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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Lagers and Water source
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Old 12-07-2006, 09:33 PM   #1
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Default Lagers and Water source

I am getting ready to do my first american lagers and I had some questions about water quality. When brewing, I always use the city water. The quality is good and is neither hard nor soft. However, chlorine is added to the city water and is detectable on occasion, usually following a period of heavy rain.

The chlorine is not too much of a problem, I know boiling or allowing the water to air overnight will take care of it. But has anyone run into unexpected flavors when using water? I know I will run into the same problem using bottled water, so I am considering distilled water.

Should I use distilled? Does the chlorine need to be taken out before the mash? Should I even care? The water here is really pretty good, not like Salem, NH where the water tasted and smelled like sewage runoff.

I know the books talk about this, but they don't seem to point me in any direction, mostly just lay out a bunch of options.

Oh well, it probably doesn't really matter anyway since the person I am brewing for doesn't really like anything but Coors Light.

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Old 12-07-2006, 10:04 PM   #2
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The chlorine should be removed, it does make a difference. Unless you are doing all grain pilsners, your water sounds fine.

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Old 12-07-2006, 11:40 PM   #3
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I thought the boiling point of chlorine was a bit lower than water so when you actually brought your wort to a boil you had already mostly boiled off most of the chlorine.

Is this correct?

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Old 12-08-2006, 12:04 AM   #4
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Chlorine will react with organic compounds in your mash to produce chlorophenols which are a bad off-flavor you don't want in your beer so if you have free chlorine in your water you want to get rid of it.

Another good reason to boil your water before trying a light lager is to precipitate bicarbonates which will fight your mash pH and keep it high (if you have water with significant bicarbonates). If you have the means to measure your mash pH you may not need to take this step as you could correct with lactic acid or acidulated malt.

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Old 12-08-2006, 12:05 AM   #5
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but, I remember that the chlorine attaches itself to certain parts of the wort and ends up in the final taste. In other words it don't boil off like it would if it were in plain water.

Plus the fact is that a lot of municipalities are now using chlorimine, which has to be chemicially removed.

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Old 12-08-2006, 02:31 AM   #6
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Vermicous,

Do you have a water report? For a light beer you need a fairly soft water or you wil have to do some water treatment.

Regarding the chlorine, I'd get a activated charcoal filter. That will take out most of the chlorine and chloramine. The latter is getting more common and isn't driven off by letting the water sit overnight.

Kai

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Old 12-08-2006, 04:54 AM   #7
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I have only done some searching online. I found a water quality report, but that just seems to list hazardous chemicals. They only mention chlorine in the additives, but I think I will take a jaunt to the water treatment facility, they are usually friendly.

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Old 12-08-2006, 01:54 PM   #8
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