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Old 08-31-2010, 08:00 PM   #1
bnut
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Default Well Water Filter

Hello,
I have brewed 15-20 batches of beer at my new home using our well water through a softener with 5.2 buffer. For the most part I've been happy with the result.
But I want to do better. I plan to filter my water before it goes into the softener and was wondering what people have been using. I want to get something in place and then get it tested.

Thanks.
B

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Old 09-01-2010, 11:58 AM   #2
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The first thing to do is get the well tested and then plan your treatment around that. The fact that you have a softener tells us that the water is at least somewhat hard. Don't use water from a water softener for brewing. Calcium is beneficial to beer in several ways and a water softener takes it out and replaces it with sodium which is, at best, harmless but can, of course, lead to salty taste and, at high enough levels, interfere with the yeast.

5.2 doesn't do what it is supposed to do (at least we have had no reliable reports that it does) and adds more sodium still so skip that.

Unless your water is stinky with sulfide and/or iron, then chances are it will make a good beer without treatment. Just be sure to take it from before the softener.

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Old 09-01-2010, 12:07 PM   #3
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Yea, I should have mentioned that the water straight out of the well has an iron stench to it. So I didn't want to use it as is.
I think I answered my question though. I went to the hardware store last night and picked up a water filter. I ran the water through there and the stench was gone.
I'll get that analysed and see what I'm dealing with. Ill send a sample straight from the well too
Thanks for the reply.

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Old 09-01-2010, 02:36 PM   #4
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Please keep us posted on the filtered water results. I have the same problem with my well water (the irony smell). I'm gathering the equipment for AG and would not rather use bottled spring water as I have done for extract kits.

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Old 09-01-2010, 02:55 PM   #5
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Will do. I can tell you what I did so far.
I picked up a whole home water filter (it came with a 5 micron filter) and some fittings. Around $25 for the filter.
I got home, hooked it up and ran some water through it. Not bad but still a little funk. Much better than straight out of the well. But I wasn't totally happy.
So I went to a few more hardware stores and found a 1 micron filter and housing (different brand than my first). Got a few more fittings as well.
Went back home and hooked up the 1 micron filter after the 5 micron. I took a staples with that setup and was happy. No more funk that I could notice.
Now I just need to send some samples out.

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Old 09-01-2010, 04:30 PM   #6
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A filter by itself is not effective against "clear water" iron. I.e. if the well water tastes of iron but is clear, the filter won't touch it and it will still taste metallic. OTOH if the iron is oxidized (the water will be slightly turbid and grey to yellow) a wound filter will take it out. In the case of clear water iron, oxidation of the iron to the Fe(III), i.e. the oxidized state, prior to filtration will remove the iron (it gets left behind as an ugly brown gel on the filter so check and change elements often). Iron treatment units that do the oxidation (with air, a mineral called "greensand" or potassium permanganate are sold by water treatement companies.

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Old 09-02-2010, 06:12 AM   #7
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The whole house filter, if you are using a standard string or sediment filter, will not really change the taste. It is to reduce sediment, and needs to preserve flow.

Where I live, after the well has been run for 6 months or so, I stopped using the filter. YMMV.

I did have another filter under the sink. It was a carbon activated taste and lead filter (plus some other stuff). Flow, due to the smaller particle filtration (1 micron or less) is reduced, unlike the whole house filter. But this is for drinking, not washing the car.

I sent a sample of this off to be tested and then adjusted the water (only slightly) using the ezspreadsheet to get everything to a good mash range. Water tastes great, beer tastes great.

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Old 09-14-2010, 10:54 PM   #8
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OK. Took me a while to get around to doing anything with this. At first I didn't understand what you were talking about AJDELANGE, it went over my head. But after taking a sample though the filter and letting it sit over night everything became clear. The bottom of my sample had a layer of rust colored sediment on it. 24 hours earlier the sample was crystal clear. "Clear water" indeed.
So I had a water guy stop by tonight. Found out we have an iron filter in place before our softener. I might have been able to tap into the line between that filter and the softener and gotten usable water, but I we started talking about RO systems and in the end I'm going to go that route...with a 20 gallon holding tank so I have enough water on brew day.

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Old 09-15-2010, 05:24 PM   #9
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Reverse Osmosis filtered water, like distilled water, does not have the minerals in it for brewing, AFAIK. So the bad news about RO water is you always need to add something. The good news is you can adjust it easily to whatever style you want to brew by using the water spreadsheet found in this section.

BTW, are you sure you want to go RO? RO water is NOT as tasty for drinking as water with some mineral content. While you may have other crap that absolutely needs to be removed, know that the water guys make the most money off that treatment. The guy that came to my house tried to put fear into my heart. Fortunately(or unfortunately), I'm an engineer that always wants to know "why" and resists impulse buying. I did some research (and my own water test) and discovered BS.

Just saying......

Edit - it sounds like you do need a settling tank or some other method for the iron, though, so....

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Old 09-15-2010, 06:28 PM   #10
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I was aware that I was going to have to add stuff to the RO water to brew with it but that's cool with me. Actually that was my original plan allowing me to brew any style I want. I just don't want to go through the hastle and expense. Turns out it was no big deal and not all that expensive, so I'm going for it.

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