-198460/

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Old 12-22-2010, 09:53 PM   #4
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Check with your local water district, they are required to publish water quality reports.

For San Bernardino county check this page. Some of their reports are very detailed.

Then read these links:
All Grain Water Chemistry Brewing Information
Brewing Water Chemistry Calculator

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Old 12-22-2010, 10:09 PM   #5
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He's wondering if water is a big deal...if it makes a big difference.

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Old 12-22-2010, 10:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiberntepaths View Post
He's wondering if water is a big deal...if it makes a big difference.

Yes it can. It can be the cause of many off flavors.

It can also be the difference between good beer and GREAT beer. It is worth your time to look into your water when brewing all grain.
Here is a great calculator that I use.
http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:52 PM   #7
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This section from How to Brew by John Palmer explains how to read a water report and how each compound affects beer. 2 pages later is a Nomograph (there is a blank one at the bottom of the page). By finding the values, based on your water report, you can then plot them on the graph to find the ideal style of beer to brew using your tap water. I found that darker pales, ambers and browns are the best styles for my tap water.

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Old 12-23-2010, 08:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Things are 'stickyfied' for a reason.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/bre...primer-198460/
+1, especially the first post in the thread. Use RO Water and do the simple adjustment AJ recommends. Start tweaking it on future brews if you feel the need and take notes on what has changed, assuming you brew the same beer for comparison.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:38 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input guys! What about using that 5.2 stabilizer? is that just the lazy way out of dealing with the water? or is that just for pH but you still need to deal with the minerals?

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Old 12-24-2010, 03:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Thanks for the input guys! What about using that 5.2 stabilizer? is that just the lazy way out of dealing with the water? or is that just for pH but you still need to deal with the minerals?
Well, I bought two jars of 5.2, and used a couple of tablespoons before realizing that it's junk. I gave one jar away, and still have the rest of the jar here.

It supposedly "locks in" the pH but water is more complex than that. I have been trying to absorb the water information ajdelange has posted here, and he's been kind enough to dumb it down a bit for me. That's when I stopped using the 5.2 stabilizer.
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