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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Does using distilled water make a difference?
View Poll Results: Is it worth brewing with distilled water instead of tap water?
Yes, distilled water is worth every penny 8 33.33%
No, distilled water makes no difference 16 66.67%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-15-2007, 03:18 AM   #1
DieBartDie
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Default Does using distilled water make a difference?

Do forum members think using distilled water makes a big difference or not?

Reason for asking - I've been brewing with distilled water but the additional cost makes home brew as much as buying beer at Costco.

Cost of making 5 gallons:
Malt Extract kit $35
Gas or shipping $5
Distilled water $7
BTF, caps misc... $1
Result ~50 bottles
Cost per bottle $0.96

Cost at Costco for 24 bottles = $22+tax = $0.99

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Old 10-15-2007, 03:23 AM   #2
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Distilled water is wortht he price when doing extracts/Pm's.

AG full boils though? Doesn't matter.

If you're really concerned about price per pint....switch over to all grain and get your best brew down to about 25 cents per pint.

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Old 10-15-2007, 03:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
Distilled water is wortht he price when doing extracts/Pm's.

AG full boils though? Doesn't matter.

If you're really concerned about price per pint....switch over to all grain and get your best brew down to about 25 cents per pint.
What he said.

If you want to gets your costs per beer down make the jump to AG, buy grains in bulk, and wash yeast.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:44 AM   #4
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Nope. Distilled water generally won't help your beer. It will make a difference...and possibly a negative one. Some minerals are good. If your tap water tastes good, brew with it. Otherwise, use spring water. If you ever move to AG, you'll almost definitely want to move away from distilled.

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Old 10-15-2007, 04:23 AM   #5
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running extracts is best with distilled water because the minerals for brewing are already in there from the manufacture of the wort. using spring or tap water will add minerals that might adversely affect your beers flavor.

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Old 10-15-2007, 05:06 AM   #6
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Forgive my noobness rearing it's ugly head here, but I thought that it was bad to brew with distilled water. I was told to use spring water or drinking water, but never distilled water.

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Old 10-15-2007, 05:07 AM   #7
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Here's a good, short article about better extract brewing:

http://byo.com/feature/1369.html

IMHO, distilled water isn't worth it. Use water that tastes good. Just don't use overly hard water. That's all.

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Old 10-15-2007, 05:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubed
Forgive my noobness rearing it's ugly head here, but I thought that it was bad to brew with distilled water. I was told to use spring water or drinking water, but never distilled water.
When mashing, distilled water is a no-no. The question here is whether extract adds enough minerals to distilled water to facilitate good fermentation and good flavor. Generally, the answer is probably yes, so it'd be ok (or maybe even recommended) to use distilled water when using extract as the only source of malt-derived fermentables.

If the end product is a very light flavored, light colored beer, distilled water might be somewhat beneficial, but soft spring water or soft water from the tap will probably not be all that detrimental. Certainly, distilled water is unnecessary when brewing darker or more bitter beers that tend to benefit from slightly harder water.
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Old 10-15-2007, 05:55 AM   #9
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Have you tried brewing with your domestic water? I would start there - or ask some local home brewers about their experiences in your local area.

I have very alkaline well water - lots of bicarbonate. It works fine for extract beers. For pale all grain beers, I dilute with distilled water to reduce the alkalinity. All grain stouts are ok with my well water.

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Old 10-15-2007, 03:13 PM   #10
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Distilled water is useful to dilute the amount of minerals in your water. This can be extremely important when attempting to make delicate pilsners et al or when adding significant amounts of gypsum. Gypsum can create noticeably harsh tastes if your base water has high levels of sulfur. In this case you would want to dilute with distilled.

For the vast, vast majority of water supplies in the USA, you won't ever have to worry about it though. There is almost no situation I can think of when you should use 100% distilled water. 20-25% distilled or even up to 50% distilled. Maybe.

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