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Old 10-31-2008, 03:35 AM   #1
chrishart7
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Default Brewing with distilled water?

I've read about how the chemical composition of the water used for brewing can significantly alter the taste of a beer. I live near a university and I have access to distilled water. Should I brew with distilled water, add minerals to tap water, or just using plain tap water without any additives? Thanks.

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:42 AM   #2
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Depends. Does Distilled water contain any minerals? You want some minerals in there. The general consensus that I have read says that, if your tap water tastes fine, then tap water is fine for most beer styles. You can't(shouldn't) alter your base water without knowing what is in it first. If it is a main concern, send a sample off to be tested and make any adjustments from there.

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:46 AM   #3
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I've always thought/been told not to use distilled water, rather purified water from tap or the well or those gallon jugs of drinking water from walmart.

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:52 AM   #4
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distilled water contains zero minerals, as it is condensed steam from boiled water. Therefore it is used in laboratories where sterilization is a concern. I think my tap water will suffice.

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:52 AM   #5
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I've spent a good portion of my recent brewing efforts on getting my water right, and it paid off. I sent my water for analysis, and brewed an IPA with water that I carefully added every mineral to. This beer is by no means ready for drinking, but tasting has indicated that the water made a huge difference.

Conclusions that might save you the time and trouble:
1. For AG brewing, just use 5.2 to get the mash pH right.
2. If you aren't happy with the bitterness you're getting from your hops, bump up your sulfate by ~100ppm or so using gypsum. (if you don't want to have your water analyzed that is) This applies to extract and PM brewers as well. This is the biggest water lesson I learned and IMO the only crucial one. Other minerals like Na and Cl can help certain flavors to really shine but your beer won't be hurting without them the way it can without any sulfate.
3. Refer here How to Brew - By John Palmer - Reading a Water Report for more answers. Everyone's water is different, and mine had almost nothing in it.

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:57 AM   #6
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Distilled or Reverse Osmosis water lacks the minerals needed for a good mash conversion (if you are an All-Grain brewer) and the minerals are needed for good yeast health. Tap water is fine to use. If your water contains chlorine or chloramine from your municipal source, there are ways to eliminate that prior to brewing (I believe chlorine will evaporate over time, and people use camden tablets for eliminating the chloramine - I suggest using the search function or checking the wiki for clarification).

Also, How to Brew - By John Palmer has lots of good information about brewing water.

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Old 10-31-2008, 04:31 AM   #7
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I use Reverse Osmosis water, which is essentially the same thing when compared to distilled. Just add an appropriate amount of Burton's salts. A TDS meter helps. I don't know ppm measurements offhand, but they're in The Joy of Homebrewing. Burton's recommends 1-4 tsp per gallon, and you'll probably want to be on the high end of that unless you're using extracts. I forget all the calculations I did, but it worked out to something like 2 tsp of salts if you're using extract (or 3 if you're brewing a stout). Add one or two more if you're using grains.

Otherwise, the tap will probably be okay.

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Old 10-31-2008, 04:41 AM   #8
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Browsing Store - BURTON SALTS- FOR 5 GAL

Check this out..
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Old 10-31-2008, 04:50 AM   #9
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if you are brewing extract or extract/steeping distilled water is just fine the minerals needed for the beer are in the extracts already. now if you are PM or AG brewing then you can still use distilled or RO water you just have to HAVE TO adjust the balance somehow. i personnally use mashph5.2 for almost everything except stouts and pilseners.


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Old 10-31-2008, 03:35 PM   #10
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The more I read about water and minerals the more confused I get. I use filtered water from the refrigerator. The LHBS had me add Gypsum, Calcium Chloride and Chalk even though the recipe is an Extract. Does this make any sense?

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