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Old 11-26-2011, 03:42 AM   #1
zepolmot
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Default Dark beers taste great, lighter beers taste like pool water

Hey, so I've got an issue I can't solve. I just moved to a new place and finally got to crack open my two first batches from here. The first is an oatmeal stout, the body is great, good head retention, tastes great, nice roasted finish. The second is a red ale, has a bit of nice hop bite up front, you get a brief taste of bready malt, and then all you're left with is pool water.

I brewed these beers on consecutive days from the same water source. I was able to get a report from the water utility and here it is. I don't yet do any filtering or chemistry to adjust:

Calcium-- 12 mg/L
Magnesium-- 4.6 mg/L
Sodium-- 13 mg/L
Sulfate (SO4)-- 18.2 mg/L
Chloride -- 9.5 mg/L
Bicarbonate (HCO3) -- 53 mg/L (as CaCO3 alkalinity)
Alkalinity (CaCO3) -- 49 mg/L

What have people done to fix this issue?

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Old 11-26-2011, 03:51 AM   #2
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Those numbers are from one day when they did the tests. They will fluctuate. Sometimes my water is perfect and sometimes it smells like chlorine. My water report says my chloride is like 5ppm.

Find out whether they are adding chloromine to your water. If they are, treat your water with campden tablets. If they arent, bringing your water just to a boil and letting it cool will get rid of the chloride in the water. I just bring my strike water and sparge water up to a boil and let it cool to strike temp. Works great!

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Old 11-26-2011, 01:58 PM   #3
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I'm not really facile at tinkering with water chemistry/mineral contents, but:

If you really think chlorine/chloramines are the issue, you could also consider getting an under the sink carbon filter.

As seabass07 mentioned, you should find out whether or not they are using chloramines...if it's just chlorine, you can also just let your water sit out in a bucket for a day or two, and chlorine will dissipate (the slow version of boiling then cooling to strike temp...I tend to do this anyway b/c I generally get my water measured out the day before I brew anyway). Chloramines will not off-gas on their own, and probably require treatment to remove.

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Old 11-26-2011, 02:45 PM   #4
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Another vote for filtering your water. Honestly, unless I was using good well water, I would filter in all cases.

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Old 11-26-2011, 09:03 PM   #5
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Definitely a chlorine/chloramine issue.

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Old 11-26-2011, 10:38 PM   #6
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Chlorine and chloramine removal is a critical component to good brewing. Either carbon filtering or Campden tabs are suitable for treatment. Be sure to include some treatment.

I see that the calcium is naturally low in this water. Modest calcium addition via calcium chloride or gypsum are easy to do. Be sure to read the Water Primer on the Brew Science section of the forum. When that is mastered, download and read Bru'n Water for more info.

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Old 11-27-2011, 05:35 AM   #7
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Is this an issue for both all grain and extract brewing? I don't see why you would need chlorine free water if you are brewing extract since the chlorine would evaporate within a few minutes of the boil.

But with all grain, and extracting sugars from grains during the mash, I could definitely see it as an issue.

Just curious because I do allgrain using water with chlorine and I have noticed the same thing - lighter beers really lacking flavor

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Old 11-27-2011, 04:33 PM   #8
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Chlorine is certainly an issue in both All-Grain & Extract brewing. The chlorine compounds complex with the organics in the malt and create those undesirable chlorophenolic compounds. Do yourself a favor and get chlorine compounds out of the water prior to introducing any malt components.

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Old 11-27-2011, 06:27 PM   #9
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Hey thanks for all the feedback everybody. onthedot, yes they've both been all grain beers.

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Old 11-27-2011, 07:52 PM   #10
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Speaking from a horrific experience where I snuffed a lot of my tropical fish during a water change- they periodically shock the water system.... The day I chose to clean my tank was one of them, and the usual amount of chlorine neutralizer was nowhere near sufficient....

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