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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > RO Water VS Distilled
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:09 PM   #1
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Default RO Water VS Distilled

All,

Does anyone know what the difference is between RO water and distilled. I don't mean the process either, but the finished product. The bottom line to my question is I have a place to get RO water cheap and I wanted to know if you can brew with 100% RO water as an AG brewer. or is it like distilled where it doesn't have the necessary chemical composition. I have been using Palmers spreadsheet to modify my tap water, but it turns out that there are 3 different sources for the tap in my area and it changes almost daily so you really don't know what you are getting. I want to get a consistant source to begin with so I work from there. I want to make Pilsners. Not perfect but nice drinkable pilsners.

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Old 02-23-2009, 06:12 PM   #2
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Distilled and RO are essentially the same thing but reached by different methods. Also RO can still have 5-15 ppm of dissolved solids, but that is not much at all. You'll need to add in minerals (calcium, magnesium etc) to be able to successfully brew with RO water.

Attached spreadsheets may help.

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Old 02-23-2009, 10:32 PM   #3
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Thanks, I actually use Palmers RA spreadsheet. Are you saying then that I can use RO and distilled water interchangeably. So in Palmers spreadsheet I could put 100% distilled when actually using RO water and then add minerals from there.

Tom

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Old 02-24-2009, 12:19 AM   #4
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I use 100%RO and add minerals.

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Old 02-24-2009, 12:40 AM   #5
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I have worked professionally with Carbon Filtered, RO & Distilled and Deionized.

Carbon Filtered removes mostly chlorine and other dissolved solids. ppm levels vary on incoming city water.

RO - Reverse Osmosis - Is a membrane filtering process that creates very clean water, close to pure water. ~ 25ppms of disolved solids. Its creates as much waste water as it does filtered water. The filtration process also drops your pH by one full point.

DI - Deionized Water - Is a series of two chemical charged tanks filled with a beaded resin. There is cation and anion tank that essentially molecularly strips out ions. ~10ppm. The pH is low but virtually impossible to determine pH due to the missing ions.

Distilled water is water reclaimed from vapor or steam. I'm not sure on purity but I think it execedes that of DI water.

The main question is what type of brewing do you perform? EDIT: (OP is an AGr) If its extract you can use any of these 4 types. The extract contains all the minerals that you need per the style. John Bull - Maris Otter will have different mineral content than a Alexander or Laagerlander.

If you are a PMr or AG than you should use Carbon Filtered water or use the treated water (last 3) and add brewing salts and what not to tune in your minerals. I didn't look at Conpewters spreadsheet but you would need to figure out how to adjust your water.

I am an AG guy and I use carbon filtered water for everything I make.

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Old 02-24-2009, 12:56 AM   #6
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It is good to have someone give some more details on RO systems. I would think if you want to replicate pilsner water you will need to start out with RO or distilled. Sounds like distilled will be even less ppm of dissolved solids, but I tend to use RO and distilled interchangeability, it has seemed to work just fine for me. YMMV

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Old 02-24-2009, 01:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conpewter View Post
It is good to have someone give some more details on RO systems. I would think if you want to replicate pilsner water you will need to start out with RO or distilled. Sounds like distilled will be even less ppm of dissolved solids, but I tend to use RO and distilled interchangeability, it has seemed to work just fine for me. YMMV
Pilsner is made of water that historically very soft, so its low in minerals. Soft water in the US has lots of salts in it traditionally so its unlike Czech water. I haven't looked at JP tables for pilsners with Na lately. (At a glance from his sight)
Calcium: 10
(Ca+2)
Magnesium: 3
(Mg+2)
Bicarbonate: 3
(HCO3-1)
SO4-2: 4
Na+1: 3
Cl-1: 4
Yes start with RO or DI water to make a pils. (Exactly as Conpewter said)


To me its more science than I care to fuss with right now. Not mention I don't have the means to measure ppm. I get the water reports and my water is like the city of London. I'm happy with knowing that.

FYI
How to Brew - By John Palmer - Water for Extract Brewing

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Understanding the Mash pH
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:23 AM   #8
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After re-reading the OP. I would NO DOUBT start with Distilled water.

Sorry, less typing and more reading on my part is needed.

oh maybe less attention to filling my glass....

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Old 02-24-2009, 02:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schlenkerla View Post
Soft water in the US has lots of salts in it traditionally so its unlike Czech water.
Not sure what you mean by 'salts'. Do you mean water softened with water-softening salts? They typically exchange sodium ions for calcium and magnesium ions. So that would add plenty of sodium to the water.

Hardness is generally measured/calculated from CaCO3 and the harder it is, the more minerals it will have, particularly calcium and magnesium. My well water is soft and has less minerals than Pilsen.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Not sure what you mean by 'salts'. Do you mean water softened with water-softening salts? They typically exchange sodium ions for calcium and magnesium ions. So that would add plenty of sodium to the water.

Hardness is generally measured/calculated from CaCO3 and the harder it is, the more minerals it will have, particularly calcium and magnesium. My well water is soft and has less minerals than Pilsen.
Just what you said removing calcium for sodium. I was thinking the sodium is higher, more than naturally occurring in the Czech water. I'm not much of any expert on soft water. I think Na for pilsen is 3 ppm. I was thinking that soft water had much more than 3 ppm as result of water softening salts.
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