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Old 12-02-2013, 02:55 AM   #1
llgriffin
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Default Water quality

So I have quite a few brews under my belt now but have a consistent issue with a salty bitter aftertaste. After racking my brain, scouring though palmers how to brew I'm starting to think its my water. I have a water softener and I've been reading that this will not be helping the mash process ( I do partial mash). What would be the best way to try an alternative water source. Should I use all bottled water from the grocery store and see how that goes or mix 50/50? I don't understand a lot of the technical water talk. I do have access to a ppm tester as well as ph tester. Would these help and what kind of numbers am I shooting for. Brewing mostly IPA or lighter style beers. The salty bitter is more noticeable with the lighter styles.

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Old 12-02-2013, 02:57 AM   #2
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Sorry not a ppm tester it's tds tester

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Old 12-02-2013, 11:41 AM   #3
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I'd suggest you do a batch with only bottled water. Your softener is adding sodium to your water which should get you the salty taste.

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Old 12-02-2013, 11:47 AM   #4
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Water softeners work by adding salts to your water, so I'd bet you're right on in identifying the issue. As the previous poster suggested, you could pickup some distilled water for your next brew, or you could use a carbon filter to get rid of the salt. If you go the distilled water route, use a water addition calculator to figure out how to treat your water for brewing (you don't want to use raw distilled water for most styles). I use the EZ Water calculator; as the name implies, it's easy to use and it's free.

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Old 12-02-2013, 11:55 AM   #5
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This was taken from our water primer sticky for pale ale styles
Add 1 tsp gypsum as well as 2 tsp calcium chloride for every 5 gal of RO or Distilled water

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Old 12-02-2013, 11:57 AM   #6
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PS, make sure you get Distilled Water, not "drinking water" or "spring water", as these have unknown mineral profiles. Distilled water is nothing but good ol' H2O.

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Old 12-02-2013, 01:52 PM   #7
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Where do I get additives like gypsum and chloride?

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Old 12-02-2013, 02:15 PM   #8
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My crappy LHBS even carries those in easy to carry bottles. You could order them from one of the brewing supply companies if you can't get them locally.

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Old 12-02-2013, 05:46 PM   #9
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Wilconrad, in post #4 said

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or you could use a carbon filter to get rid of the salt.
A carbon filter will not remove ions. It won’t touch the salts. An RO filter will remove the salt.

Also nobody mentioned that distilled and reverse osmosis are essentially the same. The process is different but the water is similar, i.e. very low ionic content.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:01 PM   #10
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I buy RO water from the grocery store vending machines ($0.41 a gallon) for every brew now. Then I follow the basic instructions in the Water Chemistry Primer thread for my additions.

You should be able to find Calcium Chloride and Gypsum at your LHBS. If you can't I know you can at the very least find Calcium Chloride at Walmart and/or possibly your local grocery store in the canning section. It is sold as 'pickle crisp.'

Don't forget about needing the acid malt in your grain bill as well.

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