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Old 02-18-2009, 01:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bwiebe View Post
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.
Water softening salts typically contain sodium. As the water passes over these salts, it exchanges ions associated with hardness (Ca+, Mg+) with sodium ions (Na+). This increases the sodium content of your water significantly and will likely result in a harsh bitter flavor. All the texts I've read recommend against using softened water for brewing.

My well water is soft as crap. It's practically DI water. The pH is great (5.7), but I have to add minerals.
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:11 PM   #12
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Nobody has said anything about the film I get on my hard water. Will I get that in my beer? Or will the boil take whatever causes it to go away?

The water tasts fine, it's the film I'm afraid of at this point.

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Old 02-18-2009, 01:24 PM   #13
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I'm re-reading Noonan's New Brewing Lager Beer right now and there is a great section on water in there. I was reading this thread yesterday and was hoping to find something in the book about what this film could be (cause I've seen it before myself in hard water... in Ireland I believe). He describes each metal/mineral/compound and what it does to your water. But I couldn't find anything about the film.

22 grains/gal hardness = 377 ppm hardness (assume as CaCO3). That's some pretty hard water. So, it's probably something associated with Ca+ or Mg+. Getting the analysis will tell you, but in the mean time... have you tried filtering it through a Brita-type filter? That should help get rid of some of the film.

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Old 02-18-2009, 01:24 PM   #14
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Morebeer has a water filtering system for wells and city water.

Water Filtering | MoreBeer

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Old 02-18-2009, 01:25 PM   #15
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You wont' get film on your beer, but you might get a small bit in the kettle form boiling. Frankly, I'd use the hard water, especially if it's easier. But, if you like the soft water, what the heck, right?

You can always clean the mineral deposits off your stuff if you ever need to, but you won't find a film or scum or anything in the beer. It's dissolved into the water and only shows itself after being very highly concentrated and then after the water it removed.

It's fine.

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Old 02-18-2009, 02:03 PM   #16
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Thanks Again. Good and helpful information. I'll try the hard water. After I receive the test results I'll decide how involved I need to get with water chemistry.

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Old 02-18-2009, 02:58 PM   #17
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It's quite possible that there is a small amount of naturally occurring oil in your groundwater. It may be getting taken out by running thru the softener medium, or it may be getting mixed with hops and leaving in that way.

I wrote a thread a while back on bleaching wells to eliminate algae bloom from your well. I do it twice a year. It looks like rust, smells, but disappears when you bleach the well and pump out the bleach.

And here it is:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/putting-your-best-tap-well-water-foreward-42122/

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Old 02-18-2009, 03:07 PM   #18
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Just to expound a little on the film. Certain minerals and related compounds are only soluble in water to a certain degree. Once they go over a certain amount, they can come out of solution. This could be in the form of leaving deposits on plumbing lines and fixtures, or presumably in the form of a film on top of the water. So that's probably what your film is... minerals coming out of solution.

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Old 02-18-2009, 04:04 PM   #19
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You might want your water tested for that film I just had a friend call me and tell me he had that film and it was caused by a leaking well pump seal and the stuff that was leaking was poison like PCB.
Pat.

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Old 02-18-2009, 04:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwiebe View Post
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.
Sodium does make it in to the water and does in fact make a big difference in the enzyme activity of the wort as well as the taste of the final product.

My first year of brewing was with my softened water. All my beers had dry somewhat bitter after taste that left me feeling thirsty.

I have since switched to bypassing the softener, carbon filter and 5.2 buffer. The after taste is now gone.

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