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-   -   Brewing with Well Water? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/brewing-well-water-103984/)

RonRock 02-17-2009 04:17 PM

Brewing with Well Water?
I have been brewing with my softened well water. 6 batches so far.

It has been suggested that it is actually preferred that I use my un-softened well water. I could use water from my Garden Hose, which would be much easier to get into my kettle.

When I have used un-softened water for Coffee or Ice Tea it leaves a "film" on top and also makes cleaning the glass or pot harder. Obviously from the "Hard" water. I had my water tested for hardness it tests at 22 grains hardness.

Would the "Hard" water be best for brewing? Or should I stay with the "Soft" water I have been using?

Any suggestions for a filter system I should be using for my brewing?

Just as an FYI, I do All Grain brewing.

babalu87 02-17-2009 04:30 PM

Get samples of both and have them tested @ Ward Labs
I believe test #5

Really depends on the make up of the water

broadbill 02-17-2009 04:35 PM

My thoughts, FWIW:

1. First of all, is your beer bad with the softened water, or is it just they don't taste exactly like a given commercial version? Obviously the water you use has a big impact on the beer you make. Many styles of beer taste the way they do because of the water used (e.g. English IPA from Burton area).

2. You could fret about your water and its effects on your beer, or you can just call it "house flavor"...its all how crazy you want to be about your hobby!

3. If you are interested in brewing "to style" and entering competitions, etc...your best bet would be to buy distilled water, and add back minerals to match the given style. I'm sure others can help you out with....personally, I go with #2 and chalk any effects of my water on "house flavor"

My 0.02

HenryHill 02-17-2009 04:38 PM

Ward Laboratories, Agricultural Testing, Consulting, Kearney, Nebraska
Click fee schedule; water analysis.

'W-6' (16.50) will tell you enough, but 'W-5' (26.50) is the full test.

FWIW, MBC uses a filter and a huge softener to brew all their beer. Since they are 8 miles away, I use warm, softened water.

RonRock 02-17-2009 05:08 PM

Thanks guys, My next question was going to be where to have a water test done. Way ahead of me on that one. Cool.

My beer tastes fine so far with soft water. So I could simply use it and be happy enough at this point in my brewing.

What really prompted the question is the use of the Hard water. I would like to use it since it would be easier to run it through a hose into the kettle rather than buckets from the kitchen sink.

But I don't want to have beer with that "film" or "oily" looking stuff on top. Is whatever causes that boiled off? IDK what it is but I don't have it with the soft water.

Plan to brew tomorrow, I could try the Hard water and see what happens. But then again I hate to waste a batch.

I will send in a sample for the test. Then have a better idea where to go in the future. But still deciding about tomorrow.

FxdGrMind 02-18-2009 12:13 AM

I use my Well water for mine, I don't have a water softener, but I know it's hard as I have to use Borax to wash clothes with or they will not get clean.

I also have a whole House filter (5 micron) for sediment and then for drinking/cooking/brewing I have a Carbon Sink filter for that.
I think my beer is good and I love the taste of the filtered water, even the unfiltered... but the sediment and "Unknown's" cause me to filter.

Not sure I'd go with "Hose" water.... But that's just me.

Get it tested, I did one 15 years ago and the report came back "hard" and "Sediment" issues but nothing "Toxic".

HenryHill 02-18-2009 12:16 AM

I DO hope by 'hose water' you mean RV Drinking Water Hose, and then only after the water runs a long enough to get fresh water in the water line. ;)

RonRock 02-18-2009 01:10 AM

Yes an RV hose is part of the plan if I determine that I can use water from my Garden Hose faucet.

And a water test will be done as well.

bwiebe 02-18-2009 02:26 AM

I use softened water
All the softener does is remove impurities in your water, especially rust, and
does not ad anything to the water. The salt you add to the system is only used
to recharge the system and is completely flushed out before the system is put
back into service. All you would gain by using water from the garden hose
would be rust, mud, and sand.

mmb 02-18-2009 02:41 AM

I brew with well water and always have just used tap water. My current house water report was 44ppm. You can take your water to your local Culligan shop and get a rudimentary analysis for free if you listen to what they can "do for you" sales pitch.

IMO, if it tastes good, brew with it. If you can't drink your well water or tap water, don't brew with it.

About the only style you can't brew with hard water would be something along the lines of a pilsner. It will also make your stouts a little more acrid.

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