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-   -   Best beer I ever made due to 1 variable (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/best-beer-i-ever-made-due-1-variable-347368/)

Unibrow 08-13-2012 02:48 PM

Best beer I ever made due to 1 variable
 
I've done about 40 batches in 1.5 years so far, since starting this hobby/obsession. I've tried MANY different set ups: extract only, partial mash, all grain, fruit additions, dry hopping, full boil, partial boil, brew kits, home made recipes, big yeast starters, light beer, dark beer and everything in between.

Most of my beers ended up with decent results...some were very good and others were sub par. But I finally isolated the 1 variable that elevated home brew from good to outstanding: using only store-bought spring/distilled water

We actually have great tap water here in Cleveland - but when I made a Brewers Best English Brown Ale kit using only spring water during the grain steep/boil, and topped off with distilled water, it came out like the most amazing Newcastle/Bass style beer I've ever tried.

Of course, you need to have pristine sanitation + good yeast temps + patience...but the entire game changed when I used no tap water, and only bottled water. Even though it adds an extra $5-$7 to every batch, I think I'll do this from now because it made all the difference in taste. Just my experience so far.

KISS Brew 08-13-2012 02:54 PM

Just to provide a counterpoint, I love the beer that my tap water makes and wouldn't dream of buying water. YMMV.

Congratulations on an outstanding brew!

Unibrow 08-13-2012 02:57 PM

Right! That's the beauty of this hobby - different methods can easily yield different results. So tap water may be better than spring/distilled in some cases.

I wanted to share my epiphany just in case another home brewer is out there saying "I'm doing everything right, and it's still not perfect yet...what else can I try?"

http://assets0.ordienetworks.com/ima...g/seinfeld.gif

normnmiles 08-13-2012 03:33 PM

Did you have your water tested? Does your tap water have chloramine or chlorine? Just curious as to what the difference could be. I have pretty hard water where I live and plan on diluting it with my RO and treating it for Chloramine.

Beer-lord 08-13-2012 03:37 PM

I used bottled water for years and in the last 12 months or so, after speaking with my water company (who have 2 homebrewers working there) I switched to tap water. I do fill my pot the night before I brew as a precaution and sometimes use campden tablets but I cannot tell the slightest bit of difference. My mates love my beer and sometimes brew themselves and sometimes say they don't know what I do to make such good beer. FWIW, theirs is excellent to me as well.

Do what works for you is the only advice I can give.

Unibrow 08-13-2012 04:12 PM

I've looked for a water report, but didn't get the details. I did, however, find the water report for Deer Park spring water and it falls within all the acceptable ranges.

Again, my tap water actually tastes good and works great for light beers...I made 4 dark beers that all came out bad, found out it was because the darker malts clashed with my water too much.

onthekeg 08-13-2012 04:20 PM

Try adding some gypsum to the boil next time you make a darker beer. I would recommend a tsp for 5 gallon batch.

I would also recommend some calcium if you are doing AG into the mash. I usually add 1 tsp of calcium chloride.

paraordnance 08-13-2012 04:22 PM

Distilled water just like RO water lacks some of the essential nutrients needed for good yeast health, flocculation, clarity of beer and many other important factors. Some styles (like Pilsner) will benefit from 100% RO/distilled when others will not. Its all depends on your water chemistry. Just plug your numbers in BrunWater and see where you need to be. I use 50% RO water in all my brews and add various amounts of lactic acid, CaCl2 or gypsum based on style I'm brewing. It is much better approach then just use plain distilled water.

Unibrow 08-13-2012 04:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paraordnance (Post 4327016)
Distilled water just like RO water lacks some of the essential nutrients needed for good yeast health, flocculation, clarity of beer and many other important factors. Some styles (like Pilsner) will benefit from 100% RO/distilled when others will not. Its all depends on your water chemistry. Just plug your numbers in BrunWater and see where you need to be. I use 50% RO water in all my brews and add various amounts of lactic acid, CaCl2 or gypsum based on style I'm brewing. It is much better approach then just use plain distilled water.

This is why I choose to steep/mash with spring water, and then top off with distilled. Healthy mix of both seems to cover all the bases.

paraordnance 08-13-2012 05:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unibrow (Post 4327023)
This is why I choose to steep/mash with spring water, and then top off with distilled. Healthy mix of both seems to cover all the bases.

But without water report for your spring water you still have no idea how much Ca for example you have. This simple element have big impact on yeast health down the road. I used 100% RO water in past and made good beer with it. It was good but was lacking something, boring sort of speak and blunt in taste. That changed for better when I started to add minerals to brewing water and understand water chemistry a little better. BrunWater is great tool


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