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Old 02-16-2012, 10:59 PM   #1
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Default Water testing w/ softener system

I'm getting my water tested in the near future. I have a whole house water softener system and I'll be testing one batch after I run it through that just for general knowledge. My other option for brewing is to bypass that system, however that will also bypass the filter. So my options are testing unfiltered water, buying a brita system and running it through that, and what else? Any other suggestions for making good water for AG without a big up-front investment (not an R/O system)? Thanks.

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Old 02-17-2012, 12:21 AM   #2
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I would bypass the softener and have that water tested. Check your outside spigots for the hoses, many times those are not connected to the softner.

I have not had good luck with water that has gone through my softner for brewing.

RO systems are great, but I understand wanting to avoid the cost.

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Old 02-17-2012, 01:43 AM   #3
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Using a softener might make your water too "soft" for brewing, meaning a little hardness might actually be better for you mash and final flavor. I'd recommend looking up your most recent municipal water quality analysis (assuming you don't have well water) and plug your numbers into the EZ Water Calculator:

http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/

That should give you some idea of what you want to do with your water. Good luck!

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Old 02-17-2012, 02:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rancidcrabtree View Post
Using a softener might make your water too "soft" for brewing, meaning a little hardness might actually be better for you mash and final flavor. I'd recommend looking up your most recent municipal water quality analysis (assuming you don't have well water) and plug your numbers into the EZ Water Calculator:

http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/

That should give you some idea of what you want to do with your water. Good luck!
More importantly, the softener would probably add far too much sodium.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:13 AM   #5
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I've been studying water chemistry lately. While I'm just cracking the surface, I know that water softeners make bad brewing water due to the salts used. The only things that I can imagine being worse, would be tons of chloramine, or a RA so high that it turns your bittering hops into bile flavor.

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Old 02-17-2012, 11:49 AM   #6
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Just say no to water softeners.

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Old 02-17-2012, 12:02 PM   #7
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Hardness is not a problem in brewing, alkalinity is. Softeners take out hardness and leave the alkalinity the same. This is a bad combination for brewing water. Ion-exchange (salt) softeners are not suitable for brewing water treatment.

Hardness --> good
Alkalinity --> bad

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Old 02-17-2012, 01:34 PM   #8
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I have a reverse osmosis softner on my house and that is the only water I have ever used to brew. My beer comes out great.

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Old 02-17-2012, 09:39 PM   #9
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I have a reverse osmosis softner on my house and that is the only water I have ever used to brew. My beer comes out great.
Reverse Osmosis water and water run through an actual water softner are completely different.

You are right though, RO makes great water for brewing with a few additions.
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:45 PM   #10
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Don't use softened water. I did a three consecutive batches with my tap water like that and they came out crappy. I can't use my unsoftened water because it has a lot of iron in it even after filtering. I'm just going to buy water or use city water from a buddy until I get something else figured out.

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