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Old 07-20-2009, 08:54 AM   #1
DjangoXIII
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Default Using Artesian Well Water

I was thinking about using water from an artesian well to brew a beer with. I was wondering other people's thoughts. Would that be a safe idea? The well I'm thinking of using has a very strong iron flavor. Would this benefit the yeast or hamper it's development? Or would the iron taste just prove too powerful for a decent tasting beer? Either way, I think it would be a fun experiment to try. I look forward to hearing from you all.

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Old 07-20-2009, 03:06 PM   #2
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I've never used artisian water, but I would imagine that the minerals may alter your intended flavor profile of the beer. But if you have no expectations and are doing this in the name of science and beer, by all means do it and keep us posted!

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Old 07-20-2009, 03:20 PM   #3
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I would love to see a Ward Labs report of an artesian well from up around St Helens/Higgins Lake. A friend has one on either side of his cottage just off the lake from St Helens, but I never thought of brewing with it. Large volume and fair pressure.

My guess is it's hard as hell.

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Old 07-20-2009, 06:58 PM   #4
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Artisan is the same as standard well water, except that its taken from cracks & fissures deep into the ground (~300ft below grade or however deep is needed). With the pressure associated with the depth and rock, the difference is that an artesian is naturally pressured and deeper than a standard well. The only other point to consider is that that water originated somewhere on the surface, usually a ways away. As it percolates thru the ground it passes into cracks in bedrock and end up deep into the subsurface. Picture pieces of slate, leaned up against themselves at a 45 degree angle...

Point being that it isn't so much the fact that its artisian, its the amount of naturally found minerals in the soil & bedrock surrounding it.

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Old 07-20-2009, 07:06 PM   #5
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I got to thinking about this and it came to me that artesian water may have been the magic ingredient of the elusive heather ale recipe. I know that the water of Scotland is pretty hard from the limestone, but if artesian water was the typical source (rather than springs) this may have been the biggest difference as there would have been different minerals and sediment than that of the springs. Or I could be speaking out of my arse.

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Old 07-20-2009, 07:12 PM   #6
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I grew up in Marion, MI with many artesian wells all over town. I loved the water and actually brewed with it years ago. The water there was pretty hard, but that does not mean that all artesian water is hard. The cause of artesian well is the physical structure of the layers, as already noted. A friend used water coming out the side of a mountain in KY before and that was some good water. Just a pipe someone had pounded into the limestone to funnel the water.

I'd be tempted to go back to Marion and try some more. Seems there was a bit of sulphur taste to it the last time I tried Artesian water, but that was different area. Most of the wells in town were capped over the years. Possibly from containing pollutants of viruses. Never found out why.

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Old 07-20-2009, 07:33 PM   #7
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Marion is due south of Lake St Helens, and at the lake, it is only necessary to pound a standard 2" casing and well point down to about 22'. In this area, there is not a bedrock trapping the water. The source of the water is, as has been said, coming from from an distant area above that elevation, but is trapped by an impermeable layer above it, generally of clay in MI. Once pierced from above, the water flows to a height of from 6" to several feet in height. The common method of control is to go down with the 2" to depth, reduce it to 1" at a height above ground of about a foot, then add in a standard valve, (then a nipple to direct it away from the valve) to cause some reduction in flow so that the sandy surface of the surrounding area can absorb it without need for drainage or creek type runoff.

My brother in law had an old artesian well on his property for livestock watering that had failed due to age. When digging his pond, (lake actually) the excavator hit springs at about 18' deep, and the pond level does not reduce from spring to fall, as groundwater naturally dries out during summer. He has shown interest in re-doing this spring just to have water cascade down to the pond, as the original well site was a few feet above and about a hundred feet away from the surrounding edge of the pond . We suspect that driving a point down will show us that we have taken the new well's required capacity and pressure out of the area, and the well attempt would fail. :P

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Old 07-20-2009, 08:34 PM   #8
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I say go for it. There's nothing bad that can happen, besides a substandard beer.

The mineral content could be over the top, and pH could be an issue. But we'd really need a water report or analysis to offer anything intelligent.

It would cheaper just to try a batch and see what happens! If you aren't monitoring and regulating pH I'd suggest that you brew something dark (above 20 SRM) because it's probably very hard water, as others have said. Though who knows for sure?

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Old 07-20-2009, 10:06 PM   #9
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Ahoy hoy,
I use nothing but artesian well water in my beers. Theres a well in Fox Alaska that everyone within 40 miles that hauls water goes to get their drinking water. Silver Gultch Brewery in Fox uses nothing but Fox water, as we call it, for their beer. Its outstanding.
I saw one of you was in Reed City.
I graduated from Evart, and my families still in the area.
Small world ay?
I bid you all a great day from sunny North Pole Alaska

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Old 07-20-2009, 10:42 PM   #10
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Wow! Thanks for all the advice and encouragement. I wasn't expecting this many replies so soon. The well I have in mind is a little bit north of Lapeer, MI. I will definitely get some water from it and give it a go. I'll be sure to post the results. Thanks again everyone and Cheers!

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